During the Season 9 premiere of The Walking Dead, there’s a poignant scene where Alden sings a song during a funeral. Read on to learn what song he’s singing. This post has spoilers for the Season 9 premiere, through the funeral scene.
Alden is a former member of the Saviors who just joined The Walking Dead in Season 8. Played by Callan McAuliffe, Alden spent most of his time as a prisoner at Hilltop. He tried to take a leadership role among the other Savior prisoners, telling Jared not to cause additional trouble and attempting to negotiate with Maggie.
Eventually, Alden cut ties with the Saviors completely. When the Saviors had a chance to leave, Alden chose to stay with the Hilltop group instead. He read Georgie’s “A Key to the Future” and wanted to help build the things in the book and make that dream a reality. Maggie agreed to let him stay.
In Season 9’s premiere, Alden can be seen as an established member of the Hilltop community now. But he also has a way of connecting with people who are going through troubles, just like he was able to bridge gaps between Maggie and the other Saviors when he was a prisoner. That skill has not left him.
This is why when Ken is killed on the D.C. mission, Alden is able to continue to help his parents Tammy and Earl, despite also still being on Maggie’s side. In a poignant scene, he can be seen singing at Ken’s small funeral.
He was singing the lyrics to The Last Rose of Summer, a poem by Irish poet Thomas Moore. The end of the poem reads: “So soon may I follow, When friendships decay, And from Love’s shining circle The gems drop away. When true hearts lie withered, And fond ones are flown, Oh! who would inhabit This bleak world alone?”
The poem has been set to music numerous times, most recently in the movie Three Billboards, which begins with a version performed by Renee Fleming. In 2013, Kanye West referred to the poem in his song Blood on the Leaves. And Laura Wright recorded a version on her 2011 album The Last Rose. But there are too many versions to share them all here.
Here is Renee Fleming performing a version of the song:
And here’s another version:
The poem was first written in 1805, and Thomas Moore said he wrote it after being inspired by a Rosa Old Blush flower. The poem is typically set to the tune of “The Young Man’s Dream.”