The lines for this song were last-minute additions to WBY's play Diarmuid and Graine, which he had written in close collaboration with GM over the period 1899–1901. The first production of the play took place in Dublin in Oct. 1901, with the Irish Literary Theatre. Some music was always envisaged, but words for songs came very late in the day. Elgar's full orchestral setting, along with the two instrumental pieces, was published by Novello in 1902 as his Op. 42: he also published in the same year ‘Spinning Song’ in a setting for voice and piano. The play Diarmuid and Graine was never published by either WBY or GM, and was for a long time considered lost. However, the version of the play that did eventually emerge in The Dublin Magazine, deriving from a TS belonging to GM did not include the lines of ‘Spinning Song’. ‘Spinning Song’ was never republished by WBY.