Every so often, I join with some friends and sing rounds. These rounds are (usually) more complex than Row, Row, Row your Boat. I have a hard time carrying a tune in a bucket, but singing rounds gives me an excuse to try. I also have a hard time singing by ear and prefer sheet music, but many of the rounds we sing did not have sheet music (or such sheet music proved very difficult to find), so I turned it into a project to collect and produce sheet music for as many of these rounds as I could. I have not secured the various permissions needed to publish that collection here, but I can present the few rounds that I have composed myself.
This round grew out of one that proved to be very difficult to track down. The rounds group had the words, but nobody knew who composed it or even what the melody was. Investigation into the rounds provided no information, either; the most likely composers denied having written such a round, and the internet provided no clues. I could not even find any information on the text. As such, the words dropped of the list of known rounds. But I liked the imagery in the text, so I took it on myself to compose a new melody for the words. It has three parts, and starts inspired by the Christmas song Orientus Partibus, but quickly departs.
The text to this round is taken from the inscription on the wall in the Clothier Belltower at Swarthmore College, where the rounds group often meets to sing. It was frequently joked that the words should be set to music, but nobody had done so. I sat down one day at lunch and quickly put together the basic outline of the melody, and after a few cycles of editing it was complete. The alternate text was written so that I could introduce the round without showing my hand that I had set the inscription to music. That little surprise failed when I passed out the wrong set of sheet music. The round has six parts, and it sounds best when most of those parts are full.