"Ye Shepherds Tell Me" by Joseph Mazzinghi  (Frontpage)

Inspired the title of John Singer Sargent's painting:

Carnation, Lily, Lily Rose

Joseph Mazzinghi (1765-1844) composer. The only thing I could find on him was that he arranged songs for the theater and operas in London as well as writing popular music.
Ye Shepherds Tell Me
music sheets (over 500 kb total)
jpg: National Library of Australia

The above version of the song was published by Melbourne: Allan & Co., ca. 1892 -- after Sargent's painting of 1885-1886. I found an earlier version which is slightly different published around the time Mazzinghi would have written it (New York:  Firth & Hall, [1832-47]) (www.lib.unc.edu/music)

The only difference of note is the last stanza of the later version is missing from the earlier version, as well as the punctuation of the line "Carnation lily, Lily rose" -- earlier version; compared to "Carnation, lily, lily, rose" -- later version.

The song was exceptionally popular in the UK and was probably played as a piano duet (which Sargent often did) with maybe Alma Strettell as the other player and a third singer joining the two. Alma, who joined the Broadway group in '86, was as much a fanatic about music as John and the two had been friends since Paris.

Alma Strettell

However much fun they had at Broadway with this song, it's interesting to note its popularity was widespread. In an excerpt from a paper from Martock (located between London and Exeter) dated 1895, mentions the song being sung at a club.

 It might have been songs such as this, played in Francis Davis Millet's home at Broadway which inspired paintings such as:

Francis Davis Millet

A Difficult Duet

Old Harmonies