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Eternal Summer

Word count: 1137

by Stephen Wilkinson (b. 1919)

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1. Eternal summer [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): DUT FIN FRE FRE ITA JPN

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Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
[Sometime]1 too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
  [So long]2 as men can breathe or eyes can see,
  So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.


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1 Wilkinson: "Sometimes"
2 Wilkinson: "As long"

Submitted by Emily Ezust

2. Winter snow [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRI GER

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRI Frisian (Geart van der Meer) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


 In the bleak mid-winter
 Frosty wind made moan;
Earth [stood]1 hard as iron,
 Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
 [Snow on snow]2,
In the bleak mid-winter
 [Long]3 ago.

[ ... ]

View original text (without footnotes)
First published in Scribner's Monthly, January 1872
1 Trotta: "grew"
2 omitted by Trotta.
3 Trotta: "Long, long"
4 omitted by Walton?

Submitted by Sharon Krebs

3. Proud songsters [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

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The thrushes sing as the sun is going,
And the finches whistle in ones and pairs,
And as it gets dark loud nightingales
   In bushes
Pipe, as they can when April wears,
   As if all Time were theirs.

These are brand-new birds of twelve-months' growing,
Which a year ago, or less than twain,
No finches were, nor nightingales,
   Nor thrushes,
But only particles of grain,
   And earth, and air, and rain.


First published in Daily Telegraph, April 1928

Submitted by Ted Perry

4. The gate in the wall

Language: English

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The blue gate in the wall
 . . . . . . . . . .

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5. Lullaby [ sung text not verified ]

Language: English

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Lay your sleeping head, my love
 [ ... ]


This text may be protected by copyright under Canadian copyright law, so we will not display it until we obtain permission to do so or discover it is public-domain.
First published in New Writing, Spring 1937; revised 1958. Sometimes titled "Lay your sleeping head, my love", "Poem", or "Lullaby"

6. Chapels (Y capelau)

Language: English

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I've seen so many chapels in Wales	
 . . . . . . . . . .

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7. Renunciation [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

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I must not think of thee; and, tired [yet]1 strong,
  I shun the [love]2 that lurks in all delight --
  The [love]3 of thee -- [and]4 in the blue heaven's height,
[And]4 in the [dearest]5 passage of a song.
Oh, just beyond the [sweetest]3 thoughts that throng
  This breast, the thought of thee waits hidden yet bright;
  But it must never, never come in sight;
I must stop short of thee the whole day long.
But when sleep comes to close each difficult day,
  When night gives pause to the long watch I keep,
And all my bonds I needs must loose apart,
Must doff my will as raiment laid away, --
  With the first dream that comes with the first sleep
I run, I run, I am gather'd to thy heart.


View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with Quiller-Couch, Arthur Thomas, Sir. The Oxford Book of English Verse, Oxford, Clarendon, 1919, [c1901]; Bartleby.com, 1999. www.bartleby.com/101/879.html.

1 Wilkinson: "but"
2 Agopov, Wilkinson: "thought"
3 Agopov: "sweetest"; Wilkinson: "thought"
4 Wilkinson: "or"
5 Agopov, Wilkinson: "fairest"

Submitted by Emily Ezust

8. To a young girl [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "À une fille jeune", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


My dear, my dear I know
More than another 
What makes your heart beat so;
Not even your own mother
Can know it as I know, 
Who broke my heart for her
When the wild thought, 
That she denies
And has forgot,
Set all her blood astir
And glittered in her eyes.


Confirmed with W. B. Yeats, Later Poems, Macmillan and Co., London, 1926, page 254.


Submitted by John Versmoren

9. O do not love too long [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Oh, n'aime pas trop longtemps", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


[Sweetheart, do]1 not love too long:
I loved long and long, 
And grew to be out of fashion
Like an old song. 

All through the years of our youth
Neither could have known 
Their own thought from the other's,
We were so much at one. 

But O, in a minute [she]2 changed --
O do not love too long, 
Or [you will]3 grow out of fashion
Like an old song.


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Confirmed with W. B. Yeats, Later Poems, Macmillan and Co., London, 1926, page 86.

1 Wilkinson: "O do"
2 Rorem: "he"
3 Wilkinson: "you'll"

Submitted by John Versmoren

10. Maude Gonne takes down a book [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE GER HUN ITA

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (Walter A. Aue) , "Wenn Du alt bist", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • HUN Hungarian (Magyar) (Tamás Rédey) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Quando ormai sarai vecchia, e grigia e sonnolenta", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


When you are old and gray and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false [or]1 true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead 
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.


View original text (without footnotes)
Note: this poem is often described as a free adaptation of Ronsard's Quand vous serez bien vieille.

1 Bachlund: "and"

Confirmed with The Poetical Works of William B. Yeats in two volumes, volume 1 : Lyrical Poems, The Macmillan Company, New York and London, 1906, page 179.


Submitted by Garth Baxter

11. Politics [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE ITA

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Politique", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Politica", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


How can I, that girl standing there,
My attention fix
On Roman or on Russian
Or on Spanish politics?
Yet here's a travelled man that knows
What he talks about,
And there's a politician
That has read and thought,
And maybe what they say is true
Of war and [war's]1 alarms,
But O that I were young again
And held her in my arms!


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Note: the poem is headed by this quote: "In our time the destiny of man presents its meanings in political terms" - Thomas Mann.
1 Wilkinson: "man's

Submitted by Emily Ezust

12. Nosegay

Note: this is a multi-text setting

If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee. 
If ever wife [was]1 happy in a man, 
Compare with me, ye women, if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor [ought]2 but love from thee give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay;
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray. 
Then while we live, in love let's so [persever]3,
That when we live no more, we may live ever.

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Confirmed with The Complete Works of Anne Bradstreet, 1981.

1 Wilkinson: "were"
2 Wilkinson: "aught"
3 Rorem: "persevere"


Submitted by Emily Ezust

My true love hath my heart and I have his.
By just exchange, one [for]1 the other given:
I hold his dear, and mine he cannot miss;
There never was a [bargain better]2 driven[.]3
His heart in me keeps [me and him]4 in one;
My heart in him his thoughts and senses guides:
He loves my heart, for once it was his own;
I cherish his because in me it bides[.]3
His heart his wound received from my sight;
My heart was wounded with his wounded heart;
For as from me on him his hurt did light,
So still, methought, in me his hurt did smart:
Both equal hurt, in this change sought our bliss,
My true love hath my heart and I have his.

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View original text (without footnotes)

Parodied in Archibald Stodart-Walker's My true friend hath my hat.

1 Foote: "to"
2 Foote, Gounod, Wilkinson: "better bargain"
3 Foote: ":/ My true love hath my heart and I have his." (first line is repeated)
4 Foote: "him and me"


Submitted by Ted Perry

I
The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
"O lovely Pussy! O Pussy, my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are, 
you are, 
you are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are."

II
Pussy said to the Owl "You elegant fowl, 
How charmingly sweet you sing.
O let us be married, too long we have tarried;
But what shall we do for a ring?"
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows,
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring [at]1 the end of his nose, 
his nose, 
his nose,
With a ring [at]1 the end of his nose.

III
"Dear Pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling your ring?"
Said the Piggy, "I will"
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon.
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand.
They danced by the light of the moon, 
the moon, 
the moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Der Eul’ und die Miezekatz", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • RUS Russian (Русский) [singable] (Dmitri Nikolaevich Smirnov) , "Совёнок и Кошечка", copyright © 1982, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Wilkinson: "in"


Submitted by Emily Ezust

13. Birdspeak [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English after the English

The text shown is a variant of another text.

It is based on

  • a text in English by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 - 1834), "Answer to a child's question"
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Richard Rodney Bennett, Leonard J[ordan] Lehrman. Go to the text.

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Do you ask what the birds say? The Sparrow, the Dove,
The Linnet and Thrush say "I love and I love!"
But the Lark is so brimful of gladness and love,
The green fields below him, the blue sky above,
That he sings, and he sings; and forever sings he --
"I love my Love, and my Love loves me!"
In the winter they're silent -- the wind is so strong;
What it says, I don't know, but it sings a loud song.
But green leaves, and blossoms, and sunny warm weather,
And singing and loving -- all come back together.
The Sparrow, the Dove,
The Linnet and Thrush say "I love and I love!"
Did you ask what the birds say?


Submitted by Mike Pearson

14. What it is

Language: English after the German (Deutsch)

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Based on
  • a text in German (Deutsch) by Erich Fried (1921 - 1988), "Was es ist", copyright © IRI
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Wolfgang Nening. Go to the text.

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It is what it is
 . . . . . . . . . .

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15. Kiss [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

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Jenny kissed me when we met,
Jumping from the chair she sat in;
Time, you thief, who love to get
Sweets into your [list]1, put that in:
Say I'm weary, say I'm sad,
Say that health and wealth have missed me,
Say I'm growing old, but add
Jenny kissed me.


View original text (without footnotes)
1 Wilkinson: "book"

Submitted by Emily Ezust

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