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Songs of Illumination

Word count: 502

Song Cycle by Daniel Kidane (b. 1986)

Show the texts alone (bare mode).

1. A Dream [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): RUS

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

  • RUS Russian (Русский) [singable] (Dmitri Nikolaevich Smirnov) , "Сон", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Once a dream did weave a shade
O'er my angel-guarded bed,
That an emmet lost its way
Where on grass methought I lay.

Troubled, wildered, and forlorn,
Dark, benighted, travel-worn,
Over many a tangle spray,
All heart-broke, I heard her say:

"Oh my children! do they cry,
Do they hear their father sigh?
Now they look abroad to see,
Now return and weep for me."

Pitying, I dropped a tear:
But I saw a glow-worm near,
Who replied, "What wailing wight
Calls the watchman of the night?

"I am set to light the ground,
While the beetle goes his round:
Follow now the beetle's hum;
Little wanderer, hie thee home!"


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. The Land of Dreams [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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Awake, awake my little boy, 
thou wast thy mother's only joy. 
Why dost thou weep in thy gentle sleep? 
Awake, thy father does thee keep. 
Oh, what land is the land of dreams? 
What are its mountains and what are its streams? 
O father, I saw my mother there, 
among the lilies by waters fair. 
Among the lambs clothed in white, 
she walked with her Thomas in sweet delight. 
I wept for joy; like a dove I mourn. 
Oh, when shall I again return? 
Dear child, I also by pleasand streams 
have wandered all night in the land of dreams; 
but though calm and warm the waters wide, 
I could not get to the other side? 
Father, O father, what do we here, 
in this land of unbelief and fear? 
The land of dreams is better far -- 
above the light of the morning star.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. The Little Black Boy [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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My mother bore me in the southern wild, 
  And I am black, but O! my soul is white!
White as an angel is the English child, 
  But I am black, as if bereaved of light. 

My mother taught me underneath a tree, 
  And, sitting down before the heat of day, 
She took me on her lap and kissèd me, 
  And, pointing to the East, began to say: 

"Look [at]2 the rising sun: there God does live, 
  And gives His light, and gives His heat away, 
And flowers and trees and beasts and men receive 
  Comfort in morning, joy in the noonday. 

"And we are put on earth a little space, 
  That we may learn to bear the beams of love; 
And these black bodies and this sunburnt face 
  [Are]1 but a cloud, and like a shady grove. 

"For when our souls have learn'd the heat to bear, 
  The cloud will vanish; we shall hear His voice, 
Saying: `Come out from the grove, my love and care,
  And round my golden tent like lambs rejoice.' " 

Thus did my mother say, and kissèd me;
  And thus I say to little English boy: 
When I from black and he from white cloud free, 
  And round the tent of God like lambs we joy, 

I'll shade him from the heat till he can bear 
  To lean in joy upon our Father's knee; 
And then I'll stand and stroke his silver hair, 
  And be like him, and he will then love me.


View original text (without footnotes)
1 Bolcom: "Is"
2 Bolcom, Cowell: "on"

Submitted by Ahmed E. Ismail

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