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Autumn's Legacy

Word count: 683

Song Cycle by Lennox Randal Francis Berkeley, Sir (1903 - 1989)

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1. The mighty thoughts of an old world [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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The mighty [thought]1 of an old world
[Fans]2, like a dragon's wing unfurled,
   The surface of my yearnings deep;
And solemn shadows then awake,
Like [the]3 fish-lizard in the lake,
   Troubling a planet's morning sleep.

My waking is a Titan's dream,
Where a strange sun, long set, doth beam
   Through Montezuma's cypress bough:
Through the fern wilderness forlorn
Glisten the giant harts' great horn,
   And serpents vast with helmed brow.

The measureless from caverns rise
With steps of earthquake, thunderous cries,
   And graze upon the lofty wood;
The palmy grove, through which doth gleam
Such antediluvian ocean's stream,
   Haunts shadowy my domestic mood.


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Note: also titled in various publications as "Song of Thanatos" and "The Song of Thanatos" among others.
1 Berkeley: "thoughts"
2 Berkeley: "Fan"
3 Berkeley: "a"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. All night a wind of music [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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All night a wind of music,
All night a purple sunshine
Upon the earth;
The portal chrystalline
Of Paradise, bright Paradise,
Where the streams of odour flow,
Gently, musically slow,
Where the blossoms of ambrosia
Sparkle with cerulian beam,
The portal of the ancient city
Stood open on the sea.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. Lesbos [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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The Pleiades are sinking cool as paint
 [ ... ]


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 The Spectator, April 1953

4. To-night the winds begin to rise [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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  To-night the winds begin to rise
    And roar from yonder dropping day:
    The last red leaf is whirl'd away,
The rooks are blown about the skies;

The forest crack'd, the waters curl'd,
    The cattle huddled on the lea;
    And wildly dash'd on tower and tree
The sunbeam strikes along the world:

And but for fancies, which aver
    That all thy motions gently pass
    Athwart a plane of molten glass,
I scarce could brook the strain and stir

That makes the barren branches loud;
    And but for fear it is not so,
    The wild unrest that lives in woe
Would dote and pore on yonder cloud

That rises upward always higher,
    And onward drags a labouring breast,
    And topples round the dreary west,
A looming bastion fringed with fire.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. Hurrahing in the harvest [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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Summer ends now; now, barbarous in beauty, the stooks arise
  Around; up above, what wind-walks! what lovely behaviour
  Of silk-sack clouds! has wilder, wilful-wavier
Meal-drift moulded ever and melted across skies?

I walk, I lift up, I lift up heart, eyes,
  Down all that glory in the heavens to glean our Saviour;
  And, éyes, heárt, what looks, what lips yet gave you a
Rapturous love's greeting of realer, of rounder replies?

And the azurous hung hills are his world-wielding shoulder
  Majestic -- as a stallion stalwart, very-violet-sweet! --
These things, these things were here and but the beholder
  Wanting; which two when they once meet,
The heart rears wings bold and bolder
  And hurls for him, O half hurls earth for him off under his feet.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

6. Rich days [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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Welcome to you rich Autumn days,
    Ere comes the cold, leaf-picking wind; 
When golden stocks are seen in fields,
    All standing arm-in-arm entwined; 
And gallons of sweet cider seen
On trees in apples red and green.

With mellow pears that cheat our teeth,
    Which melt that [tongues]1 may suck them in; 
With [blue-black damsons, yellow]2 plums,
    Now sweet and soft from stone to skin; 
And woodnuts rich, to make us go
Into the loneliest lanes we know.


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1 Berkeley: "tongue"
2 Berkeley: "cherries red and blue-black"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

7. When we were idlers with the loitering rills [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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When we were idlers [with]1 loitering rills,
  The need of human love we little noted:
  Our love was nature; and the peace that floated
On the white mist, and dwelt upon the hills,
To sweet accord subdued our wayward wills:
  One soul was ours, one mind, one heart devoted,
  That, wisely doting, asked not why it doted,
And ours the unknown joy, which knowing kills.
But now I find how dear thou wert to me;
  That man is more than half of nature's treasure,
Of that fair beauty which no eye can see,
  Of that sweet music which no ear can measure;
  And now the streams may sing for others' pleasure,
The hills sleep on in their eternity.


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1 Berkeley: "with the"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

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