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Love in a Life

Word count: 727

Song Cycle by Gena Branscombe (1881 - 1977)

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1. I thought once how Theocritus had sung [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): GER

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I thought once how Theocritus had sung
Of the sweet years, the dear and wished-for years,
Who each one in a gracious hand appears
To bear a gift for mortals, old or young:
And, as I mused it in his antique tongue,
I saw, in gradual vision through my tears,
The sweet, sad years, the melancholy years,
Those of my own life, who by turns had flung
A shadow across me. Straightway I was 'ware,
So weeping, how a mystic Shape did move
Behind me, and drew me backward by the hair;
And a voice said in mastery, while I strove, -
"Guess now who holds thee!" - "Death," I said. But, there, 
The silver answer rang, "Not death, but Love."


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. But only three in all God's universe [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): GER

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But only three in all God's universe
Have heard this word thou hast said, -- Himself, beside
Thee speaking, and me listening! and replied
One of us . . . that was God, . . . and laid the curse
So darkly on my eyelids, as to amerce
My sight from seeing thee, -- that if I had died,
The deathweights, placed there, would have signified
Less absolute exclusion. 'Nay' is worse
From God than from all others, O my friend!
Men could not part us with their worldly jars,
Nor the seas change us, nor the tempests bend;
Our hands would touch for all the mountain-bars:
And, heaven being rolled between us at the end,
We should but vow the faster for the stars.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. How do I love thee? [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): CHI GER HUN

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

  • CHI Chinese (中文) (M.W. Wang) , "我有多麽愛你?", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as [they]1 turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I [seemed]2 to lose
With my lost saints, -- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! -- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.


View original text (without footnotes)
See also Karl Shapiro's parody How do I love you?
1 Steele: "men"
2 Steele: "seem"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. The widest land [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): GER GER

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Go from me. Yet I feel that I shall stand
Henceforward in thy shadow. Nevermore
Alone upon the threshold of my door
Of individual life, I shall command
The uses of my soul, nor lift my hand
Serenely in the sunshine as before,
Without the sense of that which I forbore...
Thy touch upon the palm. The widest land
Doom takes to part us, leaves thy heart in mine
With pulses that beat double. What I do
And what I dream include thee, as the wine
Must taste of its own grapes. And when I sue
God for myself, He bears that name of thine,
And sees within my eyes, the tears of two.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. The face of all the world is changed [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): GER

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The face of all the world is changed, I think,
Since first I heard the footsteps of thy soul
Move still, oh, still, beside me, as they stole
Betwixt me and the dreadful outer brink
Of obvious death, where I, who thought to sink,
Was caught up into love, and taught the whole
Of life in a new rhythm. The cup of dole
God gave for baptism, I am fain to drink,
And praise its sweetness, Sweet, with thee anear.
The names of country, heaven, are changed away
For where thou art or shall be, there or here;
And this . . . this lute and song . . . loved yesterday,
(The singing angels know) are only dear
Because thy name moves right in what they say.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

6. My own Belovèd, who hast lifted me [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): GER

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


My own Belovèd, who hast lifted me
From this drear flat of earth where I was thrown,
And, in betwixt the languid ringlets, blown
A life-breath, till the forehead hopefully
Shines out again, as all the angels see,
Before thy saving kiss!  My own, my own,
Who camest to me when the world was gone,
And I who looked for only God, found thee!
I find thee; I am safe, and strong, and glad.
As one who stands in dewless asphodel,
Looks backward on the tedious time he had
In the upper life, -- so I, with bosom-swell,
Make witness, here, between the good and bad,
That Love, as strong as Death, retrieves as well.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

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