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Eleven Songs

Word count: 1352

Song Cycle by John Raynor (1909 - 1970)

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1. Go, songs [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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Go, songs, for ended is our brief, sweet play;
Go, children of swift joy and tardy sorrow:
And some are sung, and that was yesterday,
And some [are]1 unsung, and that may be tomorrow.

Go forth; and if it be o'er stony way,
Old joy can lend what newer grief must borrow:
And it was sweet, and that was yesterday,
And sweet is sweet, though purchased with sorrow.

Go, songs, and come not back from your far way:
And if men ask you why ye smile and sorrow,
Tell them ye grieve, for your hearts know Today,
Tell them ye smile, for your eyes know Tomorrow.


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1 omitted by Raynor.

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. In Leinster [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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I try to knead and spin, but my life is low the while,
Oh, I long to be alone and walk abroad a mile!
Yet if I walk alone, and think of naught at all,
Why from me that's young should the wild tears fall?

The shower-stricken earth, the earth-colour'd streams,
They breathe on me awake and moan to me in dreams;
And yonder ivy fondling the broke castle wall,
It pulls upon my heart till the wild tears fall.

The cabin door looks down a furze-lighted hill,
And far as Leighlin Cross the fields are green and still;
But once I hear the blackbird in Leighlin hedges call,
The foolishness is on me and the wild tears fall.


Submitted by Ken Edensor

3. West Sussex Drinking Song [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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They sell good Beer at Haslemere
And under Guildford Hill.
At Little Cowfold, as I've been told,
A beggar may drink his fill:
There is a good brew in Amberley too,
And by the bridge also;
But the swipes they take in at Washington Inn
Is the very best Beer I know, the very best Beer I know.

With my here it goes, there it goes,
All the fun's before us;
The tipple's aboard and the night is young,
The door's ajar and the Barrel is sprung,
I am singing the best song ever was sung
And it has a rousng chorus.

If I were what I never could be,
The master or the squire:
If you gave me the hundred from here to the sea,
Which is more than I desire:
Then all my crops should be barley and hops,
And should my harvest fail
I'd sell every rood of mine acres, I would,
For a bellyful of good Ale, a bellyful of good Ale.

With my here etc.


Submitted by Ken Edensor

4. Love me again [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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Alas, dear heart! what hope had I
If that I might your grace attain!
And since I love you faithfully,
Why should ye not love me again?

Methinks of right ye should me love,
For well ye know I do not feign,
Nor ever shall ye other prove:
Therfore, sweetheart, love me again.

I dare well say if that ye know
How long that I have suffered pain,
Ye would not change me for no new,
But, even of right, love me again.

For as your own ye may be sure
Ye have my heart still to remain:
It liveth in you me to recure,
Therefore, sweetheart, love me again.

In hope I live, and have done long,
Trusting yet still for to obtain;
And sure, methinks, I have great wrong
If that I be not loved again.


Submitted by Ken Edensor

5. Love is a sickness [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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Love is a sickness full of woes,
  All remedies refusing;
A plant that [with most]1 cutting grows,
  Most barren with best using,
      Why so?

More we enjoy it, more it dies;
  If not enjoy'd, it sighing cries --
      Heigh ho!

Love is a torment of the mind,
  A tempest everlasting;
And Jove hath made [it of]2 a kind
  Not well, nor full, nor fasting.
      Why so?

More we enjoy it, more it dies;
  If not enjoy'd, it sighing cries --
      Heigh ho!


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1 Parry: "most with"
2 Ireland, Moeran, Raynor: "of it"

Submitted by Ted Perry

6. Lelant [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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The little meadow by the sand
 [ ... ]


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.

7. The wakening [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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On a time the amorous Silvy
Said to her shepherd, "Sweet, how do ye?
Kiss me this once and then God be with ye,
                My sweetest dear!
Kiss me this once and then God be with ye,
For now the morning draweth near."

With that, her fairest bosom showing,
Op'ning her lips, rich perfumes blowing,
She said, "Now kiss me and be going,
                My sweetest dear!
Kiss me this once and then be going,
For now the morning draweth near."

With that her shepherd waked from sleeping,
And spying where the day was peeping,
He said, "Now take my soul in keeping,
                My sweetest dear!
Kiss me and take my soul in keeping,
Since I must go, now day is near."


Submitted by Ken Edensor

8. Down by the river [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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Down by the river there grows a green willow,
Sing oh! for my true love, my true love, oh!
I'll weep out the night there, the bank for my pillow,
And all for my true love, my true love, oh!
When chill blows the wind, and tempests are beating,
I'll count all the clouds as I mark them retreating,
For true lovers' joys, well-a-day, are as fleeting,
Sing all for my true love, my true love, oh!

Maids come in pity when I am departed,
Sing oh! for my true love, my true love, oh!
When dead on the bank I am found broken hearted,
And all for my true love, my true love, oh!
Make me a grave, all while the wind's blowing,
Close to the stream where my tears once were flowing,
And over my corpse keep the green willow growing,
'Tis all for my true love, my true love, oh!


Submitted by Ken Edensor

9. Come, rock His cradle [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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Come, rock His cradle lowly,
The throne of God all holy:
Come worship and adore Him,
And kneel we down before him.
Sweet little Jesu, sweet little Jesu.

And sing, for music number
Will lull the Babe to slumber:
Your strain be sweet and airy,
Like that of Blessed Mary.
Sweet little Jesu, sweet little Jesu.

Do nothing to annoy Him,
But ev'rything to joy Him;
For sin by night or morrow
Would cause Him pain and sorrow.
Sweet little Jesu, sweet little Jesu.

So, at your hour of dying,
This Babe in cradle lying,
(For He is King supernal)
Shall grant you rest eternal.
Sweet little Jesu, sweet little Jesu.


Submitted by Ken Edensor

10. Loveliest of trees [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE HEB

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Patricia Dillard Eguchi) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • HEB Hebrew (עברית) (Max Mader) , "היפה בעצים", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy [springs]1 a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the [woodlands]2 I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.


View original text (without footnotes)
1 Manton: "years"
2 Steele: "woodland"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

11. Bredon Hill [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

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In summertime on Bredon
The bells they sound so clear;
Round both the shires they ring them
In steeples far and near,
A happy noise to hear.

Here of a Sunday morning
My love and I would lie,
And see the coloured counties,
And hear the larks so high
About us in the sky.

The bells would ring to call her 
In valleys miles away;
"Come all to church, good people;
Good people come and pray."
But here my love would stay.

And I would turn and answer
Among the springing thyme,
"Oh, peal upon our wedding,
And we will hear the chime,
And come to church in time."

But when the snows at Christmas
On Bredon top were strown,
My love rose up so early
And stole out unbeknown
And went to church alone.

They tolled the one bell only,
Groom there was none to see,
The mourners followed after,
And so to church went she,
And would not wait for me.

The bells they sound on Bredon,
And still the steeples hum,
"Come all to church, good people." -
O noisy bells, be dumb;
I hear you, I will come.


Note: "Bredon" is pronounced /breedon/

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

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