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The falling of the leaves

Word count: 817

Song Cycle by Nicholas Marshall (b. 1942)

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?. The fiddler of Dooney [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

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When I play on my fiddle in Dooney,
Folk dance like a wave of the sea;
My cousin is priest in Kilvarnet,
My brother in Mocharabuiee.

I passed my brother and cousin:
They read in their books of prayer;
I read in my book of songs
I bought at the Sligo fair.

When we come at the end of time
To Peter sitting in state,
He will smile on the three old spirits,
But call me first through the gate;

For the good are always the merry,
Save by an evil chance,
And the merry love the fiddle,
And the merry love to dance:

And when the folk there spy me,
They will all come up to me,
With "Here is the fiddler of Dooney!"
And dance like a wave of the sea.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. The Lover tells of the Rose in his Heart [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE

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


All things uncomely and broken, all things worn out and old,
The cry of a child by the roadway, the creak of a lumbering cart,
The heavy steps of the ploughman, splashing the wintry mould,
Are wronging your image that blossoms a rose in the deeps of my heart.
  
The wrong of unshapely things is a wrong too great to be told;
I hunger to build them anew and sit on a green knoll apart,
With the earth and the sky and the water, remade, like a casket of gold
For my dreams of your image that blossoms a rose in the deeps of my heart.


Confirmed with W. B. Yeats, Later Poems, Macmillan and Co., London, 1926, page 6.

First published in National Observer, November 1892 as "The rose in my heart"; revised 1899 and 1906

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. He wishes for the cloths of heaven [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE GER HUN

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • HUN Hungarian (Magyar) (Tamás Rédey) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Had I the [heavens']1 embroidered cloths
Enwrought with golden and silver light
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,

I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.


View original text (without footnotes)
Original title is "Aedh wishes for the cloths of heaven"; revised 1906; re-titled "He wishes for the cloths of heaven".

Confirmed with W. B. Yeats, Later Poems, Macmillan and Co., London, 1926, page 45.

1 Gurney: "Heaven's"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. The falling of the leaves [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

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Autumn is over the long leaves that love us,
And over the mice in the barley sheaves;
Yellow the leaves of the rowan above us,
And yellow the wet wild-strawberry leaves.

The hour of the waning of love has beset us,
And weary and worn are our sad souls now;
Let us patt, ere the season of passion forget us,
With a kiss and a tear on thy drooping brow.


Note: first titled "Falling of the leaves"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. The host of the air [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

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O'Driscoll drove with a song,
The wild duck and the drake,
From the tall and the tufted reeds
Of the drear Hart Lake.
  
And he saw how the reeds grew dark
At the coming of night tide,
And dreamed of the long dim hair
Of Bridget his bride.
  
He heard while he sang and dreamed
A piper piping away,
And never was piping so sad,
And never was piping so gay.
  
And he saw young men and young girls
Who danced on a level place
And Bridget his bride among them,
With a sad and a gay face.
  
The dancers crowded about him,
And many a sweet thing said,
And a young man brought him red wine
And a young girl white bread.
  
But Bridget drew him by the sleeve,
Away from the merry bands,
To old men playing at cards
With a twinkling of ancient hands.
  
The bread and the wine had a doom,
For these were the host of the air;
He sat and played in a dream
Of her long dim hair.
  
He played with the merry old men
And thought not of evil chance,
Until one bore Bridget his bride
Away from the merry dance.
  
He bore her away in his arms,
The handsomest young man there,
And his neck and his breast and his arms
Were drowned in her long dim hair.
  
O'Driscoll scattered the cards
And out of his dream awoke:
Old men and young men and young girls
Were gone like a drifting smoke;
  
But he heard high up in the air
A piper piping away,
And never was piping so sad,
And never was piping so gay.


First published in Bookman, October 1893, revised 1894, revised 1899, later titled "The Host of the Air"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. The white birds [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

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I would that we were, my beloved, white birds on the foam of the sea:
We tire of the flame of the meteor, before it can pass by and flee;
And the flame of the blue star of twilight, hung low on the rim of the sky,
Has awaked in our hearts, my beloved, a sadness that never may die.

A weariness comes from those dreamers, dew-dabbled, the lily and rose,
Ah, dream not of them, my beloved, the flame of the meteor that goes,
Or the flame of the blue star that lingers hung low in the fall of the dew:
For I would we were changed to white birds on the wandering foam -- I and you.

I am haunted by numberless islands, and many a Danaan shore,
Where Time would surely forget us, and Sorrow come near us no more:
Soon far from the rose and the lily, the fret of the flames, would we be,
Were we only white birds, my beloved, buoyed out on the foam of the sea.


First published in National Observer, May 1892

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

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