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Swan Song

Word count: 544

Song Cycle by (Philip) Christian Darnton (1905 - 1981)

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1. The wood is still. I do not hear [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

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The wood is still. I do not hear 
A single bird-song grieved or gay, 
Or other sound's hint than the sere 
Whispering of withered leaves downstrewn 
On the spent leaves of yesterday, 
And a hid footstep drawing near. 

My heart is still. I do not hear 
A human echo grieved or gay 
Such as has been this or that year, 
Only the sigh of my words downstrewn 
On the spent words of yesterday, 
And Death's hushed footstep drawing near.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

1. Alas, poor rhapsodist, how sad thou art! [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

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Alas, poor rhapsodist, how sad thou art ! 
Is thine hour come? so soon, then, must thou part ? 
Hush we our concert now to thy hushed heart, 
And with our measure ease thy onfaring way. 

Pale Memory, saddest witness of delight, 
Whose eyes with gathered tears now glisten bright 
More than with joy they glittered yesternight, 
With thy lorn voice begin this roundelay. 

Thou Solitude, the Strange Companion, 
Heard faintly of the few and seen of none, 
On thy weak pipe of ever-wandering tone 
Through and about this ditty weaving play. 

Proud Sorrow, shadowy-haired with starlit crest, 
On thy black heavy lyre, whose sharp heel pressed 
Over thy buried heart destroys thy breast, 
Make mourn thy moaning chords beneath the lay. 

So sooth our concent now thou shalt not hear 
The fan of secret sandals feathering near, 
Nor shall we mark we play to no man's ear 
When thou with Sleep art stolen away.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. O Nightingale, my heart [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

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O Nightingale, my heart, 
How sad thou art ! 
How heavy is thy wing, 
Desperately whirred that thy throat may fling 
Song to the tingling silences remote ! 

Thine eye, whose ruddy spark 
Burned fiery of late, 
How dead and dark ! 
Why so soon didst thou sing, 
And with such turbulence of love and hate ? 

Learn that there is no singing yet can bring 
The expected dawn more near ; 
And thou art spent already, though the night 
Scarce has begun;
What voice, what eyes, wilt thou have for the light 
When that light shall appear, 
And O what wings to bear thee t'ward the sun ?


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. It is still under the pines [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

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It is still under the pines. 
Only the winds flow, 
Murmuring low, murmuring low, 
Through the tops where the unseen sun shines. 
It is still below; 
Never a bee 
Booms over the mat of cones and spines ; 
It is dark; no flowers blow; 
Only afar a harsh pool glints. . . . 
The heart beats heavily, sad, and slow, 
Seeking in vain for any hints 
Of a Nature cares if Man suffer or no. 
Vain search ! It is so 
Dark, so still, so lonely under the pines.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. Put by the sun, my joyful soul [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

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Put by the sun, my joyful soul, 
We are for darkness that is whole; 

Put by the wine, now for long years 
We must be thirsty with salt tears ; 

Put by the rose, bind thou instead 
The fiercest thorns about thy head ; 

Put by the courteous tire, we need 
But the poor pilgrim's blackest weed; 

Put by albeit with tears thy lute, 
Sing but to God or else be mute. 

Take leave of friends save such as dare 
Thy love with Loneliness to share. 

It is full tide. Put by regret. 
Turn, turn away. Forget. Forget. 

Put by the sun, my lightless soul, 
We are for darkness that is whole.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

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