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Four Shakespeare Songs

Word count: 439

Song Cycle by Ernest John Moeran (1894 - 1950)

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1. The Lover and his Lass [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FIN FRE GER GER GER

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


It was a lover and his lass,
  With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino
That o'er the green [corn-field]1 did pass.
  In [the]2 spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding a ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.

[Between the acres of the rye,
  With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
These pretty country [folks]3 would lie,
  In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding a ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring. ]4

[This carol they began that hour,
  With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
How that [a life]5 was but a flower
  In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding a ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.]4

[And therefore take the present time]6
  [With]7 a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
For love is crownéd with the prime
  In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding a ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.


View original text (without footnotes)
1 Morley: "cornfields"
2 omitted by Barton, Bush, and Morley, passim.
3 Delius, Dring: "folk"
4 In Dring and Parry, only the first and third lines are set.
5 sometimes "life"?
6 Barton, Morley : "Then, pretty lovers, take the time"
7 Bush: "And with"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. Where the bee sucks [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FIN FRE FRE GER SPA

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  Where the bee sucks there [suck]1 I:
  In a cow-slip's [bell]2 I lie;
  There I couch when owls do cry.
  On a bat's back [I do]3 fly
  After [summer]4 merrily,
Merrily, merrily shall I live now
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.


View original text (without footnotes)
1 Arne: "lurk"
2 Arne: "bed"
3 Arne: "do I"
4 Arne: "sunset"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. When daisies pied [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FIN FRE FRE GER GER GER GER NOR

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

  • FIN Finnish (Suomi) (Erkki Pullinen) , "Kevät", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (François-Victor Hugo)
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Anonymous/Unidentified Artist) , "Lied. Der Frühling", first published 1870
  • NOR Norwegian (Bokmål) (Arild Bakke) , "Når spraglet tusenfryd", copyright © 2004, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


When daisies pied and violets blue
 [And lady-smocks all silver white,
And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue,]1
  Do paint the meadows with delight,
The cuckoo, then on ev'ry tree
Mocks married men, for thus sings he,
  Cuckoo,
Cuckoo, cuckoo: o word of fear,
Unpleasing to a married ear.

When shepherds pipe on oaten straws,
  And merry larks are ploughmen's clocks,
[When]2 turtles tread, and rooks, and daws,
  And maidens bleach their summer [smocks]3,
The cuckoo, then on ev'ry tree
Mocks married men, for thus sings he,
  Cuckoo,
Cuckoo, cuckoo: o word of fear,
Unpleasing to a married ear.


View original text (without footnotes)
1 Stravinsky: reversed.
2 Arne: "And"
3 Arne: "frocks"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. When Icicles hang by the wall [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FIN FRE GER

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When icicles hang by the wall
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,
And Tom bears logs into the hall,
And milk comes frozen home in pail;
When blood is nipt and ways be foul,
Then nightly sings the staring owl:
Tu-who! 
Tu-whit! Tu-who! -- A merry note!
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

When all aloud the wind doth blow,
And coughing drowns the parson's saw,
And birds sit brooding in the snow,
And Marian's nose looks red and raw;
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl
Then nightly sings the staring owl:
Tu-who! 
Tu-whit! Tu-who! -- A merry note!
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.


Submitted by Clive Robinson

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