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Six Interiors

Word count: 642

Song Cycle by Nicholas Maw (b. 1935)

Show the texts alone (bare mode).

1. To Life [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

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O Life with the sad seared face,
I weary of seeing thee,
And thy draggled cloak, and thy hobbling pace,
And thy too-forced pleasantry!

I know what thou would'st tell
Of Death, Time, Destiny -
I have known it long, and know, too, well
What it all means for me.

But canst thou not array
Thyself in rare disguise,
And feign like truth, for one mad day,
That Earth is Paradise?

I'll tune me to the mood,
And mumm with thee till eve;
And maybe what as interlude
I feign, I shall believe!


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. Neutral tones [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

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We stood by a pond that winter day, 
And the sun was white as though chidden of God, 
And a few leaves lay on the starving sod; 
- They had fallen from an ash, and were gray. 

Your eyes on me were as eyes that rove
Over tedious riddles of years ago; 
And some words played between us to and fro
- On which lost the more by our love. 

The smile on your mouth was the deadest thing
Alive enough to have strength to die; 
And a grin of bitterness swept thereby
Like an ominous bird a-wing. 

Since then, keen lessons that love deceives, 
And wrings with wrong, have shaped to me
Your face, and the God-curst sun, and a tree, 
And a pond edged with grayish leaves.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. At tea [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

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The kettle descants in a cosy drone,
And they young wife looks in her husband's face,
And then at her guest's, and shows in her own
Her sense that she fills an envied place;
And the visiting lady is all abloom,
And says there was never so sweet a room.

And the happy young housewife does not know
That the woman beside her was first his choice,
Till the fates ordained it could not be so....
Betraying nothing in look or voice
The guests sits smiling and sips her tea,
And he throws her a stray glance yearningly.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. In Tenebris [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

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Wintertime nighs;
But my bereavement-pain
It cannot bring again:
Twice no one dies.

Flower-petals flee;
But, since it once hath been,
No more that severing scene
Can harrow me.

Birds faint in dread:
I shall not lose old strength
In the lone frost's black length:
Strength long since fled!

Leaves freeze to dun;
But friends can not turn cold
This season as of old
For him with none.

Tempests may scath;
But love can not make smart
Again this year his heart
Who no heart hath.

Black is night's cope;
But death will not appal
One who, past doubtings all,
Waits in unhope.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. I look into my glass [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

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I look into my glass,
And view my wasting skin,
And say, "Would God it came to pass
My heart had shrunk as thin!"

For then, I, undistrest
By hearts grown cold to me,
Could lonely wait my endless rest
With equanimity.

But Time, to make me grieve,
Part steals, lets part abide;
And shakes this fragile frame at eve
With throbbings of noontide.


Submitted by Ted Perry

6. Inscriptions for a peal of eight bells [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

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Thomas Tremble new made me
Eighteen hundred and fifty-three:
Why he did I fail to see.
I was well toned by William Brine,
Seventeen hundred and twenty-nine.
Now, recast I weakly whine!
Fifteen hundred used to be
My date but since they melted me
'Tis only eighteen fifty-three.
Henry Hopkins got me made
And I summon folk as bade;
Not to much purpose I'm afraid!
I like-wise: for I bang and bid
In commoner metal than I did,
Some of me being stolen and hid.
I, too, since in a mould they flung me.
Drained of my silver and re-hung me,
So that in tin-like tones I tongue me.
In nineteen hundred so 'tis said,
They cut my canon off my head
And made me look scalped, scraped and dead.
I'm the peal's tenor still, but rue it!
Once it took two to swing me through it:
Now I'm re-hung,
One dolt can do it!


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

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