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Five Part-Songs for Women's Choir, Set I

Word count: 546

Song Cycle by Fritz Bennicke Hart (1874 - 1949)

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?. Angel spirits of sleep


Angel spirits of sleep,
White-robed, with silver hair,
In your meadows fair,
  Where the willows weep,

And the sad moonbeam
On the gliding stream
  Writes her scatter'd dream:

Angel spirits of sleep,
Dancing to the weir
In the hollow roar
  Of its waters deep;

Know ye how men say
That ye haunt no more
Isle and grassy shore
  With your moonlit play;

That ye dance not here,
White-robed spirits of sleep,
All the summer night
  Threading dances light?


?. Say who is this?


Say who is this with silvered hair, 
So pale and worn and thin, 
Who passeth here, and passeth there, 
And looketh out and in ? 

That useth not our garb nor tongue, 
And knoweth things untold : 
Who teacheth pleasure to the young, 
And wisdom to the old? 

No toil he maketh his by day, 
No home his own by night ; 
But wheresoe'er he take his way, 
He killeth our delight. 

Since he is come there's nothing wise 
Nor fair in man or child, 
Unless his deep divining eyes 
Have looked on it and smiled. 

Whence came he hither all alone 
Among our folk to spy? 
There's nought that we can call our own, 
Till he shall hap to die. 

And I would dig his grave full deep 
Beneath the churchyard yew, 
Lest thence his wizard eyes might peep 
To mark the things we do.


?. Spring goeth all in white


Spring goeth all in white,
Crowned with milk-white may:
In fleecy flocks of light
O'er heaven the white clouds stray:

White butterflies in the air;
White daisies prank the ground:
The cherry and hoary pear
Scatter their snow around.


?. Sorrow and joy


Sorrow and joy, two sisters coy,
Ay, for our hearts are fighting:
The half of our years are teen and tears,
And half are mere delighting.

So when joy's cup is brimm'd full up,
Take no thought o' the morrow:
So fine's your bliss, ye shall not miss
To have your turn wi' sorrow.

And she with ruth will teach you truth,
She is man's very med'cin:
She'll drive us straight to heav'ns high gate,
Ay, she can stuff our heads in.

Blush not nor blench with either wench,
Make neither brag nor pother:
God send you, son, enough of one
And not too much o' t'other.


?. Love on my heart from heaven fell


Love on my heart from heaven fell,
Soft as the dew on flow'rs of Spring,
Sweet as the hidden drops that swell
Their honey-throated chalicing.

Now never from him do I part,
Hosana evermore I cry,
I taste his savour in my heart,
And bid all praise him as do I.

Without him noughtsoever is,
Nor was... afore, nor e'er shall be:
Nor any other joy than his
Wish I for mine to comfort me.


?. O Love, I complain


O Love, I complain, 
Complain of thee often, 
Because thou dost soften 
My being to pain : 

Thou makest me fear 
The mind that createth, 
That loves not nor hateth 
In justice austere ; 

Who, ere he make one, 
With millions toyeth, 
And lightly destroyeth 
Whate'er is begun. 

An' wer't not for thee, 
My glorious passion, 
My heart I could fashion 
To sternness, as he. 

But thee, Love, he made 
Lest man should defy him, 
Connive and outvie him, 
And not be afraid : 

Nay, thee, Love, he gave 
His terrors to cover, 
And turn to a lover 
His insolent slave.


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