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Sonnets after Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Word count: 588

Song Cycle by Frederic Balazs (b. 1920)

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?. First time he kissed me, he but only kissed [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): GER

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First time he kissed me, he but only kissed
The fingers of this hand wherewith I write,
And ever since it grew more clean and white, --
Slow to world greetings, quick with its "Oh, list,"
When the angels speak.  A ring of amethyst
I could not wear here plainer to my sight
Than that first kiss.  The second passed in height
The first, and sought the forehead, and half missed,
Half falling on the hair.  O beyond meed!
That was the chrism of love which love's own crown,
With sanctifying sweetness, did precede.
The third upon my lips was folded down
In perfect, purple state; since when, indeed,
I have been proud and said:  "My Love, my own."


Submitted by Lynn Steele

?. If thou must love me, let it be for nought [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): GER

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If thou must love me, let it be for nought
Except for love's sake only. Do not say
"I love her for her smile ... her look ... her way
Of speaking gently, ... for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day"
For these things in themselves, Beloved, may
Be changed, or change for thee,-- and love, so wrought,
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
Thine own dear pity's wiping my cheeks dry,
A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!
But love me for love's sake, that evermore
Thou may'st love on, through love's eternity.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): CHI GER HUN

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  • CHI Chinese (中文) (M.W. Wang) , "我有多麽愛你?", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as [they]1 turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I [seemed]2 to lose
With my lost saints, -- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! -- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.


View original text (without footnotes)
See also Karl Shapiro's parody How do I love you?
1 Steele: "men"
2 Steele: "seem"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. Go from me. Yet I feel that I shall stand [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): GER GER

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Go from me. Yet I feel that I shall stand
Henceforward in thy shadow. Nevermore
Alone upon the threshold of my door
Of individual life, I shall command
The uses of my soul, nor lift my hand
Serenely in the sunshine as before,
Without the sense of that which I forbore...
Thy touch upon the palm. The widest land
Doom takes to part us, leaves thy heart in mine
With pulses that beat double. What I do
And what I dream include thee, as the wine
Must taste of its own grapes. And when I sue
God for myself, He bears that name of thine,
And sees within my eyes, the tears of two.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. Thou hast thy calling to some palace-floor [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): GER

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Thou hast thy calling to some palace-floor,
Most gracious singer of high poems! where
The dancers will break footing, from the care
Of watching up thy pregnant lips for more.
And dost thou lift this house's latch too poor
For hand of thine? and canst thou think and bear
To let thy music drop here unaware
In folds of golden fulness at my door?
Look up and see the casement broken in,
The bats and owlets builders in the roof!
My cricket chirps against thy mandolin.
Hush, call no echo up in further proof
Of desolation! there's a voice within
That weeps... as thou must sing... alone, aloof.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

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