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Songs from the Chinese Poets: Set I

Word count: 394

Song Cycle by Granville Ransome Bantock, Sir (1868 - 1946)

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1. The old fisherman of the mists and waters [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English after the Chinese (中文)

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The Lady Moon is my lover,
My friends are the oceans four,
The heavens have roofed me over,
And the dawn is my golden door.
I would liefer follow the condor
Or the seagull, soaring from ken,
Than bury my godhead yonder
In the dust of the whirl of men.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. The ghost road [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English after the Chinese (中文)

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The winds and the pines are whispering,
   The river girds in its flight,
My footfalls sound through ancient tiles
   Where grey rats flit from sight.

What monarch raised those palace walls?
   Who knows to-day his name
Who left beneath yon precipice
   The stone wrack of his fame?

Like jets of dusky blue I see
   Ghosts from the gloom arise,
Down the forgotten road return
   Strange rumours and faint sighs.

The thousand voices of the void
   Blend to a chant bizarre,
And the purple leaves are carpeted
   For Autumn's avatar.

The death-doomed legions thunder past
   In the wake of fleeting years;
I fain would drown their tramp with song,
   But all my songs are tears.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. Under the moon [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English after the Chinese (中文)

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Under the crescent moon's faint glow
The washerman's bat resounds afar,
And the autumn breeze sighs tenderly.
But my heart has gone to the Tartar war,
To bleak Kansuh and the steppes of snow,
Calling my [husband]1 back to me.


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1 Bantock: "lover"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. The celestial weaver [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English after the Chinese (中文)

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A thing of stone beside Lake Kouen-ming
Has for a thousand autumns borne the name
Of the Celestial Weaver. Like that star
She shines above the waters, wondering
At her pale loveliness. Unnumbered waves
Have broidered with green moss the marble folds
About her feet. Toiling eternally
They knock the stone, like tireless shuttles plied
Upon a sounding loom.
                       Her pearly locks
Resemble snow-coils on the mountain top;
Her eyebrows arch -- the crescent moon. A smile
Lies in the opened lily of her face;
And, since she breathes not, being stone, the birds
Light on her shoulders, flutter without fear
At her still breast. Immovable she stands
Before the shining mirror of her charms
And, gazing on their beauty, lets the years
Slip into centuries past her. . . .


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. Return of spring [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English after the Chinese (中文)

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A lovely maiden, roaming
The wild dark valley through,
Culls from the shining waters
Lilies and lotus blue.

With leaves the peach-trees are laden,
The wind sighs through the haze,
And the willows wave their shadows
Down the oriole-haunted ways.

As, passion-tranced, I follow,
I hear the old refrain
Of Spring's eternal story,
That was old and is young again.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

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