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Songs from the Chinese Poets: Set III

Word count: 494

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

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1. From the tomb of an unknown woman [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English after the Chinese (中文)

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   Taken from a tomb on the Fu-Kiu mountain district of So-Chau in the
   Province of Kiangsu. The date of the poem is many centuries old.

Mother of Pity, hear my prayer
That in the endless round of birth
No more may break my heart on earth,
Nor by the windless waters of the Blest
Weary of rest;
That drifting, drifting, I abide not anywhere.
Yet if by Karma's law I must
Resume this mantle of the dust
Grant me, I pray,
One dewdrop from thy willow spray,
And in the double lotus keep
My hidden heart asleep.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. Adrift [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English after the Chinese (中文)

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   We cannot keep the gold of yesterday;
    To-day's dun clouds we cannot roll away.
Now the long, wailing flight of geese brings autumn in its train,
So to the view-tower cup in hand to fill and drink again,

    And dream of the [greatest]1 singers of the past,
    Their fadeless lines of fire and beauty cast.
I too have felt the wild-bird thrill of song behind the bars,
But these have brushed the world aside and walked amid the stars.

    In vain we cleave the torrent's thread with steel,
    In vain we drink to drown the grief we feel;
When man's desire with fate doth war this, this avails alone --
To hoist the sail and let the gale and the waters bear us on.


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1 Bantock: "great"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. The golden nenuphar [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English after the Chinese (中文)

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Still moonlight floods the inner gallery,
Where the japonica sets fluttering
Her silvered petals. Languidly
I rise, and let my absent glance
Fall where the shadows of the swing
Over the door-step dance.

I am possessed
By spring's rough humid winds that penetrate
The silken curtains of my lonely state,
And cannot rest,
For all my sorrow.
During the night I hear the heavy rain
Crash on the lotus pool afar.
To-morrow! ah to-morrow!
The little boat lies swamped that I would fain
Have steered in search of the golden nenuphar.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. Yung-Yang [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English after the Chinese (中文)

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I was a child in Yung-yang,
A little child I waved farewell.
After long years again I dwell
In world-forgotten Yung-yang.
Yet I recall my play-time,
And in my dreams I see
The little ghosts of May-time
Waving farewell to me.

My father's house in Yung-yang
Has fallen upon evil days.
No kinsmen o'er the crooked ways
Hail me as once in Yung-yang.

No longer stands the old Moot-hall,
Gone is the market from the town;
The very hills have tumbled down
And stoned the valleys in their fall.

Only the waters of the Ch'in and Wei
Roll green and changeless as in days gone by.

Yet I recall my play-time,
And in my dreams I see
The little ghosts of May-time
Waving farewell to me.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. A feast of lanterns [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English after the Chinese (中文)

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In spring for sheer delight
I set the lanterns swinging through the trees,
Bright as the myriad argosies of night
That ride the clouded billows of the sky.
Red dragons leap and plunge in gold and silver seas,
And O! my garden gleaming cold and white,
Thou hast outshone the far, faint moon on high.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

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