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Thoughts of Youth

Word count: 857

Song Cycle by David Arditti (b. 1964)

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1. Stanzas for Music [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): DAN DUT FRE GER GER GER ITA RUS

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) [singable] (Lau Kanen) , copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Alexis Paulin Pâris) , "Stances à mettre en musique"
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Fra tutte le più belle", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


There be none of Beauty's daughters
  With a magic like thee;
And like music on the waters
  Is thy sweet voice to me:
When, as if its sound were causing
The [charmèd]1 ocean's pausing,
The waves lie still and gleaming,
And the lull'd winds seem dreaming:

And the midnight moon is weaving
  Her bright chain o'er the deep;
Whose breast is gently heaving
  As an infant's asleep:
So the spirit bows before thee,
To listen and adore thee;
With a full but soft emotion,
Like the swell of Summer's ocean.


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1 Mendelssohn: "charm'd"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. My Lost Youth [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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Often I think of the beautiful town 
     That is seated by the sea; 
Often in thought go up and down 
The pleasant streets of that dear old town, 
    And my youth comes back to me. 
        And a verse of a Lapland song 
        Is haunting my memory still: 
    "A boy's will is the wind's will, 
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts." 

I can see the shadowy lines of its trees, 
    And catch, in sudden gleams, 
The sheen of the far-surrounding seas, 
And islands that were the Hesperides 
    Of all my boyish dreams. 
        And the burden of that old song,
        It murmurs and whispers still: 
    "A boy's will is the wind's will, 
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts." 

I remember the black wharves and the slips, 
    And the sea-tides tossing free; 
And Spanish sailors with bearded lips, 
And the beauty and mystery of the ships, 
    And the magic of the sea. 
        And the voice of that wayward song 
        Is singing and saying still: 
    "A boy's will is the wind's will, 
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts." 

I remember the bulwarks by the shore, 
    And the fort upon the hill; 
The sunrise gun, with its hollow roar, 
The drum-beat repeated o'er and o'er, 
    And the bugle wild and shrill. 
        And the music of that old song 
        Throbs in my memory still: 
    "A boy's will is the wind's will, 
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts." 

[ ... ]
Strange to me now are the forms I meet When I visit the dear old town; But the native air is pure and sweet, And the trees that o'ershadow each well-known street, As they balance up and down, Are singing the beautiful song, Are sighing and whispering still: "A boy's will is the wind's will, And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts."
[ ... ]

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. Loveliest of trees [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE HEB

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Patricia Dillard Eguchi) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • HEB Hebrew (עברית) (Max Mader) , "היפה בעצים", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy [springs]1 a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the [woodlands]2 I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.


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1 Manton: "years"
2 Steele: "woodland"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. The time of roses [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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It was not in the Winter
Our loving lot was cast;
It was the time of roses -
We plucked them as we passed!

That churlish season never frowned
On early lovers yet:
O no - the world was newly crowned
With flowers when we met!

'Twas twilight, and I bade you go,
But still you held me fast;
It was the time of roses -
We plucked them as we passed!


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

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