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Chamber Music

Word count: 1286

Song Cycle by David Arditti (b. 1964)

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1. Strings in the earth and air


Strings in the earth and air 
  Make music sweet; 
Strings by the river where 
  The willows meet. 

There's music along the river 
  [For Love wanders there,]1
Pale [flowers]1 on his mantle, 
  Dark leaves on his hair. 

All softly playing, 
  With head to [the]3 music bent, 
And fingers straying 
  Upon an instrument.


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1 not set by Berio.
2 Coulthard: "flow'rs"
3 omitted by Coulthard

2. The twilight turns from amethyst


The twilight turns from amethyst 
  To deep and deeper blue, 
The lamp fills with a pale green glow 
  The trees of the avenue. 

The old piano plays an air, 
  Sedate and slow and gay; 
She bends upon the yellow keys, 
  Her head inclines this way. 

Shy thoughts and grave wide eyes and hands 
  That wander as they list? 
The twilight turns to darker blue 
  With lights of amethyst.


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3. When the shy star goes forth in heaven


 When the shy star goes forth in heaven 
   All maidenly, disconsolate, 
 Hear you amid the drowsy even 
   One who is singing by your gate. 
 His song is softer than the dew 
   And he is come to visit you. 

 O bend no more in revery 
   When he at eventide is calling, 
 Nor muse: Who may this singer be 
   Whose song about my heart is falling 
 Know you by this, the lover's chant, 
   'Tis I that am your visitant.


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4. Lean out of the window


Lean out of the window,
  Goldenhair,
I heard you singing
  A merry air.

My book is closed;
  I read no more,
Watching the fire dance
  On the floor.

I have left my book,
  I have left my room,
For I heard you singing
  Through the gloom,

Singing and singing
  A merry air.
Lean out of the window,
  Goldenhair.


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5. I would in that sweet bosom be


I would in that sweet bosom be 
  (O sweet it is and fair it is!) 
Where no rude wind might visit me. 
  Because of sad austerities 
I would in that sweet bosom be. 

I would be ever in that heart 
  (O soft I knock and soft entreat her!) 
Where only peace might be my part. 
  Austerities were all the sweeter 
So I were ever in that heart.


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Note: first published as "A wish" in Speaker (October 1904)

6. Who goes amid the green wood


Who goes amid the green wood 
  With springtide all adorning her? 
Who goes amid the meny green wood 
  To make it merrier? 

Who passes in the sunlight 
  By ways that know the light footfall? 
Who passes in the sweet sunlight 
  With mien so virginal? 

The ways of all the woodland 
  Gleam with a soft and golden fire? 
For whom does all the sunny woodland 
  Carry so brave attire? 

O, it is for my true love 
The woods their rich apparel wear 
O, it is for my own true love, 
  That is so young and fair.


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7. Winds of May, that dance on the sea


Winds of May, that dance on the sea, 
Dancing a ring-around in glee 
From furrow to furrow, while overhead 
The foam flies up to be garlanded, 
In silvery arches spanning the air, 
Saw you my true love anywhere? 
		 Welladay! Welladay! 
		 For the winds of May! 
  Love is unhappy when love is away!


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8. Bid adieu, adieu, adieu


Bid adieu, adieu, adieu, 
  Bid adieu to girlish days, 
Happy love is come to woo 
  Thee and woo thy girlish ways - 
The zone that doth become thee fair, 
The snood upon thy yellow hair. 

When thou hast heard his name upon 
  The bugles of the cherubim 
Begin thou softly to unzone 
  Thy girlish bosom unto him 
And softly to undo the snood 
That is the sign of maidenhood.


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9. My dove, my beautiful one


My dove, my beautiful one, 
  Arise, arise! 
  The night-dew lies 
Upon my lips and eyes. 

The odorous winds are weaving 
  A music of sighs: 
  Arise, arise, 
My dove, my beautiful one! 

I wait by the cedar tree, 
  My sister, my love. 
  White breast of the dove, 
My breast shall be your bed. 

The pale dew lies 
  Like a veil on my head. 
  My fair one, my fair dove, 
Arise, arise!1


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1 Szymanowski adds "My dove, my beautiful one!"

10. O cool is the valley now


O cool is the valley now 
  And there, love, will we go 
For many a choir is singing now 
  Where Love did sometime go. 

And hear you not the thrushes calling, 
  Calling us away? 
O cool and pleasant is the valley 
  And there, love, will we stay.


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11. Because your voice was at my side


Because your voice was at my side 
 I gave him pain, 
Because within my hand I held 
  Your hand again. 

There is no word nor any sign 
 Can make amend 
He is a stranger to me now 
 Who was my friend.


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12. O Sweetheart, hear you


O Sweetheart, hear you 
  Your lover's tale; 
A man shall have sorrow 
  When friends him fail. 

For he shall know then 
	Friends be untrue 
And a little ashes 
  Their words come to. 

But one unto him 
  Will softly move 
And softly woo him 
  In ways of love. 

His hand is under 
  Her smooth round breast; 
So he who has sorrow 
  Shall have rest.


About the headline (FAQ)

Note: first published in Speaker (July 1904)

13. He who hath glory lost, nor hath


He who hath glory lost, nor hath 
  Found any soul to fellow his, 
Among his foes in scorn and wrath 
  Holding to ancient nobleness, 
That high unconsortable one - 
His love is his companion.


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14. This heart that flutters near my heart


This heart that flutters near my heart 
  My hope and all my riches is, 
Unhappy when we draw apart 
  And happy between kiss and kiss; 
My hope and all my riches - yes! - 
And all my happiness. 

For there, as in some mossy nest 
  The wrens will divers treasures keep, 
I laid those treasures I possessed 
  Ere that mine eyes had learned to weep. 
Shall we not be as wise as they 
Though love live but a day?


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15. Silently she's combing


Silently she's combing, 
  Combing her long hair, 
Silently and graciously, 
  With many a pretty air. 

The sun is in the willow leaves 
  And on the dappled grass, 
And still she's combing her long hair 
  Before the looking-glass. 

I pray you, cease to comb out, 
  Comb out your long hair, 
For I have heard of witchery 
  Under a pretty air, 

That makes as one thing to the lover 
  Staying and going hence, 
All fair, with many a pretty air 
  And many a negligence.


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16. Lightly come or lightly go


Lightly come or lightly go: 
  Though thy heart presage thee woe, 
Vales and many a wasted sun, 
  Oread, let thy laughter run, 
Till the irreverent mountain air 
Ripple all thy flying hair. 

Lightly, lightly - ever so: 
  Clouds that wrap the vales below 
At the hour of evenstar 
  Lowliest attendants are 
Love and laughter song-confessed 
When the heart is heaviest.


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17. Gentle lady, do not sing


Gentle lady, do not sing 
  Sad songs about the end of love; 
Lay aside sadness and sing 
  How love that passes is enough. 

Sing about the long deep sleep 
  Of lovers that are dead, and how 
In the grave all love shall sleep: 
  Love is aweary now.


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18. O, it was out by Donnycarney


O, it was out by Donnycarney 
  When the bat flew from tree to tree 
My love and I did walk together; 
  And sweet were the words she said to me. 

Along with us the summer wind 
  Went murmuring - O, happily! - 
But softer than the breath of summer 
  Was the kiss she gave to me.


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19. Sleep now, O sleep now


Sleep now, O sleep now,
  O you unquiet heart!
A voice crying "Sleep now"
  Is heard in my heart.

The voice of the winter
  Is heard at the door.
O sleep, for the winter
  Is crying "Sleep no more."

My kiss will give peace now
  And quiet to your heart -
Sleep on in peace now,
  O you unquiet heart!


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20. I hear an army charging upon the land


I hear an army charging upon the land,
  And the thunder of horses plunging, foam about their knees:
Arrogant, in black armour, behind them stand,
  Disdaining the reins, with flutt'ring whips, the charioteers.

They cry unto the night their battlename:
  I moan in sleep when I hear afar their whirling laughter.
They cleave the gloom of dreams, a blinding flame,
  Clanging, clanging upon the heart as upon an anvil.

They come shaking in triumph their long, green hair:
  They come out of the sea and run shouting by the shore.
My heart, have you no wisdom thus to despair?
  My love, my love, why have you left me alone?


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