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Six Songs

Word count: 361

Song Cycle by Ernst Bacon (1898 - 1990)

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1. The banks of the yellow sea [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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This is the land the sunset washes,
These are the banks of the yellow sea;
Where it rose, or whither it rushes,
These are the western mystery!

Night after night her purple traffic
Strews the landing with opal bales;
Merchantmen poise upon horizons,
Dip, and vanish [with fairy sails]1.


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1 Ippolito: "like Orioles"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator] and Malcolm Wren [Guest Editor]

2. Ancient Christmas Carol [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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He came so still where his mother was
As dew in April that falleth on the grass.

He came all so still where his mother lay
As dew in April that falleth on the hay.

He came all so still to his mother's bower
As dew in April that falleth on the flow'r.

Mother and maiden was never none but she;
well might such a lady Jesus' mother be.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. Omaha [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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Red barns and red heifers spot the green
grass circles around Omaha -- the farmers
haul tanks of cream and wagon loads of cheese.
  
Shale hogbacks across the river at Council
Bluffs -- and shanties hang by an eyelash to
the hill slants back around Omaha.
  
A span of steel ties up the kin of Iowa and
Nebraska across the yellow, big-hoofed Missouri River.
Omaha, the roughneck, feeds armies,
Eats and swears from a dirty face.
Omaha works to get the world a breakfast.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. No dew upon the grass [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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The Sun kept setting -- setting -- still
No Hue of Afternoon --
Upon the Village I perceived
From House to House 'twas Noon.

The Dusk kept dropping -- dropping -- still
No Dew upon the Grass --
But only on my Forehead stopped --
And wandered in my Face --

My Feet kept drowsing -- drowsing -- still
My fingers were awake --
Yet why so little sound -- Myself
Unto my Seeming -- make?

How well I knew the Light before --
I could not see it now --
'Tis Dying -- I am doing -- but
I'm not afraid to know --


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. A clear midnight [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): CAT FRE FRE GER GER

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

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


This is thy hour, O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless,
Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done,
Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the themes thou lovest best,
Night, sleep, death, and the stars.


Portions of this text were used in Idyll by Frederick Delius.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

6. World, take good notice [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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World, take good notice, silver stars fading,
Milky hue ript, weft of white detaching,
Coals thirty-eight, baleful and burning,
Scarlet, significant, hands off warning,
Now and henceforth flaunt from these shores.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

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