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Three Pieces after Blake

Word count: 363

Song Cycle by Ulysses Simpson Kay (1917 - 1995)

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1. To the Evening Star [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): GER

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

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Dem Abendstern", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Thou fair-haired angel of the evening,
Now, whilst the sun rests on the mountains, light
Thy bright torch of love; thy radiant crown
Put on, and smile upon our evening bed!
Smile on our loves, and while thou drawest the
Blue curtains of the sky, scatter thy silver dew
On every flower that shuts its sweet eyes
In timely sleep. Let thy west wing sleep on
The lake; speak silence with thy glimmering eyes,
And wash the dusk with silver. Soon, full soon,
Dost thou withdraw; then the wolf rages wide,
And the lion glares through the dun forest.
The fleeces of our flocks are covered with
Thy sacred dew; protect with them with thine influence.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. Mad song [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): CAT

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

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "Cançó esbojarrada", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


The wild winds weep
  And the night is a-cold;
Come hither, Sleep,
  And my griefs [infold]1:
But lo! the morning peeps
  Over the eastern steeps,
And the rustling birds of dawn
  The earth do scorn. 

Lo! to the vault
  Of paved heaven,
With sorrow fraught
  My notes are driven:
They strike the ear of night,
  Make weep the eyes of day;
They make mad the roaring winds,
  And with tempests play. 

Like a fiend in a cloud,
  With howling woe,
After night I do crowd,
  And with night will go;
I turn my back to the east,
From whence comforts have increas'd;
For light doth seize my brain
With frantic pain.


View original text (without footnotes)
Note: said to have been written by Blake at the age of fourteen.
First published in Poetical Sketches, 1783
1 first published as "unfold" (Mitchell uses "unfold"); later changed to "infold"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. Contemplation [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

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Who is this with unerring step doth tempt the wilds, 
where only nature's foot hath trod. 
Tis Contemplation, daughter of Grey Morning. 
Majestical she steppeth, and with her pure quill 
on every flower writeth Wisdom's name. 
Now lowly bending, whispers in mine ear : 
O man, how great, how little art thou. 
O man, slave for each moment. 
Lord of eternity, Seest thou 
where mirth sits on the painted cheek ; 
doth it not seem ashamed 
and grow immoderate to brave it out? 
O what a humble garb true joy puts on. 
Those who want happiness must stoop to find it : 
it is a flower that grows in every vale. 
Vain, foolish man that roams on lofty rocks ! 
Where, because his garments are swollen with wind,
he fancies he is grown into a giant.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

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