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Four Songs from the British Isles

Word count: 465

Song Cycle by Michael Tippett (1905 - 1998)

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1. Early one morning [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FIN

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

  • FIN Finnish (Suomi) (Erkki Pullinen) , copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Early one morning, just as the sun was rising,
I heard a maid sing in the valley below.
"Oh, don't deceive me, oh, never leave me,
How could you use a poor maiden so?"

[ ... ]
Remember the vows that you [made]1 to your Mary, Remember the bow'r where you vowed to be true. "Oh, don't deceive me, oh, never leave me. How could you use a poor maiden so!" "O gay is the [garland, fresh]2 are the roses I've culled from the garden to bind on thy brow. O don't deceive me, O do not leave me! How could you use a poor maiden so?
[ ... ]
Thus sung the poor maiden, her sorrow bewailing, Thus sung the poor maid in the valley below; "O don't deceive me! O do not leave me! How could you use a poor maiden so?"

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Tippett: "gave"
2 Tippett: "garland and"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. Lilliburlero [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FIN

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  • FIN Finnish (Suomi) (Erkki Pullinen) , copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Lilliburlero bullen a la.

Ho! broder Teague dost hear de decree, Lillibur . . .
Dat we shall have a new deputie, Lilliburl . . .

Ho! by Shaint Ty burn't is de Talbote, Lillibur . . .
And he will cut all de English troate,  
Lilliburlero bullen a la.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. Poortith Cauld [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: Scottish (Scots)

Translation(s): FIN FRE

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

  • FIN Finnish (Suomi) (Erkki Pullinen) , copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Ô froide pauvreté", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


O poortith cauld, and restless love,
  Ye wrack my peace between ye;
Yet poortith a' I could forgive
  An 'twere na for my Jeanie.

Chorus:
  O why should Fate sic pleasure have,
  Life's dearest bands untwining?
  Or why sae sweet a flower as love,
  Depend on Fortune's shining?

This warld's wealth when I think on,
  Its pride, and a' the lave o't;
My curse on silly coward man,
  That he should be the slave o't.

Her een sae bonie blue betray,
  How she repays my passion;
But Prudence is her o'erword ay,
  She talks o' rank and fashion.

O wha can prudence think upon,
  And sic a lassie by him:
O wha can prudence think upon,
  And sae in love as I am?

How blest the wild-wood Indian's fate,
  He wooes his simple Dearie:
The silly bogles, Wealth and State,
  Did never make them eerie.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. Gwenllian [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FIN

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  • FIN Finnish (Suomi) (Erkki Pullinen) , copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


      Gwenllian, O my heart's delight.
You sleep unmov'd by wars command
and hold your small red-yellow apple in your hand.
Your baby cheeks, so rosy red and bright,
your heart so happy day and night.
      Gwenllian, O my heart's delight.
Forget our world of woe, 
O bless'd princess within your cradle,
Where you hold an apple 
that is all your earthly care.
Your brothers battle bravely, 
for your father's sword is at his thigh,
but you are sound asleep 
and dreaming where you lie.
      Gwenllian, O heart's delight.
The land shakes now with noise of Norman war.
O angels guard thy father's door!
To sleep so healthily content; 
The Queens of highest line 
would all forgo their thrones 
for bed of such a babe so small.
      Gwenllian, O my heart's delight.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

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