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Three Blake Songs

Word count: 268

Song Cycle by Jack Hamilton Beeson (b. 1921)

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1. I laid me down upon a bank [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

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I laid me down upon a bank,
Where Love lay sleeping;
I heard among the rushes dank
Weeping, weeping.

Then I went to the heath and the wild,
To the thistles and thorns of the waste;
And they told me how they were beguiled,
Driven out, and compelled to the chaste.

I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen;
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.

And the gates of this Chapel were shut
And "Thou shalt not," writ over the door;
So I turned to the Garden of Love
That so many sweet flowers bore.

And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tombstones where flowers should be;
And priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars my joys and desires.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. Never seek to tell thy love [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE

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Never [seek]1 to tell thy love 
Love that never told can be;
For the gentle wind does move
Silently, invisibly.

I told my love, I told my love,
I told her all my heart,
Trembling, cold, in ghastly fears --
Ah, she doth depart.

Soon as she was gone from me
A traveller came by
Silently, invisibly --
[He took her with a sigh.]2


View original text (without footnotes)
1 alternatively, "pain" (Baker, Hagen and possibly some others)
2 ? : "O, was no deny."

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. I asked a thief [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

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I asked a thief to steal me a peach:
He turned up his eyes.
I ask'd a lithe lady to lie her down:
Holy and meek, she cries.

As soon as I went
An Angel came:
He wink'd at the thief,
And smil'd at the dame;

And without one word [said]1
Had a peach from the tree,
[And still as a maid]2
Enjoy'd the lady.


View original text (without footnotes)
1 Mitchell: "spoke"
2 Mitchell: "And between earnest and joke"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

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