Two-Part Songs

Song Cycle by Francesco Berger (1834 - 1933)

Word count: 1055

?. Curfew [sung text not yet checked]

Solemnly, mournfully,
  Dealing its dole,
The Curfew Bell
  Is beginning to toll.
Cover the embers,
  And put out the light;
Toil comes with the morning,
  And rest with the night.
Dark grow the windows,
  And quenched is the fire;
Sound fades into silence,--
  All footsteps retire.
No voice in the chambers,
  No sound in the hall!
Sleep and oblivion
  Reign over all!

The book is completed,
  And closed, like the day;
And the hand that has written it
  Lays it away.
Dim grow its fancies;
  Forgotten they lie;
Like coals in the ashes,
  They darken and die.
Song sinks into silence,
  The story is told,
The windows are darkened,
  The hearth-stone is cold.
Darker and darker
  The black shadows fall;
Sleep and oblivion
  Reign over all.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. The rainy day [sung text not yet checked]

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldr'ng wall,
But at ev'ry gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It  rains, and the wind is never weary.
My thoughts still cling to the mould'ring Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart,  and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

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Researcher for this text: Barbara Miller

?. Daylight and moonlight [sung text not yet checked]

In broad daylight, and at noon,
Yesterday I saw the moon
Sailing high, but faint and white,
As a school-boy's paper kite. 

In broad daylight, yesterday,
I read a Poet's mystic lay;
And it seemed to me at most
As a phantom, or a ghost. 

But at length the feverish day
Like a passion died away,
And the night, serene and still,
Fell on village, vale, and hill. 

Then the moon, in all her pride,
Like a spirit glorified,
Filled and overflowed the night
With revelations of her light. 

And the Poet's song again
Passed like music through my brain;
Night interpreted to me
All its grace and mystery.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. Gentle spring [sung text not yet checked]

Gentle Spring! in sunshine clad,
Well dost thou thy power display!
For Winter maketh the light heart sad,
And thou, thou makest the sad heart gay.
He sees thee, and calls to his gloomy train,
The sleet, and the snow, and the wind, and the rain;
And they shrink away, and they flee in fear,
When thy merry step draws near.

Winter giveth the fields and the trees, so old,
Their beards of icicles and snow;
And the rain, it raineth so fast and cold,
We must cower over the embers low;
And, snugly housed from the wind and weather,
Mope like birds that are changing feather.
But the storm retires, and the sky grows clear,
When thy merry step draws near.

Winter maketh the sun in the gloomy sky
Wrap him round with a mantle of cloud;
But, Heaven be praised, thy step is nigh;
Thou tearest away the mournful shroud,
And the earth looks bright, and Winter surly,
Who has toiled for naught both late and early,
Is banished afar by the new-born year,
When thy merry step draws near.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. Daybreak [sung text not yet checked]

A wind came up out of the sea,
And said, "O mists, make room for me."

It hailed the ships and cried, "Sail on,
Ye mariners, the night is gone."

And hurried landward far away,
Crying "Awake! it is the day."

It said unto the forest, "Shout!
Hang all your leafy banners out!"

It touched the wood-bird's folded wing,
And said, "O bird, awake and sing."

And o'er the farms, "O chanticleer,
Your clarion blow; the day is near."

It whispered to the fields of corn,
"Bow down, and hail the coming morn."

It shouted through the belfry-tower,
"Awake, O bell! proclaim the hour."

It crossed the churchyard with a sigh,
And said, "Not yet! In quiet lie."

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. A spring song [sung text not yet checked]

Now Time throws off his cloak again
Of ermined frost, and wind, and rain,
And clothes him in the embroidery
Of glittering sun and clear blue sky.

With beast and bird the forest rings,
Each in his jargon cries or sings;
And Time throws off his cloak again.
Of ermined frost, and wind, and rain.

River, and fount, and tinkling brook
Wear in their dainty livery
Drops of silver jewelry;
In new-made suit they merry look;

And Time throws off his cloak again
Of ermined frost, and wind, and rain.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. A psalm of life [sung text not yet checked]

Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
  Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
  And things are not what they seem. 

Life is real!  Life is earnest!
  And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
  Was not spoken of the soul. 

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
  Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
  Find us farther than to-day. 

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
  And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
  Funeral marches to the grave. 

In the world's broad field of battle,
  In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
  Be a hero in the strife! 

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
  Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,--act in the living Present!
  Heart within, and God o'erhead! 

Lives of great men all remind us
  We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
  Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
  Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
  Seeing, shall take heart again. 

Let us, then, be up and doing,
  With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
  Learn to labor and to wait.

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?. Stay at home [sung text not yet checked]

Stay, stay at home, my heart, and rest;
Home-keeping hearts are happiest,
For those that wander they know not where
Are full of trouble and full of care;
    To stay at home is best. 

Weary and homesick and distressed,
They wander east, they wander west,
And are baffled and beaten and blown about
By the winds of the wilderness of doubt;
    To stay at home is best. 

Then stay at home, my heart, and rest;
The bird is safest in its nest;
O'er all that flutter their wings and fly
A hawk is hovering in the sky;
    To stay at home is best. 

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]