Songs of Experience

Song Cycle by Ole Carsten Green (b. 1922)

Word count: 2725

1. Introduction [sung text not yet checked]

Hear the voice of the Bard!
Who Present, Past, and Future see;
Whose ears have heard
the Holy Word
That walked among the ancient trees,

Calling the lapsed Soul 
And weeping in the evening dew
That might control
the starry pole,
And fallen, fallen light renew!

"O earth, O earth, return!
Arise from out the dewy grass;
Night is worn, 
and [the morn]1
rises from the slumbering mass.

"Turn away no more;
Why wilt thou turn away?
The starry floor,
the watery shore,
Is given thee till break of day."

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Mitchell: morning

Researcher for this text: Victoria Brago

2. Earth's answer [sung text not yet checked]

Earth rais'd up her head
From the darkness dread and drear.
Her light fled,
Stony dread!
And her locks cover'd with grey despair.

"Prison'd on wat'ry shore,
Starry Jealousy does keep my den:
Cold and hoar,
Weeping o'er,
I hear the Father of the Ancient Men.

"Selfish Father of Men!
Cruel, jealous, selfish Fear!
Can delight,
Chain'd in night,
The virgins of youth and morning bear?

"Does spring hide its joy
When buds and blossoms grow?
Does the sower
Sow by night,
Or the ploughman in darkness plough?

"Break this heavy chain
That does freeze my bones around.
Selfish! vain!
Eternal bane!
That free Love with bondage bound."

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. The clod and the pebble [sung text not yet checked]

"Love seeketh not itself to please,
Nor for itself hath any care,
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a Heaven in Hell's despair."

So sung a little Clod of Clay,
Trodden with the cattle's feet,
But a Pebble of the brook
Warbled out these metres meet:

"Love seeketh only Self to please,
To bind another to its delight,
Joys in another's loss of ease,
And builds a Hell in Heaven's despite."

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

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

  • RUS Russian (Русский) [singable] (Dmitri Nikolaevich Smirnov) , "Комок и камень", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. Holy Thursday [sung text not yet checked]

Is this a holy thing to see 
In a rich and fruitful land, 
Babes reduc'd to misery, 
Fed with cold and usurous hand? 

Is that trembling cry a song? 
Can it be song of joy? 
And so many children poor? 
It is a land of poverty! 

And their sun does never shine, 
And their fields are bleak & bare, 
And their ways are fill'd with thorns: 
It is eternal winter there. 

For where-e'er the sun does shine, 
And were-e'er the rain does fall, 
Babe can never hunger there, 
Nor poverty the mind appall.

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

Researcher for this text: Ahmed E. Ismail

5. The little girl lost [sung text not yet checked]

In futurity 
I prophetic see 
That the earth from sleep 
(Grave the sentence deep) 

Shall arise and seek 
For her maker meek; 
And in the desart wild 
Become a garden mild.

In the southern clime, 
Where the summer's prime 
Never fades away, 
Lovely Lyca lay. 

Seven summers old 
Lovely Lyca told; 
She had wander'd long 
Hearing wild birds' song. 

``Sweet sleep, come to me 
Underneath this tree. 
Do father, mother weep, 
Where can Lyca sleep? 

``Lost in desart wild 
Is your little child. 
How can Lyca sleep 
If her mother weep? 

``If her heart does ake 
Then let Lyca wake; 
If my mother sleep, 
Lyca shall not weep. 

``Frowning, frowning night, 
O'er this desart bright 
Let thy moon arise 
While I close my eyes.'' 

Sleeping Lyca lay 
While the beasts of prey, 
Come from caverns deep, 
View'd the maid asleep. 

The kingly lion stood 
And the virgin view'd, 
Then he gamboll'd round 
O'er the hollow'd ground. 

Leopards, tygers, play 
Round her as she lay, 
While the lion old 
Bow'd his mane of gold. 

And her bosom lick, 
And upon her neck 
From his eyes of flame 
Ruby tears there came; 

While the lioness 
Loos'd her slender dress, 
And naked they convey'd 
To caves the sleeping maid.

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

Researcher for this text: Ahmed E. Ismail

6. The little girl found [sung text not yet checked]

All the night in woe 
Lyca's parents go 
Over vallies deep, 
While the desarts weep. 

Tired and woe-begone, 
Hoarse with making moan, 
Arm in arm seven days 
They trac'd the desart ways. 

Seven nights they sleep 
Among the shadows deep, 
And dream they see their child 
Starv'd in desart wild. 

Pale, thro' pathless ways 
The fancied image strays 
Famish'd, weeping, weak, 
With hollow piteous shriek. 

Rising from unrest, 
The trembling woman prest 
With feet of weary woe: 
She could no further go. 

In his arms he bore 
Her, arm's with sorrow sore; 
Till before their way 
A couching lion lay. 

Turning back was vain: 
Soon his heavy mane 
Bore them to the ground. 
Then he stalk'd around, 

Smelling to his prey; 
But their fears allay 
When he licks their hands, 
And silent by them stands. 

They look upon his eyes 
Fill'd with deep surprise, 
And wondering behold 
A spirit arm'd in gold. 

On his head a crown, 
On his shoulders down 
Flow'd his golden hair. 
Gone was all their care. 

``Follow me,'' he said; 
``Weep not for the maid; 
In my palace deep 
Lyca lies asleep.'' 

Then they followed 
Where the vision led, 
And saw their sleeping child 
Among the tygers wild. 

To this day they dwell 
In a lonely dell; 
Nor fear the wolvish howl 
Nor the lion's growl.

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

Researcher for this text: Ahmed E. Ismail

7. The chimney sweeper [sung text not yet checked]

A little black thing among the snow,
Crying 'weep 'weep in notes of woe!
Where are thy father and mother? say?
They are both gone up to the church to pray.

Because I was happy upon the hearth,
And smil'd among the winter's snow
They clothed me in the clothes of death,
And taught me to sing the notes of woe.

And because I am happy & dance & sing
They think they have done me no injury,
And are gone to praise God & his Priest & King
Who make up a heaven of our misery.

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Le ramoneur de cheminée", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

8. Nurse's song [sung text not yet checked]

When the voices of children are heard on the green 
And whisp'rings are in the dale, 
The days of my youth rise fresh in my mind, 
My face turns green and pale. 

Then come home, my children, the sun is gone down, 
And the dews of night arise; 
Your spring & your day are wasted in play, 
And your winter and night in disguise.

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

Researcher for this text: Ahmed E. Ismail

9. The sick rose [sung text not yet checked]

O Rose, thou art sick!
The invisible worm
That flies in the night,
In the howling storm,

Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

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

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "La rosa malalta", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Jean-Pierre Granger) , "La rose malade", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Walter A. Aue) , "Die erkrankte Rose", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Die kranke Rose", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • IRI Irish (Gaelic) [singable] (Gabriel Rosenstock) , copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • NYN Norwegian (Nynorsk) (Are Frode Søholt) , "Elegi", copyright © 2004, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • RUS Russian (Русский) [singable] (Dmitri Nikolaevich Smirnov) , "Больная роза", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • SPA Spanish (Español) (Pablo Sabat) , "Elegía"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

10. The fly [sung text not yet checked]

Little Fly,
Thy summer's play
My thoughtless hand
Has brush'd away.

Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?

For I dance
And drink & sing:
Till some blind hand 
Shall brush my wing.

If thought is life
And strength & breath
And the want 
Of thought is death;

Then am I
A happy fly,
If I live,
Or if I die.

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "La mouche", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • RUS Russian (Русский) [singable] (Dmitri Nikolaevich Smirnov) , "Мотылёк", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

11. The angel [sung text not yet checked]

I dreamt a dream! what can it mean?
And that I was a maiden Queen,
Guarded by an Angel mild:
Witless woe was ne'er beguil'd! 

And I wept both night and day,
And he wip'd my tears away,
And I wept both day and night,
And hid from him my heart's delight.

So he took his wings and fled;
Then the morn blush'd rosy red;
I dried my tears, and arm'd my fears
With ten thousand shields and spears.

Soon my Angel came again:
I was arm'd, he came in vain;
For the time of youth was fled,
And grey hairs were on my head.

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

12. The Tyger [sung text not yet checked]

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,  
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?  

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?  
On what wings dare he aspire?  
What the hand, dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?  

What the hammer? what the chain,  
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp,
Dare its deadly terrors clasp!  

When the stars threw down their spears  
And water'd heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger Tyger burning bright,
In the forests of the night:  
What immortal hand or eye,  
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

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

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "El tigre", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Le tigre", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Walter A. Aue) , "Der Tiger", copyright © 2006, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Thomas Schubert) , "Der Tiger", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • RUS Russian (Русский) [singable] (Dmitri Nikolaevich Smirnov) , "Тигр", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

13. My pretty rose tree [sung text not yet checked]

A flower was offered to me;
Such a flower as May never bore.
But I said I've a Pretty Rose-tree!
And I passed the sweet flower o'er.

Then I went to my Pretty Rose-tree;
To tend her by day and by night.
But my Rose turnd away with jealousy:
And her thorns were my only delight.

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

14. Ah! Sun-flower! weary of time [sung text not yet checked]

Ah, Sun-flower! weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the Sun;
Seeking after that sweet golden clime,
Where the traveller's journey is done:

Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow,
Arise from their graves and aspire
Where my Sun-flower wishes to go.

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Ah ! tournesol !", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

15. The lily [sung text not yet checked]

The modest rose puts forth a thorn,
The humble sheep a threatening horn, 
While the lily white shall in love delight, 
Nor a thorn nor a threat stain her beauty bright.

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

16. The Garden of Love [sung text not yet checked]

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 turn'd to the Garden of Love, 
that so many, 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.

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

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

  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (Bertram Kottmann) , "Der Garten der Liebe", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

17. The little vagabond [sung text not yet checked]

Dear Mother, dear Mother, the Church is cold,
But the Ale-house is healthy & pleasant & warm;
Besides I can tell where I am used well,
Such usage in heaven will never do well.

But if at the Church they would give us some Ale,
And a pleasant fire our souls to regale,
We'd sing and we'd pray all the live-long day,
Nor ever once wish from the Church to stray.

Then the Parson might preach, & drink, & sing,
And we'd be as happy as birds in the spring;
And modest dame Lurch, who is always at Church,
Would not have bandy children, nor fasting, nor birch.

And God, like a father rejoicing to see
His children as pleasant and happy as he,
Would have no more quarrel with the Devil or the Barrel,
But kiss him, & give him both drink and apparel.

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

18. London [sung text not yet checked]

I wander thro' each charter'd street,
Near where the charter'd Thames does flow
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

In every cry of every Man,
In every Infant's cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forg'd manacles I hear.

How the Chimney-sweeper's cry
Every black'ning Church appalls,
And the hapless Soldier's sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls.

But most thro' midnight streets I hear
How the youthful Harlot's curse
Blasts the new-born Infant's tear
And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse.

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Londres", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

19. The Human Abstract [sung text not yet checked]

Pity would be no more 
If we did not make somebody Poor; 
And Mercy no more could be 
If all were as happy as we. 

And mutual fear brings peace, 
Till the selfish loves increase: 
Then Cruelty knits a snare, 
And spreads his baits with care. 

He sits down with holy fears, 
And waters the grounds with tears; 
Then Humility takes its root 
Underneath his foot. 

Soon spreads the dismal shade 
Of Mystery over his head; 
And the Catterpiller and Fly 
Feed on the Mystery. 

And it bears the fruit of Deceit, 
Ruddy and sweet to eat; 
And the Raven his nest has made 
In its thickest shade. 

The Gods of the earth and sea 
Sought thro' Nature to find this Tree; 
But their search was all in vain: 
There grows one in the Human Brain.

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

Researcher for this text: Ahmed E. Ismail

20. Infant sorrow [sung text not yet checked]

My mother groaned, my father wept,
Into the dangerous world I leapt;
Helpless, naked, piping loud,
Like a fiend hid in a cloud.

Struggling in my father's hands,
Striving against my swaddling bands,
Bound and weary, I thought best
To sulk upon my mother's breast.

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

21. The poison tree [sung text not yet checked]

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I water'd it in fears,
Night & morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine.

And into my garden stole
When the night had veil'd the pole,
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretch'd beneath the tree.

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Un arbre empoisonné", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Ein Giftbaum", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

22. A little boy lost [sung text not yet checked]

"Nought loves another as itself,
Nor venerates another so,
Nor is it possible to Thought
A greater than itself to know: 

"And, Father, how can I love you
Or any of my brothers more?
I love you like the little bird
That picks up crumbs around the door."

The Priest sat by and heard the child,
In trembling zeal he seiz'd his hair:
He led him by his little coat,
And all admir'd the priestly care.

And standing on the altar high,
"Lo! what a fiend is here," said he,
"One who sets reason up for judge
Of our most holy Mystery."

The weeping child could not be heard,
The weeping parents wept in vain;
They stripp'd him to his little shirt,
And bound him in an iron chain;

And burn'd him in a holy place,
Where many had been burn'd before:
The weeping parents wept in vain.
Are such things done on Albion's shore?

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

23. A little girl lost [sung text not yet checked]

   Children of the future Age 
   Reading this indignant page, 
   Know that in a former time 
   Love! sweet Love! was thought a crime. 

In the Age of Gold, 
Free from winter's cold, 
Youth and maiden bright 
To the holy light, 
Naked in the sunny beams delight. 

Once a youthful pair, 
Fill'd with softest care, 
Met in garden bright 
Where the holy light 
Had just remov'd the curtains of night. 

There, in rising day, 
On the grass they play; 
Parents were afar, 
Strangers came not near, 
And the maiden soon forgot her fear. 

Tired with kisses sweet, 
They agree to meet 
When the silent sleep 
Waves o'er heaven's deep, 
And the weary tired wanderers weep. 

To her father white 
Came the maiden bright; 
But his loving look, 
Like the holy book, 
All her tender limbs with terror shook. 

``Ona! pale and weak! 
To thy father speak: 
O, the trembling fear! 
O, the dismal care! 
That shakes the blossoms of my hoary hair.''

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

Researcher for this text: Ahmed E. Ismail

24. To Tirzah [sung text not yet checked]

Whate'er is Born of Mortal Birth,
Must be consumed with the Earth
To rise from Generation free:
Then what have I to do with thee?

The Sexes sprung from Shame & Pride
Blowd in the morn; in evening died
But Mercy changed Death into Sleep;
The Sexes rose to work & weep.

Thou Mother of my Mortal part.
With cruelty didst mould my Heart.
And with false self-deceiving tears.
Didst blind my Nostrils Eyes & Ears

Didst close my Tongue in senseless clay
And me to Mortal Life betray:
The Death of Jesus set me free.
Then what have I to do with thee?

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

25. The schoolboy [sung text not yet checked]

I love to rise in a summer morn
When the birds sing on every tree;
The distant huntsman winds his horn,
And the skylark sings with me.
O! what sweet company.

But to go to school in a summer morn,
O! it drives all joy away;
Under a cruel eye outworn,
The little ones spend the day
In sighing and dismay.

Ah! then at times I drooping sit,
And spend many an anxious hour,
Nor in my book can I take delight,
Nor sit in learning's bower,
Worn thro' with the dreary shower.

How can the bird that is born for joy
Sit in a cage and sing?
How can a child, when fears annoy,
But droop his tender wing,
And forget his youthful spring?

O! father and mother, if buds are nipp'd
And blossoms blown away,
And if the tender plants are stripp'd
Of their joy in the springing day,
By sorrow and care's dismay,

How shall the summer arise in joy,
Or the summer fruits appear?
Or how shall we gather what griefs destroy,
Or bless the mellowing year,
When the blasts of winter appear?

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

26. The voice of the ancient bard [sung text not yet checked]

Youth of delight, come hither,
And see the opening morn,
Image of truth new-born.
Doubt is fled, and clouds of reason,
Dark disputes and artful teasing.
Folly is an endless maze,
Tangled roots perplex her ways.
How many have fallen there!
They stumble all night over bones of the dead,
And feel they know not what but care,
And wish to lead others, when they should be led.

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]