Tit for tat

Song Cycle by (Edward) Benjamin Britten (1913 - 1976)

Word count: 534

French (Français) translation: Un prêté pour un rendu ( Guy Laffaille)
German (Deutsch) translation: Wie du mir, so ich dir ( Bertram Kottmann)

1. A Song of Enchantment [sung text checked 1 time]

A Song of Enchantment I sang me there,
In a green-green wood, by waters fair,
Just as the words came up to me
I sang it under the wild wood tree. 

Widdershins turned I, singing it low,
Watching the wild birds come and go;
No cloud in the deep dark blue to be seen
Under the thick-thatched branches green. 

Twilight came; silence came;
The planet of Evening's silver flame;
By darkening paths I wandered through
Thickets trembling with drops of dew. 

But the music is lost and the words are gone
Of the song I sang as I sat alone,
Ages and ages have fallen on me -
On the wood and the pool and the elder tree.

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Un chant d'enchantement", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Harald Krebs) , "Ein Lied der Verzauberung", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Ein verwunschenes Lied", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Confirmed with Peacock Pie. A Book of Rhymes by Walter de la Mare, London: Constable & Co. Ltd., [1920], p. 171.


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. Autumn [sung text checked 1 time]

There is a wind where the rose was;
Cold rain where sweet grass was;
And clouds like sheep
Stream o'er the steep
Grey skies where the lark was. 

Nought gold where your hair was;
Nought warm where your hand was;
But phantom, forlorn,
Beneath the thorn,
Your ghost where your face was. 

Sad winds where your voice was;
Tears, tears where my heart was;
And ever with me,
Child, ever with me,
Silence where hope was.

Authorship

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Automne", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Herbst", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. Silver [sung text checked 1 time]

Slowly, silently, now the moon
Walks the night in her silver shoon;
This way, and that, she peers and sees
Silver fruit upon silver trees;
One by one the casements catch 
Her beams beneath the silvery thatch;
Couched in his kennel, like a log,
With paws of silver sleeps the dog;
[From their shadowy cote the white breasts peep
Of doves in a silver-feathered sleep]1
A harvest mouse goes scampering by,
With silver claws, and silver eye;
And moveless fish in the water gleam,
By silver reeds in a silver stream.

Authorship

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
1 omitted by Bachlund, Britten, Duke, Gibbs.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. Vigil [sung text checked 1 time]

Dark is the night,
The fire burns faint and low,
Hours -- days -- years,
Into grey ashes go;
I strive to read,
But sombre is the glow. 

Thumbed are the pages,
And the print is small;
Mocking the winds
That from the darkness call;
Feeble the fire that lends
Its light withal. 

O ghost, draw nearer;
Let thy shadowy hair
Blot out the pages
That we cannot share;
Be ours the one last leaf
By Fate left bare! 

Let's Finis scrawl,
And then Life's book put by;
Turn each to each
In all simplicity:
Ere the last flame is gone
To warm us by.

Authorship

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Veille", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Wache", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. Tit for tat [sung text checked 1 time]

Have you been catching [of]1 fish, Tom Noddy? 
  Have you snared a weeping hare? 
Have you whistled "No Nunny" and gunned a poor bunny,
  Or blinded a bird of the air? 

Have you trod like a murderer through the green woods,
  Through the dewy deep dingles and glooms,
While every small creature screamed shrill to Dame Nature
  "He comes - and he comes!"? 

Wonder I very much do, Tom Noddy,
  If ever, when [you are a-roam]2,
An Ogre from space will stoop a lean face,
  And lug you home: 

Lug you home over his fence, Tom Noddy,
  Of thorn-sticks nine yards high,
With your bent knees strung round his old iron gun
  And your head a dan-dangling by: 

And hang you up stiff on a hook, Tom Noddy,
  From a stone-cold pantry shelf,
Whence your eyes will glare in an empty stare,
  Till [you're]3 cooked yourself!

Authorship

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Un prêté pour un rendu", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Wie du mir, so ich dir", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
1 omitted by Britten.
2 Britten: "off you roam"
3 Britten: "you are"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]