Unholy Sonnets

Song Cycle by Samuel Hans Adler (b. 1928)

Word count: 930

1. The good morrow [sung text checked 1 time]

I wonder, by my troth, what thou, and I 
Did, till we lov'd? Were we not wean'd till then? 
But suck'd on country pleasures, childishly? 
Or snorted we in the seven sleepers' den? 
'Twas so; but this, all pleasures fancies be. 
If ever any beauty I did see, 
Which I desir'd and got, 'twas but a dream of thee. 

And now good morrow to our waking souls, 
Which watch not one another out of fear;
For love, all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room, an everywhere. 
Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone, 
Let Maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown, 
Let us possess one world, each hath one, and is one. 

My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears, 
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest 
Where can we find two better hemispheres 
Without sharp North, without declining West? 
Whatever dies was not mixed equally; 
If our two loves be one, or thou and I 
Love so alike, that none do slacken, none can die.

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

  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Il buongiorno", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. The broken heart [sung text checked 1 time]

He is stark mad, who ever says, 
That he hath been in love an hour, 
Yet not that love so soon decays, 
But that it can ten in less space devour; 
Who will believe me, if I swear 
That I have had the plague a year? 
Who would not laugh at me, if I should say, 
I saw a flask of powder burn a day? 

Ah, what a trifle is a heart, 
If once into love's hands it come! 
All other griefs allow a part 
To other griefs, and ask themselves but some; 
They come to us, but us Love draws, 
He swallows us, and never chaws: 
By him, as by chain'd shot, whole ranks to die, 
He is the tyrant pike, our hearts the fry. 
If 'twere not so, what did become 
Of my heart, when I first saw thee? 
I brought a heart into the room, 
But from the room, I carried none with me: 
If it had gone to thee, I know 
Mine would have taught thine heart to show 
More pity unto me: but Love, alas, 
At one first blow did shiver it as glass 

Yet nothing can to nothing fall, 
Nor any place be empty quite, 
Therefore I think my breast hath all 
Those pieces still, though they be not unite; 
And now as broken glasses show 
A hundred lesser faces, so 
My rags of heart can like, wish, and adore 
But after one such love, can love no more.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. Woman's constancy [sung text checked 1 time]

Now thou hast loved me one whole day,
Tomorrow when thou leav'st, what wilt thou say?
Wilt thou then antedate some new made vow?
	   Or say that now
We are not just those persons, which we were?
Or, that oaths made in reverential fear
Of Love, and his wrath, any may forswear?
Or, as true deaths, true marriages untie,
So lovers' contracts, images of those,
Bind but till sleep, death's image, them unloose?
	   Or, your own end to justify,
For having purposed change, and falsehood, you
Can have no way but falsehood to be true?
Vain lunatic, against these 'scapes I could
	   Dispute, and conquer, if I would,
	   Which I abstain to do,
For by tomorrow, I may think so too.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. The indifferent [sung text checked 1 time]

I can love both fair and brown,
Her whom abundance melts, and her whom want betrays,
Her who loves loneness best, and her who masks and plays,
Her whom the country formed, and whom the town,
Her who believes, and her who tries,
Her who still weeps with spongy eyes,
And her who is dry cork, and never cries;
I can love her, and her, and you, and you,
I can love any, so she be not true.

Will no other vice content you?
Will it not serve your turn to do as did your mothers?
Or have you old vices spent, and now would find out others?
Or doth a fear, that men are true, torment you?
Oh we are not, be not you so;
Let me, and do you, twenty know.
Rob me, but bind me not, and let me go.
Must I, who came to travel thorough you,
Grow your fixed subject, because you are true?

Venus heard me sigh this song,
And by Love's sweetest part, Variety, she swore
She heard not this till now; and that it should be so no more.
She went, examined, and returned ere long,
And said, "Alas, some two or three
Poor heretics in love there be,
Which think to 'stablish dangerous constancy.
But I have told them, Since you will be true,
You shall be true to them who're false to you."

Authorship

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

  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "L'indifferente", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. The triple fool [sung text checked 1 time]

I am two fools, I know - 
For loving, and for saying so
In whining poetry;
But where's that wiseman that would not be I,
If she would not deny?
Then, as th' earths inward narrow crooked lanes
Do purge sea water's fretful salt away,
I thought, if I could draw my pains
Through rhymes vexation, I should them allay.
Grief brought to numbers cannot be so fierce,
For he tames it that fetters it in verse.

But when I have done so,
Some man, his art and voice to show,
Doth set and sing my pain,
And, by delighting many, frees again
Grief, which verse did restrain.
To Love and Grief tribute of verse belongs,
But not of such as pleases when 'tis read;
Both are increased by such songs,
For both their triumphs so are published;
And I, which was two fools, do so grow three;
Who are a little wise, the best fools be.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]