You can help us modernize! The present website has been online for a very long time and we want to bring it up to date. As of April 20, we are $4,600 away from our goal of $15,000 to fund the project. The fully redesigned site will be better for mobile, easier to read and navigate, and ready for the next decade. Please give today and join dozens of other supporters in making this important renovation possible!

The LiederNet Archive
WARNING. Not all the material on this website is in the public domain.
It is illegal to copy and distribute our copyright-protected material without permission.
For more information, contact us at the following address:
licenses (AT) lieder (DOT) net

Sonnets From the Portuguese

Word count: 750

Song Cycle by Libby Larsen (b. 1950)

Show the texts alone (bare mode).

1. I thought once how Theocritus... [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): GER

List of language codes

Authorship


See other settings of this text.


I thought once how Theocritus had sung
Of the sweet years, the dear and wished-for years,
Who each one in a gracious hand appears
To bear a gift for mortals, old or young:
And, as I mused it in his antique tongue,
I saw, in gradual vision through my tears,
The sweet, sad years, the melancholy years,
Those of my own life, who by turns had flung
A shadow across me. Straightway I was 'ware,
So weeping, how a mystic Shape did move
Behind me, and drew me backward by the hair;
And a voice said in mastery, while I strove, -
"Guess now who holds thee!" - "Death," I said. But, there, 
The silver answer rang, "Not death, but Love."


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. My letters! [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): GER

List of language codes

Authorship


See other settings of this text.


My letters! all dead paper, mute and white!
And yet they seem alive and quivering
Against my tremulous hands which loose the string
And let them drop down on my knee to-night.
This said, -- he wished to have me in his sight
Once, as a friend: this fixed a day in spring
To come and touch my hand . . . a simple thing,
Yet I wept for it! -- this, . . . the paper's light . . .
Said, Dear I love thee; and I sank and quailed
As if God's future thundered on my past.
This said, I am thine -- and so its ink has paled
With lying at my heart that beat too fast.
And this . . . O Love, thy words have ill availed
If, what this said, I dared repeat at last!


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. With the same heart, I said, I'll answer thee [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): GER

List of language codes

Authorship


See other settings of this text.

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


With the same heart, I said, I'll answer thee
As those, when thou shalt call me by my name -- 
Lo, the vain promise! is the same, the same,
Perplexed and ruffled by life's strategy?
When called before, I told how hastily
I dropped my flowers or brake off from a game.
To run and answer with the smile that came
At play last moment, and went on with me
Through my obedience.  When I answer now,
I drop a grave thought, break from solitude;
Yet still my heart goes to thee -- ponder how -- 
Not as to a single good, but all my good!
Lay thy hand on it, best one, and allow
That no child's foot could run fast as this blood.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. If I leave all for thee [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): GER GER

List of language codes

Authorship


See other settings of this text.

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


If I leave all for thee, wilt thou exchange
And be all to me? Shall I never miss
Home-talk and blessing and the common kiss
That comes to each in turn, nor count it strange,
When I look up, to drop on a new range
Of walls and floors, another home than this?
Nay, wilt thou fill that place by me which is
Filled by dead eyes too tender to know change
That's hardest. If to conquer love, has tried,
To conquer grief, tries more, as all things prove,
For grief indeed is love and grief beside.
Alas, I have grieved so I am hard to love.
Yet love me--wilt thou? Open thy heart wide,
And fold within, the wet wings of thy dove.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. Oh, yes! [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): GER

List of language codes

Authorship


See other settings of this text.

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


Oh, yes! they love through all this world of ours!
I will not gainsay love, called love forsooth:
I have heard love talked in my early youth,
And since, not so long back but that the flowers
Then gathered, smell still.  Mussulmans and Giaours
Throw kerchiefs at a smile, and have no ruth
For any weeping.  Polypheme's white tooth
Slips on the nut if, after frequent showers,
The shell is over-smooth, -- and not so much
Will turn the thing called love, aside to hate
Or else to oblivion.  But thou art not such
A lover, my Belovëd! thou canst wait
Through sorrow and sickness, to bring souls to touch,
And think it soon when others cry "Too late."


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

6. How do I love thee? [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): CHI GER HUN

List of language codes

Authorship


See other settings of this text.

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

  • CHI Chinese (中文) (M.W. Wang) , "我有多麽愛你?", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as [they]1 turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I [seemed]2 to lose
With my lost saints, -- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! -- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.


View original text (without footnotes)
See also Karl Shapiro's parody How do I love you?
1 Steele: "men"
2 Steele: "seem"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

Gentle Reminder
This website began in 1995 as a personal project, and I have been working on it full-time without a salary since 2008. Our research has never had any government or institutional funding, so if you found the information here useful, please consider making a donation. Your gift is greatly appreciated.
     - Emily Ezust

Browse imslp.org (Petrucci Music Library) for Lieder or choral works