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

Songs and Proverbs of William Blake

Word count: 724

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

Show the texts alone (bare mode).

1. Proverb I [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE

List of language codes

Authorship

Go to the single-text view

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

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


The pride of the peacock is the glory of God.
The lust of the goat is the bounty of God.
The wrath of the lion is the wisdom of God.
The nakedness of woman is the work of God.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. London [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE

List of language codes

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


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.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. Proverb II [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE

List of language codes

Authorship

Go to the single-text view

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

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


Prisons are built with stones of Law,
Brothels with bricks of Religion.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. The chimney sweeper [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE

List of language codes

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


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.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. Proverb III [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE

List of language codes

Authorship

Go to the single-text view

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

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


The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

6. A poison tree [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE GER

List of language codes

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


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.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

7. Proverb IV [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE

List of language codes

Authorship

Go to the single-text view

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

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


Think in the morning.
Act in the noon.
Eat in the evening.
Sleep in the night.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

8. The Tyger [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): CAT FRE GER GER RUS

List of language codes

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


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?


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

9. Proverb V [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE

List of language codes

Authorship


See other settings of this text.

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

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


The tygers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.
If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise.
If others had not been foolish, we should be so.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

10. The fly [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE GER RUS

List of language codes

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


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.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

11. Proverb VI [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE

List of language codes

Authorship

Go to the single-text view

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

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


The hours of folly are measur'd by the clock;
But of wisdom, no clock can measure.
The busy bee has no time for sorrow.
Eternity is in love with the productions of time.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

12. Ah, Sun-flower [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE

List of language codes

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


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.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

13. Proverb VII [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE GER ITA RUS

List of language codes

Authorship


See other settings of this text.

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Proverbe VII", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Walter A. Aue) , "Eine Welt zu sehn in dem Körnchen Sand", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Vedere un mondo in un grano di sabbia", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


To see [a]1 World in a Grain of Sand,
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,
And Eternity in an hour.


View original text (without footnotes)
1 Coulthard: "the"; further changes may exist not noted

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

14. Every Night and every Morn

Note: this is a multi-text setting

Every night and every morn
Some to Misery are Born.
Every Night & every Morn
Some are Born to sweet delight.

Authorship


See other settings of this text.

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Chaque nuit et chaque matin", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

Some are born to sweet delight,
Some are born to endless night.

Authorship


Go to the single-text view


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

We are led to believe a lie
When we see not thro' the eye,
Which was born in a night to perish in a night,
When the soul slept in beams of light.

Authorship


Go to the single-text view


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

God appears, and God is light,
To those poor souls who dwell in night;
But does a human form display
To those who dwell in realms of day.

Authorship


See other settings of this text.


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