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Serenade for tenor, horn and strings

Word count: 670

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

French (Français) translation: Sérénade pour ténor, cor et cordes (Jean-Pierre Granger)
Spanish (Español) translation: Serenata para Tenor, Corno y Cuerdas (Pablo Sabat)

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1. Pastoral [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE NYN SPA

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Jean-Pierre Granger) , "Pastorale", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • NYN Norwegian (Nynorsk) (Are Frode Søholt) , "Hyrdedikt", copyright © 2004, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • SPA Spanish (Español) (Pablo Sabat) , "Pastoral"


The day's grown old; the fainting sun
Has but a little way to run,
And yet his steeds, with all his skill,
Scarce lug the chariot down the hill.

The shadows now so long do grow,
That brambles like tall cedars show;
Mole hills seem mountains, and the ant
Appears a monstrous elephant.

A very little, little flock
Shades thrice the ground that it would stock;
Whilst the small stripling following them
Appears a mighty Polypheme.

And now on benches all are sat,
In the cool air to sit and chat,
Till Phoebus, dipping in the West,
Shall lead the world the way to rest.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. Nocturne [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE GER NYN SPA

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Jean-Pierre Granger) , "Nocturne", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • NYN Norwegian (Nynorsk) (Are Frode Søholt) , "Nattstemning", copyright © 2004, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • SPA Spanish (Español) (Pablo Sabat) , "Nocturno"


The splendour falls on castle walls
And snowy summits old in story:
The long [light]1 shakes across the lakes,
And the wild cataract leaps in glory:
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
[Blow, bugle]2; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.

O hark, O hear how thin and clear,
And thinner, clearer, farther going!
O sweet and far from cliff and scar
The horns of Elfland faintly blowing!
Blow, let us hear the purple glens replying:
[Blow, bugle;]2 answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.

O love, they die in yon rich sky,
They faint on hill or field or river:
Our echoes roll from soul to soul
And grow for ever and for ever.
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
[And]2 [answer, echoes]3, dying, dying, dying.


View original text (without footnotes)
1 Britten: "night"
2 Britten: "Bugle, blow"; Holst: "Blow, bugle, blow"
3 Holst: "echoes, answer"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. Elegy [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): CAT FRE FRE GER GER GER IRI NYN RUS SPA

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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"


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.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. Dirge [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE NYN SPA

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Jean-Pierre Granger) , "Chant funèbre", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • NYN Norwegian (Nynorsk) (Are Frode Søholt) , "Sørgesong", copyright © 2004, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • SPA Spanish (Español) (Pablo Sabat) , "Canto fúnebre"


This ae nighte, this ae nighte,
Every nighte and alle,
Fire and [fleete]1 and candle-lighte,
And Christe receive thy saule.

When thou from hence away [art]2 past,
Every nighte and alle,
To Whinnymuir thou com'st at last;
And Christe receive thy saule.

If ever thou gav'st hos'n and shoon,
Every nighte and alle,
Sit thee down and put them on;
And Christe receive thy saule.

If hos'n and shoon thou ne'er gav'st nane,
Every nighte and alle,
The winnies shall prick thee to the bare bane;
And Christe receive thy saule.

From Whinnymuir when thou may'st pass,
Every nighte and alle,
To Brig o' Dread thou com'st at last;
And Christe receive thy saule.

From Brig o' Dread when thou may'st pass,
Every nighte and alle,
To Purgatory fire thou com'st at last;
And Christe receive thy saule.

If ever thou gav'st meat or drink,
Every nighte and alle,
The fire shall never make thee shrink;
And Christe receive thy saule.

If meat or drink thou ne'er gav'st nane,
Every nighte and alle,
The fire will burn thee to the bare bane;
And Christe receive thy saule.

This ae nighte, this ae nighte,
Every nighte and alle,
Fire and [fleete]1 and candle-lighte,
And Christe receive thy saule.


View original text (without footnotes)
1 Stravinsky: "sleete"
2 Stravinsky: "are"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. Hymn [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE NYN SPA

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Jean-Pierre Granger) , "Hymne", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • NYN Norwegian (Nynorsk) (Are Frode Søholt) , "Hymne", copyright © 2004, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • SPA Spanish (Español) (Pablo Sabat) , "Himno"


Queen and huntress, chaste and fair,
Now the sun is laid to sleep,
Seated in thy silver chair,
State in wonted manner keep:
  Hesperus entreats thy light,
  Goddess excellently bright.

Earth, let not thy envious shade
Dare itself to interpose;
Cynthia's shining orb was made
Heav'n to clear when day did close;
  Bless us then with wishèd sight,
  Goddess excellently bright.

Lay thy bow of pearl apart,
And thy crystal shining quiver;
Give unto the flying hart
Space to breathe, how short so-ever:
  Thou that mak'st a day of night,
  Goddess excellently bright.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

6. Sonnet [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE NYN SPA

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Jean-Pierre Granger) , "Sonnet", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • NYN Norwegian (Nynorsk) (Are Frode Søholt) , "Sonnette", copyright © 2004, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • SPA Spanish (Español) (Pablo Sabat) , "Soneto"


O soft embalmer of the still midnight!
  Shutting with careful fingers and benign
Our gloom-pleas'd eyes, embower'd from the light,
  Enshaded in forgetfulness divine;
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close
  In midst of this thine hymn my willing eyes,
Or wait the "Amen" ere thy poppy throws
  Around my bed its lulling charities.
  Then save me, or the passèd day will shine
Upon my pillow, breeding many woes, -
  Save me from curious Conscience, that still [lords]1
Its strength for darkness, burrowing like [a]2 mole;
  Turn the key deftly in the oilèd wards,
And seal the hushèd Casket of my Soul.


View original text (without footnotes)
First published in a Plymouth newspaper in 1838
1 changed to "hoards" by Richard Woodhouse, and kept by Keats in the second transcription. Chávez uses this version.
2 changed to "the" in Keats' second transcription. Chávez uses this as well.

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

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