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Songs after William Blake

Word count: 429

Song Cycle by Maximilian Beckschäfer (b. 1952)

Show the texts alone (bare mode).

1. I went to the Garden of Love [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): GER

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

  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (Bertram Kottmann) , "Der Garten der Liebe", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


I went to the Garden of Love,
and saw what I never had seen:
A chapel was built in the midst,
where I used to play on the green.

And the gates of this chapel were shut,
and "Thou shalt not" writ over the door;
So I turn'd to the Garden of Love, 
that so many, many sweet flowers bore;

And I saw it was filled with graves,
and tombstones where flowers should be;
and priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,
and binding with briars my joys and desires.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. The blossom [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

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Merry, merry sparrow!
Under leaves so green
A happy blossom
Sees you, swift as arrow,
Seek your cradle narrow,
Near my bosom.

Pretty, pretty robin!
Under leaves so green
A happy blossom
Hears you sobbing, sobbing,
Pretty, pretty robin,
Near my bosom.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. The sick rose [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

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. Laughing song [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): RUS WEL

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

  • RUS Russian (Русский) [singable] (Dmitri Nikolaevich Smirnov) , "Песня смеха", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy,
And the dimpling stream runs laughing by;
When the air does laugh with our merry wit,
And the green hill laughs with the noise of it; 

When the meadows laugh with lively green,
And the grasshopper laughs in the merry scene;
When Mary and Susan and Emily
With their sweet round mouths sing "Ha ha he!"

When the painted birds laugh in the shade,
Where our table with cherries and nuts is spread:
Come live, and be merry, and join with me,
To sing the sweet chorus of "Ha ha he!"


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. The fly [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE GER RUS

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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]

6. London [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE

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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]

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