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Songs of Innocence and of Experience

Word count: 516

Song Cycle by David Krane (b. 1953)

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1. Spring [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): GER WEL

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Sound the Flute!
Now [it's]1 mute.
Birds delight
Day and Night;
Nightingale
In the dale,
Lark in Sky,
Merrily, Merrily, Merrily,
To welcome in the Year.

Little Boy,
Full of Joy;
Little Girl,
Sweet and small;
Cock does crow,
So do you;
Merry voice,
Infant noise;
Merrily, Merrily, 
To welcome in the Year.

Little Lamb,
Here I am;
Come and [lick
My white neck;]2
Let me pull
Your soft Wool;
Let me kiss
Your soft face;
Merrily, Merrily, 
[We]3 welcome in the Year.


View original text (without footnotes)
1 MacNutt: "'tis"
2 MacNutt: "play/ Hours away"
3 MacNutt: "To"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. Nurse's song [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

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When the voices of children are heard on the green 
And laughing is heard on the hill, 
My heart is at rest within my breast 
And everything else is still. 

"Then come home, my children, the sun is gone down 
And the dews of night arise; 
Come, come, leave off play, and let us away 
Till the morning appears in the skies." 

"No, no, let us play, for it is yet day 
And we cannot go to sleep; 
Besides, in the sky the little birds fly 
And the hills are all cover'd with sheep." 

"Well, well, go & play till the light fades away 
And then go home to bed." 
The little ones leaped & shouted & laugh'd 
And all the hills echoed.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. The little vagabond [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

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Dear Mother, dear Mother, the Church is cold,
But the Ale-house is healthy & pleasant & warm;
Besides I can tell where I am used well,
Such usage in heaven will never do well.

But if at the Church they would give us some Ale,
And a pleasant fire our souls to regale,
We'd sing and we'd pray all the live-long day,
Nor ever once wish from the Church to stray.

Then the Parson might preach, & drink, & sing,
And we'd be as happy as birds in the spring;
And modest dame Lurch, who is always at Church,
Would not have bandy children, nor fasting, nor birch.

And God, like a father rejoicing to see
His children as pleasant and happy as he,
Would have no more quarrel with the Devil or the Barrel,
But kiss him, & give him both drink and apparel.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. Nurse's song [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

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When the voices of children are heard on the green 
And whisp'rings are in the dale, 
The days of my youth rise fresh in my mind, 
My face turns green and pale. 

Then come home, my children, the sun is gone down, 
And the dews of night arise; 
Your spring & your day are wasted in play, 
And your winter and night in disguise.


Submitted by Ahmed E. Ismail

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

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE GER

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

  • FRE French (Fran├žais) (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]

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