Four Poems of James Stephens

Song Cycle by Samuel Hans Adler (b. 1928)

Word count: 297

1. The wind [sung text not yet checked]

The wind stood up and gave a shout.
He whistled on his fingers and
Kicked the withered leaves about
And thumped the branches with his hand
And said that he'd kill and kill,
And so he will and so he will.

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2. Chill of the eve [sung text not yet checked]

A long green swell
Slopes soft to the sea;
And a far-off bell
Swings sweet to me;
As the grey
Chill day
Slips away
From the lea.

Spread cold and far,
Without one glow
From a mild pale star,
Is the sky's steel bow;
And the grey
Chill day
Slips away
Below.

Yon green tree grieves
To the air around;
And the whispering leaves
Have a lonely sound;
As the grey
Chill day
Slips away
From the ground.

And dark, more dark,
The shades settle down;
Far off is a spark
From the lamp-lit town;
And the grey
Chill day
Slips away
With a frown.

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3. The piper [sung text not yet checked]

Shepherd ! while the lambs do feed, 
And you rest beneath a tree, 
Pipe upon an oaten reed 
Merrily and merrily. 

Should it rain do not forbear 
Rain comes from the happy sky 
Tune us now a quiet air 
Till the shower passes by. 

Back the sun will come in gold ! 
Pipe away, my dear, until 
Evening brings the lambs to fold 
You may weep then if you will. 

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4. And it was stormy weather [sung text not yet checked]

Now the winds are riding by, 
Clouds are galloping the sky. 
And the trees are lashing their 
Leafy plumes upon the air ; 
They are crying as they sway --
"Pull the roots out of the clay. 
Dance away, O, dance away; 
Leave the rooted place and speed 
To the hill-side and the mead. 
To the roaring seas we go. 
Chase the airy birds, and know. 
Flying high, flying high. 
All the freedom of the sky. 
All the freedom of the sky."

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]