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The wild winds weep And the night is a-cold; Come hither, Sleep, And my griefs [infold]1: But lo! the morning peeps Over the eastern steeps, And the rustling birds of dawn The earth do scorn. Lo! to the vault Of paved heaven, With sorrow fraught My notes are driven: They strike the ear of night, Make weep the eyes of day; They make mad the roaring winds, And with tempests play. Like a fiend in a cloud, With howling woe, After night I do crowd, And with night will go; I turn my back to the east, From whence comforts have increas'd; For light doth seize my brain With frantic pain.
About the headline (FAQ)View original text (without footnotes)
Note: said to have been written by Blake at the age of fourteen.
First published in Poetical Sketches, 1783
1 first published as "unfold" (Mitchell uses "unfold"); later changed to "infold"
- by William Blake (1757 - 1827), "Mad song" [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by Samuel Hans Adler (b. 1928), "Mad song", published 1974 [mixed chorus and band], from Serenade, no. 2. [text not verified]
- by Phillip Thomas Bezanson (1916 - 1975), "Mad Song", published 1966, from Contrasts, no. 3. [text not verified]
- by James Henry Baseden Butt (b. 1929), "Mad song", op. 60 no. 4, published 1980, from Five William Blake Songs, no. 4. [text not verified]
- by A. ten. Cate , "Mad song", 1970 [mezzo-soprano and piano], from Five somber songs [text not verified]
- by James Friskin (1886 - 1967), "Mad song" [voice and piano] [text not verified]
- by Vincent Sauter Frohne (b. 1936), "Mad song", op. 22 no. ? (1963-4), published 1968, first performed 1964 [soprano and orchestra], from Adam's Chains, Berlin : Bote & Bock [text not verified]
- by Scott Gendel (b. 1977), "Mad song", 2005 [soprano and violin], from Shadow Songs, no. 2. [text not verified]
- by (Richard) Kenneth Haxton (b. 1919), "Mad song", 1949, first performed 1969. [high voice and piano] [text not verified]
- by Arthur Hinton (1869 - 1941), "Mad song" [voice and piano], from Four Songs, 2nd Set, no. 4. [text not verified]
- by Christine (Stadler) Jurasek (b. 1955), "Mad song", 1984, first performed 1984. [voice and instrumental ensemble] [text not verified]
- by Ulysses Simpson Kay (1917 - 1995), "Mad song", published 1952, first performed 1955 [high voice and orchestra], from Three Pieces after Blake, no. 2, New York, Composers Facsimile Edition and New York, C. Fischer [text not verified]
- by John Mitchell (b. 1941), "The wild winds weep", op. 1 no. 6 (1964), rev. 1977, from Seven Songs from William Blake, no. 6. [text verified 1 time]
- by Oskar Morawetz (b. 1917), "Mad song", 1947, published 1962, first performed 1953 [medium voice or high voice and piano], Toronto : Leeds Music - MCA Canada [text not verified]
- by Michael Murray , "Mad song", 2004 [soprano, horn, and piano], from The Wild Winds Weep, no. 3. [text not verified]
- by Leif Segerstam (b. 1944), "Mad song", 1981. [soprano or mezzo-soprano and piano] [text not verified]
- by Leif Segerstam (b. 1944), "(Another) Mad song", 1982, first performed 1985?6 [mezzo-soprano or soprano and string quartet], from String Quartet, no. 25 [text not verified]
- by Dmitri Nikolaevich Smirnov (b. 1948), "Mad song", op. 49 no. 4 (1987-8) [soprano and instrumental ensemble (six instruments)], from Songs of Love and Madness, no. 4. [text not verified]
- by Leo Smith (1881 - 1952), "A mad song", 1910-20. [high voice and piano] [text not verified]
- by Robert Michael Spearing (b. 1950), "The wild winds weep", 1976, first performed 1976 [baritone, SATB chorus, and small orchestra], from Visions of William Blake, no. 2. [text not verified]
- by Ben Brian Weber (1916 - 1979), "Mad song", op. 33 no. 3 (1951), published c1954, first performed 1952 [baritone and chamber orchestra], from Symphony on Poems of William Blake, no. 3, NY : American Composers Alliance [text not verified]
- by Felix Werder (b. 1922), "Mad song", 1961-2 [soprano and piano], from From the Blake Collection, op. 42 and op. 50, no. 4. [text not verified]
- by Lawrence Willingham (b. 1942), "Mad song", op. 24 (1981). [soprano, clarinet, 2 percussion instruments, 2 violins, viola, and violoncello] [text not verified]
- by Richard M. Willis (b. 1929), "Mad song", 1970 [soprano, clarinet, percussion, and piano], from Three Songs by Blake, no. 3. [text not verified]
Available translations, adaptations, and transliterations (if applicable):
- CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , title 1: "Cançó esbojarrada", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
Els vents violents ploren i la nit és freda; Vine cap aquí, son, i embolcalla les meves penes: però alerta! El matí aguaita per damunt els espadats de llevant, i els remorejants ocells de l’alba la terra menyspreen. Compte! Vers la volta del cel empedrat, carregades de tristesa, les meves notes son conduïdes: colpegen l’orella de la nit, fan plorar els ulls del dia; fan embogir els vents bramulants i juguen amb les tempestes. Com un diable en un núvol, amb udolant aflicció, passada la nit m’aplego i amb ella me’n aniré; giro l’esquena a llevant, des d’on els ànims s’han engrandit; car la llum captura el meu cervell amb frenètic dolor.
- Translation from English to Catalan (Català) copyright © 2014 by Salvador Pila, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.