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Be slowly lifted up, thou long black arm

Language: English

Be slowly lifted up, thou long black arm,
Great Gun towering towards Heaven, about to curse;
Sway steep against them, and for years rehearse
Huge imprecations like a blasting charm!
Reach at that Arrogance which needs thy harm,
And beat it down before its sins grow worse.
Spend our resentment, cannon,-yea, disburse
Our gold in shapes of flame, our breaths in storm.

Yet, for men's sakes whom thy vast malison
Must wither innocent of enmity,
Be not withdrawn, dark arm, the spoilure done,
Safe to the bosom of our prosperity.
But when thy spell be cast complete and whole,
May God curse thee, and cut thee from our soul!


Translation(s): FRE

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About the headline (FAQ)

Note: Britten uses lines 1-2,5-6,13-14 only.

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

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Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)


This text (or a part of it) is used in a work

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , title unknown, copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Text added to the website: 2008-01-08.
Last modified: 2015-03-21 16:44:34
Line count: 14
Word count: 109

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