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How many lilies be ablow?

Language: English

How many lilies be ablow?
  Count them and see --
Seven by the wall, and seven by the door;
  'Tis time he came to me.
    Oh, love's bitter!

Was ever [a]1 whiter web than this 
  That I spin to-day?
A wedding gown or a winding sheet,
  Love, which shall it be?
    Oh, [love's]1 bitter!

The old dames stand in the street, 
  'Neath the willow trees; 
And they mark how white my lilies blow,
  And they hear my bees.
    Oh, love's bitter! 

And one dame says, "Five lads of mine 
  Be in the sea;"
Another says, "That lad of mine,
  He came not back to me." 
    Oh, love's bitter! 

The willow trees grow down to the wharves, 
  Green as of old; 
(Green as the day he went from me;)
  The sea is of gold.
    Oh, love's bitter!

Two ships I see: one in the west --
  Love, is it thine?
One in the east, in a windy mist --
  Oh, love, which is thine?
    [Oh, love's bitter!]1

Then speak the dames: "Her ship went down 
  That night at sea."
My seven white lilies -- do ye hear?
  For this they speak of me!
    Oh, love's bitter.

M. Lang sets stanzas 1-2, 6-7

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 omitted by Lang.

Submitted by Nich Roehler


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

Text added to the website: 2012-05-20.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:04:55
Line count: 35
Word count: 191

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