The only son
[She dropped the bar, she shot the bolt, she fed the fire anew,
For she heard a whimper under the sill and a great grey paw came through.
The fresh flame comforted the hut and shone on the roof beam,]1
And the Only Son lay down again and dreamed that he dreamed a dream.
[The last ash fell from the withered log with the click of a falling spark,
And the Only Son woke up again, and called across the dark: - ]1
"Now was I born of womankind and laid in a mother's breast?
For I have dreamed of a shaggy hide whereon I went to rest.
And was I born of womankind and laid on a father's arm?
For I have dreamed of clashing teeth that guarded me from harm.
"And was I born an Only Son and did I play alone?
For I have dreamed of comrades twain that bit me to the bone.
And did I break the barley-cake and steep it in the tyre?
For I have dreamed of a youngling kid new-riven from the byre:
For I have dreamed of a midnight sky and a midnight call to blood
And red-mouthed shadows racing by, that thrust me from my food.
'Tis an hour yet and an hour yet to the rising of the moon,
But I can see the black roof-tree as plain as it were noon.
'Tis a league and a league to the Lena Falls where the trouping blackbuck go;
But I can hear the little fawn that bleats behind the doe.
'Tis a league and a league to the Lena Falls where the crop and the upland meet,
But I can smell the wet dawn-wind that wakes the sprouting wheat.
Unbar the door, I may not bide, but I must out and see
If those are wolves that wait outside or my own kin to me!"
She loosed the bar, she slid the bolt, she opened the door anon,
And a grey bitch-wolf came out of the dark and fawned on the Only Son!
View original text (without footnotes)
1 omitted by Grainger.
Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by Percy Aldridge Grainger (1882 - 1961), "The only son", 1845-7, published 1958 [soprano, tenor, baritone, strings, harp, piano, harmonium, oboe, English horn, 2 bassoons, 3 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 alto saxophones], from The Jungle Book, no. 10. [
text verified 1 time]
Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:36
Line count: 26
Word count: 343
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