Love's Eternity - Five Songs of Elizabeth Barrett Browning for Mezzo (or Contralto) & Piano

Song Cycle by Gary Carpenter

Word count: 543

1. Love [sung text checked 1 time]

If thou must love me, let it be for nought
Except for love's sake only. Do not say
"I love her for her smile ... her look ... her way
Of speaking gently, ... for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day"
For these things in themselves, Beloved, may
Be changed, or change for thee,-- and love, so wrought,
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
Thine own dear pity's wiping my cheeks dry,
A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!
But love me for love's sake, that evermore
Thou may'st love on, through love's eternity.

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

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. Grief [sung text checked 1 time]

I tell you, hopeless grief is passionless;
  That only men incredulous of despair,
  Half-taught in anguish, through the midnight air
Beat upward to God's throne in loud access
Of shrieking and reproach. Full desertness
  In souls as countries lieth silent-bare
  Under the blanching, vertical eye-glare
Of the absolute Heavens. Deep-hearted man, express
Grief for thy Dead in silence like to death --	 
  Most like a monumental statue set
In everlasting watch and moveless woe
Till itself crumble to the dust beneath.
  Touch it; the marble eyelids are not wet:
If it could weep, it could arise and go.

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First published in Graham's Magazine, 1842, rev. 1844
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. Death [sung text checked 1 time]

Fast this life of mine is dying,
Blind already and calm as death,
Snowflakes on my bosom lying
Scarcely heaving with my breath.

Love comes by and having known me
In a dream of fabled lands,
Gently stoops, and lays upon me
Mystic chrism of Holy hands.

He draws his smile across my folded
Eyelids as the swallow dips;
Breathes as finely as the cold does
Through the locking of my lips.

So when I look upward, being
Warmed and breathed on from above,
What sight can I have for seeing
Evermore but thy love?

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Mike Pearson

4. Transfiguration [sung text checked 1 time]

Belovèd, thou [hast brought]1 me many flowers
Plucked in [the]2 garden, all the summer through
And winter, and it seemed as if they grew
In [this]3 close room, nor missed the sun and showers.
So, in the like name of that love of ours,
Take back these thoughts which here unfolded too,
And which on warm and cold days I withdrew
From my heart's ground. Indeed, [those]4 beds and bowers
Be overgrown with bitter weeds and rue,
And wait thy weeding; yet here's eglantine,
Here's ivy! -- take them, as I used to do
Thy flowers, and keep them where they shall not pine.
Instruct thine eyes to keep their colours true,
And tell thy soul, their roots are left in mine.

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

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Carpenter: "did'st bring"
2 Carpenter: "this"
3 Carpenter: "my"
4 Carpenter: "these"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. Reunion [sung text checked 1 time]

My own sweet Love, if thou in the grave, 
  The darksome grave, wilt be, 
Then will I go down by [the]1 side, and crave 
Love-room for thee and me. 

I kiss and caress and press thee wild,
  Thou still, thou cold, thou white ! 
I wail, I tremble, and weeping mild,
  Turn to a corpse at the [right]2. 

The Dead stand up, the midnight calls, 
  They dance in airy swarms --
We two keep still where the grave-shade falls,
  And I lie on in thine arms. 

The Dead stand up, the Judgment-day 
  Bids such to weal [or]3 woe --
But nought shall trouble us where we stay 
  Embraced and embracing below.

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View original text (without footnotes)
1 Carpenter: "thy"
2 Carpenter: "sight"
3 Carpenter: "and"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]