A Second Volume of Ten Songs

Song Cycle by Ivor (Bertie) Gurney (1890 - 1937)

1. Blaweary [sung text checked 1 time]

As I came by Blaweary
I heard a young wife sing
Hush-a-low, Hush-a-low,
Hush-a-low, my dearie,
Hush-a-low, my little lamb,
Hush-a-low and sleep.

As I came by Blaweary
I heard a young wife sing
Hush-a-low, Hush-a-low,
Hush-a-low, my dearie,
Daddy's coming home again
To find his lamb asleep.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. The boat is chafing [sung text checked 1 time]

The boat is chafing at our long delay,
And we must leave too soon
The spicy sea-pinks and the inborne spray,
The tawny sands, the moon.

Keep us, O Thetis, [in]1 our western flight!
Watch from thy pearly throne
Our vessel, plunging deeper into night
To reach a land unknown.

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1 Cooke: "on"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. Bread and cherries [sung text checked 1 time]

"Cherries, ripe cherries!" the old woman cried,
  In her snowy-white apron, and basket beside;
And the little boys came,
  Eyes shining, cheeks red,
To buy bags of cherries
  To eat with their bread.

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Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

4. An epitaph [sung text checked 1 time]

Here lies a most beautiful lady,
Light of heart and step was she;
I think she was the most beautiful lady
That ever was in the West Country.
But beauty passes; beauty vanishes;
However rare, rare it be;
And when I die, who will remember
That lady of the West Country.

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Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

5. Epitaph in old mode [sung text checked 1 time]

The leaves fall gently on the grass,
And all the willow trees, and poplar trees, and elder trees,
That bend above her where she sleeps,
O all the willow trees, the willow trees
Breathe sighs upon her tomb.

O pause and pity, as you pass,
She loved so tenderly, so quietly, so hopelessly;
And sometimes comes one here and weeps:
She loved so tenderly, so tenderly,
And never told them whom.

Authorship:

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

6. The folly of being comforted [sung text checked 1 time]

One that is ever kind said yesterday:
"Your well-beloved's hair has threads of grey,
And little shadows come about her eyes;
Time can but make it easier to be wise,
Though now it's hard, till trouble is at an end;
And so be patient, be wise and patient, friend."
But, heart, there is no comfort, not a grain;
Time can but make her beauty over again,
Because of that great nobleness of hers;
The fire that stirs about her, when she stirs,
Burns but more clearly. O she had not these ways,
When all the wild summer was in her gaze.
O heart! O heart! If she'd but turn her head,
You'd know the folly of being comforted.

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First published in Speaker, January 1902

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

7. Hawk and buckle [sung text checked 1 time]

Where is the landlord of old Hawk and Buckle,
And what of Master Straddler this hot summer weather?
He's along in the tap-room with broad cheeks a-chuckle,
And ten bold companions all drinking together.

Where is the ostler of old Hawk and Buckle,
And what of Willy Jakeman this hot summer weather?
He is rubbing his eyes with a slow and lazy knuckle
And waking from his nap on a bank of fresh heather.

Where is the daughter of old Hawk and Buckle,
And what of Mistress Jenny this hot summer weather?
She sits in the parlour with smell of honeysuckle,
Trimming her bonnet with new red ostrich feather.

Authorship:

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

8. Last hours [sung text checked 1 time]

A gray day and quiet,
With slow clouds that pass,
And in dull air a cloud that hangs, hangs
All day.

The naked and stiff branches
Of oak, elm, thorn,
In the cold light are like men aged and
Forlorn.

Only a gray sky,
Grass, trees, grass again,
And all the air a cloud that drips, drips,
All day.

Lovelier now the last hours of slow winter
Slowly pass.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

9. The scribe [sung text checked 1 time]

 What lovely things
   Thy hand hath made,
 The smooth-plumed bird
   In its emerald shade,
 The seed of the grass,
   The speck of stone
 Which the wayfaring ant
  Stirs - and hastes on!

 Though I should sit
 By some tarn [in thy hills]1,
 Using its ink
 As the spirit wills
 To write of Earth's wonders,
 Its live, willed things,
 Flit would the ages
 On soundless wings
 Ere unto Z2
 My pen drew nigh;
 Leviathan told,
 And the honey-fly;
 And still would remain
 My wit to try -
 My worn reeds broken,
 The [dark]1 tarn dry,
 All words forgotten -
 Thou, Lord, and I.

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1 omitted by Howells.
2 pronounced zed

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

10. A sword [sung text not yet checked]

As clowns to kings, as pennies to a pound, 
As serving wenches to princesses crowned,
As kings to thee, to sweet songs catches roared, 
As dips to candles, all swords to my sword. 

Authorship:

Confirmed with Twelve Poets. A Miscellany of New Verse, London: Selwyn and Blount, 1918.


Researcher for this text: Melanie Trumbull
Total word count: 685