Elf Lieder nach Henry W. Longfellow

Song Cycle by Klaus Miehling (b. 1963)

1. Afternoon in February [sung text not yet checked]

The day is ending,
The night is descending;
The marsh is frozen,
The river dead.

Through clouds like ashes
The red sun flashes
On village windows
That glimmer red.

The snow recommences;
The buried fences
Mark no longer
The road o'er the plain;

While through the meadows,
Like fearful shadows,
Slowly passes
A funeral train.

The bell is pealing,
And every feeling
Within me responds
To the dismal knell;

Shadows are trailing,
My heart is bewailing
And tolling within
Like a funeral bell.


See other settings of this text.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. The City and the Sea [sung text not yet checked]

The panting City cried to the Sea,
"I am faint with heat,--O breathe on me!" 

And the Sea said, "Lo, I breathe! but my breath
To some will be life, to others death!" 

As to Prometheus, bringing ease
In pain, come the Oceanides, 

So to the City, hot with the flame
Of the pitiless sun, the east wind came. 

It came from the heaving breast of the deep,
Silent as dreams are, and sudden as sleep. 

Life-giving, death-giving, which will it be;
O breath of the merciful, merciless Sea? 


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. Curfew [sung text not yet checked]

Solemnly, mournfully,
  Dealing its dole,
The Curfew Bell
  Is beginning to toll.
Cover the embers,
  [And put]1 out the light;
Toil comes with the morning,
  And rest with the night.
Dark grow the windows,
  And quenched is the fire;
Sound fades into silence,--
  All footsteps retire.
No voice in the [chambers]2,
  No sound in the hall!
Sleep and oblivion
  Reign over all!

The book is completed,
  And closed, like the day;
And the hand that has written it
  Lays it away.
Dim grow its fancies;
  Forgotten they lie;
Like coals in the ashes,
  They darken and die.
Song sinks into silence,
  The story is told,
The windows are darkened,
  The hearth-stone is cold.
Darker and darker
  The black shadows fall;
Sleep and oblivion
  Reign over all.


See other settings of this text.

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Stöhr: "Put"
2 Stöhr: "chamber"

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Johann Winkler

4. Delia [sung text not yet checked]

Sweet as the tender fragrance that survives,
When martyred flowers breathe out their little lives,
Sweet as a song that once consoled our pain,
But never will be sung to us again,
Is thy remembrance.  Now the hour of rest
Hath come to thee.  Sleep, darling; it is best.


See other settings of this text.

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

  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Dolce come l'aroma tenero che rimane", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. Dirge over a nameless grave [sung text not yet checked]

By yon still river, where the wave
   Is winding slow at evening's close,
The beech, upon a nameless grave,
   Its sadly-moving shadow throws.

O'er the fair woods the sun looks down
   Upon the many-twinkling leaves,
And twilight's mellow shades are brown,
   Where darkly the green turf upheaves.

The river glides in silence there,
   And hardly waves the sapling tree:
Sweet flowers are springing, and the air
   Is full of balm, - but where is she!

They bade her wed a son of pride,
   And leave the hope she cherished long:
She loved but one, - and would not hide
   A love which knew no wrong.

And months went sadly on, - and years:-
   And she was wasting day by day:
At length she died, - and many tears
   Were shed, that she should pass away.

Then came a gray old man, and knelt
   With bitter weeping by her tomb:-
And others mourned for him, who felt
   That he had sealed a daughter's doom.

The funeral train has long past on,
   And time wiped dry the father's tear!
Farewell - lost maiden! - there is one
   That mourns thee yet - and he is here.


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

6. Enceladus [sung text not yet checked]

Under Mount Etna he lies,
  It is slumber, it is not death;
For he struggles at times to arise,
And above him the lurid skies
  Are hot with his fiery breath. 
The crags are piled on his breast,
  The earth is heaped on his head;
But the groans of his wild unrest,
Though smothered and half suppressed,
  Are heard, and he is not dead. 
And the nations far away
  Are watching with eager eyes;
They talk together and say,
"To-morrow, perhaps to-day,
  Euceladus will arise! 
And the old gods, the austere
  Oppressors in their strength,
Stand aghast and white with fear
At the ominous sounds they hear,
  And tremble, and mutter, "At length!" 
Ah me! for the land that is sown
  With the harvest of despair!
Where the burning cinders, blown
From the lips of the overthrown
  Enceladus, fill the air. 
Where ashes are heaped in drifts
  Over vineyard and field and town,
Whenever he starts and lifts
His head through the blackened rifts
  Of the crags that keep him down. 
See, see! the red light shines!
  'T is the glare of his awful eyes!
And the storm-wind shouts through the pines
Of Alps and of Apennines,
  "Enceladus, arise!" 


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

7. Endymion [sung text not yet checked]

The rising moon has hid the stars,
Her level rays like golden bars
Lie on the landscape green
With shadows brown between,
And silver-white the river gleams,
As if Diana, in her dreams,
Had dropp'd her silver bow
Upon the meadows low.
On such a tranquil night as this,
She woke Endymion with a kiss
When sleeping in the grove,
He dreamed not of her love.
Like Dian's kiss unask'd unsought,
Love gives itself, but is not bought,
Nor voice nor sound betrays
Its deep impassioned gaze.

It comes, the beautiful, the free;
The crown, of all humanity,
In silence, and alone,
To seek the elected one,
It lifts the boughs whose shadows deep
Are life's oblivion, the soul's sleep.
And kisses the closed eyes
Of him who slumbering lies.
Oh, weary hearts, oh, slumbering eyes,
Oh, drooping souls whose destinies
Are fraught with fear and pain,
Ye shall be loved again!
No one is so accursed by fate,
No one so utterly desolate
But some heart, though unknown,
Responds unto his own, responds
As though with unseen wings
An angel touched the quiv'ring strings
And whispers in its song
Where hast thou stayed so long?


See other settings of this text.

Researcher for this text: Barbara Miller

8. Lover’s Rock [sung text not yet checked]

There is a love that cannot die! -
   And some their doom have met
Heart-broken - and gone as stars go by,
   That rise, and burn, and set.
Their days were in Spring's fallen leaf-
Tender - and young - and bright - and brief.

There is a love that cannot die! -
   Aye - it survives the grave;
When life goes out with many a sigh,
   And earth takes what it gave,
Its light is on the home of those
That heed not when the cold wind blows.

With us there are sad records left
   Of life's declining day:
How true hearts here were broken and cleft,
   And how they passed away.
And yon dark rock that swells above
Its blue lake - has a tale of love.

'T is of an Indian maid, whose fate
   Was saddened by the burst
Of passion, that made desolate
   The heart it filled at first.
Her lover was false-hearted, - yet
Her love she never could forget.

It was a summer-day, and bright
   The sun was going down:
The wave lay blushing in rich light
   Beneath the dark rock's frown,
And under the green maple's shade
Her lover's bridal feast was made.

She stood upon the rocky steep,
   Grief had her heart unstrung,
And far across the lake's blue sweep
   Was heard the dirge she sung.
It ceased - and in the deep cold wave
The Indian Girl has made her grave.


Inscription: "They showed us, near the outlet of Sebago, the Lover's Rock, from which an Indian maid threw herself down into the lake, when the guests were coming together to the marriage festival of her false-hearted lover." - Leaf from a Traveller's Journal

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

9. Hymn to the Night [sung text not yet checked]

I heard the trailing garments of the Night
  Sweep through her marble halls!
I saw her sable skirts all fringed with light
  From the celestial walls!

I felt her presence, by its spell of might,
  Stoop o'er me from above;
The calm, majestic presence of the Night,
  As of the one I love.

I heard the sounds of sorrow and delight,
  The manifold, soft chimes,
That fill the haunted chambers of the Night
  Like some old poet's rhymes.

From the cool cisterns of the midnight air
  My spirit drank repose;
The fountain of perpetual peace flows there, --
  From those deep cisterns flows.

O holy Night! from thee I learn to bear
  What man has borne before!
Thou layest thy finger on the lips of Care,
  And they complain no more.

Peace!  Peace!  Orestes-like I breathe this prayer!
  Descend with broad-winged flight,
The welcome, the thrice-prayed for, the most fair,
  The best-beloved Night!


See other settings of this text.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

10. The windmill [sung text not yet checked]

Behold! a giant am I!
  Aloft here in my tower,
  With my granite jaws I devour
The maize, and the wheat, and the rye,
  And grind them into flour. 

I look down over the [farms]1;
  In the fields of grain I see
  The harvest that is to be,
And I fling [to]2 the air my [arms]3,
  For I know it is all for me. 

[I]4 hear the sound of flails
  Far off, from the threshing-floors
  In barns, with their open doors,
And the wind, the wind in my sails,
  Louder and louder roars. 

I stand here in my place,
  With my foot on the rock below,
  And whichever way it may blow,
I meet it face to face,
  As a brave man meets his foe. 

And while we wrestle and strive,
  My master, the miller, stands
  And feeds me with his hands;
For he knows who makes him thrive,
  Who makes him lord of lands. 

On Sundays I take my rest;
  Church-going bells begin
  Their low, melodious din;
I cross my arms on my breast,
  And all is peace within.


See other settings of this text.

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Stöhr: "farm"
2 Stöhr: "in"
3 Stöhr: "arm"
4 Stöhr: "And I"

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Johann Winkler

11. The Reaper and the flowers [sung text not yet checked]

There is a Reaper, whose name is Death,
  And, with his sickle keen,
He reaps the bearded grain at a breath,
  And the flowers that grow between. 

"Shall I have naught that is fair?" saith he;
  "Have naught but the bearded grain?
Though the breath of these flowers is sweet to me,
  I will give them all back again."

He gazed at the flowers with tearful eyes,
  He kissed their drooping leaves;
It was for the Lord of Paradise
  He bound them in his sheaves. 

"My Lord has need of these flowerets gay,"
  The Reaper said, and smiled;
"Dear tokens of the earth are they,
  Where He was once a child. 

"They shall all bloom in fields of light,
  Transplanted by my care,
And saints, upon their garments white,
  These sacred blossoms wear." 

And the mother gave, in tears and pain,
  The flowers she most did love;
She knew she should find them all again
  In the fields of light above. 

Oh, not in cruelty, not in wrath,
  The Reaper came that day;
'T was an angel visited the green earth,
  And took the flowers away. 


See other settings of this text.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
Total word count: 1694