Four songs on poems by Walt Whitman

by James Rolfe

Word count: 366

1. O you whom I often and silently come  [sung text not yet checked]

O you whom I often and silently come 
  where you are that I may be with you, 
As I walk by your side or sit near,
  or remain in the same room with you, 
Little you know the subtle electric fire
  that for your sake is playing within me.

Authorship

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Researcher for this text: John Versmoren

2. I heard you, solemn-sweet pipes of the organ [sung text not yet checked]

I heard you, solemn-sweet pipes of the organ,
    as last Sunday morn I pass'd the church;	 
Winds of autumn! -- as I walk'd the woods at dusk,
    I heard your long-stretch'd sighs, up above, so mournful;	 
I heard the perfect Italian tenor, singing at the opera --
    I heard the soprano in the midst of the quartet singing;	 
... Heart of my love! -- you too I heard, murmuring low,
    through one of the wrists around my head;	 
Heard the pulse of you, when all was still, ringing little bells
    last night under my ear.

Authorship

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. Not heaving from my ribb'd breast only [sung text not yet checked]

Not heaving from my ribb’d breast only;
Not in sighs at night, in rage, dissatisfied with myself;
Not in those long-drawn, ill-supprest sighs;
Not in many an oath and promise broken;
Not in my wilful and savage soul’s volition;
Not in the subtle nourishment of the air;
Not in this beating and pounding at my temples and wrists;
Not in the curious systole and diastole within, which will one day cease;
Not in many a hungry wish, told to the skies only;
Not in cries, laughter, defiances, thrown from me when alone, far in the wilds;
Not in husky pantings through clench’d teeth;
Not in sounded and resounded words — chattering words, echoes, dead words;
Not in the murmurs of my dreams while I sleep,
Nor the other murmurs of these incredible dreams of every day;
Nor in the limbs and senses of my body,
   that take you and dismiss you continually — Not there;
Not in any or all of them, O adhesiveness! O pulse of my life!
Need I that you exist and show yourself, any more than in these songs.

Authorship

Confirmed with Whitman, Walt, Leaves of Grass. Philadelphia: David McKay, [c1900]; Bartleby.com, 1999, http://www.bartleby.com/142/40.html.


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. This is thy hour, O Soul [sung text not yet checked]

This is thy hour, O Soul, thy free flight into the wordless,
Away from books, away from art, the day erased, the lesson done,
Thee fully forth emerging, silent, gazing, pondering the themes thou lovest best,
Night, sleep, death, and the stars.

Authorship

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

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Portions of this text were used in Idyll by Frederick Delius.


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]