Four Poems by Shelley Set to Lyric Music

Song Cycle by Frederic Field Bullard (1864 - 1904)

Word count: 0

1. To a skylark [sung text not yet checked]

                Hail to thee, blithe Spirit!
                     Bird thou never wert -
                 That from Heaven or near itor near it
                       Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.

                Higher still and higher
                     From the earth thou springest,
                Like a cloud of fire;
                     The blue deep thou wingest,
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.

                In the golden lightning
                    Of the sunken sun,
                O'er which clouds are bright'ning,
                    Thou dost float and run,
Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.

                 The pale purple even
                     Melts around thy flight;
                 Like a star of Heaven,
                     In the broad daylight
Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight -

                 Keen as are the arrows
                     Of that silver sphere
                 Whose intense lamp narrows
                     In the white dawn clear,
Until we hardly see, we feel that it is there.

                 All the earth and air
                    With thy voice is loud,
                 As, when night is bare,
                     From one lonely cloud
The moon rains out her beams, and Heaven is overflowed.

                 What thou art we know not;
                     What is most like thee?
                  From rainbow clouds there flow not
                     Drops so bright to see,
As from thy presence showers a rain of melody: -

                 Like a Poet hidden
                     In the light of thought,
                 Singing hymns unbidden,
                     Till the world is wrought 
To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not:

                 Like a high-born maiden
                     In a palace-tower,
                 Soothing her love-laden
                     Soul in secret hour
With music sweet as love, which overflows her bower:

                 Like a glow-worm golden
                     In a dell of dew,
                 Scattering unbeholden
                     Its aërial hue
Among the flowers and grass which screen it from the view:

                   Like a rose embowered
                       In its own green leaves,
                   By warm winds deflowered,
                       Till the scent it gives
Makes faint with too much sweet these heavy-wingèd thieves:

                   Sound of vernal showers
                       On the twinkling grass,
                   Rain-awakened flowers -
                       All that ever was
Joyous and clear and fresh - thy music doth surpass.

                    Teach us, Sprite or Bird,
                        What sweet thoughts are thine:
                     I have never heard
                         Praise of love or wine
That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine.

                     Chorus hymeneal,
                         Or triumphal chant,
                    Matched with thine would be all
                         but an empty vaunt -
A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want.

                    What objects are the fountains
                        Of thy happy strain?
                    What fields, or waves, or mountains?
                        What shapes of sky or plain?
What love of thine own kind? what ignorance of pain?

                     With thy clear keen joyance
                          Languor cannot be:
                     Shadow of annoyance
                         Never came near thee:
Thou lovest, but ne'er knew love's sad satiety.

                     Waking or asleep,
                         Thou of death must deem
                     Things more true and deep
                         Than we mortals dream,
Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream?

                     We look before and after,
                         And pine for what is not:
                     Our sincerest laughter
                         With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.

                     Yet, if we could scorn
                        Hate and pride and fear,
                     If we were things born
                         Not to shed a tear,
I know not how thy joy we ever should come near.

                     Better than all measures
                         Of delightful sound,
                     Better than all treasures
                         That in books are found,
Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground!

                     Teach me half the gladness
                         That thy brain must know;
                     Such harmonious madness
                         From my lips would flow,
The world should listen then, as I am listening now.

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

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. De profundis [sung text not yet checked]

Rarely, rarely, comest thou,
Spirit of Delight!
Wherefore hast thou left me now
Many a day and night?
Many a weary night and day  
'Tis since thou art fled away.

How shall ever one like me
Win thee back again?
With the joyous and the free
Thou wilt scoff at pain.   
Spirit false! thou hast forgot
All but those who need thee not.

As a lizard with the shade
Of a trembling leaf,
Thou with sorrow art dismayed; 
Even the sighs of grief
Reproach thee, that thou art not near,
And reproach thou wilt not hear.

Let me set my mournful ditty
To a merry measure; 
Thou wilt never come for pity,
Thou wilt come for pleasure;
Pity then will cut away
Those cruel wings, and thou wilt stay.

I love all that thou lovest,  
Spirit of Delight!
The fresh Earth in new leaves dressed,
And the starry night;
Autumn evening, and the morn
When the golden mists are born. 

I love snow, and all the forms
Of the radiant frost;
I love waves, and winds, and storms,
Everything almost
Which is Nature's, and may be
Untainted by man's misery.

I love tranquil solitude,
And such society
As is quiet, wise, and good
Between thee and me 
What difference? but thou dost possess
The things I seek, not love them less.

I love Love--though he has wings,
And like light can flee,
But above all other things,
Spirit, I love thee --
Thou art love and life! Oh, come,
Make once more my heart thy home.

Authorship

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

  • CZE Czech (Čeština) (Jaroslav Vrchlický) , title 1: "Utečenci", title 2: "Zpěv", Prague, J. Otto, first published 1901

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. From dreams of thee [sung text not yet checked]

I arise from dreams of thee
In the first sweet sleep of night,
When the winds are breathing low,
And the stars are shining bright:
I arise from dreams of thee,
And a spirit in my feet
[Has]1 led me - who knows how?
To thy chamber window, Sweet!

The wandering airs they faint
On the dark, the silent stream -
The Champak odours fail
Like sweet thoughts in a dream;
The nightingale's complaint,
It dies upon her heart; -
As I must die on thine,
O belovèd as thou art!

Oh lift me from the grass!
I die! I faint! I fail!
Let thy love in kisses rain
On my lips and eyelids pale.
My cheek is cold and white, alas!
My heart beats loud and fast; -
Oh! press it to thine own again,
Where it will break at last.

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

  • CZE Czech (Čeština) (Jaroslav Vrchlický) , "Řádky k indické melodii"
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Indische Serenade", copyright © 2004, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Delius: "Hath"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. Hymn of Pan [sung text not yet checked]

From the forests and highlands
We come, we come;
From the river-girt islands,
Where loud waves are dumb
Listening to my sweet pipings.
The wind in the reeds and the rushes,
The bees on the bells of thyme,
The birds on the myrtle bushes,
The cicale above in the lime,
And the lizards below in the grass, 
Were as silent as ever old Tmolus was,
Listening to my sweet pipings.

Liquid Peneus was flowing,
And all dark Tempe lay
In Pelion's shadow, outgrowing
The light of the dying day,
Speeded by my sweet pipings.
The Sileni, and Sylvans, and Fauns,
And the Nymphs of the woods and the waves,
To the edge of the moist river-lawns, 
And the brink of the dewy caves,
And all that did then attend and follow,
Were silent with love, as you now, Apollo,
With envy of my sweet pipings.

I sang of the dancing stars, 
I sang of the daedal Earth,
And of Heaven--and the giant wars,
And Love, and Death, and Birth, --
And then I changed my pipings, --
Singing how down the vale of Maenalus 
I pursued a maiden and clasped a reed.
Gods and men, we are all deluded thus!
It breaks in our bosom and then we bleed:
All wept, as I think both ye now would,
If envy or age had not frozen your blood, 
At the sorrow of my sweet pipings.

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

  • CZE Czech (Čeština) (Jaroslav Vrchlický) , "Hymna Panova", Prague, J. Otto, first published 1901

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]