Songfest

[incomplete]

Song Cycle by Leonard Bernstein (1918 - 1990)

Word count: 1189

2. The pennycandy store beyond the El [sung text checked 1 time]

The pennycandystore beyond the El
 [ ... ]

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3. A Julia de Burgos  [sung text checked 1 time]

Ya las gentes murmuran que yo soy tu enemiga
 [ ... ]

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4. To what you said [sung text checked 1 time]

To what you said, passionately clasping my hand, this is my answer:
Though you have strayed hither, for my sake, you can never belong to me,
Nor I to you,
Behold the customary loves and friendships the cold guards
l am that rough and simple person
l am he who kisses his comrade lightly on the lips at parting,
And l am one who is kissed in return,
I introduce that new American salute
Behold love choked, correct, polite, always suspicious
Behold the received models of the parlors --
What are they to me?
What to these young men that travel with me?

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. I, too, sing America [sung text not yet checked]

I, too sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes.
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

Tomorrow,
I'll [be]1 at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"
Then.

Besides,
They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed. --

[I, too, am America.]2

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1 Bonds: "sit"
2 omitted by Bonds.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

6. To my dear and loving husband [sung text not yet checked]

If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee. 
If ever wife [was]1 happy in a man, 
Compare with me, ye women, if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor [ought]2 but love from thee give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay;
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray. 
Then while we live, in love let's so [persever]3,
That when we live no more, we may live ever.

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Confirmed with The Complete Works of Anne Bradstreet, 1981.

1 Wilkinson: "were"
2 Wilkinson: "aught"
3 Rorem: "persevere"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

9. Music I heard with you [sung text checked 1 time]

Music I heard with you was more than music,
And bread I broke with you was more than bread;
Now that I am without you, all is desolate;
All that was once so beautiful is dead.

Your hands once touched this table and this silver,
And I have seen your fingers hold this glass.
These things do not remember you, beloved,
And yet your touch upon them will not pass.

For it was in my heart that you moved among them,
And blessed them with your hands and with your eyes;
And in my heart they will remember always, -
They knew you once, O beautiful and wise.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

10. Zizi's Lament [sung text checked 1 time]

I am in love with the laughing sickness
 [ ... ]

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11. What lips my lips have kissed [sung text not yet checked]

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply,
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
Thus in winter stands the lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone,
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.

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

  • FRI Frisian [singable] (Geart van der Meer) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (Walter A. Aue) , "Welch' Lippen meine küßten ( 43. Sonett )", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

First published in Vanity Fair, November 1920

Researcher for this text: Robert Manno

12. Israfel [sung text not yet checked]

[And the angel Israfel, whose heart-strings are a lute, and
who has the sweetest voice of all God's creatures. -- KORAN.] 

In Heaven a spirit doth dwell 
          Whose heart-strings are a lute; 
None sing so wildly well 
As the angel Israfel, 
And the giddy stars (so legends tell), 
Ceasing their hymns, attend the spell 
          Of his voice, all mute. 

Tottering above 
          In her highest noon, 
          The enamoured moon 
Blushes with love, 
          While, to listen, the red levin 
          (With the rapid Pleiads, even, 
           Which are seven) 
Pauses in Heaven. 

And they say (the starry choir 
          And the other listening things) 
That Israfeli's fire 
Is owing to that lyre 
          By which he sits and sings, 
The trembling living wire 
          Of those unusual strings. 

But the skies that angel trod, 
          Where deep thoughts are a duty, 
Where Love's a grown-up God, 
          Where the Houri glances are 
Imbued with all the beauty 
          Which we worship in a star. 

Therefore thou art not wrong, 
          Israfeli, who despisest 
An unimpassioned song; 
To thee the laurels belong, 
          Best bard, because the wisest: 
Merrily live, and long! 

The ecstasies above 
          With thy burning measures suit: 
Thy grief, thy joy, thy hate, thy love, 
          With the fervor of thy lute: 
          Well may the stars be mute! 

Yes, Heaven is thine; but this 
          Is a world of sweets and sours; 
          Our flowers are merely -- flowers, 
And the shadow of thy perfect bliss 
          Is the sunshine of ours. 

If I could dwell 
Where Israfel 
          Hath dwelt, and he were I, 
He might not sing so wildly well 
          A mortal melody, 
While a bolder note than this might swell 
          From my lyre within the sky.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]