Four Dickinson Songs

Song Cycle by Lee Hoiby (1926 - 2011)

Word count: 310

German (Deutsch) translation: Vier Dickinsonlieder ( Bertram Kottmann)

1. A letter [sung text checked 1 time]

You ask of my companions.
Hills, sir, and the sundown, 
and a dog large as myself, 
that my father bought me. 
They are better than beings 
because they know, but do not tell; 
and the noise in the pool 
at noon excels my piano. 
I have a brother and a sister; 
my mother does not care for thought, 
and father, too busy with his briefs 
to notice what we do. 
He buys me many books, 
but begs me not to read them, 
because he fears they joggle the mind. 
They are religious, except me, 
and address an eclipse ev'ry morning, 
whom they call their "Father." 
But I fear my story fatigues you.

I would like to learn.
Could you tell me how to grow, 
or is it unconveyed, 
like melody or witchcraft?

Authorship

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

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Note: From a letter from Emily Dickinson to Thomas Wentworth Higgins, dated April 25, 1862. The line-breaks are arbitrary; this is a prose text.


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. How the Waters closed [sung text checked 1 time]

How the Waters closed above Him
We shall never know --
How He stretched His Anguish to us
That -- is covered too --

Spreads the Pond Her Base of Lilies
Bold above the Boy
Whose unclaimed Hat and Jacket
Sum the History --

Authorship

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Comment les Eaux se sont fermées sur Lui", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. Wild nights [sung text checked 1 time]

Wild nights! -- Wild nights!
Were I with thee,
Wild nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile -- the [Wind]1 --
To a heart in port, --
Done with the Compass, --
Done with the Chart!

Rowing in Eden --
Ah! the Sea!
Might I but moor -- Tonight --
In thee!

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

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

  • CHI Chinese (中文) (Mei Foong Ang) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Walter A. Aue) , "Sturmnacht! - Sturmnacht!", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Notti selvagge! Notti di tempesta!", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
1 note: sometimes "Winds". Hoiby, Leisner, Rusche, A. Thomas: "Winds"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. There came a wind like a bugle [sung text checked 1 time]

There came a Wind like a Bugle —
It quivered through the Grass
And a Green Chill upon the Heat
So ominous did pass
We barred the Windows and the Doors
As from an Emerald Ghost —
The Doom's electric Moccasin
That very instant passed —
On a strange Mob of panting Trees
And Fences fled away
And Rivers where the Houses ran
Those looked that lived — that Day —
The Bell within the steeple wild
The flying tidings told —
How much can come
And much can go,
And yet abide the World!

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

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

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]