Three Choral Ballads

by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875 - 1912)

Word count: 629

1. Beside the ungathered rice he lay [sung text checked 1 time]

Beside the ungathered rice he lay,
   His sickle in his hand;
His breast was bare, his matted hair
   Was buried in the sand.
Again, in the mist and shadow of sleep,
   He saw his Native Land.

Wide through the landscape of his dreams
   The lordly Niger flowed;
Beneath the palm-trees on the plain
   Once more a king he strode;
And heard the tinkling caravans
   Descend the mountain-road.

He saw once more his dark-eyed queen
   Among her children stand;
They clasped his neck, they kissed his cheeks,
   They held him by the hand!--
A tear burst from the sleeper's lids
   And fell into the sand.

And then at furious [speed]1 he rode
   Along the Niger's bank;
His bridle-reins were golden chains,
   And, with a martial clank,
At each leap he could feel his scabbard of steel
   Smiting his stallion's flank.

Before him, like a blood-red flag,
   The bright flamingoes flew;
From morn till night he followed their flight,
   O'er plains where the tamarind grew,
Till he saw the roofs of Caffre huts,
   And the ocean rose to view.

At night he heard the lion roar,
   And the hyena scream,
And the river-horse, as he crushed the reeds
   Beside some hidden stream;
And it passed, like a glorious roll of drums,
   Through the triumph of his dream.

The forests, with their myriad tongues,
   Shouted of liberty;
And the Blast of the Desert cried aloud,
   With a voice so wild and free,
That he started in his sleep and smiled
   At their tempestuous glee.

He did not feel the driver's whip,
   Nor the burning heat of day;
For Death had illumined the Land of Sleep,
   And his lifeless body lay
A worn-out fetter, that the soul
   Had broken and thrown away!

Authorship

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

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1: Coleridge-Taylor: "pace"

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Andrew Schneider [Guest Editor]

2. She dwells by Great Kenhawa's side [sung text not yet checked]

She dwells by Great Kenhawa's side,
  In valleys green and cool;
And all her hope and all her pride
  Are in the village school. 

Her soul, like the transparent air
  That robes the hills above,
Though not of earth, encircles there
  All things with arms of love. 

And thus she walks among her girls
  With praise and mild rebukes;
Subduing e'en rude village churls
  By her angelic looks. 

She reads to them at eventide
  Of One who came to save;
To cast the captive's chains aside
  And liberate the slave. 

And oft the blessed time foretells
  When all men shall be free;
And musical, as silver bells,
  Their falling chains shall be. 

And following her beloved Lord,
  In decent poverty,
She makes her life one sweet record
  And deed of charity. 

For she was rich, and gave up all
  To break the iron bands
Of those who waited in her hall,
  And labored in her lands. 

Long since beyond the Southern Sea
  Their outbound sails have sped,
While she, in meek humility,
  Now earns her daily bread. 

It is their prayers, which never cease,
  That clothe her with such grace;
Their blessing is the light of peace
  That shines upon her face.

Authorship

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

  • RUS Russian (Русский) (Mikhail Larionovich Mikhailov) , "Благая часть, яже не отымется", first published 1861

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. Loud he sang the Psalm of David [sung text checked 1 time]

Loud he sang the psalm of David!
He, a Negro and enslaved,
Sang of Israel's victory,
Sang of Zion, bright and free. 

In that hour, when night is calmest,
Sang he [from]1 the Hebrew Psalmist,
In a voice so sweet and clear
That I could not choose but hear, 

[ ... ]

And the voice of his devotion
Filled my soul with strange emotion;
For its tones by turns were glad,
Sweetly solemn, wildly sad. 

Paul and Silas, in their prison,
Sang of Christ, the Lord arisen.
And an earthquake's arm of might
Broke their dungeon-gates at night. 

But, alas! what holy angel
Brings the Slave this glad evangel?
And what earthquake's arm of might
Breaks his dungeon-gates at night?

Authorship

View original text (without footnotes)
1: Coleridge-Taylor: "of"

Researcher for this text: Andrew Schneider [Guest Editor]