Moonlight on a Midnight Stream

Song Cycle by David Evan Thomas (b. 1958)

Word count: 439

4. A Ghost Story [sung text checked 1 time]

I collected the instruments of life around me, 
that I might infuse a spark 
into the lifeless thing at my feet. 
It was already one in the morning: 
rain pattered dismally against the panes, 
and my lamp was nearly burnt out, when, 
by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, 
I saw the dull, yellow eye of the creature open; 
it breathed hard. 
How to describe my emotions...? 
How delineate the wretch? 
Yellow skin scarcely covering muscles, arteries; 
hair a lustrous black, and flowing; 
teeth all pearly whiteness. 
I had chosen these features as beautiful. 
Beautiful! Great God!

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Dave Evan Thomas

7. Mutability [sung text checked 1 time]

The flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow dies;
All that we wish to stay
Tempts and then flies.
What is this world's delight?
Lightning that mocks the night,
Brief even as bright.

Virtue, how frail it is!
Friendship how rare!
Love, how it sells poor bliss
For proud despair!
[But we, though soon they fall,
Survive their joy, and all
Which ours we call.]1

Whilst skies are blue and bright, 
Whilst flowers are gay,
Whilst eyes that change ere night
Make glad the day;
Whilst yet the calm hours creep,
Dream thou -- and from thy sleep
Then wake to weep.

Authorship

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

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

View original text (without footnotes)
1 omitted by D. E. Thomas

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

10. Valediction [sung text not yet checked]

[ ... ]

My soul is an enchanted boat,
Which, like a sleeping swan, doth float
Upon the silver waves of thy sweet singing;
And thine doth like an angel sit
Beside a helm conducting it,
Whilst all the winds with melody are ringing.
It seems to float ever, forever,
Upon that many-winding river,
Between mountains, woods, abysses,
A paradise of wildernesses!
Till, like one in slumber bound,
Borne to the ocean, I float down, around,
Into a sea profound, of ever-spreading sound:

[ ... ]

Authorship

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]