Four Songs from 'A Man Young and Old'

Song Cycle by Ronald A. Beckett

Word count: 847

1. No second Troy [sung text not yet checked]

Why should I blame her that she filled my days
With misery, or that she would of late
Have taught to ignorant men most violent ways,
Or hurled the little streets upon the great,
Had they but courage equal to desire?
What could have made her peaceful with a mind
That nobleness made simple as a fire,
With beauty like a tightened bow, a kind
That is not natural in an age like this,
Being high and solitary and most stern? 
Why, what could she have done being what she is?
Was there another Troy for her to burn?

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Pas de seconde Troie", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Confirmed with W. B. Yeats, Later Poems, Macmillan and Co., London, 1926, page 152.


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. On being asked for a War Poem [sung text not yet checked]

I think it better that in times like these
A poet's mouth be silent, for in truth
We have no gift to set a statesman right;
He has had enough of meddling who can please
A young girl in the indolence of her youth,
Or an old man upon a winter’s night.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. That crazed girl [sung text not yet checked]

That crazed girl improvising her music.
Her poetry, dancing upon the shore,

Her soul in division from itself
Climbing, falling She knew not where,
Hiding amid the cargo of a steamship,
Her knee-cap broken, that girl I declare
A beautiful lofty thing, or a thing
Heroically lost, heroically found.

No matter what disaster occurred
She stood in desperate music wound,
Wound, wound, and she made in her triumph
Where the bales and the baskets lay
No common intelligible sound
But sang, 'O sea-starved, hungry sea.' 

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. My fiftieth year [sung text not yet checked]

[ ... ]

IV
My fiftieth year had come and gone,
I sat, a solitary man,
In a crowded London shop,
An open book and empty cup
On the marble table-top.
While on the shop and street I gazed
My body of a sudden blazed;
And twenty minutes more or less
It seemed, so great my happiness,
That I was blessed and could bless.

[ ... ]

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]