Ah, Love, but a day, And the world has changed! The sun's away, And the bird estranged; The wind has dropped, And the sky's deranged; Summer has stopped. Look in my eyes! Wilt thou change too? Should I fear surprise? Shall I find aught new In the old and dear, In the good and true, With the changing year? Thou art a man, But I am thy love. For the lake, its swan; For the dell, its dove; And for thee — (oh, haste!) Me, to bend above, Me, to hold embraced.
James Lee's Wife
Song Cycle by Arthur Somervell, Sir (1863 - 1937)
1. James Lee's wife speaks at the window  [sung text checked 1 time]
- by Robert Browning (1812 - 1889), no title, appears in James Lee's Wife [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
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2. By the fireside  [sung text checked 1 time]
Is all our fire of shipwreck wood, Oak and pine? Oh, for the ills half-understood, The dim dead woe Long ago Befallen this bitter coast of France! Well, poor sailors took their chance; I take mine. A ruddy shaft our fire must shoot O’er the sea Do sailors eye the casement-mute, Drenched and stark, From their bark— And envy, gnash their teeth for hate O’ the warm safe house and happy freight —Thee and me? God help you, sailors, at your need! Spare the curse! For some ships, safe in port indeed, Rot and rust, Run to dust, All through worms i’ the wood, that crept, Gnawed our hearts out while we slept: That is worse.
3. In the doorway  [sung text checked 1 time]
The swallow has set her six young on the rail, And looks sea-ward: The water’s in stripes like a snake, olive-pale To the leeward,— On the weather-side, black, spotted white with the wind. “Good fortune departs, and disaster’s behind,”— Hark, hark, the wind with its wants and its infinite wail! And why must cold spread? but wherefore bring change To the spirit, God meant should mate his with an infinite range, And inherit His power to put life in the darkness and cold? Oh, live and love worthily, bear and be bold! Whom Summer made friends of, let Winter estrange!
4. On the cliff  [sung text checked 1 time]
I leaned on the turf, I looked at a rock Left dry by the surf; For the turf, to call it grass were to mock: Dead to the roots, so deep was done The work of the summer sun. And the rock lay flat As an anvil’s face: No iron like that! Baked dry; of a shell, of a weed no trace: Sunshine outside, but ice at the core, Death’s altar by the lone shore. On the turf, sprang gay With his films of blue, No cricket, I’ll say, But a warhorse, barded and chanfroned too, The gift of a quixote-mage to his knight, Real fairy, with wings all right. On the rock, they scorch Like a drop of fire From a brandished torch, Fall two red fans of a butterfly: No turf, no rock: in their ugly stead, See, wonderful blue and red! Is it not so With the minds of men? The level and low, The burnt and bare, in themselves; but then With such a blue and red grace, not theirs, Love settling unawares!
5. Among the rocks  [sung text checked 1 time]
Oh, good gigantic smile o’ the brown old earth, This Autumn morning! How he sets his bones To bask i’ the sun, and thrusts out knee and feet For the ripple to run over in its mirth; Listening the while, where on the heap of stones The white breast of the sea-lark twitters sweet. That is the doctrine, simple, ancient, true; Such is life’s trial, as old earth smiles and knows. If you loved only what were worth your love, Love were clear gain, and wholly well for you: Make the low nature better by your throes! Give earth yourself, go up for gain above!