Three Poems of Walter de la Mare

Song Cycle by Gary Bachlund (b. 1947)

Word count: 215

1. Alas, alack! [sung text checked 1 time]

Ann, Ann! 
  Come! quick as you can!
There's a fish that talks
  In the frying pan!
Out of the fat,
  As clear as glass,
He put up his mouth
  And moaned "Alas!"
Oh, most mournful,
  "Alas, alack!"
Then turned to his sizzling
  And sank him back.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. The song of shadows [sung text checked 1 time]

Sweep thy faint strings, Musician,
  With thy long, lean hand;
Downward the starry tapers burn,
  Sinks soft the waning sand;
The old hound whimpers couched in sleep,
  The embers smoulder low;
Across the wall the shadows
    Come, and go.

Sweep softly thy strings, Musician,
  The minutes mount to hours;
Frost on the windless casement weaves
  A labyrinth of flowers;
Ghosts linger in the darkening air,
  Hearken at the [opening]1 door;
Music hath [called]2 them, dreaming,
    Home once more.

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View original text (without footnotes)
Confirmed with Peacock Pie. A Book of Rhymes by Walter de la Mare, London: Constable & Co. Ltd., [1920], p. 176.

1 Bennett, Gibbs: "open"
2 Gibbs: "brought"

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Malcolm Wren [Guest Editor]

3. Silver [sung text checked 1 time]

Slowly, silently, now the moon
Walks the night in her silver shoon;
This way, and that, she peers and sees
Silver fruit upon silver trees;
One by one the casements catch 
Her beams beneath the silvery thatch;
Couched in his kennel, like a log,
With paws of silver sleeps the dog;
[From their shadowy cote the white breasts peep
Of doves in a silver-feathered sleep]1
A harvest mouse goes scampering by,
With silver claws, and silver eye;
And moveless fish in the water gleam,
By silver reeds in a silver stream.

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
1 omitted by Bachlund, Britten, Duke, Gibbs.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]