Nocturnal Visions

Song Cycle by Gardner Read (b. 1913)

Word count: 414

1. Night of all nights [sung text checked 1 time]

Night of all nights, rich with the wind's wild laughter!
 [ ... ]


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2. The first jasmines [sung text checked 1 time]

Ah, these jasmines, these white jasmines!
I seem to remember the first day
when I filled my hands with these jasmines, these white jasmines.
I have loved the sunlight, the sky and the green earth;
I have heard the liquid murmur of the river
through the darkness of midnight;
Autumn sunsets have come to me
at the bend of the road in the lonely waste,
like a bride raising her veil to accept her lover.
Yet my memory is still sweet with the first white jasmines
that I held in my hand when I was a child.
Many a glad day has come in my life,
and I have laughed with merry makers on festival nights.
On grey mornings of rain I have crooned many an idle song.
I have worn 'round my neck the evening wreath
of bakulas woven by the hand of love.
Yet my heart is still sweet with the memory of the first fresh jasmines
that filled my hands when I was a child.


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3. I hear an army [sung text not yet checked]

I hear an army charging upon the land,
  And the thunder of horses plunging, foam about their knees:
Arrogant, in black armour, behind them stand,
  Disdaining the reins, with flutt'ring whips, the charioteers.

They cry unto the night their battlename:
  I moan in sleep when I hear afar their whirling laughter.
They cleave the gloom of dreams, a blinding flame,
  Clanging, clanging upon the heart as upon an anvil.

They come shaking in triumph their long, green hair:
  They come out of the sea and run shouting by the shore.
My heart, have you no wisdom thus to despair?
  My love, my love, why have you left me alone?


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

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Walter Riemer) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]