Amherst Requiem

Song Cycle by Brian Holmes (b. 1946)

Word count: 628

German (Deutsch) translation: Amherst Requiem ( Bertram Kottmann)

1. What inn is this [sung text checked 1 time]

What inn is this
Where for the night
Peculiar traveller comes?
Who is the landlord?
Where the maids?
Behold, what curious rooms!
No ruddy fires on the hearth,
No brimming tankards flow.
Necromancer, landlord,
Who are these below?

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

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , no title, copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. Safe in their alabaster chambers [sung text checked 1 time]

Safe in their alabaster chambers,
Untouched by morning and untouched by noon,
Sleep the meek members of the resurrection,
Rafter of satin, and roof of stone.

Light laughs the breeze in her castle of sunshine;
Babbles the bee in a stolid ear;
Pipe the sweet birds in ignorant cadence, -
Ah, what sagacity perished here!

Grand go the years in the crescent above them;
Worlds scoop their arcs, and firmaments row,
Diadems drop and Doges surrender,
Soundless as dots on a disk of snow.

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

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. I heard a fly buzz when I died [sung text not yet checked]

I heard a Fly buzz -- when I died -- 
The Stillness [in the Room]1
Was like the Stillness in the Air -- 
Between the Heaves of Storm.

The Eyes [around]2 -- had wrung them dry -- 
And Breaths were gathering [sure]3
For that last Onset -- when the King
Be witnessed -- in [the Room]4 -- 

I willed my Keepsakes -- Signed away
What portion of me [be
Assignable -- and then it was]5
There interposed a Fly -- 

With Blue -- uncertain stumbling Buzz -- 
Between the light -- and me -- 
And then the Windows failed -- and then
I could not see to see --

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

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
1 some versions of the original poem have "round my form"
2 "" : "beside"
3 "" : "firm" (used by Rusche)
4 "" : "his power"
5 "" : "I / Could make assignable, -- and then"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. Abraham to kill him [sung text checked 1 time]

Abraham to kill him --
Was distinctly told --
Isaac was an Urchin --
Abraham was old --

Not a hesitation --
Abraham complied --
Flattered by Obeisance
Tyranny demurred --

Isaac -- to his children
Lived to tell the tale --
Moral -- with a Mastiff
Manners may prevail.

Authorship

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Abraham de le tuer", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. What is -- "Paradise" [sung text checked 1 time]

What is -- "Paradise" --
Who live there --
Are they "Farmers" --
Do they "hoe" --
Do they know that this is "Amherst" --
And that I -- am coming -- too --

Do they wear "new shoes" -- in "Eden" --
Is it always pleasant -- there --
Won't they scold us -- when we're homesick --
Or tell God -- how cross we are --

You are sure there's such a person
As "a Father" -- in the sky --
So if I get lost -- there -- ever --
Or do what the Nurse calls "die" --
I shan't walk the "Jasper" -- barefoot --
Ransomed folks -- won't laugh at me --
Maybe -- "Eden" a'n't so lonesome
As New England used to be!

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

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Note provided by Bertram Kottmann for line 3-5: cf. Revelation 21:18


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

6. Ample make this bed [sung text checked 1 time]

Ample make this Bed --
Make this Bed with Awe --
In it wait till Judgment break
Excellent and Fair.

Be its Mattress straight --
Be its Pillow round --
Let no Sunrise' yellow noise
Interrupt this Ground --

Authorship

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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) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Rendi spazioso questo letto", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

7. Behind Me -- dips Eternity [sung text checked 1 time]

Behind Me -- dips Eternity --
Before Me -- Immortality --
Myself -- the Term between --
Death but the Drift of Eastern Gray,
Dissolving into Dawn away,
Before the West begin --

'Tis Kingdoms -- afterward -- they say --
In perfect -- pauseless Monarchy --
Whose Prince -- is Son of None --
Himself -- His Dateless Dynasty --
Himself -- Himself diversify --
In Duplicate divine --

'Tis Miracle before Me -- then --
'Tis Miracle behind -- between --
A Crescent in the Sea --
With Midnight to the North of Her --
And Midnight to the South of Her --
And Maelstrom -- in the Sky --

Authorship

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

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

8. I shall keep singing! [sung text checked 1 time]

I shall keep singing!
Birds will pass me
On their way to Yellower Climes --
Each -- with a Robin's expectation --
I -- with my Redbreast --
And my Rhymes --

Late -- when I take my place in summer --
But -- I shall bring a fuller tune --
Vespers -- are sweeter than Matins -- Signor --
Morning -- only the seed of Noon --

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

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

9. Tie the strings to my life, my Lord [sung text not yet checked]

Tie the strings to my life, my Lord,
Then I am ready to go! 
Just a look at the horses -
Rapid! That will do! 

Put me in on the firmest side,
So I shall never fall;
For we must ride to the Judgment,
And it 's partly down hill. 

But never I mind the bridges,
And never I mind the sea;
Held fast in everlasting race
By my own choice and thee. 

Good-by to the life I used to live,
And the world I used to know;
And kiss the hills for me, just once;
Now I am ready to go!

Authorship

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

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]