Hebrew melodies

Song Cycle by David Leo Diamond (1915 - 2005)

Word count: 572

1. My soul is dark [sung text checked 1 time]

My soul is dark - Oh! quickly string
  The harp I yet can brook to hear;
And let thy gentle fingers fling
  Its melting murmurs o'er mine ear. --
If in this heart a hope be dear,
  That sound shall charm it forth again --
If in these eyes there lurk a tear, 
  'Twill flow -- and cease to burn my brain --

But bid the strain be wild and deep,
  Nor let thy notes of joy be first:
I tell thee -- Minstrel! I must weep,
  Or else this heavy heart will burst --
For it hath been by sorrow nurst,
  And ached in sleepless silence [long]1 --
And now 'tis doom'd to know the worst,
  And break at once -- or yield to song.

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1 in some versions, "too long"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. If that high world [sung text checked 1 time]

If that high world -- which lies beyond
   Our own, surviving love endears;
If there the cherished heart be fond,
   The eye the same -- except in tears --
How welcome those untrodden spheres!
   How sweet this very hour to die!
To soar from earth and find all fears
   Lost in thy light -- eternity!

It must be so -- 'tis not for self
   That we so tremble on the brink,
And striving to o'erleap the gulph,
   Yet cling to Being's breaking link.
Oh! in that future let us think
   To hold each heart the heart that shares;
With them the immortal waters drink,
   And soul in soul grow deathless theirs!

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3. Saul [sung text checked 1 time]

Thou whose spell can raise the dead, 
Bid the prophet's form appear. 
'Samuel, raise thy buried head! 
King, behold the phantom seer!' 
Earth yawn'd; he stood the centre of a cloud: 
Light changed its hue, retiring from his shroud. 
Death stood all glassy in his fixed eye: 
His hand was wither'd, and his veins were dry; 
His foot, in bony whiteness, glitter'd there, 
Shrunken and sinewless, and ghastly bare; 
From lips that moved not and unbreathing frame, 
Like cavern'd winds, the hollow acccents came. 
Saul saw, and fell to earth, as falls the oak, 
At once, and blasted by the thunderstroke. 

'Why is my sleep disquieted? 
Who is he that calls the dead? 
Is it thou, O King? Behold, 
bloodless are these limbs, and cold: 
Such are mine; and such shall be 
Thine to-morrow, when with me: 
Ere the coming day is done, 
Such shalt thou be, such thy son. 
Fare thee well, but for a day, 
Then we mix our mouldering clay.
Thou, thy race, lie pale and low, 
Pierced by shafts of many a bow;  
And the falchion by thy side 
To thy heart thy hand shall guide: 
Crownless, breathless, headless fall, 
Son and sire, the house of Saul!'

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. All is vanity [sung text checked 1 time]

Fame, wisdom, love, and power were mine, 
And health and youth possess'd me; 
My goblets blush'd from every vine, 
And lovely forms carress'd me; 
I sunn'd my heart in beauty's eyes, 
And felt my soul grow tender; 
All earth can give, or mortal prize, 
Was mine of regal splendour. 

I strive to number o'er what days 
Remembrance can discover, 
Which all that life or earth displays 
Would lure me to live over. 
There rose no day, there roll'd no hour 
Of pleasure unembitter'd: 
And not a trapping deck'd my power 
That gall'd not while it glitter'd. 

The serpent of the field, by art 
And spells, is won from harming; 
But that which coils around the heart, 
Oh! who hath power of charming? 
It will not list to wisdom's lore, 
Nor music's voice can lure it; 
But there it stings for evermore 
The soul that must endure it.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]