Songs of the Countryside

Song Cycle by Daniel Gregory Mason (1873 - 1953)

Word count: 499

?. Fancy's knell [sung text not yet checked]

When lads come home from labour
At Abdon under Clee
A man would call his neighbour
And both would send for me.
And where the light in lances
Across the mead was laid,
There to the dances
I fetched my flute and played.

Ours were idle pleasures,
Yet oh, content we were,
The young to wind the measures,
The old to heed the air;
And I to lift with playing
From tree and tower and steep
The light delaying,
And flute the sun to sleep.

The youth toward his fancy
Would turn his brow of tan,
And Tom would pair with Nancy
And Dick step off with Fan;
The girl would lift her glances
To his, and both be mute:
Well went the dances
At evening to the flute.

Wenlock Edge was umbered,
And bright was Abdon Burf,
And warm between them slumbered
The smooth green miles of turf;
Until from grass and clover
The upshot beam would fade,
And England over
Advanced the lofty shade.

The lofty shade advances,
I fetch my flute and play:
Come, lads, and learn the dances
And praise the tune to-day.
To-morrow, more's the pity,
Away we both must hie,
To air the ditty,
And to earth I.


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Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

?. The deserter [sung text not yet checked]

"What sound awakened me, I wonder,
  For now 'tis dumb."
"Wheels on the road most like, or thunder:
  Lie down; 'twas not the drum."
Toil at sea and two in haven
  And trouble far;
Fly, crow, away, and follow, raven,
  And all that croaks for war.
"Hark, I heard the bugle crying,
  And where am I?
My friends are up and dressed and dying,
  And I will dress and die."
"Oh love is rare and trouble plenty
  And carrion cheap,
And daylight dear at four-and-twenty:
  Lie down again and sleep."
"Reach me my belt and leave your prattle:
  Your hour is gone;
But my day is the day of battle,
  And that comes dawning on.
"They mow the field of man in season:
  Farewell, my fair,
And, call it truth or call it treason,
  Farewell the vows that were."
"Ay, false heart, forsake me lightly:
  'Tis like the brave.
They find no bed to joy in rightly
  Before they find the grave.
"Their love is for their own undoing,
  And east and west
They scour about the world a-wooing
  The bullet to their breast.
"Sail away the ocean over,
  Oh sail away,
And lie there with your leaden lover
  For ever and a day."


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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. In valleys green and still [sung text not yet checked]

In valleys green and still
   Where lovers wander maying,
They hear from over hill
   A music playing.

Behind the drum and fife,
   Past [hawthorn wood]1 and hollow,
Through earth and out of life,
   The soldiers follow.

The soldier's is the trade:
   In any wind or weather
He steals the heart of maid
   And man together.

The lover and his lass
   Beneath the hawthorn lying
Have heard the soldiers pass,
   And both are sighing.

And down the distance they,
   With dying note and swelling,
Walk the resounding way
   To the still dwelling.


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1 in some editions of Housman, this is "hawthornwood"

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Mike Pearson