Eleven Songs from "A Shropshire Lad"

Song Cycle by Alan Leichtling

Word count: 1066

?. Into my heart an air that kills [sung text not yet checked]

Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?

That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

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

  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Dentro il mio cuore un vento che uccide", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

?. Reveille [sung text not yet checked]

Wake: the silver dusk returning
Up the beach of darkness brims,
And the ship of sunrise burning
Strands upon the eastern rims.

Wake: the vaulted shadow shatters,
Trampled to the floor it spanned,
And the tent of night in tatters
Straws the sky-pavilioned land.

Up, lad, up, 'tis late for lying:
Hear the drums of morning play;
Hark, the empty highways crying
"Who'll beyond the hills away?"

Towns and countries woo together,
Forelands beacon, belfries call;
Never lad that trod on leather
Lived to feast his heart with all.

Up, lad: thews that lie and cumber
Sunlit pallets never thrive;
Morns abed and daylight slumber
Were not meant for man alive.

Clay lies still, but blood's a rover;
Breath's a ware that will not keep.
Up, lad: when the journey's over
There'll be time enough to sleep.

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

?. On moonlit heath and lonesome bank [sung text not yet checked]

On moonlit heath and lonesome bank
  The sheep beside me graze;
And yon the gallows used to clank
  Fast by the four cross ways.
 
A careless shepherd once would keep
  The flocks by moonlight there1,
And high amongst the glimmering sheep
  The dead man stood on air.
 
They hang us now in Shrewsbury jail:
  The whistles blow forlorn,
And trains all night groan on the rail
  To men that die at morn.
 
There sleeps in Shrewsbury jail to-night,
  Or wakes, as may betide,
A better lad, if things went right,
  Than most that sleep outside.
 
And naked to the hangman's noose
  The morning clocks will ring
A neck God made for other use
  Than strangling in a string.
 
And sharp the link of life will snap,
  And dead on air will stand
Heels that held up as straight a chap
  As treads upon the land.
 
So here I'll watch the night and wait
  To see the morning shine,
When he will hear the stroke of eight
  And not the stroke of nine;
 
And wish my friend as sound a sleep
  As lads' I did not know,
That shepherded the moonlit sheep
  A hundred years ago.

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Note in one edition: "Hanging in chains was called keeping sheep by moonlight."

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. With rue my heart is laden [sung text not yet checked]

With rue my heart is laden
 For golden friends I had,
For many a rose-lipt maiden
 And many a lightfoot lad.

By brooks too broad for leaping
 The lightfoot boys are laid;
The rose-lipt girls are sleeping 
 In fields where roses fade.

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. Bring, in this timeless grave to show [sung text not yet checked]

Bring, in this timeless grave to throw
No cypress, sombre on the snow;
Snap not from the bitter yew
His leaves that live December through;
Break no rosemary, bright with rime
And sparkling to the cruel crime;
Nor plod the winter land to look
For willows in the icy brook
To cast them leafless round him: bring
[To spray that ever buds in spring]1.

But if the Christmas field has kept
Awns the last gleaner overstept,
Or shrivelled flax, whose flower is blue
A single season, never two;
Or if one haulm whose year is o'er
Shivers on the upland frore,
-- Oh, bring from hill and stream and plain
Whatever will not flower again,
To give him comfort: he and those
Shall bide eternal bedfellows
Where low upon the couch he lies
Whence he never shall arise.

Authorship

View original text (without footnotes)
1 A 1959 edition edited by John Carter amends this line to "No spray that ever buds in spring."


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. When the lad for longing sighs [sung text not yet checked]

When the lad for longing sighs,
 Mute and dull of cheer and pale,
If at death's own door he lies,
 Maiden, you can heal his ail.

Lovers' ills are all to buy:
 The wan look, the hollow tone,
The hung head, the sunken eye,
 You can have them for your own.

Buy them, buy them: eve and morn
 Lovers' ills are all to sell,
Then you can lie down forlorn;
 But the lover will be well.

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. Others, I am not the first [sung text not yet checked]

Others, I am not the first,
Have willed more mischief than they durst:
If in the breathless night I too
Shiver now, 'tis nothing new.

More than I, if truth were told,
Have stood and sweated hot and cold,
And through their reins in ice and fire
Fear contended with desire.

Agued once like me were they,
But I like them shall win my way
Lastly to the bed of mould
Where there's neither heat nor cold.

But from my grave across my brow
Plays no wind of healing now,
And fire and ice within me fight
Beneath the suffocating night.

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. When I was one-and-twenty [sung text not yet checked]

When I was one-and-twenty
 I heard [a wise man]1 say,
"Give crowns and pounds and guineas
 But not your heart away;
Give pearls away and rubies
 But keep your fancy free."
But I was one-and-twenty,
 No use to talk to me.

When I was one-and-twenty
 I heard him say again,
"The heart out of the bosom
 Was never given in vain;
'Tis paid with sighs a plenty
 And sold for endless rue."
And I am two-and-twenty,
 And oh, 'tis true, 'tis true.

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Patricia Dillard Eguchi) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (Bertram Kottmann) , "Als ich war einundzwanzig", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • HEB Hebrew (עברית) (Max Mader) , "כאשר הייתי בן עשרים ואחת", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Steele: "an old man"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. Be still, my soul [sung text not yet checked]

Be still, my soul, be still; the arms you bear are brittle,
Earth and high heaven are fixt of old and founded strong.
Think rather, -- call to thought, if now you grieve a little,
The days when we had rest, O soul, for they were long.

Men loved unkindness then, but lightless in the quarry
I slept and saw not; tears fell down, I did not mourn;
Sweat ran and blood sprang out and I was never sorry:
Then it was well with me, in days ere I was born.

Now, and I muse for why and never find the reason,
I pace the earth, and drink the air, and feel the sun.
Be still, be still, my soul; it is but for a season:
Let us endure an hour and see injustice done.

Ay, look: high heaven and earth ail from the prime foundation;
All thoughts to rive the heart are here, and all are vain:
Horror and scorn and hate and fear and indignation --
Oh why did I awake? when shall I sleep again?

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. Loveliest of trees [sung text not yet checked]

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy [springs]1 a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the [woodlands]2 I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Patricia Dillard Eguchi) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • HEB Hebrew (עברית) (Max Mader) , "היפה בעצים", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Manton: "years"
2 Steele: "woodland"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]