Seven Songs from "A Shropshire Lad"

Song Cycle by Charles Wilfred Orr (1893 - 1976)

Word count: 848

?. Oh fair enough are sky and plain [sung text checked 1 time]

Oh fair enough are sky and plain,
  But I know fairer far:
Those are as beautiful again
  That in the water are;

The pools and rivers wash so clean
  The trees and clouds and air,
The like on earth was never seen,
  And oh that I were there.

These are the thoughts I often think
  As I stand gazing down
In act upon the cressy brink
  To strip and dive and drown;

But in the golden-sanded brooks
  And azure meres I spy
A silly lad that longs and looks
  And wishes he were I.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. When smoke stood up from Ludlow [sung text checked 1 time]

When smoke stood up from Ludlow,
 And mist blew off from Teme,
And blithe afield to ploughing
 Against the morning beam
 I strode beside my team,
 
The blackbird in the coppice
 Looked out to see me stride,
And hearkened as I whistled
 The trampling team beside,
 And fluted and replied:
 
"Lie down, lie down, young yeoman;
 What use to rise and rise?
Rise man a thousand mornings
 Yet down at last he lies,
 And then the man is wise."
 
I heard the tune he sang me,
 And spied his yellow bill;
I picked a stone and aimed it
 And threw it with a will:
 Then the bird was still.
 
Then my soul within me
 Took up the blackbird's strain,
And still beside the horses
 Along the dewy lane
 It sang the song again:
 
"Lie down, lie down, young yeoman;
 The sun moves always west;
The road one treads to labour
 Will lead one home to rest,
 And that will be the best."

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Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

?. Along the field [sung text checked 1 time]

Along the field as we came by
A year ago, my love and I,
The aspen over stile and stone
Was talking to itself alone.
"Oh who are these that kiss and pass?
A country lover and his lass;
Two lovers looking to be wed;
And time shall put them both to bed,
But she shall lie with earth above,
And he beside another love."

And sure enough beneath the tree
There walks another love with me,
And overhead the aspen heaves
Its rainy-sounding silver leaves;
And I spell nothing in their stir,
But now perhaps they speak to her,
And plain for her to understand
They talk about a time at hand
When I shall sleep with clover clad,
And she beside another lad.

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Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

?. Farewell to barn and stack and tree [sung text not yet checked]

"Farewell to barn and stack and tree,
  Farewell to Severn shore.
Terence, look your last at me,
  For I come home no more.

"The sun burns on the half-mown hill,
  By now the blood is dried;
And Maurice amongst the hay lies still
  And my knife is in his side.

"My mother thinks us long away;
  'Tis time the field were mown.
She had two sons at rising day,
  Tonight she'll be alone.

"And here's a bloody hand to shake,
  And oh, man, here's good-bye;
We'll sweat no more on scythe and rake,
  My bloody hands and I.

"I wish you strength to bring you pride,
  And a love to keep you clean,
And I wish you luck, come Lammastide,
  At racing on the green.

"Long for me the rick will wait,
  And long will wait the fold,
And long will stand the empty plate,
  And dinner will be cold."

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Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

?. The lent lily [sung text checked 1 time]

'Tis spring; come out to ramble
The hilly brakes around,
For under thorn and bramble
About the hollow ground
The primroses are found.

And there's the windflower chilly
With all the winds at play,
And there's the Lenten lily
That has not long to stay
And dies on Easter Day.

And since till girls go maying
You find the primrose still,
And find the windflower playing
With every wind at will,
But not the daffodil.

Bring baskets now, and sally
Upon the spring's array,
And bear from hill and valley
The daffodil away
That dies on Easter Day.

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Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

2. When I watch the living meet [sung text checked 1 time]

When I watch the living meet,
 And the moving pageant file
Warm and breathing through the street
 Where I lodge a little while,
 
If the heats of hate and lust
 In the house of flesh are strong,
Let me mind the house of dust
 Where my sojourn shall be long.
 
In the nation that is not
 Nothing stands that stood before;
There revenges are forgot,
 And the hater hates no more;
 
Lovers lying two and two
 Ask not whom they sleep beside,
And the bridegroom all night through
 Never turns him to the bride.

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Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

6. Hughley Steeple [sung text checked 1 time]

The vane on Hughley steeple
Veers bright, a far-known sign,
And there lie Hughley people,
And there lie friends of mine.
Tall in their midst the tower
Divides the shade and sun,
And the clock strikes the hour
And tells the time to none.

To south the headstones cluster,
The sunny mounds lie thick;
The dead are more in muster
At Hughley than the quick.
North, for a soon-told number,
Chill graves the sexton delves,
And steeple-shadowed slumber
The slayers of themselves.

To north, to south, lie parted,
With Hughley tower above,
The kind, the single-hearted,
The lads I used to love.
And, south or north, 'tis only
A choice of friends one knows,
And I shall ne'er be lonely
Asleep with these or those.

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Researcher for this text: Ted Perry