Songs of a Shropshire Lad

Song Cycle by (Gerald) Graham Peel (1878 - 1937)

Word count: 367

1. Reveille [sung text checked 1 time]

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.

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Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

2. When the lad for longing sighs [sung text checked 1 time]

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.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. 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.

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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]

4. Say, lad, have you things to do? [sung text checked 1 time]

Say, lad, have you things to do?
  Quick then, while your day's at prime.
Quick, and if 'tis work for two,
  Here am I, man: now's your time.

Send me now, and I shall go;
  Call me, I shall hear you call;
Use me ere they lay me low
  Where a man's no use at all;

Ere the wholesome flesh decay,
  And the willing nerve be numb,
And the lips lack breath to say,
  "No, my lad, I cannot come."

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Researcher for this text: Ted Perry