Philomela -- Three Nightingale Songs

Song Cycle by Edward Toner Cone (b. 1917)

Word count: 471

?. Philomela [sung text not yet checked]

Hark! ah, the Nightingale!
The tawny-throated!
Hark! from that moonlit cedar what a burst!
What triumph! hark -- what pain!
 
O Wanderer from a Grecian shore,
Still, after many years, in distant lands,
Still nourishing in thy bewilder'd brain
That wild, unquench'd, deep-sunken, old-world pain -- 
  Say, will it never heal?
And can this fragrant lawn	
With its cool trees, and night,
And the sweet, tranquil Thames,
And moonshine, and the dew,
To thy rack'd heart and brain
  Afford no balm?
 
  Dost thou to-night behold
Here, through the moonlight on this English grass,
The unfriendly palace in the Thracian wild?
  Dost thou again peruse
With hot cheeks and sear'd eyes	
The too clear web, and thy dumb Sister's shame?
  Dost thou once more assay
Thy flight, and feel come over thee,
Poor Fugitive, the feathery change
Once more, and once more seem to make resound	
With love and hate, triumph and agony,
Lone Daulis, and the high Cephissian vale?
    Listen, Eugenia -- 
How thick the bursts come crowding through the leaves!
  Again -- thou hearest!
Eternal Passion!
Eternal Pain!

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

1. Nightingales [sung text not yet checked]

Beautiful must be the mountains whence ye come,
And bright in the fruitful valleys the streams, wherefrom
    Ye learn your song:
Where are those starry woods? O might I wander there,
Among the flowers, which in that heavenly air
    Bloom the year long!

[Nay,]1 barren are those mountains and spent the streams:
Our song is the voice of desire, that haunts our dreams,
    A throe of the heart,
Whose pining visions dim, forbidden hopes profound,
No dying cadence nor long sigh can sound,
    For all our art.

Alone, aloud in the raptured ear of men
We pour our dark nocturnal secret; and then,
    As night is withdrawn
[From these sweet-springing meads and bursting boughs of May,]1
Dream, while the innumerable choir of day
    Welcome the dawn.

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1 omitted by Weir.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. The nightingale [sung text not yet checked]

The nightingale, [as]1 soon as April bringeth
    Unto her rested sense a perfect waking,
While late-bare earth, proud of new clothing, springeth,
    Sings out her woes, a thorn her song-book making,
    And mournfully bewailing,
    Her throat in tunes expresseth
    What grief her breast oppresseth,
For Tereus' force on her chaste will prevailing.

  O Philomela fair, O take some gladness,
  That here is juster cause of plaintful sadness!
    Thine earth now springs, mine fadeth ;
  Thy thorn without, my thorn my heart invadeth.

Alas! she hath no other cause of anguish
    But Tereus' love, on her by strong hand wroken,
Wherein she suffering, all her spirits languish ;
    Full womanlike complains her will was broken.
    But I, who daily craving,
    Cannot have to content me,
    Have more cause to lament me,
Since wanting is more woe than too much having.

  O Philomela fair, O take some gladness,
  That here is juster cause of plaintful sadness :
    Thine earth now springs, mine fadeth ;
  Thy thorn without, my thorn my heart invadeth.

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1 Bateson: "so"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]