Florence

Song Cycle by Francis Boott (1813 - 1904)

Word count: 1402

1. The Sands o' Dee [sung text not yet checked]

"O Mary, go and call the cattle home,
    And call the cattle home,
    And call the cattle home,
  Across the sands o' Dee;"
The western wind was wild and dank wi' foam,
  And all alone went she.

The creeping tide came up along the sand,
    And o'er and o'er the sand,
    And round and round the sand,
  As far as eye could see;
The blinding mist came down and hid the land--
  And never home came she.

"Oh, is it weed, or fish, or floating hair--
    A tress o' golden hair,
    O' drowned maiden's hair,
  Above the nets at sea?
Was never salmon yet that shone so fair,
  Among the stakes on Dee."

They rowed her in across the rolling foam,
    The cruel crawling foam,
    The cruel hungry foam,
  To her grave beside the sea:
But still the boatmen hear her call the cattle home,
  Across the sands o' Dee.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. Stars of the summer night [sung text not yet checked]

Stars of the summer night!
Far in yon azure deeps,
Hide, hide your golden light!
  She sleeps, my lady sleeps!

Moon of the summer night!
Far down yon western steeps,
Sink, sink in silver light!
  She sleeps, my lady sleeps!

Wind of the summer night!
Where yonder woodbine creeps,
Fold, fold thy pinions light!
  She sleeps, my lady sleeps!

Dreams of the summer night!
Tell her, her lover keeps watch!
While in slumbers light
  She sleeps, my lady sleeps!

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Researcher for this text: Virginia Knight

2. Three fishers went sailing out into the west [sung text not yet checked]

Three fishers went sailing away to the west,
Away to the west as the sun went down;
Each thought on the woman who loved him the best,
And the children stood watching them out of the town;
For men must work, and women must weep,
And there's little to earn, and many to keep,
Though the harbour bar be moaning.

Three wives sat up in the lighthouse tower,
And they trimmed the lamps as the sun went down;
They looked at the squall, and they looked at the shower,
And the night-rack came rolling up ragged and brown.
But men must work, and women must weep,
Though storms be sudden, and waters deep,
And the harbour bar be moaning.

Three corpses lay out on the shining sands
In the morning gleam as the tide went down,
And the women are weeping and wringing their hands
For those who will never come home to the town;
For men must work, and women must weep,
And the sooner it's over, the sooner to sleep;
And good-bye to the bar and its moaning.

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First published in Christian Socialist, October 1851

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. The night is clear and cloudless [sung text not yet checked]

The night is [calm]1 and cloudless,
And still as still can be,
And the stars come forth to listen

To the music of the sea.
They gather, and gather, and gather,
Until they crowd the sky,
And listen, in breathless silence,
To the solemn litany.

It begins in rocky caverns,
As a voice that chaunts alone
To the pedals of the organ
In monotonous undertone ;

And anon from shelving beaches,
And shallow sands beyond.
In snow-white robes uprising
The ghostly choirs respond.

And sadly and unceasing
The mournful voice sings on,
And the snow-white choirs still answer
Christe eleison!

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1 Boott: "clear"; further changes may exist not noted above.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. The New Year's Bells [sung text not yet checked]

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
    The flying cloud, the frosty light; 
    The year is dying in the night; 
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
    Ring, happy bells, across the snow: 
    The year is going, let him go; 
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
    For those that here we see no more, 
    Ring out the feud of rich and poor, 
Ring in redress to all mankind.

[Ring out a slowly dying cause,
    And ancient forms of party strife;]1
    Ring in the nobler modes of life, 
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care the sin,
    The faithless coldness of the times; 
    Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes, 
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

[Ring out false pride in place and blood,
    The civic slander and the spite;]1
    Ring in the love of truth and right, 
Ring in the common love of good.

[Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
    Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;]1
    Ring out the thousand wars of old, 
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
    The larger heart, the kindlier hand; 
    Ring out the darkness of the land, 
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

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1 omitted by A. Thomas.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. O well for the fisherman's boy [sung text not yet checked]

Break, break, [break,]1
  On [thy]2 cold grey stones, O Sea! 
And I would that my tongue could utter 
  The thoughts that arise in me. 

[O]3 well for the fisherman's boy, 
  That he shouts [with]4 his sister at play! 
[O]3 well for the sailor lad, 
  That he sings in his boat on the bay! 

And the stately ships [go]5 on 
  To their haven under the hill; 
But O for the touch of a [vanish'd]6 hand, 
  And the sound of a voice that is still! 

Break, break, [break,]1
  At the foot of thy crags, O Sea! 
But the tender grace of a day that is dead 
  Will never come back to me.

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View original text (without footnotes)
Poet's note: "Made in a Lincolnshire lane at five o'clock in the morning, between blossoming hedges"
Written in memory of Tennyson's friend Arthur Hallam (d. 1833).
1 Végh: "o sea, o sea"
2 Manning: "the"
3 Manning: "Ah"
4 Manning: "to"
5 Manning: "sail"
6 Végh: "vanished"

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]

6. From the Close Shut Window [sung text not yet checked]

From the close-shut windows gleams no spark,
The night is chilly, the night is dark,
The poplars shiver, the pine-trees moan,
My hair by the autumn breeze is blown,
Under thy window I sing alone,
Alone, alone, ah woe! alone!

The darkness is pressing coldly around,
The windows shake with a lonely sound,
The stars are hid and the night is drear,
The heart of silence throbs in thine ear,
In thy chamber thou sittest alone,
Alone, alone, ah woe! alone!

The world is happy, the world is wide.
Kind hearts are beating on every side;
Ah, why should we lie so coldly curled
Alone in the shell of this great world?
Why should we any more be alone?
Alone, alone, ah woe! alone!

Oh, 'tis a bitter and dreary word,
The saddest by man's ear ever heard!
We each are young, we each have a heart,
Why stand we ever coldly apart?
Must we forever, then, be alone?
Alone, alone, ah woe! alone!

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

7. Battle of the Baltic [sung text not yet checked]

Of Nelson and the north
Sing the glorious day's renown,
When to battle fierce came forth
All the might of Denmark's crown,
And her arms along the deep proudly shone;
By each gun the lighted brand
In a bold, determined hand,
And the prince of all the land
Led them on.

Like leviathans afloat
Lay their bulwarks on the brine;
While the sign of battle flew
On the lofty British line--
It was ten of April morn by the chime.
As they drifted on their path
There was silence deep as death;
And the boldest held his breath
For a time.

But the might of England flushed
To anticipate the scene;
And her van the fleeter rushed
O'er the deadly space between.
"Hearts of oak!" our captain cried; when each gun
From its adamantine lips
Spread a death-shade round the ships,
Like the hurricane eclipse
Of the sun.

Again! again! again!
And the havoc did not slack,
Till a feeble cheer the Dane
To our cheering sent us back;
Their shots along the deep slowly boom--
Then ceased -- and all is wail,
As they strike the shattered sail,
Or in conflagration pale,
Light the gloom.

Out spoke the victor then,
As he hailed them o'er the wave:
"Ye are brothers! ye are men!
And we conquer but to save;
So peace instead of death let us bring;
But yield, proud foe, thy fleet,
With the crews, at England's feet,
And make submission meet
To our king."

Then Denmark blessed our chief,
That he gave her wounds repose;
And the sounds of joy and grief
From her people wildly rose,
As death withdrew his shades from the day.
While the sun looked smiling bright
O'er a wide and woeful sight,
Where the fires of funeral light
Died away.

Now joy, old England, raise!
For the tidings of thy might,
By the festal cities' blaze,
Whilst the wine-cup shines in light;
And yet, amidst that joy and uproar,
Let us think of them that sleep
Full many a fathom deep,
By the wild and stormy steep,
Elsinore!

Brave hearts! to Britain's pride
Once so faithful and so true,
On the deck of fame that died,
With the gallant, good Riou --
Soft sigh the winds of heaven o'er their grave!
While the billow mournful rolls,
And the mermaid's song condoles,
Singing glory to the souls
Of the brave!

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

8. I am weary with rowing [sung text not yet checked]

I am weary with rowing
 . . . . . . . . . .

— The rest of this text is not
currently in the database but will be
added as soon as we obtain it. —

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