Six Lyrics

Song Cycle by Jack Hamilton Beeson (b. 1921)

Word count: 615

1. Dream-Pedlary [sung text not yet checked]

 If there were dreams to sell,
	What would you buy?
 Some cost a passing bell;
	Some a light sigh,
 That shakes from Life's fresh crown
 Only a rose-leaf down.
 If there were dreams to sell,
 Merry and sad to tell,
	And the crier rang the bell,
	What would you buy?

 A cottage lone and still,
	With bowers nigh,
 Shadowy, my woes to still,
	Until I die.
 Such pearl from Life's fresh crown
 Fain would I shake me down.
 Were dreams to have at will,
 This best would heal my ill,
	This would I buy.

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Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

2. Song [sung text not yet checked]

If thou [wilt]1 ease thine heart
Of love and all its smart,
   Then sleep, dear, sleep;
And not a sorrow
   Hang any tear on your eyelashes;
   Lie still and [deep],2
   Sad soul, until the sea-wave washes
The rim o' th' sun tomorrow,
   In eastern sky.

But [wilt]1 thou cure thine heart
Of love and all its smart,
   Then die, dear, die;
'Tis deeper, sweeter,
   Than on a rose bank to lie dreaming
   [With folded eye;]3
   And then alone, amid the beaming
Of love's stars, thou'lt meet her
   In eastern sky.

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View original text (without footnotes)
1 Parry: "would'st"
2 Britten: "deep,/ With folded eye;" (moved from the second stanza)
3 omitted by Britten (moved to the first stanza); Parry: "With tranced eye"

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

3. Who sighs that all dies? [sung text checked 1 time]

Dies, all dies!
The grass it dies, but in vernal rain
Up it springs, and it lives again:
Over and over, again and again, it lives, it dies,
And it lives again, and over and over again,
Who sighs that all dies?

Summer and winter, pleasure and pain,
Everything, everywhere in God's reign.
They end, and anon they begin again:
Wane and wax and wane:
Over and over and over amain,
End, ever end, and begin again. 

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. The moon [sung text not yet checked]

And, like a dying lady, lean and pale,
Who totters forth, wrapp'd in a gauzy veil,
Out of her chamber, led by the insane
And feeble wanderings of her fading brain,
The moon arose up in the murky East,
A white and shapeless mass...

Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing heaven and gazing on the earth,
Wandering companionless
Among the stars that have a different birth,
And ever changing, like a joyless eye
That finds no object worth its constancy?

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

  • CZE Czech (Čeština) (Jaroslav Vrchlický) , "Mizící měsíc", Prague, J. Otto, first published 1901

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. Time [sung text checked 1 time]

Time is the feathered thing,
And, while I praise the sparklings of thy looks
And call them rays,
Takes wing,
Leaving behind him as he flies
An unperceivèd dimness in thine eyes.
His minutes, while they're told, do make us old;
And ev'ry sand of his fleet glass
Increasing age as it doth pass,
Insensibly sows wrinkles there
Where flowers and roses do appear.
Whilst we do speak, our fire
Doth into ice expire,
Flames turn to frost;
And ere we can know how our crow turns swan,
Or how a silver snow
Springs there where jet did grow 'ere we can know --
Our fading spring is in dull winter lost.

Since then the Night hath hurled
Darkness, Love's shade,
Over its enemy the Day, and made
The world just such a blind and shapeless thing
As it was before light did from darkness spring --
Since this be so --
Let's number out the hours by blisses,
And count the minutes by our kisses;
Let the heavens new motions feel
And by our embraces wheel;
And whilst we try the way
By which Love doth convey
Soul unto soul,
And mingling so
Makes them such raptures know
As makes them entrancèd lie
In mutual ecstasy,
Let the harmonious spheres in music roll! 

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

6. The conclusion [sung text not yet checked]

Even such is Time, that takes in trust
Our youth, our joys, our all we have,
And pays us but with [age]1 and dust;
Who, in the dark and silent grave,
When we have wandered all our ways,
Shuts up the story of our days;
[And from which earth, and grave, and dust]2,
[The Lord]3 shall raise me up, I trust.

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

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Gurney: "earth"
2 Gurney: "But from this earth, this grave, this dust"
3 Gurney: "My God"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]