Two Millay Sonnets

Song Cycle by Jack Hamilton Beeson (b. 1921)

1. I shall forget you presently [sung text not yet checked]

I shall forget you presently, my dear,
So make the most of this, your little day,
Your little month, your little half a year,
Ere I forget, or die, or move away,
And we are done forever; by and by
I shall forget you, as I said, but now,
If you entreat me with your loveliest lie
I will protest you with my favorite vow.
I would indeed that love were longer-lived,
And [vows]1 were not so brittle as they are,
But so it is, and nature has contrived
To struggle on without a break thus far, --
Whether or not we find what we are seeking
Is idle, biologically speaking. 

Authorship:

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

  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (Walter A. Aue) , "Ich werd' Dich bald vergessen, teurer Schatz", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

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1 Wheeler: "oaths"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. What lips my lips have kissed [sung text not yet checked]

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply,
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
Thus in winter stands the lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone,
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.

Authorship:

See other settings of this text.

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

  • FRI Frisian [singable] (Geart van der Meer) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (Walter A. Aue) , "Welch' Lippen meine küßten ( 43. Sonett )", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

First published in Vanity Fair, November 1920

Researcher for this text: Robert Manno
Total word count: 226