Four Nocturnal Songs

Song Cycle by Arthur Butterworth (b. 1923)

Word count: 269

?. Silver [sung text not yet checked]

Slowly, silently, now the moon
Walks the night in her silver shoon;
This way, and that, she peers and sees
Silver fruit upon silver trees;
One by one the casements catch 
Her beams beneath the silvery thatch;
Couched in his kennel, like a log,
With paws of silver sleeps the dog;
[From their shadowy cote the white breasts peep
Of doves in a silver-feathered sleep]1
A harvest mouse goes scampering by,
With silver claws, and silver eye;
And moveless fish in the water gleam,
By silver reeds in a silver stream.

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
1 omitted by Bachlund, Britten, Duke, Gibbs.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. Check [sung text not yet checked]

The night was creeping on the ground ; 
She crept and did not make a sound 
Until she reached the tree, and then 
She covered it, and stole again 
Along the grass beside the wall.
I heard the rustle of her shawl 
As she threw blackness everywhere 
Upon the sky and ground and air, 
And in the room where I was hid : 
But no matter what she did 
To everything that was without, 
She could not put my candle out.
So I stared at the night, and she 
Stared back solemnly at me. 

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. On a midsummer eve [sung text not yet checked]

I idly cut a parsley stalk,
And blew therein towards the moon;
I had not thought what ghosts would walk
With shivering footsteps to my tune.

I went, and knelt, and scooped my hand
As if to drink, into the brook,
And a faint figure seemed to stand
Above me, with the bygone look.

I lipped rough rhymes of chance, not choice,
I thought not what my words might be;
There came into my ear a voice
That turned a tenderer verse for me.

Authorship

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]