In Green Ways

Song Cycle by Herbert Norman Howells (1892 - 1983)

Word count: 608

?. The goat paths [sung text not yet checked]

The crooked paths go every way 
Upon the hill -- they wind about 
Through the heather in and out 
Of the quiet sunniness. 
And there the goats, day after day, 
Stray in sunny quietness. 
Cropping here and cropping there, 
As they pause and turn and pass. 
Now a bit of heather spray, 
Now a mouthful of the grass. 
In the deeper sunniness, 
In the place where nothing stirs. 

Quietly in quietness.
In the quiet of the furze. 
For a time they come and lie 
Staring on the roving sky. 
If you approach they run away. 
They leap and stare, away they bound. 
With a sudden angry sound, 
To the sunny quietude ; 
Crouching down where nothing stirs 
In the silence of the furze, 
Couching down again to brood 
In the sunny solitude. 

If I were as wise as they 
I would stray apart and brood, 
I would beat a hidden way 
Through the quiet heather spray 
To a sunny solitude; 
And should you come I'd run away, 
I would make an angry sound, 
I would stare and turn and bound 
To the deeper quietude. 
To the place where nothing stirs 
In the silence of the furze. 

In that airy quietness 
I would think as long as they ; 
Through the quiet sunniness 
I would stray away to brood 
By a hidden beaten way 
In a sunny solitude. 
I would think until I found 
Something I can never find, 
Something lying on the ground, 
In the bottom of my mind. 

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

1. Under the greenwood tree [sung text checked 1 time]

Under the greenwood tree
Who loves to lie with me,
And [turn]1 [his]2 merry note
Unto the sweet bird's throat,
Come hither, come hither, come hither:
Here shall he see
No enemy
But winter and rough weather.

Who doth ambition shun,
And loves to live i' the sun,
Seeking the food he eats,
And pleas'd with what he gets,
Come hither, come hither, come hither:
Here shall he see
No enemy
But winter and rough weather.

If it do come to pass
That any man turn ass,
Leaving his wealth and ease,
A stubborn will to please,
Ducdame, ducdame, ducdame:
Here shall he see
Gross fools as he,
An if he will come to me.
Under the greenwood tree
Who loves to lie with me.

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

  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) (Mark de Vries) , "Onder het loofdak", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FIN Finnish (Suomi) (Paavo Cajander)
  • FRE French (Français) (François Pierre Guillaume Guizot)
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Julia Hamann) , "Unterm Baum im Maienwald", copyright © 2007, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Quilter: "tune"
2 Korngold: "the"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. Merry Margaret [sung text checked 1 time]

Merry Margaret
  As midsummer flower,
  Gentle as falcon
  Or hawk of the tower:
With solace and gladness,
Much mirth and no madness,
All good and no badness;
    So joyously,
    So maidenly,
    So womanly
    Her demeaning
    In every thing,
    Far, far passing
    That I can indite,
    Or suffice to write
  Of Merry Margaret
  As midsummer flower,
  Gentle as falcon
  Or hawk of the tower.
  As patient and still
  And as full of good will
  As fair Isaphill,
  Coliander,
  Sweet pomander,
  Good Cassander;
  Steadfast of thought,
  Well made, well wrought,
  Far may be sought,
  Ere that ye can find
  So courteous, so kind
  As merry Margaret,
  This midsummer flower,
  Gentle as falcon
  Or hawk of the tower.

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Isaphill = Hypsipyle
coliander = coriander seed, an aromatic.
pomander = a ball of perfume
Cassander = Cassandra

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. Wanderer's night song [sung text checked 1 time]

Over all the hilltops 
is peace.
And through the darkened trees 
there blows
Scarcely a breeze.
The birds are silent in the branches.
Wait awhile,
Soon thou shalt rest too.

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Researcher for this text: Barbara Miller

5. On the Merry First of May [sung text checked 1 time]

On the merry First of May
Maidens wash their faces;
Wash them in the dew they say,
On the merry First of May
Once a year at break of day
So, at least, in places
On the merry First of May
Maidens wash their faces.
 
On the merry First of May
Maidens all, beware you,
Man is full of guile, they say,
On the merry First of May;
Vain are all your arts today,
He it is will snare you,
On the merry First of May,
Maidens all, beware you!

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Barbara Miller