Nine English Songs

Song Cycle by Paul Hindemith (1895 - 1963)

1. On hearing "The last rose of summer" [sung text checked 1 time]

That strain again? It seems to tell
Of something like a joy departed;
I love its mourning accents well,
Like voice of one, ah! broken-hearted.

That note that pensive dies away,
And can each answering thrill awaken,
It sadly, wildly, seems to say,
Thy meek heart mourns its truth forsaken.

Or there was one who never more
Shall meet thee with the looks of gladness,
When all of happier life was o'er,
When first began thy night of sadness.

Sweet mourner, cease that melting strain,
Too well it suits the grave's cold slumbers;
Too well the heart that loved in vain
Breathes, lives, and weeps in those wild numbers.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. Echo [sung text not yet checked]

How sweet the answer Echo makes
  To Music at night,
When, rous'd by lute or horn, she wakes,
And far away, o'er lawns and lakes,
  Goes answering light!

Yet Love hath echoes truer far,
  And far more sweet,
Than e'er beneath the moonlight's star,
Of horn, or lute, or soft guitar,
  The songs repeat.

'Tis when the sigh, in youth sincere,
  And only then, --
The sigh that's breath'd for one to hear,
Is by that one, that only dear,
  Breath'd back again.

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Écho", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Sharon Krebs) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Virginia Knight

3. The moon [sung text checked 1 time]

And, [like]1 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

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1 Castelnuovo-Tedesco: "as"; further changes may exist not shown above.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. The whistlin' thief [sung text checked 1 time]

When Pat came over the hill,
His Colleen fair to see,
His whistle low, but shrill,
The signal was to be;

"Mary," the mother said,
"Someone is whistlin' sure;"
Says Mary, "'tis only the wind
Is whistlin' through the door."

"I've lived a long time, Mary,
In this wide world, my dear,
But a door to whistle like that
I never yet did hear."

"But, mother, you know the fiddle
Hangs close beside the chink,
And the wind upon the sthtrings
Is playing the tchune I think."

"Mary, I hear the pig,
Unaisy in his mind."
"But, mother, you know, they say
The pigs can see the wind."

"That's thrue enough in the day,
But I think you may remark,
That pigs, no more nor we,
Can see anything in the dark."

"The dog is barkin' now,
The fiddle can't play that tchune."
"But, mother, the dogs will bark
Whenever they see the moon."

"But how could he see the moon,
When, you know, the dog is blind?
Blind dogs won't bark at the moon,
Nor fiddles be played by the wind.

"I'm not such a fool as you think,
I know very well 'tis Pat:
Shut your mouth, you whistlin' thief,
And go along home out o' that!

"And you go off to your bed, 
Don't play upon me your jeers;
For though I have lost my eyes,
I haven't lost my ears!"

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. Envoy [sung text checked 1 time]

Go, songs, for ended is our brief, sweet play;
Go, children of swift joy and tardy sorrow:
And some are sung, and that was yesterday,
And some [are]1 unsung, and that may be tomorrow.

Go forth; and if it be o'er stony way,
Old joy can lend what newer grief must borrow:
And it was sweet, and that was yesterday,
And sweet is sweet, though purchased with sorrow.

Go, songs, and come not back from your far way:
And if men ask you why ye smile and sorrow,
Tell them ye grieve, for your hearts know Today,
Tell them ye smile, for your eyes know Tomorrow.

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1 omitted by Raynor.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

6. The wild flower's song [sung text not yet checked]

As I wander'd the forest,
The green leaves among,
I heard a wild flower
Singing a song:

"I slept in the dark
In the silent night,
I murmur'd my fears
And I felt delight.

"In the morning I went
As rosy as morn
To seek for a new Joy,
But I met with scorn."

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

7. Sing on, there in the swamp! [sung text not yet checked]

Sing on, there in the swamp! 
O singer bashful and tender, [I hear your notes, I hear your call.
I hear.]1 I come [presently,]1 I understand you,
But a moment I linger, for [the lustrous star has detain'd me,]1
The star, my departing comrade, holds and detains me.

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1 omitted by Sessions

Researcher for this text: Ahmed E. Ismail

8. To Music, to becalm his Fever [sung text checked 1 time]

Charm me asleep, and melt me so
With thy delicious numbers,
That, being ravish'd, hence I go
Away in easy slumbers.
Ease my sick head,
And make my bed,
Thou power that canst sever
From me this ill,
And quickly still,
Though thou not kill
My fever.

Thou sweetly canst convert the same
From a consuming fire
Into a gentle licking flame,
And make it thus expire.
Then make me weep
My pains asleep;
And give me such reposes
That I, poor I,
May think thereby
I live and die
'Mongst roses.

Fall on me like [a]1 silent dew,
Or like those maiden showers
Which, by the peep of day, do strew
A baptism o'er the flowers
Melt, melt my pains
With thy soft strains;
That, having ease me given,
With full delight
I leave this light,
And take my flight
[For]2 Heaven.

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1 Hindemith: "the"
2 Gideon, Hindemith: "To"

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Garrett Medlock [Guest Editor]

9. On a fly drinking out of his cup [sung text checked 1 time]

Busy, curious, thirsty fly!
Drink with me and drink as I:
Freely welcome to my cup,
Couldst thou sip and sip it up:
Make the most of life you may,
Life is short and wears away.

[Both alike are mine and thine]1
[Hastening]2 quick to their decline:
Thine's a summer, mine no more,
Though repeated to threescore.
Threescore summers, when they're gone,
Will appear as short as one!

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1 Bennett: "Just alike, both mine and thine,"
2 Bennett: "Hasten"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
Total word count: 925