Five Songs for Tenor and Piano

Song Cycle by Roger Guy Steptoe (b. 1953)

Word count: 208

?. Bright star! would I were steadfast as thou art [sung text not yet checked]

Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art -
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night,
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite

The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains, and the moors -

No - yet still steadfast, still unchangeable, 
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake forever in a sweet unrest,

Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever - or else swoon to death.

Authorship

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

First published in Plymouth and Devonport Weekly Journal, September 1838, headed "Sonnet"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. On seeing the Elgin Marbles [sung text not yet checked]

[My]1 spirit is too weak; mortality 
Weighs heavily on me like unwilling sleep,
And each imagined pinnacle and steep
Of godlike hardship tells me I must die,
Like a sick eagle looking towards the sky.
Yet 'tis a gentle luxury to weep,
That I have not the cloudy winds to keep
Fresh for the opening of the morning's eye.
Such dim-conceived glories of the brain
Bring round the heart an indescribable feud;
So do these wonders a most dizzy pain,
That mingles Grecian grandeur with the rude
Wasting of old Time -- with a billowy main,
A sun, a shadow of a magnitude.

Authorship

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Jean-Pierre Granger) , "En contemplant les marbres d'Elgin pour la première fois", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Beim ersten Sehen der Parthenon Friese", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • HUN Hungarian (Magyar) (Tamás Rédey) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Ives: "The"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]