A Flower Cycle

Song Cycle by George Whitefield Chadwick (1854 - 1931)

Word count: 1614

1. The crocus [sung text checked 1 time]

Brave crocus, out of time and rash, 
You come when skies are all amort and chill ; 
Too soon to find how cruel hail can dash, 
And bitter winds can kill. 

You are like early loves, most sure, 
Which die so soon in this world's nipping air ; 
Your mission like to theirs, not to endure, 
But to make springtime fair. 


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. The trilliums [sung text checked 1 time]

"Wake, robin! Wake, robin!" the trilliums call, 
Though never a word they say; 
"Wake, robin! Wake, robin!" while bud-sheaths fall, 
And violets greet the day. 

The soft winds bring the spring again, 
The days of snow are done ; 
The stir of life's in every vein, 
And warmly shines the sun. 

The trillium stars are white as milk, 
They beckon as they swing ; 
The trillium's leaves are soft as silk, 
They make the robins sing. 

Soon all the hill and all the dale 
Shall once again be gay ; 
When trilliums from the tree-set vale 
Open their cups to-day. 

"Wake, robin! Wake, robin!" the trilliums cry, 
Though never a sound they make ; 
"Wake, robin! Wake, robin!" till wings whir by, 
And robins sing for their sake. 


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. The water lily [sung text checked 1 time]

Where the dark waters lave, 
Where the tall rushes wave, 
Safe from rude winds that rave, 
Floats the fair lily ; 
White as my sweetheart's breast, 
Pure as her dreamings blest, 
Lying in cradled rest, 
When night is stilly.
Oft wooing comes the bee 
On light wings eagerly, 
Leaving the pleasant lea 
Luscious with clover ; 
Then to her heart of gold, 
'Mid petals half unrolled, 
Fond doth the lily fold 
The amorous rover. 

Sweetheart, within thine arms 
Fold me with all thy charms, 
Safe from more rude alarms 
Than thy heart's beating. 
Let the sweet lily be 
Emblem for thee and me ; 
Be thou as kind as she 
In thy fond greeting ! 


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. The cyclamen [sung text checked 1 time]

Over the plains where Persian hosts
  Laid down their lives for glory
Flutter the cyclamens, like ghosts
  That witness to their story.
Oh, fair! Oh, white! Oh, pure as snow!
On countless graves how sweet they grow!

Or crimson, like the cruel wounds
  From which the life-blood, flowing,
Poured out where now on grassy mounds
  The low, soft winds are blowing:
Oh, fair! Oh, red! Like blood of slain;
Not even time can cleanse that stain.
But when my dear these blossoms holds,
  All loveliness her dower,
All woe and joy the past enfolds
  In her find fullest flower.
Oh, fair! Oh, pure! Oh, white and red!
If she but live, what are the dead!


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. The wild briar [sung text checked 1 time]

The wild-briar dabbles his finger-tips 
In the wine till they are red ; 
Then over the hedge he climbs and slips, 
And kisses the wild rose on the lips 
Till blushing she bows her head. 

The wild-briar clambers from spray to spray, 
For an ardent wooer he ; 
But once he has won, he hastes away, 
Nor tears nor prayers avail to stay 
His fickle fancy free. 

The wild-briar riots the thicket through, 
Like a wanton, lusty faun ; 
He strings for the cedar berries blue. 
He vows to the alder homage true, 
He sighs to woo the dawn ! 

For the fire of love and the fire of youth 
Fill his veins with zest divine ; 
Till winter has seized him without ruth, 
And thickets are bare ; oh, then, in sooth, 
He longs for spring's glad wine ! 


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

6. The columbine [sung text checked 1 time]

Gay in her red gown, trim and fine, 
Dances the merry columbine. 

Never she thinks if her petals shall fall ; 
Cold rains beating she does not dread ; 
Sunshine is round her and spring birds call, 
Blue are the skies above her head. 

So in her red gown, trim and fine, 
Merrily dances the columbine. 
Blithe with her white throat, smooth and fine, 
Dances the careless columbine. 

If she coquets with the wandering bee, 
When he goes does she toss her head ; 
Heart-whole and frolicsome still is she, 
Lovers enough she finds instead. 

So with her white throat smooth and fine. 
Carelessly dances the columbine. 
Bright in her coronet, golden and fine, 
Dances the mocking columbine. 

Gay is she still, whatsoever befall, 
Loveless wanton, on pleasure bent ; 
Now is her moment, her day, her all ; 
Where will she be when it is spent? 

Then will be dust all her coronet fine ; 
Dust, only dust, mocking columbine. 


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

7. The foxglove [sung text checked 1 time]

In grandmamma's garden in shining rows, 
The box smells sweet as it trimly grows ; 
The sun-dial quaint the hours tells, 
'Mid foxgloves tall with spotted bells ; 
And all is dear, and all is fair, 
As childhood's self had dwelling there. 

In grandmamma's garden a child I played 
With naught save bees to make afraid ; 
I counted the spots on the foxglove's cheek, 
And knew it could tell, if it would but speak, 
How cunning fairies painted them 
And made each like a shining gem. 

In grandmamma's garden the foxgloves gay 
With every wind would nod and sway ; 
Full well I knew that they were wise, 
And watched with childhood's eager eyes 
To see them whisper each to each, 
And catch the secrets of their speech. 

In grandmamma's garden still I walk, 
And still the foxgloves seem to talk. 
Their speech not yet my manhood learns, 
But when I see them youth returns ; 
I wonder at them still in vain, 
But with them am a child again. 


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

8. The cardinal flower [sung text checked 1 time]

When days are long and steeped in sun 
The brown brooks loiter as they run, 
And lingering eddy as they flow 
Full loth to leave the meadows low ; 
For then the cardinal, ablaze 
With splendid fires, their fancy stays. 

Like a tall Indian maiden, dressed 
In scarlet robes, with tranquil breast 
That ne'er has known love's humbling thrall 
But haughty queens it over all, 
The flower her image mirrored throws, 
While proud as beautiful she glows. 

She sees the speckled trout dart by, 
And swift- winged flit the dragon-fly 
Over the brook's smooth waters dun ; 
Naught doth she heed them, all or one ; 
Even the sun-god when he woos 
With proud indifference she views. 

The saucy swallow darts athwart 
The topaz brook, but wins him naught 
Of notice from the haughty queen. 
Wrapped in her beauteous self, serene 
She dwells alone, untouched by praise, 
Through the brief splendor of her days. 


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

9. The lupine [sung text checked 1 time]

Ah, lupine, with silvery leaves 
And blossoms blue as the skies, 
I know a maid like thee, 
And blue, too, are her eyes. 
Gray as a nun's her dress ; 
How lowly, 
And holy 
Her mien, cannot mere words express. 

Fair lupine, the dew-drop shines 
A gem night gives to thee ; 
So pure her radiant soul 
Within her breast must be. 
Like thee, she dwells alone ; 
All sweetness, 
And meetness, 
As in thyself in her are known. 

Ah, lupine, I pluck thy bloom, 
But how her grace may I win? 
So pure, so fair, is she 
My suit may not begin 
Unless I send thy flower 
To prove her, 
And move her, 
Me with her priceless love to dower ! 


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

10. The meadow rue [sung text checked 1 time]

The tall white rue stands like a ghost 
That sighs for days departed, 
Ere life's woes gathered like a host 
And sorrow's tears had started. 
And 't is, oh, to be a child again 
Where meadow brooks are playing, 
Where the long grass nods with sound like rain 
To south wind through it straying ! 
Oh, the rue grows tall and fair to see ; 
Sweet "herb of grace" and memory. 

The white rue trembles as it stands, 
As if some spirit seeing, 
As if it yearned toward unseen hands 
Some loved one near, but fleeing. 
And 't is, oh, to taste lost youth once more, 
When well-loved lips were meeting ; 
When the heart was light that now is sore. 
Nor dreamed love's bliss is fleeting. 
Oh, the rue grows tall and fair to see ; 
Sweet "herb of grace" and memory. 


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

11. The jasmine [sung text checked 1 time]

The soft, warm night wind flutters 
Up from the dim lagoon, 
While the timorous shadows hide them 
From the red new-risen moon ; 
The scent of the jasmine lingers 
Like a languorous pain divine, 
Till the night-moth reels in its fragrance, 
Drunken as if with wine. 
Oh, jasmine fair; 
Oh, southern night most rare ! 

The warm air beats with passion 
As some hot bosom throbs, 
While an amorous night-bird murmurs, 
As its bliss found vent in sobs ; 
The breath of the jasmine pulses, 
It comes and goes on the wind ; 
Could one climb o'er its lattice 
What bliss might he not find ! 
Oh, jasmine blest ; 
What dreams of cradled rest ! 

A spark from the casement flickers, 
And touches the jasmine's bloom, 
Till the blossoms glow like star gems 
As they gleam in the fragrant gloom. 
I know not what breath from their chalice 
Has 'stirred my soul like wine, 
Till I reel like the drunken night-moth 
With love's keen pain divine. 
Oh, jasmine sweet, 
Why speeds the night so fleet? 


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

12. The Jacqueminot rose [sung text not yet checked]

'Twas a Jacqueminot rose
That she gave me at parting;
Sweetest flower that blows,
'Twas a Jacqueminot rose.
In the love garden close,
With the swift blushes starting,
'Twas a Jacqueminot rose
That she gave me at parting.

If she kissed it, who knows -
Since I will not discover,
And love is that close,
If she kissed it, who knows?
Or if not the red rose
Perhaps then the lover!
If she kissed it, who knows,
Since I will not discover.

Yet at least with the rose
Went a kiss that I'm wearing!
More I will not disclose,
Yet at least with the rose
Went whose kiss no one knows, -
Since I'm only declaring,
"Yet at least with the rose
Went a kiss that I'm wearing."


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]