From a child's garden

Song Cycle by Malcolm Benjamin Graham Christopher Williamson (b. 1931)

Word count: 833

1. Time to rise [sung text checked 1 time]

A birdie with a yellow bill
Hopped upon the window sill,
Cocked his shining eye and said:
"Ain't you 'shamed, you sleepy-head?"

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

  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Ora di alzarsi", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. Marching song [sung text checked 1 time]

Bring the comb and play upon it!
Marching, here we come!
Willie cocks his highland bonnet,
Johnnie beats the drum.

Mary Jane commands the party,
Peter leads the rear;
Feet in time, alert and hearty,
Each a Grenadier!

All in the most martial manner
Marching double-quick;
While the napkin like a banner
Waves upon the stick!

Here's enough of fame and pillage,
Great commander Jane!
Now that we've been round the village,
Let's go home again.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. Where go the boats? [sung text checked 1 time]

Dark brown is the river,
Golden is the sand.
It flows along for ever,
With trees on either hand.

Green leaves a-floating,
Castles of the foam,
Boats of mine a-boating -
Where will all come home?

On goes the river
And out past the mill,
Away down the valley,
Away down the hill.

Away down the river,
A hundred miles or more,
Other little children
Shall bring my boats ashore.

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

  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Paolo Montanari) , "Dove vanno le barche?", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

4. Looking forward [sung text checked 1 time]

When I am grown to man's estate
I shall be very proud and great,
And tell the other girls and boys
Not to meddle with my toys.

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

  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Paolo Montanari) , "Pensando al futuro", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. Whole duty of children [sung text checked 1 time]

A child should always say what's true
And speak when he is spoken to,
And behave mannerly at table:
At least as far as he is able.

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

  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "I doveri di ogni bambino", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

6. The flowers [sung text checked 1 time]

All the names I know from nurse:
Gardener's garters, Shepherd's purse,
Bachelor's buttons, Lady's smock,
And the Lady Hollyhock,

Fairy places, fairy things,
Fairy woods where the wild bee wings,
Tiny trees for tiny dames -
These must all be fairy names!

Tiny woods below whose boughs
Shady fairies weave a house;
Tiny tree-tops, rose or thyme,
Where the braver fairies climb!

Fair are grown-up people's trees,
But the fairest woods are these;
Where if I were not so tall,
I should live for good and all.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

7. Rain [sung text checked 1 time]

The rain is raining all around,
It falls on field and tree,
It rains on the umbrellas here,
And on the ships at sea.

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

  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Paolo Montanari) , "Pioggia", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

8. My bed is a boat [sung text checked 1 time]

My bed is like a little boat;
Nurse helps me in when I embark;
She girds me in my sailor's coat
And starts me in the dark.

At night, I go on board and say
Good night to all my friends on shore;
I shut my eyes and sail away
And see and hear no more.

And sometimes things to bed I take,
As prudent sailors have to do:
Perhaps a slice of wedding-cake,
Perhaps a toy or two.

All night across the dark we steer:
But when the day returns at last,
Safe in my room, beside the pier,
I find my vessel fast.

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

  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Paolo Montanari) , "Il mio letto è una nave", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

9. From a railway carriage [sung text checked 1 time]

Faster than fairies, faster than witches,
Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches;
And charging [along]1 like troops in a battle,
All through the meadows the horses and cattle:
All of the sights of the hill and the plain
Fly as thick as driving rain;
And ever again, in the wink of an eye,
Painted stations whistle by.

Here is a child who clambers and scrambles,
All by himself and gathering brambles;
Here is a tramp who stands and gazes;
And there is the green for stringing the daisies!
Here is a cart run away in the road
Lumping along with man and load;
And here is a mill and there is a river:
Each a glimpse and gone for ever!

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1 Morawetz, Williamson: "alone" (?) (needs re-checking)

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

10. The lamplighter [sung text checked 1 time]

My tea is nearly ready and the sun has left the sky;
It's time to take the window to see Leerie going by;
For every night at teatime and before you take your seat,
With lantern and with ladder he comes posting up the street.

Now Tom would be a driver and Maria go to sea,
And my papa's a banker and as rich as he can be;
But I, when I am stronger and can choose what I'm to do,
O Leerie, I'll go round at night and light the lamps with you!

For we are very lucky, with a lamp before the door,
And Leerie stops to light it as he lights so many more;
And O! before you hurry by with ladder and with light,
O Leerie, see a little child and nod to him tonight.

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

  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Paolo Montanari) , "Il lampionaio", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

11. A good boy [sung text checked 1 time]

I woke before the morning,
I was happy all the day,
I never said an ugly word,
but smiled and stuck to play.

And now at last the sun
is going down behind the wood,
And I am very happy,
for I know that I've been good.

My bed is waiting cool and fresh,
with linen smooth and fair,
And I must off to sleep again,
and not forget my prayer.

I know that, till tomorrow
I shall see the sun arise,
No ugly dream shall fright my mind,
no ugly sight my eyes,

But slumber hold me tightly
till I waken in the dawn,
And hear the thrushes singing
in the lilacs round the lawn.

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Sylvain Labartette) , "Un gentil garçon", copyright © 2007, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

12. Happy thought [sung text checked 1 time]

The world is so full of a number of things,
I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings.

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

  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Paolo Montanari) , "Pensiero felice", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]