Magic Prison

Song Cycle by Ezra Laderman (1924 - 2015)

Word count: 849

?. If you were coming in the Fall[sung text not yet checked]

If you were coming in the Fall,
I'd brush the summer by
With half a smile and half a spurn,
As housewives do a fly.

If I could see you in a year,
I'd wind the months in balls,
And put them each in separate drawers,
Until their time befalls.

If only centuries delayed,
I'd count them on my hand,
Subtracting till my fingers dropped
Into Van Diemen's land.

If certain, when this life was out,
That yours and mine should be,
I'd toss it yonder like a rind,
And taste eternity.

But now, all ignorant of the length
Of time's uncertain wing,
It goads me, like the goblin bee,
That will not state its sting.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. I'm nobody! Who are you?[sung text not yet checked]

I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us - don't tell!
They'd [banish us]1, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell [your]2 name the livelong [day]3
To an admiring bog!

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Walter A. Aue) , "Ich bin ein Niemand! Wer bist Du?", copyright © 2006, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Io non sono nessuno, e tu?", copyright © 2006, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Bacon, G. Coates: "advertise"
2 Bacon, G. Coates: "one's
3 Bacon, G. Coates: "June"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. To fight aloud is very brave[sung text not yet checked]

 To fight aloud is very brave,
 But gallanter, I know,
 Who charge within the bosom,
 The cavalry of woe.

 Who win, and nations do not see,
 Who fall, and none observe,
 Whose dying eyes no country
 Regards with patriot love.

 We trust, in plumed procession,
 For such the angels go,
 Rank after rank, with even feet
 And uniforms of snow.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. Of God we ask one favor[sung text not yet checked]

Of God we ask one favor,
That we may be forgiven --
For what, he is presumed to know --
The Crime, from us, is hidden --
Immured the whole of Life
Within a magic Prison
We reprimand the Happiness
That too competes with Heaven.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. I dreaded that first robin so[sung text not yet checked]

I dreaded that first robin so,
But he is mastered now,
And I'm accustomed to him grown, -
He hurts a little, though.

I thought if I could only live
Till that first shout got by,
Not all pianos in the woods
Had power to mangle me.

I dared not meet the daffodils,
For fear their yellow gown
Would pierce me with a fashion
So foreign to my own.

I wished the grass would hurry,
So when 't was time to see,
He'd be too tall, the tallest one
Could stretch to look at me.

I could not bear the bees should come,
I wished they'd stay away
In those dim countries where they go:
What word had they for me?

They're here, though; not a creature failed,
No blossom stayed away
In gentle deference to me,
The Queen of Calvary.

Each one salutes me as he goes,
And I my childish plumes
Lift, in bereaved acknowledgment
Of their unthinking drums.

Authorship

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. At least to pray is left, is left[sung text not yet checked]

At least to pray is left, is left.
O Jesus! in the air
I know not which thy chamber is, -
I'm knocking everywhere.

Thou stirrest earthquake in the South,
And maelstrom in the sea;
Say, Jesus Christ of Nazareth,
Hast thou no arm for me?

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

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2017, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. I live with him, I see his face[sung text not yet checked]

I live with him, I see his face;
I go no more away
For visitor, or sundown;
Death's single privacy,

The only one forestalling mine,
And that by right that he
Presents a claim invisible,
No wedlock granted me.

I live with him, I hear his voice,
I stand alive to-day
To witness to the certainty
Of immortality

Taught me by Time, - the lower way,
Conviction every day, -
That life like this is endless,
Be judgment what it may.

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?. My life closed twice before its close[sung text not yet checked]

My life closed twice before its close;
It yet remains to see
If Immortality unveil
A third event to me,

So huge, so hopeless to conceive,
As these that twice befell.
Parting is all we know of heaven,
And all we need of hell.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. There came a day at Summer's full[sung text not yet checked]

There came a day at Summer's full
Entirely for me;
I thought that such were for the saints,
Where revelations be.

The sun, as common, went abroad,
The flowers, accustomed, blew,
As if no soul the solstice passed
That maketh all things new.

The time was scarce profaned by speech;
The symbol of a word
Was needless, as at sacrament
The wardrobe of our Lord.

Each was to each the sealed church,
Permitted to commune this time,
Lest we too awkward show
At supper of the Lamb.

The hours slid fast, as hours will,
Clutched tight by greedy hands;
So faces on two decks look back,
Bound to opposing lands.

And so, when all the time had failed,
Without external sound,
Each bound the other's crucifix,
We gave no other bond.

Sufficient troth that we shall rise -
Deposed, at length, the grave -
To that new marriage, justified
Through Calvaries of Love!

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?. I'm wife; I've finished that[sung text not yet checked]

I'm wife; I've finished that,
That other state;
I'm Czar, I'm woman now:
It's safer so.

How odd the girl's life looks
Behind this soft eclipse!
I think that earth seems so
To those in heaven now.

This being comfort, then
That other kind was pain;
But why compare?
I'm wife! stop there!

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

. I reason, earth is short[sung text not yet checked]

Subtitle: Melodrama

I reason, earth is short,
And anguish absolute,
And many hurt;
But what of that?

I reason, we could die:
The best vitality
Cannot excel decay;
But what of that?

I reason that in heaven
Somehow, it will be even,
Some new equation given;
But what of that?

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Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Set by by Ezra Laderman (1924 - 2015), subtitle: "Melodrama", published 1970 [ 2 narrators, piano, and orchestra ]
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]