Four Old English Lyrics

Song Cycle by Frederick Delius (1862 - 1934)

Word count: 471

1. Spring, the sweet spring [sung text not yet checked]

Spring, the sweet Spring, is the year's pleasant king;
Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring,
Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing,
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The palm and may make country houses gay,
Lambs frisk and play, the [shepherds pipe]1 all day,
And we hear aye birds tune this merry lay,
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The fields breathe sweet, the daisies kiss our feet,
Young lovers meet, old wives a-sunning sit,
In every street these tunes our ears do greet,
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!
Spring! The sweet Spring!

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

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Julia Hamann) , "Frühling", copyright © 2007, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

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1 Argento: "shepherd pipes"

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

2. So white, so soft, so sweet is she [sung text not yet checked]

Have you seen but a [whyte]1 Lilie grow
before rude hands had touch'd it;
Have you mark'd but the fall of the snow
before the [Earth]2 hath smucht it.
Have you felt the wool of [Beaver]3,
Or Swansdown ever;
or have smelt of the Bud of the Bryer,
Or the Nard in the fire;
Or have tasted the Bag of the Bee;
O so whyte, O so soft, O so sweet, so sweet,
so sweet is she!
O so whyte, O so soft, O so sweet,
so sweet, so sweet is she!

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1 Maconchy: "bright"
2 Maconchy: "soil"
3 Maconchy: "the Beaver"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. To daffodils [sung text checked 1 time]

Fair daffodils, we weep to see
You haste away so soon;
As yet the early-rising sun
Has not attain'd his noon.
Stay, stay
Until the hasting day
Has run
But to [the]1 evensong,
And, having pray'd together, we	
Will go with you along.

We have short time to stay, as you,
We have as short a spring;
As quick a growth to meet decay,
As you, or anything.
We die,
As your hours [do,]2 and dry
Away,
Like to the summer's rain,
Or as the pearls of morning's dew,
Ne'er to be found again.

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

  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) (Pauline Kroger) , "Aan de narcissen", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FIN Finnish (Suomi) (Erkki Pullinen) , "Narsisseille", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (Bertram Kottmann) , "An Narzissen", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

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1 omitted by Darke.
2 omitted by Farrar.

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

4. It was a lover and his lass [sung text checked 1 time]

It was a lover and his lass,
  With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino
That o'er the green [corn-field]1 did pass.
  In [the]2 spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding a ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.

[Between the acres of the rye,
  With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
These pretty country [folks]3 would lie,
  In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding a ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring. ]4

[ ... ]

[And therefore take the present time]6
  [With]7 a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
For love is crownéd with the prime
  In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding a ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.

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

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Morley: "cornfields"
2 omitted by Barton, Bush, and Morley, passim.
3 Delius, Dring: "folk"
4 In Dring and Parry, only the first and third lines are set.
5 sometimes "life"?
6 Barton, Morley : "Then, pretty lovers, take the time"
7 Bush: "And with"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]