Songs of Innocence and Experience

Song Cycle by (Thomas) Timothy Lenk (b. 1952)

Word count: 1917

1. Introduction (Piping down the valleys wild) [sung text not yet checked]

Piping down the valleys wild,
  Piping songs of pleasant glee,
On a cloud I saw a child,
  And he laughing said to me:

"Pipe a song about a lamb."
  So I piped with merry chear.
"Piper, pipe that song again."
  So I piped: he wept to hear.

"Drop thy pipe, thy happy pipe;
  Sing thy songs of happy chear."
So I sang the same again,
  While he wept with joy to hear.

"Piper, sit thee down and write
  In a book, that all may read."
So he vanished from my sight;
  And I pluck'd a hollow reed.

And I made a rural pen,
  And I stain'd the water clear,
And I wrote my happy songs
  Every child may joy to hear.

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

  • RUS Russian (Русский) [singable] (Dmitri Nikolaevich Smirnov) , "Вступление", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

2. Infant Joy [sung text not yet checked]

"I have no name:
I am but two days old."
What shall I call thee?
"I happy am,
Joy is my name."
Sweet joy befall thee!

Pretty Joy!
Sweet Joy, but two days old.
Sweet Joy I call thee:
Thou dost smile,
I sing the while,
Sweet joy befall thee!

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

  • RUS Russian (Русский) [singable] (Dmitri Nikolaevich Smirnov) , "Дитя-радость", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. The lamb [sung text not yet checked]

Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life, and [bid]1 thee feed,
By the stream and o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing woolly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?
Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?

Little Lamb, I'll tell thee,
Little Lamb, I'll tell thee:
He is callèd by thy name,
For He calls Himself a Lamb.
He is meek, and He is mild:
He became a little child.
I a child, and thou a lamb,
We are callèd by His name.
Little Lamb, God bless thee!
Little Lamb, God bless thee!

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

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "L'anyell", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Thomas Schubert) , "Das Lamm", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • RUS Russian (Русский) [singable] (Dmitri Nikolaevich Smirnov) , "Агнец", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
1 MacNutt, Somervell: "bade"

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

4. The little boy lost [sung text not yet checked]

``Father! father! where are you going? 
O do not walk so fast. 
Speak, father, speak to your little boy, 
Or else I shall be lost.'' 

The night was dark, no father was there; 
The child was wet with dew; 
The mire was deep, & the child did weep, 
And away the vapour flew.

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Researcher for this text: Ahmed E. Ismail

5. The little boy found [sung text not yet checked]

The little boy lost in the lonely fen,
Led by the wand'ring light,
Began to cry; but God, ever nigh,
Appear'd like his father, in white.

He kissed the child, and by the hand led,
And to his mother brought,
Who in sorrow pale, thro' the lonely dale,
Her little boy weeping sought.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

6. Infant sorrow [sung text not yet checked]

My mother groaned, my father wept,
Into the dangerous world I leapt;
Helpless, naked, piping loud,
Like a fiend hid in a cloud.

Struggling in my father's hands,
Striving against my swaddling bands,
Bound and weary, I thought best
To sulk upon my mother's breast.

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7. The Tyger [sung text not yet checked]

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,  
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?  

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?  
On what wings dare he aspire?  
What the hand, dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?  

What the hammer? what the chain,  
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp,
Dare its deadly terrors clasp!  

When the stars threw down their spears  
And water'd heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger Tyger burning bright,
In the forests of the night:  
What immortal hand or eye,  
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

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

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "El tigre", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Le tigre", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Walter A. Aue) , "Der Tiger", copyright © 2006, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Thomas Schubert) , "Der Tiger", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • RUS Russian (Русский) [singable] (Dmitri Nikolaevich Smirnov) , "Тигр", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

8. A little boy lost [sung text not yet checked]

"Nought loves another as itself,
Nor venerates another so,
Nor is it possible to Thought
A greater than itself to know: 

"And, Father, how can I love you
Or any of my brothers more?
I love you like the little bird
That picks up crumbs around the door."

The Priest sat by and heard the child,
In trembling zeal he seiz'd his hair:
He led him by his little coat,
And all admir'd the priestly care.

And standing on the altar high,
"Lo! what a fiend is here," said he,
"One who sets reason up for judge
Of our most holy Mystery."

The weeping child could not be heard,
The weeping parents wept in vain;
They stripp'd him to his little shirt,
And bound him in an iron chain;

And burn'd him in a holy place,
Where many had been burn'd before:
The weeping parents wept in vain.
Are such things done on Albion's shore?

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

9. A little girl lost (Introd. Children of the future) [sung text not yet checked]

   Children of the future Age 
   Reading this indignant page, 
   Know that in a former time 
   Love! sweet Love! was thought a crime. 

In the Age of Gold, 
Free from winter's cold, 
Youth and maiden bright 
To the holy light, 
Naked in the sunny beams delight. 

[ ... ]

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Researcher for this text: Ahmed E. Ismail

10. A little girl lost (Once a youthful pair) [sung text not yet checked]

[ ... ]
Once a youthful pair, Fill'd with softest care, Met in garden bright Where the holy light Had just remov'd the curtains of night. There, in rising day, On the grass they play; Parents were afar, Strangers came not near, And the maiden soon forgot her fear. Tired with kisses sweet, They agree to meet When the silent sleep Waves o'er heaven's deep, And the weary tired wanderers weep. To her father white Came the maiden bright; But his loving look, Like the holy book, All her tender limbs with terror shook. ``Ona! pale and weak! To thy father speak: O, the trembling fear! O, the dismal care! That shakes the blossoms of my hoary hair.''

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Researcher for this text: Ahmed E. Ismail

11. London [sung text not yet checked]

I wander thro' each charter'd street,
Near where the charter'd Thames does flow
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

In every cry of every Man,
In every Infant's cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forg'd manacles I hear.

How the Chimney-sweeper's cry
Every black'ning Church appalls,
And the hapless Soldier's sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls.

But most thro' midnight streets I hear
How the youthful Harlot's curse
Blasts the new-born Infant's tear
And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse.

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

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

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

12. The Human Abstract [sung text not yet checked]

Pity would be no more 
If we did not make somebody Poor; 
And Mercy no more could be 
If all were as happy as we. 

And mutual fear brings peace, 
Till the selfish loves increase: 
Then Cruelty knits a snare, 
And spreads his baits with care. 

He sits down with holy fears, 
And waters the grounds with tears; 
Then Humility takes its root 
Underneath his foot. 

Soon spreads the dismal shade 
Of Mystery over his head; 
And the Catterpiller and Fly 
Feed on the Mystery. 

And it bears the fruit of Deceit, 
Ruddy and sweet to eat; 
And the Raven his nest has made 
In its thickest shade. 

The Gods of the earth and sea 
Sought thro' Nature to find this Tree; 
But their search was all in vain: 
There grows one in the Human Brain.

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Researcher for this text: Ahmed E. Ismail

13. The little girl lost (Introd. In futurity I prophetic see) [sung text not yet checked]

In futurity 
I prophetic see 
That the earth from sleep 
(Grave the sentence deep) 

Shall arise and seek 
For her maker meek; 
And in the desart wild 
Become a garden mild.

[ ... ]

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Researcher for this text: Ahmed E. Ismail

14. The little girl lost (In the southern clime) [sung text not yet checked]

[ ... ]
In the southern clime, Where the summer's prime Never fades away, Lovely Lyca lay. Seven summers old Lovely Lyca told; She had wander'd long Hearing wild birds' song. ``Sweet sleep, come to me Underneath this tree. Do father, mother weep, Where can Lyca sleep? ``Lost in desart wild Is your little child. How can Lyca sleep If her mother weep? ``If her heart does ake Then let Lyca wake; If my mother sleep, Lyca shall not weep. ``Frowning, frowning night, O'er this desart bright Let thy moon arise While I close my eyes.'' Sleeping Lyca lay While the beasts of prey, Come from caverns deep, View'd the maid asleep. The kingly lion stood And the virgin view'd, Then he gamboll'd round O'er the hollow'd ground. Leopards, tygers, play Round her as she lay, While the lion old Bow'd his mane of gold. And her bosom lick, And upon her neck From his eyes of flame Ruby tears there came; While the lioness Loos'd her slender dress, And naked they convey'd To caves the sleeping maid.

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Researcher for this text: Ahmed E. Ismail

15. The little girl found [sung text not yet checked]

All the night in woe 
Lyca's parents go 
Over vallies deep, 
While the desarts weep. 

Tired and woe-begone, 
Hoarse with making moan, 
Arm in arm seven days 
They trac'd the desart ways. 

Seven nights they sleep 
Among the shadows deep, 
And dream they see their child 
Starv'd in desart wild. 

Pale, thro' pathless ways 
The fancied image strays 
Famish'd, weeping, weak, 
With hollow piteous shriek. 

Rising from unrest, 
The trembling woman prest 
With feet of weary woe: 
She could no further go. 

In his arms he bore 
Her, arm's with sorrow sore; 
Till before their way 
A couching lion lay. 

Turning back was vain: 
Soon his heavy mane 
Bore them to the ground. 
Then he stalk'd around, 

Smelling to his prey; 
But their fears allay 
When he licks their hands, 
And silent by them stands. 

They look upon his eyes 
Fill'd with deep surprise, 
And wondering behold 
A spirit arm'd in gold. 

On his head a crown, 
On his shoulders down 
Flow'd his golden hair. 
Gone was all their care. 

``Follow me,'' he said; 
``Weep not for the maid; 
In my palace deep 
Lyca lies asleep.'' 

Then they followed 
Where the vision led, 
And saw their sleeping child 
Among the tygers wild. 

To this day they dwell 
In a lonely dell; 
Nor fear the wolvish howl 
Nor the lion's growl.

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Researcher for this text: Ahmed E. Ismail