Peacock Pie

Song Cycle by Anthony Francis Dominic Milner (b. 1925)

Word count: 847

?. The ship of Rio [sung text not yet checked]

There was a ship of Rio
  Sailed out into the blue,
And nine and ninety monkeys
  Were all her jovial crew.
From bo'sun to the cabin boy,
  From quarter to caboose,
There weren't a stitch of calico
  To breech 'em -- tight or loose;
From spar to deck, from deck to keel,
  From barnacle to shroud,
There weren't one pair of reach-me-downs
  To all that jabbering crowd.
But wasn't it a gladsome sight,
  When roared the deep-sea gales,
To see them reef her fore and aft,
  A-swinging by their tails!
Oh, wasn't it a gladsome sight,
  When glassy calm did come,
To see them squatting tailor-wise
  Around a keg of rum!
Oh, wasn't it a gladsome sight,
  When in she sailed to land,
To see them all a-scampering skip
  For nuts across the sand!

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Confirmed with Peacock Pie. A Book of Rhymes by Walter de la Mare, London: Constable & Co. Ltd., [1920], page 32.


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. The bees' song [sung text not yet checked]

Thousandz of thornz there be
On the Rozez where gozez
The Zebra of Zee:
Sleek, striped, and hairy,
The steed of the Fairy
Princess of Zee.

Heavy with blossomz be
The Rozez that growzez
In the thickets of Zee.
Where grazez the Zebra,
Marked Abracadeeebra,
Of the Princess of Zee.

And he nozez that poziez
Of the Rozez that grozez
So luvez'm and free,
With an eye, dark and wary,
In search of a Fairy,
Whose Rozez he knowzez
Were not honeyed for he,
But to breathe a sweet incense
To solace the Princess
Of far-away Zee.

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?. Dream-song [sung text not yet checked]

     Sunlight, moonlight,
     Twilight, starlight --
Gloaming at the close of day,
     And an owl calling,
     Cool dews falling
In a wood of oak and may.

     Lantern-light, taper-light,
     Torchlight, no-light:
Darkness at the shut of day,
     And lions roaring,
     Their wrath pouring
In wild waste places far away.

     Elf-light, bat-light,
     Touchwood-light and toad-light,
And the sea a shimmering gloom of grey,
     And a small face smiling
     In a dream's beguiling
In a world of wonders far away.

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Confirmed with Peacock Pie. A Book of Rhymes by Walter de la Mare, London: Constable & Co. Ltd., [1920], p. 172.


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. The old stone house [sung text not yet checked]

Nothing on the grey roof, nothing on the brown,
Only a little greening where the rain drips down;
Nobody at the window, nobody at the door,
Only a little hollow which a foot once wore;
But still I tread on tiptoe, still tiptoe on I go,
Past nettles, porch, and weedy well, for oh, I know
A friendless face is peering, and a still clear eye
Peeps closely through the casement as my step goes by.

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?. Old King Caraway [sung text not yet checked]

Old King Caraway
   Supped on cake,
And a cup of sack
   His thirst to slake;
Bird in arras
   And hound in hall
Watched very softly
   Or not at all;
Fire in the middle,
   Stone all round
Changed not, heeded not,
   Made no sound;
All by himself
   At the Table High
He'd nibble and sip
   While his dreams slipped by;
And when he had finished,
   He'd nod and say,
'Cake and sack
   For King Caraway!'

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?. The lost shoe [sung text not yet checked]

Poor little Lucy
  By some mischance,
Lost her shoe
  As she did dance -
'Twas not on the stairs,
  Not in the hall;
Not where they sat
  At supper at all.
She looked in the garden,
  But there it was not;
Henhouse, or kennel,
  Or high dovecote.
Dairy and meadow,
  And wild woods through
Showed not a trace
  Of Lucy's shoe.
Bird nor bunny
  Nor glimmering moon
Breathed a whisper
  Of where 'twas gone.
It was cried and cried,
  Oyez and Oyez!
In French, Dutch, Latin,
  And Portuguese.
Ships the dark seas
  Went plunging through,
But none brought news
  Of Lucy's shoe;
And still she patters
  In silk and leather,
O'er snow, sand, shingle,
  In every weather;
Spain, and Africa,
  Hindustan,
Java, China,
  And lamped Japan;
Plain and desert,
  She hops-hops through,
Pernambuco
  To gold Peru;
Mountain and forest,
  And river too,
All the world over
  For her lost shoe.

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?. Hide and seek [sung text not yet checked]

Hide and seek, says the Wind,
  In the shade of the woods;
Hide and seek, says the Moon,
  To the hazel buds;
Hide and seek, says the Cloud,
  Star on to star;
Hide and seek, says the Wave,
  At the harbour bar;
Hide and seek, say I,
  To myself, and step
Out of the dream of Wake
  Into the dream of Sleep.

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Confirmed with Peacock Pie. A Book of Rhymes by Walter de la Mare, London: Constable & Co. Ltd., [1920], page 35.


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. Silver [sung text not yet checked]

Slowly, silently, now the moon
Walks the night in her silver shoon;
This way, and that, she peers and sees
Silver fruit upon silver trees;
One by one the casements catch 
Her beams beneath the silvery thatch;
Couched in his kennel, like a log,
With paws of silver sleeps the dog;
[From their shadowy cote the white breasts peep
Of doves in a silver-feathered sleep]1
A harvest mouse goes scampering by,
With silver claws, and silver eye;
And moveless fish in the water gleam,
By silver reeds in a silver stream.

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
1 omitted by Bachlund, Britten, Duke, Gibbs.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. The cupboard [sung text not yet checked]

I know a little cupboard,
With a teeny tiny key,
And there's a jar of Lollypops
  For me, me, me.

It has a little shelf, my dear,
As dark as dark can be,
And there's a dish of Banbury Cakes
  For me, me, me.

I have a small fat grandmamma,
With a very slippery knee,
And she's the Keeper of the Cupboard
  With the key, key, key.

And I'm very good, my dear,
As good as good can be,
There's Banbury Cakes, and Lollypops
  For me, me, me.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]