Bucolics

Song Cycle by James Walter Wilson (b. 1922)

Word count: 604

1. In the cowslip pips I lie [sung text not yet checked]

In the cowslip pips I lie,
Hidden from a buzzing fly,
While green grass beneath me lies,
Pearled with dew like fishes' eyes
Here I lie, a clock-a-clay,
Waiting for the time of day.

While [the]1 forest quakes surprise,
And the wild wind sobs and sighs,
My home rocks as like to fall,
On its pillar green and tall,
While the pattering rain drives by,
Clock-a-clay keeps warm and dry.

Day by day and night by night,
All the week I hide from sight,
In the cowslip pips I lie,
In rain and dew still warm and dry,
Day and night and night and day,
Red, black-spotted clock-a-clay.

My home shakes in wind and showers,
Pale green pillar topped with flowers,
Bending at the wild wind's breath,
Till I touch the grass beneath;
Here I live, lone clock-a-clay,
Watching for the time of day.

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Note: clock-a-clay is an old name for the ladybird.
1 Bennett: "grassy"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. When midnight comes [sung text not yet checked]

When midnight comes a host of dogs and men
Go out and track the badger to his den,
And put a sack within the hole, and lie
Till the old grunting badger passes bye.
He comes and hears -- they let the strongest loose.
The old fox hears the noise and drops the goose.
The poacher shoots and hurries from the cry,
And the old hare half wounded buzzes bye.
They get a forked stick to bear him down
And clap the dogs and take him to the town,
And bait him all the day with many dogs,
And laugh and shout and fright the scampering hogs.
He runs along and bites at all he meets:
They shout and hollo down the noisy streets.

He turns about to face the loud uproar
And drives the rebels to their very door.
The frequent stone is hurled where e'er they go;
When badgers fight, then every one's a foe.
The dogs are clapt and urged to join the fray;
The badger turns and drives them all away.
Though scarcely half as big, demure and small,
He fights with dogs for bones and beats them all.
The heavy mastiff, savage in the fray,
Lies down and licks his feet and turns away.
The bulldog knows his match and waxes cold,
The badger grins and never leaves his hold.
He drives the crowd and follows at their heels
And bites them through -- the drunkard swears and reels.

The frighted women take the boys away,
The blackguard laughs and hurries on the fray.
He tries to reach the woods, an awkward race,
But sticks and cudgels quickly stop the chace.
He turns agen and drives the noisy crowd
And beats the many dogs in noises loud.
He drives away and beats them every one,
And then they loose them all and set them on.
He falls as dead and kicked by boys and men,
Then starts and grins and drives the crowd agen;
Till kicked and torn and beaten out he lies
And leaves his hold and cackles, groans, and dies.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. The birds are gone to bed [sung text not yet checked]

The birds are gone to bed, the cows are still
And sheep lie panting on each old mole hill
And underneath the willow's grey-green bough
Like toil a-resting -- lies the fallow plough.
The timid hares throw daylight's fears away
On the lane's road to dust, and dance and play,
Then dabble in the grain by nought deterred
To lick the dewfall from the barley's beard.
Then out they sturt again and round the hill
Like happy thoughts -- dance -- squat -- and loiter still.
Till milking maidens in the early morn
Jingle their yokes and sturt them in the corn.
Through well known beaten paths each nimbling hare
Sturts quick as fear -- and seeks its hidden lair.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]