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Eight Songs (5th set)

Song Cycle by Joseph Williams (1847 - 1923), as Florian Pascal

?. Inclusions [sung text not yet checked]

Oh, wilt thou have my hand, Dear, to lie along in thine?
As a little stone in a running stream, it seems to lie and pine.
Now drop the poor pale hand, Dear, unfit to plight with thine.

Oh, wilt thou have my cheek, Dear, drawn closer to thine own?
My cheek is white, my check is worn, by many a tear run down.
Now leave a little space, Dear, lest it should wet thine own.

Oh, must thou have my soul, Dear, commingled with thy soul? -
Red grows the cheek, and warm the hand; the part is in the whole;
Nor hands nor cheeks keep separate, when soul is joined to soul.


See other settings of this text.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. The house of clouds [sung text not yet checked]

I would build a cloudy House
For my thoughts to live in;
When for earth too fancy-loose
And too low for Heaven!
Hush! I talk my dream aloud -- 
I build it bright to see, -- 
I build it on the moonlit cloud,
To which I looked with thee.

Cloud-walls of the morning's grey,
Faced with amber column, -- 
Crowned with crimson cupola
From a sunset solemn!
May mists, for the casements, fetch,
Pale and glimmering;
With a sunbeam hid in each,
And a smell of spring.

Build the entrance high and proud,
Darkening and then brightening, -- 
If a riven thunder-cloud,
Veined by the lightning.
Use one with an iris-stain,
For the door within;
Turning to a sound like rain,
As I enter in.

Build a spacious hall thereby:
Boldly, never fearing.
Use the blue place of the sky,
Which the wind is clearing;
Branched with corridors sublime,
Flecked with winding stairs -- 
Such as children wish to climb,
Following their own prayers.

In the mutest of the house,
I will have my chamber:
Silence at the door shall use
Evening's light of amber,
Solemnising every mood,
Softemng in degree, -- 
Turning sadness into good,
As I turn the key.

Be my chamber tapestried
With the showers of summer,
Close, but soundless, -- glorified
When the sunbeams come here;
Wandering harpers, harping on
Waters stringed for such, -- 
Drawing colours, for a tune,
With a vibrant touch.

Bring a shadow green and still
From the chestnut forest,
Bring a purple from the hill,
When the heat is sorest;
Spread them out from wall to wall,
Carpet-wove around, -- 
Whereupon the foot shall fall
In light instead of sound.

Bring the fantasque cloudlets home
From the noontide zenith
Ranged, for sculptures, round the room, -- 
Named as Fancy weeneth:
Some be Junos, without eyes;
Naiads, without sources
Some be birds of paradise, -- 
Some, Olympian horses.

Bring the dews the birds shake off,
Waking in the hedges, -- 
Those too, perfumed for a proof,
From the lilies' edges:
From our England's field and moor,
Bring them calm and white in;
Whence to form a mirror pure,
For Love's self-delighting.

Bring a grey cloud from the east,
Where the lark is singing;
Something of the song at least,
Unlost in the bringing:
That shall be a morning chair,
Poet-dream may sit in,
When it leans out on the air,
Unrhymed and unwritten.

Bring the red cloud from the sun
While he sinketh, catch it.
That shall be a couch, -- with one
Sidelong star to watch it, -- 
Fit for poet's finest Thought,
At the curfew-sounding, --  ;
Things unseen being nearer brought
Than the seen, around him.

Poet's thought, -- -not poet's sigh!
'Las, they come together!
Cloudy walls divide and fly,
As in April weather!
Cupola and column proud,
Structure bright to see -- 
Gone -- except that moonlit cloud,
To which I looked with thee!

Let them! Wipe such visionings
From the Fancy's cartel -- 
Love secures some fairer things
Dowered with his immortal.
The sun may darken, -- heaven be bowed -- 
But still, unchanged shall be, -- 
Here in my soul, -- that moonlit cloud,
To which I looked with THEE!


First published in Athenæum, August 1841

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. White lilies [sung text not yet checked]

Of English blood, of Tuscan birth, ...
What country should we give her ?
Instead of any on the earth.
The civic Heavens receive her.

And here, among the English tombs,
In Tuscan ground we lay her,
While the blue Tuscan sky endomes
Our English words of prayer.

A little child! -- how long she lived,
By months, not years, is reckoned :
Born in one July, she survived
Alone to see a second.

Bright-featured, as the July sun
Her little face, still played in,
And splendours, with her hirth begun,
Had had no time for fading.

So, Lily, from those July hours,
No wonder we should call her;
She looked such kinship to the flowers ...
Was but a little taller.

A Tuscan Lily, -- only white ...
As Dante, in abhorrence
Of red corruption, wished aright
The lilies of his Florence.

We could not wish her whiter ... Her
Who perfumed with pure blossom
The house ! -- a lovely thing to wear
Upon a mother's bosom!

This July creature thought perhaps
Our speech not worth assuming:
She sate upon her parents' laps,
And mimicked the gnat's humming;

Said 'Father,' 'Mother'! -- then, left off;
For tongues celestial, fitter.
Her hair had grown just long enough
To catch Heaven's jasper-glitter.

Babes! Love could always hear and see
Behind the cloud that hid them:
"Let little children come to me,
And do not thou forbid them."

So, unforbidding, have we met,
And gently here have laid her,
Though winter is no time to get
The flowers that should o'er-spread her.

We should bring pansies quick with spring,
Rose, violet, daffodilly,
And also, above everything,
White lilies for our Lily.

Nay, more than flowers, this grave exacts...
Glad, grateful attestations
Of her sweet eyes and pretty acts, -- 
With calm renunciations.

Her very mother with light feet
Should leave the place too earthy,
Saying, "The angels have thee, sweet,
Because we are not worthy."

But winter kills the orange buds, -- 
The gardens in the frost are;
And all the heart dissolves in floods,
Remembering we have lost her!

Poor earth, poor heart! -- too weak, too weak,
To miss the July shining!
Poor heart! -- what bitter words we speak,
When God speaks of resigning!

Sustain this heart in us that faints,
Thou God, the self-existent!
We catch up wild at parting saints,
And feel thy Heaven too distant!

The wind that swept them out of sin,
Has ruffled all our vesture:
On the shut door that let them in,
We beat with frantic gesture, -- 

To us, us also -- open straight!
The outer life is chilly -- 
Are we too, like the earth, to wait
Till next year for our Lily?

-- Oh, my own baby on my knees,
My leaping, dimpled treasure, -- 
At every word I write like these,
Clasped close, with stronger pressure!

Too well my own heart understands...
At every word beats fuller ...
My little feet, my little hands,
And hair of Lily's colour! --
-- But God gives patience, Love learns strength,
And Faith remembers promise,
And Hope itself can smile at length
On other hopes gone from us.

Love, strong as Death, shall conquer Death,
Through struggle, made more glorious:
This mother stills her sobbing breath,
Renouncing, yet victorious.

Arms, empty of her child, she lifts,
With spirit unbereaven --
"God will not all take back His gifts:
My Lily's mine in Heaven!

"Still mine! maternal rights serene
Not given to another!
The crystal bars shine faint between
The souls of child and mother.

"Meanwhile," the mother cries, "content!
Our love was well divided:
Its sweetness following where she went,
Its anguish stayed where I did.

"Well done of God, to halve the lot,
And give her all the sweetness!
To us, the empty room and cot, --
To her, the Heaven's completeness!

"To us, this grave -- to her, the rows
The mystic palm-trees spring in;
To us, the silence in the house, --
To her, the choral singing!

"For her, to gladden in God's view, -- 
For us, to hope and bear on! -- 
Grow, Lily, in thy garden new,
Beside the Rose of Sharon.

"Grow fast in Heaven, sweet Lily clipped,
In love more calm than this is, -- 
And may the angels dewy-lipped
Remind thee of our kisses!

"While none shall tell thee of our tears,
These human tears now falling,
Till, after a few patient years,
One home shall take us all in!"

-- Child, father, mother -- who, left out ?
Not mother, and not father! --
And when, their dying couch about,
The natural mists shall gather,

Some smiling angel close shall stand
In old Correggio's fashion,
Bearing a Lily in his hand,
For death's Annunciation.


First published in Athenæum, December 1849

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. Love me, Sweet [sung text not yet checked]

Love me Sweet, with all thou art,
Feeling, thinking, seeing;
Love me in the lightest part,
Love me in full being.

Love me with thine open youth
In its frank surrender;
With the vowing of thy mouth,
With its silence tender.

[ ... ]

Love me with thy thinking soul,
Break it to love-sighing;
Love me with thy thoughts that roll
On through living -- dying.

[ ... ]


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First published in Blackwood's Magazine, October 1846

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. Wisdom Unapplied [sung text not yet checked]

If I were thou, O butterfly,
And poised my purple wing to spy
The sweetest flowers that live and die,

I would not waste my strength on those,
As thou -- for summer has a close,
And pansies bloom not in the snows.

[ ... ]

If I were thou, red-breasted bird,
With song at shut-up window heard,
Like Love's sweet yes too long deferred,

I would not overstay delight,
As thou -- but take a swallow-flight,
Till the new spring returned to sight.

[ ... ]


See other settings of this text.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

. There is no one beside thee [sung text not yet checked]

There is no one beside thee and no one above thee,
Thou standest alone as the nightgale sings!
And my words that would praise thee are impotent things,
For none can express thee though all should approve thee.
I love thee so, Dear, that I only can love thee.

Say, what can I do for thee? weary thee, grieve thee?
Lean on thy shoulder, new burdens to add?
Weep my tears over thee, making thee sad?
Oh, hold me not -- love me not! let me retrieve thee.
I love thee so, Dear, that I only can leave thee.


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 Joseph Williams (1847 - 1923), as Florian Pascal, published 1905 [ voice and piano ]
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
Total word count: 2097