Hearth-Songs

Song Cycle by Robin Field (b. 1935)

?. Dover Beach [sung text not yet checked]

The sea is calm to-night, 
The tide is full, the moon lies fair 
Upon the straights; -- on the French coast the light 
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanch'd land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand, 
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring 
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago 
Heard it on the Ægean, and it brought 
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we 
Find also in the sound a thought, 
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith 
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore 
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl'd.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath 
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear 
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light, 
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, 
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

Authorship:

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

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Walter A. Aue) , "Der Strand von Dover", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Peter Duyster

?. A church romance [sung text not yet checked]

She turned in the high pew, until her sight
Swept the west gallery, and caught its row
Of music-men with viol, book, and bow
Against the sinking, sad tower-window light.

She turned again; and in her pride's despite
One strenuous viol's inspirer seemed to throw
A message from his string to her below,
Which said: "I claim thee as my own forthright!"

Thus their hearts' bond began, in due time signed,
And long years thence, when Age had scared Romance,
At some old attitude of his or glance
That gallery-scene would break upon her mind,
With him as minstrel, ardent, young, and trim.
Bowing "New Sabbath" or "Mount Ephraim".

Authorship:

First published in Saturday Review, 1906

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
Total word count: 367