Three Wessex Songs

Song Cycle by Frederic Austin (1872 - 1952)

Word count: 253

?. When I set out for Lyonnesse [sung text not yet checked]

 When I set out for Lyonnesse,
   A hundred miles away,
   The rime was on the spray,
 And starlight lit my lonesomeness
 When I set out for Lyonnesse
   A hundred miles away.

 What would bechance at Lyonnesse
   While I should sojourn there
   No prophet durst declare,
 Nor did the wisest wizard guess
 What would bechance at Lyonnesse
   While I should sojourn there.

 When I came back from Lyonnesse
   With magic in my eyes,
   [None managed to surmise
 What meant my godlike gloriousness]1,
 When I came back from Lyonnesse
   With magic in my eyes!

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1 There seem to be two versions of this poem. Finzi and the other version: "All marked with mute surmise / My radiance rare and fathomless" ; Gibbs mixes them: "All marked with mute surmise / What meant my godlike gloriousness"

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

?. Though dynasties pass [sung text not yet checked]

Only a man harrowing clods
In a slow silent walk
With an old horse that stumbles and nods
Half asleep as they stalk.

Only thin smoke without flame
From the heaps of couch-grass1;
Yet this will go onward the same
Though Dynasties pass.

Yonder a maid and her wight2
Come whispering by:
War's annals will cloud into night
Ere their story die.

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

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First published in Saturday Review, January, 1916
1 couch-grass: a type of weed.
2 wight: man.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. The fiddler [sung text checked 1 time]

The fiddler knows what's brewing
To the lilt of his lyric wiles:
The fiddler knows what rueing
Will come of this night's smiles!

He sees couples join them for dancing,
And afterwards joining for life,
He sees them pay high for their prancing
By a welter of wedded strife.

He twangs: "Music hails from the devil,
Though vaunted to come from [heaven]1,
For it makes people do at a revel
What multiplies sins by seven.

"There's many a heart now mangled,
And waiting its time to go,
Whose tendrils were first entangled
By my sweet viol and bow!"

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1 Austin: "heav'n"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]