Five William Blake Songs

Song Cycle by Malcolm Henry Arnold (1921 - 2006)

Word count: 470

1. O holy virgin [sung text not yet checked]

O holy virgin! clad in purest white,
Unlock heaven's golden gates, and issue forth;
Awake the dawn that sleeps in heaven; let light
[Rise]1 from the chambers of the east, and bring
The honey'd dew that cometh on waking day.
O radiant morning, salute the sun
Roused like a huntsman to the chase, and with
Thy buskin'd feet appear [upon]2 our hills.
[O radiant morning appear on our hills]3

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

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Mitchell: "Arise"
2 Mitchell: "on"
3 added by Mitchell

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. Memory, hither come [sung text not yet checked]

Memory, hither come
  And tune your merry notes;
And while upon the wind
  Your music floats,

I'll pore upon the stream,
  Where sighing lovers dream,
And fish for fancies as they pass
  Within the watery glass.

I'll drink of the clear stream,
  And hear the linnet's song,
And there I'll lie and dream
  The day along;

And when night comes I'll go
  To places fit for woe,
Walking along the darkened valley,
  With silent melancholy.

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Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

3. How sweet I roam'd [sung text not yet checked]

 How sweet I roam'd from field to field, 
   And tasted all the summer's pride,
 'Till I the prince of love beheld,
   Who in the sunny beams did glide!

 He shew'd me lilies for my hair,
   And blushing roses for my brow;
 He led me through his gardens fair,
   Where all his golden pleasures grow.

 With sweet May dews my wings were wet,
   And Phoebus fir'd my vocal rage;
 He caught me in his silken net,
   And shut me in his golden cage.

 He loves to sit and hear me sing,
   Then, laughing, sports and plays with me;
 Then stretches out my golden wing,
   And mocks my loss of liberty.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. My silks and fine array [sung text not yet checked]

 My silks and fine array, 
 My smiles and languish'd air,
 By love are driv'n away;
 And mournful lean Despair
 Brings me yew to deck my grave:
 Such end true lovers have.

 His face is fair as heav'n,
 When springing buds unfold;
 O why to him was't giv'n,
 Whose heart is wintry cold?
 His breast is love's all worship'd tomb,
 Where all love's pilgrims come.

 Bring me an axe and spade,
 Bring me a winding sheet;
 When I my grave have made,
 Let winds and tempests beat:
 Then down I'll lie, as cold as clay,
 True love doth pass away! 

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. Thou fair-haired angel of the evening [sung text not yet checked]

Thou fair-haired angel of the evening,
Now, whilst the sun rests on the mountains, light
Thy bright torch of love; thy radiant crown
Put on, and smile upon our evening bed!
Smile on our loves, and while thou drawest the
Blue curtains of the sky, scatter thy silver dew
On every flower that shuts its sweet eyes
In timely sleep. Let thy west wing sleep on
The lake; speak silence with thy glimmering eyes,
And wash the dusk with silver. Soon, full soon,
Dost thou withdraw; then the wolf rages wide,
And the lion glares through the dun forest.
The fleeces of our flocks are covered with
Thy sacred dew; protect with them with thine influence.

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

  • CZE Czech (Čeština) (Jaroslav Vrchlický) , "Večernici"
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Dem Abendstern", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]