Blake Song Cycle

Song Cycle by (Thomas) Athanasios Aronis (b. 1935)

Word count: 1135

1. Night [sung text checked 1 time]

The sun descending in the west,
The evening star does shine;
The birds are silent in their nest.
And I must seek for mine.
The moon, like a flower
In heaven's high bower,
With silent delight
Sits and smiles on the night.

Farewell, green fields and happy grove,
Where flocks have took delight:
Where lambs have nibbled, silent move
The feet of angels bright;
Unseen they pour blessing
And joy without ceasing
On each bud and blossom,
And each sleeping bosom.

They look in every thoughtless nest
Where birds are cover'd warm;
They visit caves of every beast,
To keep them all from harm:
If they see any weeping
That should have been sleeping,
They pour sleep on their head,
And sit down by their bed.

[ ... ]

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. Nurse's song [sung text not yet checked]

When the voices of children are heard on the green 
And laughing is heard on the hill, 
My heart is at rest within my breast 
And everything else is still. 

"Then come home, my children, the sun is gone down 
And the dews of night arise; 
Come, come, leave off play, and let us away 
Till the morning appears in the skies." 

"No, no, let us play, for it is yet day 
And we cannot go to sleep; 
Besides, in the sky the little birds fly 
And the hills are all cover'd with sheep." 

"Well, well, go & play till the light fades away 
And then go home to bed." 
The little ones leaped & shouted & laugh'd 
And all the hills echoed.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. Cradle song [sung text not yet checked]

Sleep, sleep, beauty bright,
Dreaming o'er the joys of night;
Sleep, sleep, in thy sleep
Little sorrows sit and weep.

Sweet babe, in thy face
Soft desires I can trace,
Secret joys and secret smiles,
Little pretty infant wiles.

As thy softest limbs I feel, 
Smiles as of the morning steal 
O'er thy cheek, and o'er thy breast 
Where thy little heart does rest.

O! the cunning wiles that creep 
In thy little heart asleep. 
When thy little heart does wake 
Then the dreadful lightnings break, 

From thy cheek and from thy eye, 
O'er the youthful harvests nigh. 
Infant wiles and infant smiles 
Heaven and Earth of peace beguiles.

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

  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Geoffrey Wieting

4. Eternity [sung text not yet checked]

He who [bends to himself]1 a Joy
Doth the wingèd life destroy;
But he who kisses the Joy as it flies
Lives in Eternity's sunrise.

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1 Vaughan Williams: "binds himself"; Franceschini and J. White: "binds to himself"

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

5. Spring [sung text not yet checked]

Sound the Flute!
Now [it's]1 mute.
Birds delight
Day and Night;
Nightingale
In the dale,
Lark in Sky,2
Merrily, Merrily, Merrily,
To welcome in the Year.

Little Boy,
Full of Joy;
Little Girl,
Sweet and small;
Cock does crow,
So do you;
Merry voice,
Infant noise;
Merrily, Merrily, 
To welcome in the Year.

Little Lamb,
Here I am;
Come and [lick
My white neck;]3
Let me pull
Your soft Wool;
Let me kiss
Your soft face;
Merrily, Merrily, 
[We]4 welcome in the Year.

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1 MacNutt: "'tis"
2 Dougherty inserts "Out of sight" after this line
3 MacNutt: "play/ Hours away"
4 MacNutt: "To"

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Garrett Medlock [Guest Editor]

6. The smile [sung text not yet checked]

There is a smile of love, 
[and]1 there is a smile of deceit; 
and there is a smile of smiles, 
in which these two smiles meet. 
And there is a frown of hate, 
and there is a frown of disdain; 
and there is a frown of frowns 
which you strive to forget in vain, 
For it sticks in the heart's deep core, 
and it sticks in the deep backbone.
And no smile that ever was smiled, 
but only one smile alone -- 
That betwixt the cradle and grave 
it only once smiled can be, 
but when it once is smiled 
there's an end to all misery.

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1 omitted by Mitchell.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

7. A poison tree [sung text not yet checked]

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I water'd it in fears,
Night & morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine.

And into my garden stole
When the night had veil'd the pole,
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretch'd beneath the tree.

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Un arbre empoisonné", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Ein Giftbaum", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

8. The Tyger [sung text not yet checked]

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,  
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?  

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?  
On what wings dare he aspire?  
What the hand, dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?  

What the hammer? what the chain,  
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp,
Dare its deadly terrors clasp!  

When the stars threw down their spears  
And water'd heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger Tyger burning bright,
In the forests of the night:  
What immortal hand or eye,  
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

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

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "El tigre", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Le tigre", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Walter A. Aue) , "Der Tiger", copyright © 2006, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Thomas Schubert) , "Der Tiger", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • RUS Russian (Русский) [singable] (Dmitri Nikolaevich Smirnov) , "Тигр", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

9. The land of dreams [sung text not yet checked]

Awake, awake my little boy, 
thou wast thy mother's only joy. 
Why dost thou weep in thy gentle sleep? 
Awake, thy father does thee keep. 
Oh, what land is the land of dreams? 
What are its mountains and what are its streams? 
O father, I saw my mother there, 
among the lilies by waters fair. 
Among the lambs clothed in white, 
she walked with her Thomas in sweet delight. 
I wept for joy; like a dove I mourn. 
Oh, when shall I again return? 
Dear child, I also by pleasand streams 
have wandered all night in the land of dreams; 
but though calm and warm the waters wide, 
I could not get to the other side? 
Father, O father, what do we here, 
in this land of unbelief and fear? 
The land of dreams is better far -- 
above the light of the morning star.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

10. Ah! Sunflower [sung text not yet checked]

Ah, Sun-flower! weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the Sun;
Seeking after that sweet golden clime,
Where the traveller's journey is done:

Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow,
Arise from their graves and aspire
Where my Sun-flower wishes to go.

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Ah ! tournesol !", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]