Portraits

Song Cycle by David Stanley Smith (1877 - 1949)

Word count: 582

?. Nod [sung text not yet checked]

Softly along the road of evening,	 
    In a twilight dim [with]1 rose,	 
Wrinkled with age, and drenched with dew	 
    Old Nod, the shepherd, goes.	 
  
His drowsy flock streams on before him,	
    Their fleeces charged with gold,	 
To where the sun's last beam leans low	 
    On Nod the shepherd's fold.	 
  
The hedge is quick and green with briar,	 
    From their sand the conies creep;
And all the birds that fly in heaven	 
    Flock singing home to sleep.	 
  
His lambs outnumber a noon's roses,	 
    Yet, when night's shadows fall,	 
His blind old sheep-dog, Slumber-soon,
    Misses not one of all.	 
  
His are the quiet steeps of dreamland,	 
    The waters of no-more-pain;	 
His ram's bell rings 'neath an arch of stars,	 
    "Rest, rest, and rest again."

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1 Harmati: "and" (may be an error in New Songs and New Voices score)

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

?. Rachel [sung text not yet checked]

Rachel sings sweet -- 
Oh yes, at night,
Her pale face bent
In the candle-light,
Her slim hands touch
The answering keys,
And she sings of hope
And of memories:
Sings to the little
Boy that stands
Watching those slim,
Light, heedful hands.
He looks in her face;
Her dark eyes seem
Dark with a beautiful
Distant dream;
And still she plays,
Sings tenderly
To him of hope,
And of memory.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. Alone [sung text not yet checked]

A very old woman
Lives in yon house.
The squeak of the cricket,
The stir of the mouse,
Are all she knows
Of the earth and us.

Once she was young,
Would dance and play,
Like many another
Young popinjay;
And run to her mother
At dusk of day.

And colours bright
She delighted in;
The fiddle to hear,
And to lift her chin,
And sing as small
As a twittering wren.

But age apace
Comes at last to all;
And a lone house filled
With the cricket's call;
And the scampering mouse
In the hollow wall.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. The scarecrow [sung text not yet checked]

All winter through I bow my head
Beneath the driving rain;
The North Wind powders me with snow
And blows me back again;
At midnight 'neath a maze of stars
I flame with glittering rime,
And stand, above the stubble, stiff
As mail at morning-prime.
But when that child, called Spring, and all
His host of children, come,
Scattering their buds and dew upon
These acres of my home,
Some rapture in my rags awakes;
I lift void eyes and scan
The skies for crows, those ravening foes,
Of my strange master, Man.
I watch him striding lank behind
His clashing team, and know
Soon will the wheat swish body high
Where once lay sterile snow;
Soon shall I gaze across a sea
Of sun-begotten grain,
Which my unflinching watch hath sealed
For harvest once again.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. Old Susan [sung text not yet checked]

When Susan's work was done she'd sit,
With one fat guttering candle lit,
And window opened wide to win
The sweet night air to enter in;
There, with a thumb to keep her place
She'd read, with stern and wrinkled face,
Her mild eyes gliding very slow
Across the letters to and fro,
While wagged the guttering candle flame
In the wind that through the window came.
And sometimes in the silence she
Would mumble a sentence audibly,
Or shake her head as if to say,
'You silly souls, to act this way!'
And never a sound from night I'd hear,
Unless some far-off cock crowed clear;
Or her old shuffling thumb should turn
Another page; and rapt and stern,
Through her great glasses bent on me
She'd glance into reality;
And shake her round old silvery head,
With -- 'You! -- I thought you was in bed!' -- 
Only to tilt her book again,
And rooted in Romance remain.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]