Souvenirs from Childhood

Song Cycle by Oskar Morawetz (b. 1917)

Word count: 459

1. From a railway carriage [sung text checked 1 time]

Faster than fairies, faster than witches,
Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches;
And charging [along]1 like troops in a battle,
All through the meadows the horses and cattle:
All of the sights of the hill and the plain
Fly as thick as driving rain;
And ever again, in the wink of an eye,
Painted stations whistle by.

Here is a child who clambers and scrambles,
All by himself and gathering brambles;
Here is a tramp who stands and gazes;
And there is the green for stringing the daisies!
Here is a cart run away in the road
Lumping along with man and load;
And here is a mill and there is a river:
Each a glimpse and gone for ever!

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1 Morawetz, Williamson: "alone" (?) (needs re-checking)

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. The swing [sung text checked 1 time]

How do you like to go up in a swing,
  Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
  Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
  Till I can see so wide,
Rivers and trees and cattle and all
  Over the countryside -

Till I look down on the garden green,
  Down on the roof so brown -
Up in the air I go flying again,
  Up in the air and down!

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Sylvain Labartette) , "La balançoire", copyright © 2007, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. Escape at bedtime [sung text not yet checked]

The lights from the parlour and kitchen shone out
  Through the blinds and the windows and bars;
And high overhead and all moving about,
  There were thousands [of]1 millions of stars.
There ne'er were such thousands of leaves on a tree,
  Nor of people in church or the Park,
As the crowds of the stars that looked down upon me,
  And that glittered and winked in the dark.

The Dog, and the Plough, and the Hunter, and all,
  And the star of the sailor, and Mars,
These shone in the sky, and the pail by the wall
  Would be half full of water and stars.
They saw me at last, and they chased me with cries,
  And they soon had me packed into bed;
But the glory kept shining and bright in my eyes,
  And the stars going round in my head.

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Sylvain Labartette) , "Les étoiles", copyright © 2007, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Lehmann: "and"

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

4. Foreign children [sung text checked 1 time]

Little Indian, Sioux or Crow,
Little frosty Eskimo,
Little Turk or Japanese,
O! don't you wish that you were me?

You have seen the scarlet trees
And the lions over seas;
You have eaten ostrich eggs,
And turned the turtles off their legs.

Such a life is very fine,
But it's not so nice as mine:
You must often, as you trod,
Have wearied not to be abroad.

You have curious things to eat,
I am fed on proper meat;
You must dwell beyond the foam,
But I am safe and live at home.

Little Indian, Sioux or Crow,
Little frosty Eskimo,
Little Turk or Japanese,
O! don't you wish that you were me?

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

  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Paolo Montanari) , "Bambini stranieri", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]