Four Songs

Song Cycle by Vernon Duke (1903 - 1969)

Word count: 344

1. 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]

2. The fly [sung text not yet checked]

Little Fly,
Thy summer's play
My thoughtless hand
Has brush'd away.

Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?

For I dance
And drink & sing:
Till some blind hand 
Shall brush my wing.

If thought is life
And strength & breath
And the want 
Of thought is death;

Then am I
A happy fly,
If I live,
Or if I die.

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "La mouche", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • RUS Russian (Русский) [singable] (Dmitri Nikolaevich Smirnov) , "Мотылёк", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. The blossom [sung text not yet checked]

Merry, merry sparrow!
Under leaves so green
A happy blossom
Sees you, swift as arrow,
Seek your cradle narrow,
Near my bosom.

Pretty, pretty robin!
Under leaves so green
A happy blossom
Hears you sobbing, sobbing,
Pretty, pretty robin,
Near my bosom.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. 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]