Three Songs to Words by T. L. Beddoes

Song Cycle by Stephen Dodgson (b. 1924)

Word count: 421

?. Dirge [sung text not yet checked]

If thou [wilt]1 ease thine heart
Of love and all its smart,
   Then sleep, dear, sleep;
And not a sorrow
   Hang any tear on your eyelashes;
   Lie still and [deep],2
   Sad soul, until the sea-wave washes
The rim o' th' sun tomorrow,
   In eastern sky.

But [wilt]1 thou cure thine heart
Of love and all its smart,
   Then die, dear, die;
'Tis deeper, sweeter,
   Than on a rose bank to lie dreaming
   [With folded eye;]3
   And then alone, amid the beaming
Of love's stars, thou'lt meet her
   In eastern sky.

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1 Parry: "would'st"
2 Britten: "deep,/ With folded eye;" (moved from the second stanza)
3 omitted by Britten (moved to the first stanza); Parry: "With tranced eye"

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

?. Tandaradei [sung text not yet checked]

Under the lime-tree, on the daisied ground,
   Two that I know of made their bed;
There you may see, heaped and scattered round,
   Grass and blossoms, broken and shed,
All in a thicket down in the dale;
              Tandaradei -- 
Sweetly sang the nightingale.

Ere I set foot in the meadow, already
   Some one was waiting for somebody;
There was a meeting -- O gracious Lady!
   There is no pleasure again for me.
Thousands of kisses there he took,
               -- Tandaradei -- 
See my lips, how red they look!

Leaf and blossom he had pulled and piled
   For a couch, a green one, soft and high;
And many a one hath gazed and smiled,
   Passing the bower and pressed grass by;
And the roses crushed hath seen,
               -- Tandaradei -- 
Where I laid my head between.

In this love passage, if any one had been there,
   How sad and shamed should I be!
But what were we a doing alone among the green there,
   No soul shall ever know except my love and me,
And the little nightingale.
               -- Tandaradei -- 
She, I think, will tell no tale.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. The old crow of Cairo [sung text not yet checked]

Old Adam, the carrion crow,
    The old crow of Cairo;
He sat in the shower, and let it flow
    Under his tail and over his crest;
        And through every feather
        Leaked the wet weather;
    And the bough swung under his nest;
    For his beak it was heavy with marrow.
        Is that the wind dying? O no:
        It's only two devils, that blow
        Through a murderer's bones, to and fro,
            In the ghosts' moonshine.

Ho! Eve, my grey carrion wife,
    When we have supped on the kings' marrow,
Where shall we drink and make merry our life?
    Our nest it is queen Cleopatra's skull,
        'Tis cloven and cracked,
        And battered and hacked,
    But with tears of blue eyes it is full:
        Let us drink then, my raven of Cairo.
             Is that the wind dying? O no:
             It's only two devils, that blow
              Through a murderer's bones, to and fro,
            In the ghosts' moonshine.

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Researcher for this text: Brian Holmes