Four Impressions

Song Cycle by Charles Tomlinson Griffes (1884 - 1920)

Word count: 331

1. Le jardin [sung text checked 1 time]

The lily's withered chalice falls 
Around its rod of dusty gold, 
And from the beech-trees on the wold 
The last wood-pigeon coos and calls. 

The gaudy leonine sunflower 
Hangs black and barren on its stalk, 
And down the windy garden walk 
The dead leaves scatter, -- hour by hour. 

Pale privet-petals white as milk 
Are blown into a snowy mass: 
The roses lie upon the grass 
Like little shreds of crimson silk.

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

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. Impression du matin [sung text checked 1 time]

The Thames nocturne of blue and gold
Changed to a Harmony in grey:
A barge with ochre-coloured hay
Dropt from the wharf: and chill and cold

The yellow fog came creeping down
The bridges, till the houses' walls
Seemed changed to shadows, and S. Paul's
Loomed like a bubble o'er the town.

Then suddenly arose the clang
Of waking life; the streets were stirred
With country waggons: and a bird
Flew to the glistening roofs and sang.

But one pale woman all alone,
The daylight kissing her wan hair,
Loitered beneath the gas lamps' flare,
With lips of flame and heart of stone.

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Note: sometimes titled "Impression du Matin"; also the 'e' at the end of "nocturne" in line one is sometimes omitted.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. La mer [sung text checked 1 time]

A white mist drifts across the shrouds, 
A wild moon in this wintry sky 
Gleams like an angry lion's eye 
Out of a mane of tawny clouds. 

The muffled steersman at the wheel 
Is but a shadow in the gloom; - 
And in the throbbing engine-room 
Leap the long rode of polished steel. 

The shattered storm has left its trace 
Upon this huge and heaving dome, 
For the thin threads of yellow foam 
Float on the waves like ravelled lace.

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

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. Le réveillon [sung text checked 1 time]

The sky is laced with fitful red,
The circling mists and shadows flee,
The dawn is rising from the sea,
Like a white lady from her bed.

And jagged brazen arrows fall
Athwart the feathers of the night,
And a long wave of yellow light
Breaks silently on tower and hall,

And spreading wide across the wold
Wakes into flight some fluttering bird,
And all the chestnut tops are stirred,
And all the branches streaked with gold.

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Note: first published in Irish Monthly (February 1877)m in "Lotus Leaves" (an untitled portion).

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]