Ludlow Town

Song Cycle by Ernest John Moeran (1894 - 1950)

Word count: 585

1. When smoke stood up from Ludlow [sung text checked 1 time]

When smoke stood up from Ludlow,
 And mist blew off from Teme,
And blithe afield to ploughing
 Against the morning beam
 I strode beside my team,
 
The blackbird in the coppice
 Looked out to see me stride,
And hearkened as I whistled
 The trampling team beside,
 And fluted and replied:
 
"Lie down, lie down, young yeoman;
 What use to rise and rise?
Rise man a thousand mornings
 Yet down at last he lies,
 And then the man is wise."
 
I heard the tune he sang me,
 And spied his yellow bill;
I picked a stone and aimed it
 And threw it with a will:
 Then the bird was still.
 
Then my soul within me
 Took up the blackbird's strain,
And still beside the horses
 Along the dewy lane
 It sang the song again:
 
"Lie down, lie down, young yeoman;
 The sun moves always west;
The road one treads to labour
 Will lead one home to rest,
 And that will be the best."

Authorship

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Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

2. Farewell to barn and stack and tree [sung text checked 1 time]

"Farewell to barn and stack and tree,
  Farewell to Severn shore.
Terence, look your last at me,
  For I come home no more.

"The sun burns on the half-mown hill,
  By now the blood is dried;
And Maurice amongst the hay lies still
  And my knife is in his side.

"My mother thinks us long away;
  'Tis time the field were mown.
She had two sons at rising day,
  Tonight she'll be alone.

[ ... ]

"Long for me the rick will wait,
  And long will wait the fold,
And long will stand the empty plate,
  And dinner will be cold."

Authorship

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Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

3. Say, lad, have you things to do? [sung text checked 1 time]

Say, lad, have you things to do?
  Quick then, while your day's at prime.
Quick, and if 'tis work for two,
  Here am I, man: now's your time.

Send me now, and I shall go;
  Call me, I shall hear you call;
Use me ere they lay me low
  Where a man's no use at all;

Ere the wholesome flesh decay,
  And the willing nerve be numb,
And the lips lack breath to say,
  "No, my lad, I cannot come."

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Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

4. The lads in their hundreds to Ludlow come in for the fair [sung text checked 1 time]

The lads in their hundreds to Ludlow come in for the fair,
  There's men from the barn and the forge and the mill and the fold,
The lads for the girls and the lads for the liquor are there,
  And there with the rest are the lads that will never be old.

There's chaps from the town and the field and the till and the cart,
  And many to count are the stalwart, and many the brave,
And many the handsome of face and the handsome of heart,
  And few that will carry their looks or their truth to the grave.

I wish one could know them, I wish there were tokens to tell
  The fortunate fellows that now you can never discern;
And then one could talk with them friendly and wish them farewell
  And watch them depart on the way that they will not return.

But now you may stare as you like and there's nothing to scan;
  And brushing your elbow unguessed-at and not to be told
They carry back bright to the coiner the mintage of man,
  The lads that will die in their glory and never be old.

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Patricia Dillard Eguchi) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • HEB Hebrew (עברית) (Max Mader) , "הבחורים במאות", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]