Bagatelles

Song Cycle by Seymour Barab (1921 - 2014)

Word count: 841

1. Prelude [sung text not yet checked]

— Tacet —

2. Roundelay [sung text not yet checked]

Chloe found Amyntas lying
All in tears upon the plain;
Sighing to himself and crying,
Wretched I, to love in vain!
Kiss me, dear, before my dying;
Kiss me once, and ease my pain!
Sighing to himself and crying,
Wretched I, to love in vain:
Ever scorning and denying
To reward your faithful swain:
Kiss me, dear, before my dying:
Kiss me once, and ease my pain!
Ever scorning and denying
To reward your faithful swain.

Chloe, laughing at his crying,
Told him that he lov'd in vain.
Kiss me, dear, before my dying:
Kiss me once, and ease my pain!
Chloe, laughing at his crying,
Told him that he loved in vain:
But repenting, and complying,
When he kiss'd, she kiss'd again:
Kiss'd him up, before his dying;
Kiss'd him up, and eas'd his pain.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. Pure [sung text not yet checked]

Oh fair! oh purest! be thou the dove
That flies alone to some sunny grove,
And lives unseen, and bathes her wing,
All vestal white, in the limpid spring.
There, if the hovering hawk be near,
That limpid spring in its mirror clear
Reflects him ere he reach his prey
And warns the timorous bird away,
Be thou this dove;
Fairest, purest, be thou this dove,

The sacred pages of God's own book
Shall be the spring, the eternal brook,
In whose holy mirror, night and day,
Thou'lt study Heaven's reflected ray; --
And should the foes of virtue dare,
With gloomy wing, to seek thee there,
Thou wilt see how dark their shadows lie
Between Heaven and thee, and trembling fly!
Be thou that dove;
Fairest, purest, be thou that dove.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. 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]

5. If Love were what the Rose is [sung text not yet checked]

If love were what the rose is,
  And I were like the leaf,
Our lives would grow together
In sad or singing weather,
Blown fields or flowerful closes,
  Green pleasure or grey grief;
If love were what the rose is,
  And I were like the leaf.

If I were what the words are,
  And love were like the tune,
With double sound or single
Delight our lips would mingle,
With kisses glad as birds are
  That get sweet rain at noon;
If I were what the words are,
  And love were like the tune.

If you were life, my darling,
  And I your love were death,
We 'd shine and snow together
Ere March made sweet the weather
With daffodil and starling
  And hours of fruitful breath;
If you were life, my darling,
  And I your love were death.

If you were thrall to sorrow,
  And I were page to joy,
We 'd play for lives and seasons
With loving looks and treasons
And tears of night and morrow
  And laughs of maid and boy;
If you were thrall to sorrow,
  And I were page to joy.

If you were April's lady,
  And I were lord in May,
We 'd throw with leaves for hours
And draw for days with flowers,
Till day like night were shady
  And night were bright like day;
If you were April's lady,
  And I were lord in May.

If you were queen of pleasure,
  And I were king of pain,
We 'd hunt down love together,
Pluck out his flying-feather,
  And teach his feet a measure,
And find his mouth a rein;
  If you were queen of pleasure,
And I were king of pain.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

6. Tom [sung text not yet checked]

— This text is not currently
in the database but will be added
as soon as we obtain it. —

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7. The owl [sung text not yet checked]

When cats run home and light is come
And dew is cold upon the ground,
And the far-off stream is dumb,
And the whirring sail goes round;
Alone and warming his five wits,
The white owl in the belfry sits.

When merry milkmaids click the latch,
And rarely smells the new-mown hay,
And the cock hath sung beneath the thatch
Twice or thrice his round-e-lay;
Alone and warming his five wits,
The white owl in the belfry sits.

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

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Die weiße Uhl", copyright © 2007, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

8. The pigtail [sung text not yet checked]

There liv'd a sage in days of yore
And he a handsome pigtail wore
But wonder'd much and sorrow'd more,
Because it hung behind him.

He mus'd upon this curious case,
And swore he'd change the pigtail's place,
And have it hanging at his face
Not dangling there behind him

Says he, "The mystery I've found, --
I'll turn me round," --
He turn'd round,
But still it hung behind him.

Then round and round, and out and in,
All day the puzzled sage did spin;
In vain -- it matter'd not a pin --
The pigtail hung behind him.

And right and left, and round about,
And up and down, and in and out,
He turn'd, but still the pigtail stout
Hung steadily behind him.

And though his efforts never slack,
And though he twist, and twirl, and take,
Alas, still faithful to his back,
The pigtail hangs behind him.

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Based on

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First published in Fraser's Magazine, May 1838

Researcher for this text: Tom White