Four Elegiac Songs

Song Cycle by Steven R. Gerber (b. 1948)

Word count: 387

1. Spring and Fall [sung text checked 1 time]

  to a young child

Margaret, are you grieving,
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By & by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep & know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow's springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. To Be Carved on a Stone at Thoor Ballylee [sung text checked 1 time]

I, the poet William Yeats,
With old mill boards and sea-green slates,
And smithy work from the Gort forge,
Restored this tower for my wife George;
And may these characters remain
When all is ruin once again.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. Full fathom five [sung text checked 1 time]

Full fathom five thy father lies,
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
[Ding-dong.]1
Hark! now I hear them, - ding-dong bell.

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

  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) (Lidy van Noordenburg) , "Vijf vadem diep", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FIN Finnish (Suomi) (Erkki Pullinen) , copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy de Pourtalès)
  • FRE French (Français) (Maurice Bouchor)
  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (David Paley) , "Voll Faden fünf", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • IRI Irish (Gaelic) [singable] (Gabriel Rosenstock) , copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Tuo padre giace a una profondità di cinque tese", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Andrea Maffei) , no title, first published 1869
  • NOR Norwegian (Bokmål) (Arild Bakke) , "På fem favner", copyright © 2004, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
1 omitted by Ives.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. To the Memory of Mr. Oldham [sung text checked 1 time]

Farewell, too little, and too lately known,
Whom I began to think and call my own:
For sure our souls were near allied, and thine
Cast in the same poetic mold with mine.
One common note on either lyre did strike,
And knaves and fools we both abhorred alike.
To the same goal did both our studies drive;
The last set out the soonest did arrive.
Thus Nisus fell upon the slippery place,
While his young friend performed and won the race.
O early ripe! to thy abundant store
What could advancing age have added more?
It might (what nature never gives the young)
Have taught the numbers of thy native tongue.
But satire needs not those, and wit will shine
Through the harsh cadence of a rugged line:
A noble error, and but seldom made,
When poets are by too much force betrayed.
Thy generous fruits, though gathered ere their prime,
Still showed a quickness, and maturing time
But mellows what we write to the dull sweets of rhyme.
Once more, hail and farewell; farewell, thou young,
But ah too short, Marcellus of our tongue;
Thy brows with ivy, and with laurels bound;
But fate and gloomy night encompass thee around.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]