Piping Down the Valleys Wild

Song Cycle by Christopher Steel (b. 1939)

Word count: 0

1. Infant Joy [sung text not yet checked]

"I have no name:
I am but two days old."
What shall I call thee?
"I happy am,
Joy is my name."
Sweet joy befall thee!

Pretty Joy!
Sweet Joy, but two days old.
Sweet Joy I call thee:
Thou dost smile,
I sing the while,
Sweet joy befall thee!

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

  • RUS Russian (Русский) [singable] (Dmitri Nikolaevich Smirnov) , "Дитя-радость", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. Infant sorrow  [sung text not yet checked]

My mother groaned, my father wept,
Into the dangerous world I leapt;
Helpless, naked, piping loud,
Like a fiend hid in a cloud.

Struggling in my father's hands,
Striving against my swaddling bands,
Bound and weary, I thought best
To sulk upon my mother's breast.

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3. The schoolboy [sung text not yet checked]

I love to rise in a summer morn
When the birds sing on every tree;
The distant huntsman winds his horn,
And the skylark sings with me.
O! what sweet company.

But to go to school in a summer morn,
O! it drives all joy away;
Under a cruel eye outworn,
The little ones spend the day
In sighing and dismay.

Ah! then at times I drooping sit,
And spend many an anxious hour,
Nor in my book can I take delight,
Nor sit in learning's bower,
Worn thro' with the dreary shower.

How can the bird that is born for joy
Sit in a cage and sing?
How can a child, when fears annoy,
But droop his tender wing,
And forget his youthful spring?

O! father and mother, if buds are nipp'd
And blossoms blown away,
And if the tender plants are stripp'd
Of their joy in the springing day,
By sorrow and care's dismay,

How shall the summer arise in joy,
Or the summer fruits appear?
Or how shall we gather what griefs destroy,
Or bless the mellowing year,
When the blasts of winter appear?

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4. I love the jocund dance [sung text not yet checked]

I love the [jocund]1 dance, 
The softly breathing song, 
Where innocent eyes do glance,
[And]2 where lisps the maiden's tongue.  

I love the laughing vale, 
I love the echoing [hills]3, 
Where mirth does never fail, 
And the jolly swain laughs his fill. 

I love the pleasant cot,
I love the innocent bow'r,
Where white and brown is our lot,
Or fruit in the midday hour. 

I love the oaken seat,
Beneath the oaken tree,
Where all the [old]2 villagers meet,
And laugh [our]4 sports to see. 

I love our neighbors all,
But Kitty, I [better love thee]5;
And love them [I ever]6  shall;
But thou art all to me.

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View original text (without footnotes)
1 Mitchell: "merry"
2 not set by Mitchell.
3 Mitchell: "hill"
4 Mitchell: "my"
5 Mitchell: "love thee more"
6 Mitchell: "ever I"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. I told my love [sung text not yet checked]

Never [seek]1 to tell thy love 
Love that never told can be;
For the gentle wind does move
Silently, invisibly.

I told my love, I told my love,
I told her all my heart,
Trembling, cold, in ghastly fears --
Ah, she doth depart.

Soon as she was gone from me
A traveller came by
Silently, invisibly --
[He took her with a sigh.]2

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View original text (without footnotes)
1 alternatively, "pain" (Baker, Hagen and possibly some others)
2 ? : "O, was no deny."

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

6. The stream [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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