Songs of Innocence

Song Cycle by Ernest Walker (1870 - 1949)

Word count: 0

1. The shepherd [sung text not yet checked]

How sweet is the Shepherd's sweet lot!
   From the morn to the evening he strays;
He shall follow his sheep all the day,
   And his tongue shall be fillèd with praise.

For he hears the lamb's innocent call,
   And he hears the ewe's tender reply;
He is watchful [while]1 they are in peace,
   For they know when their Shepherd is nigh.

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

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "El pastor", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Cooke: "when"

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

2. The echoing green [sung text not yet checked]

The sun does arise,
And make happy the skies;
The merry bells ring
To welcome the Spring;
The skylark and thrush,
The birds of the bush,
Sing louder around
To the bells' cheerful sound;
While our sports shall be seen
On the echoing green. 

Old John, with white hair,
Does laugh away care,
Sitting under the oak,
Among the old folk.
They laugh at our play,
And soon they all say,
"Such, such were the joys
When we all--girls and boys -
In our youth-time were seen
On the echoing green."

Till the little ones, weary,
No more can be merry:
The sun does descend,
And our sports have an end.
Round the laps of their mothers
Many sisters and brothers,
Like birds in their nest,
Are ready for rest,
And sport no more seen
On the darkening green.

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

  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) (Lidy van Noordenburg) , "Het weerkaatsend groen", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. A cradle song  [sung text not yet checked]

Sweet dreams, form a shade
[O'er]1 my lovely infant's head!
Sweet dreams of pleasant streams
By happy, silent, moony beams!

Sweet Sleep, with soft down
Weave thy brows an infant crown.
Sweet Sleep, angel mild,
Hover o'er my happy child!

Sweet smiles, in the night
Hover over my delight!
Sweet smiles, mother's [smile]2,
All the livelong night [beguile]3.

Sweet moans, dovelike sighs,
Chase not slumber from thine eyes!
Sweet moan, sweeter [smile]2,
All the dovelike moans [beguile]3.

Sleep, sleep, happy child!
All creation slept and smiled.
Sleep, sleep, happy sleep,
While o'er thee [thy]4 mother weep.

Sweet babe, in thy face
Holy image I can trace;
Sweet babe, once like thee
Thy Maker lay, and wept for me:

Wept for me, for thee, for all,
When He was an infant small.
Thou His image ever see,
Heavenly face that smiles on thee!

Smiles on thee, on me, on all,
Who became an infant small;
Infant smiles are His own smiles;
Heaven and earth to peace beguiles.

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1 Carmichael: "Round"
2 Carmichael: "smiles"
3 Carmichael: "beguiles"
4 Baxter: "doth"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. Night [sung text not yet checked]

The sun descending in the west,
The evening star does shine;
The birds are silent in their nest.
And I must seek for mine.
The moon, like a flower
In heaven's high bower,
With silent delight
Sits and smiles on the night.

Farewell, green fields and happy grove,
Where flocks have took delight:
Where lambs have nibbled, silent move
The feet of angels bright;
Unseen they pour blessing
And joy without ceasing
On each bud and blossom,
And each sleeping bosom.

They look in every thoughtless nest
Where birds are cover'd warm;
They visit caves of every beast,
To keep them all from harm:
If they see any weeping
That should have been sleeping,
They pour sleep on their head,
And sit down by their bed.

When wolves and tigers howl for prey,
They pitying stand and weep,
Seeking to drive their thirst away
And keep them from the sheep.
But, if they rush dreadful,
The angels, most heedful,
Receive each mild spirit,
New worlds to inherit.

And there the lion's ruddy eyes
Shall flow with tears of gold:
And pitying the tender cries,
And walking round the fold:
Saying, "Wrath, by His meekness,
And, by His health, sickness,
Are driven away
From our immortal day.

"And now beside thee, bleating lamb,
I can lie down and sleep,
Or think on Him who bore thy name,
Graze after thee, and weep.
For, wash'd in life's river,
My bright mane for ever
Shall shine like the gold
As I guard o'er the fold."

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. Nurse's song [sung text not yet checked]

When the voices of children are heard on the green 
And laughing is heard on the hill, 
My heart is at rest within my breast 
And everything else is still. 

"Then come home, my children, the sun is gone down 
And the dews of night arise; 
Come, come, leave off play, and let us away 
Till the morning appears in the skies." 

"No, no, let us play, for it is yet day 
And we cannot go to sleep; 
Besides, in the sky the little birds fly 
And the hills are all cover'd with sheep." 

"Well, well, go & play till the light fades away 
And then go home to bed." 
The little ones leaped & shouted & laugh'd 
And all the hills echoed.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

6. Laughing song [sung text not yet checked]

When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy,
And the dimpling stream runs laughing by;
When the air does laugh with our merry wit,
And the green hill laughs with the noise of it; 

When the meadows laugh with lively green,
And the grasshopper laughs in the merry scene;
When Mary and Susan and Emily
With their sweet round mouths sing "Ha ha he!"

When the painted birds laugh in the shade,
Where our table with cherries and nuts is spread:
Come live, and be merry, and join with me,
To sing the sweet chorus of "Ha ha he!"

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

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

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]