The Curlew

Song Cycle by Peter Warlock (1894 - 1930)

Word count: 394

1. He reproves the curlew [sung text checked 1 time]

O, curlew, cry no more in the air, 
Or only to the waters in the West; 
Because your crying brings to my mind 
Passion-dimmed eyes and long heavy hair 
That was shaken out over my breast: 
There is enough evil in the crying of wind.

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , copyright © 2018, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "O chiurlo, più non gridare all'aria", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

First published in Savoy, November 1896, as one of Windlestraws, revised 1899 and 1906

Researcher for this text: David K. Smythe

2. The lover mourns for the loss of love [sung text checked 1 time]

Pale brows, still hands and dim hair, 
I had a beautiful friend 
And dreamed that the old despair 
Would end in love in the end: 
She looked in my heart one day 
And saw your image was there; 
She has gone weeping away.

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "L'amore perduto", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Note: first published in Dome, May 1898 as one of the "Aodh to Dectora. Three Songs", revised 1899, revised 1906.

Confirmed with W. B. Yeats, Later Poems, Macmillan and Co., London, 1926, page 16.


Researcher for this text: David K. Smythe

3. The withering of the boughs [sung text checked 1 time]

I cried when the moon was murmuring to the birds, 
"Let peewit call and curlew cry where they will, 
I long for your merry and tender and pitiful words, 
For the roads are unending, and there is no place to my mind."
The honey-pale moon lay low on the sleepy hill, 
And I fell asleep upon lonely Echtge of streams. 
No boughs have withered because of the wintry wind; 
The boughs have withered because I have told them my dreams.

I know of the leafy paths the witches take, 
Who come with their crowns of pearl and their spindles of wool, 
And their secret smile, out of the depths of the lake; 
I know where a dim moon drifts, where the Danaan kind 
Wind and unwind their dances when the light grows cool 
On the island lawns, their feet where the pale foam gleams. 
No boughs have withered because of the wintry wind; 
The boughs have withered because I have told them my dreams.

I know of the sleepy country, where swans fly round 
Coupled with golden chains, and sing as they fly. 
A king and a queen are wandering there, and the sound 
Has made them so happy and hopeless, so deaf and so blind 
With wisdom, they wander till all the years have gone by; 
I know. and the curlew and peewit on Echtge of streams. 
No boughs have withered because of the wintry wind; 
The boughs have withered because I have told them my dreams.

Authorship

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Flétrissure des branches", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

First published in Speaker, August 1900

Confirmed with W. B. Yeats, Later Poems, Macmillan and Co., London, 1926, page 76.


Researcher for this text: David K. Smythe

4. He hears the cry of the sedge [sung text checked 1 time]

I wander by the edge 
Of this desolate lake 
Where wind cries in the sedge:
Until the axle break 
That keeps the stars in their round, 
And hands hurl in the deep 
The banners of East and West. 
And the girdle of light is unbound, 
Your breast will not lie by the breast
Of your beloved in sleep.

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Confirmed with W. B. Yeats, Later Poems, Macmillan and Co., London, 1926, page 32.

Note: first published in Dome, May 1898 as one of the "Aodh to Dectora. Three Songs", revised 1899, revised 1906.

Researcher for this text: David K. Smythe