Songs Out of Sorrow, Six Songs for Mezzo-soprano

Song Cycle by John Woods Duke (1899 - 1984)

Word count: 0

1. Spirit's house [sung text not yet checked]

From naked stones of agony
I will build a house for me;
As a mason all alone
I will raise it, stone by stone,
And every stone where I have bled
Will show a sign of dusky red.
I have not gone the way in vain,
For I have good of all my pain;
My spirit's quiet house will be
Built of naked stones I trod
On roads where I lost sight of God.

Authorship

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Maison de l'esprit", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Confirmed with Sara Teasdale, Love Songs, New York, The Macmillan Company, 1917, page 47.


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. Mastery [sung text not yet checked]

I would not have a god come in
To shield me suddenly from sin,
And set my house of life to rights;
Nor angels with bright burning wings
Ordering my earthly thoughts and things;
Rather my own frail guttering lights
Wind blown and nearly beaten out;
Rather the terror of the nights
And long, sick groping after doubt;
Rather be lost than let my soul
Slip vaguely from my own control --
Of my own spirit let me be
In sole though feeble mastery.

Authorship

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

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

Confirmed with Sara Teasdale, Love Songs, New York, The Macmillan Company, 1917, page 48.


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. Lessons [sung text not yet checked]

Unless I learn to ask no help
     From any other soul but mine,
To seek no strength in waving reeds
     Nor shade beneath a straggling pine;
Unless I learn to look at Grief
     Unshrinking from her tear-blind eyes,
And take from Pleasure fearlessly
     Whatever gifts will make me wise --
Unless I learn these things on earth,
Why was I ever given birth?

Authorship

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

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

Confirmed with Sara Teasdale, Love Songs, New York, The Macmillan Company, 1917, page 49.


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. In a burying ground [sung text not yet checked]

This is the spot where I will lie
     When life has had enough of me,
These are the grasses that will blow
     Above me like a living sea.

These gay old lilies will not shrink
     To draw their life from death of mine,
And I will give my body's fire
     To make blue flowers on this vine.

"O Soul," I said, "have you no tears?
     Was not the body dear to you?"
I heard my soul say carelessly,
     "The myrtle flowers will grow more blue."

Authorship

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Pierre Mathé) , "Dans un sol où être enterré", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Confirmed with Sara Teasdale, Love Songs, New York, The Macmillan Company, 1917, page 51.


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. Wood song [sung text not yet checked]

I heard a wood thrush in the dusk
 Twirl three notes and make a star --
My heart that walked with bitterness
 Came back from very far.

Three shining notes were all he had,
 And yet they made a starry call --
I caught life back against my breast
 And kissed it, scars and all.

Authorship

See other settings of this text.

Confirmed with Sara Teasdale, Love Songs, New York, The Macmillan Company, 1917, page 52.


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

6. Refuge [sung text not yet checked]

From my spirit's gray defeat,
From my pulse's flagging beat,
From my hopes that turned to sand
Sifting through my close-clenched hand,
From my own fault's slavery,
If I can sing, I still am free.

For with my singing I can make
A refuge for my spirit's sake,
A house of shining words, to be
My fragile immortality.

Authorship

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

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

Confirmed with Sara Teasdale, Love Songs, New York, The Macmillan Company, 1917, page 53.


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]