Seven Songs from William Blake

Song Cycle by John Mitchell (b. 1941)

Word count: 662

1. To Morning [sung text checked 1 time]

O holy virgin! clad in purest white,
Unlock heaven's golden gates, and issue forth;
Awake the dawn that sleeps in heaven; let light
[Rise]1 from the chambers of the east, and bring
The honey'd dew that cometh on waking day.
O radiant morning, salute the sun
Roused like a huntsman to the chase, and with
Thy buskin'd feet appear [upon]2 our hills.
[O radiant morning appear on our hills]3

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1 Mitchell: "Arise"
2 Mitchell: "on"
3 added by Mitchell

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. Love and harmony combine [sung text checked 1 time]

Love and harmony combine
And around our souls  intwine
While thy branches mix with mine,
And our roots together join.

Joys upon our branches sit,
Chirping loud, and singing sweet;
Like gentle streams beneath our feet
Innocence and virtue meet.

Thou the golden fruit dost bear,
I am clad in flowers fair;
Thy sweet boughs perfume the air,
And the turtle buildeth there

There she sits and feeds her young,
Sweet I hear her mournful song;
And thy lovely leaves among
There is love:  I hear his tongue

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Researcher for this text: Victoria Brago

3. My silks and fine array [sung text not yet checked]

 My silks and fine array, 
 My smiles and languish'd air,
 By love are driv'n away;
 And mournful lean Despair
 Brings me yew to deck my grave:
 Such end true lovers have.

 His face is fair as heav'n,
 When springing buds unfold;
 O why to him was't giv'n,
 Whose heart is wintry cold?
 His breast is love's all worship'd tomb,
 Where all love's pilgrims come.

 Bring me an axe and spade,
 Bring me a winding sheet;
 When I my grave have made,
 Let winds and tempests beat:
 Then down I'll lie, as cold as clay,
 True love doth pass away! 

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. Memory, hither come [sung text checked 1 time]

Memory, hither come
  And tune your merry notes;
And while upon the wind
  Your music floats,

I'll pore upon the stream,
  Where sighing lovers dream,
And fish for fancies as they pass
  Within the watery glass.

I'll drink of the clear stream,
  And hear the linnet's song,
And there I'll lie and dream
  The day along;

And when night comes I'll go
  To places fit for woe,
Walking along the darkened valley,
  With silent melancholy.

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Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

5. How sweet I roam'd [sung text not yet checked]

 How sweet I roam'd from field to field, 
   And tasted all the summer's pride,
 'Till I the prince of love beheld,
   Who in the sunny beams did glide!

 He shew'd me lilies for my hair,
   And blushing roses for my brow;
 He led me through his gardens fair,
   Where all his golden pleasures grow.

 With sweet May dews my wings were wet,
   And Phoebus fir'd my vocal rage;
 He caught me in his silken net,
   And shut me in his golden cage.

 He loves to sit and hear me sing,
   Then, laughing, sports and plays with me;
 Then stretches out my golden wing,
   And mocks my loss of liberty.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

6. The wild winds weep [sung text checked 1 time]

The wild winds weep
  And the night is a-cold;
Come hither, Sleep,
  And my griefs [infold]1:
But lo! the morning peeps
  Over the eastern steeps,
And the rustling birds of dawn
  The earth do scorn. 

Lo! to the vault
  Of paved heaven,
With sorrow fraught
  My notes are driven:
They strike the ear of night,
  Make weep the eyes of day;
They make mad the roaring winds,
  And with tempests play. 

Like a fiend in a cloud,
  With howling woe,
After night I do crowd,
  And with night will go;
I turn my back to the east,
From whence comforts have increas'd;
For light doth seize my brain
With frantic pain.

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

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

View original text (without footnotes)
Note: said to have been written by Blake at the age of fourteen.
First published in Poetical Sketches, 1783
1 first published as "unfold" (Mitchell uses "unfold"); later changed to "infold"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

7. I love the merry dance [sung text checked 1 time]

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]