Earthly Delights

Song Cycle by David Evan Thomas (b. 1958)

Word count: 500

1. The ghosts [sung text checked 1 time]

In life three ghostly friars were we,
And now three friarly ghosts we be.
Around our shadowy table placed,
The spectral bowl before us floats:
With wine that none but ghosts can taste,
We wash our unsubstantial throats.
Three merry ghosts -- Three merry ghosts -- 
Three merry ghosts are we:
Let the ocean be Port, and we'll think it good sport
To be laid in that Red Sea.

With songs that jovial spectres chaunt,
Our old refectory still we haunt.
The traveller hears our midnight mirth:
'O list!' he cries, 'the haunted choir!
'The merriest ghost that walk the earth,
'Is sure the ghost of a ghostly friar.'
Three merry ghosts -- Three merry ghosts -- 
Three merry ghosts are we:
Let the ocean be Port, and we'll think it good sport
To be laid in that Red Sea.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. 'Tis the voice of the Lobster [sung text checked 1 time]

'Tis the voice of the Lobster: I heard him declare
"You have baked me too brown, I must sugar my hair."
As a duck with its eyelids, so he with his nose
Trims his belt and his buttons, and turns out his toes.
When the sands are all dry, he is gay as a lark,
And will talk in contemptuous tones of the Shark;
But, when the tide rises and sharks are around,
His voice has a timid and tremulous sound.

I passed by his garden, and marked, with one eye,
How the Owl and the Panther were sharing a pie:
The Panther took pie-crust, and gravy, and meat,
While the Owl had the dish as its share of the treat.
When the pie was all finished, the Owl, as a boon,
Was kindly permitted to pocket the spoon;
While the Panther received knife and fork with a growl,
And concluded the banquet by --- 1

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

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1 Note: Alice's recitation is interrupted by the Mock Turtle, who calls the poem "the most confusing thing I ever heard"; in Nicholson's setting, the final words are added in a whisper: "eating the owl". Further changes may exist not noted above.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. To a goose [sung text checked 1 time]

If thou didst feed on western plains of yore;
Or waddle wide with flat and flabby feet
Over some Cambrian mountain's plashy moor;
Or find in farmer's yard a safe retreat
From gypsy thieves, and foxes sly and fleet;
If thy grey quills, by lawyer guided, trace
Deeds big with ruin to some wretched race,
Or love-sick poet's sonnet, sad and sweet,
Wailing the rigour of his lady fair;
Or if, the drudge of housemaid's daily toil,
Cobwebs and dust thy pinions white besoil,
Departed Goose! I neither know nor care,
But this I know, that we pronounced thee fine,
Seasoned with sage sand onions, and port wine.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. If all the world were paper [sung text checked 1 time]

If all the world were paper,
And all the sea were ink,
If all the trees were bread and cheese,
How should we do for drink?

If friars had no bald pates,
Nor nuns had no dark cloisters,
If all the seas were beans and peas,
How should we do for oysters?

If there had been no projects,
Nor none that did great wrongs,
If fiddlers shall turn players all,
How should we do for songs?

If all things were eternal,
And nothing their end bringing,
If this should be, then how should we
Here make an end of singing?

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]