Seven Songs of Edna St. Vincent Millay

Song Cycle by Lynn Steele (1951 - 2002)

Word count: 543

1. Travel [sung text checked 1 time]

The railroad track is miles away,
  And the day is loud with voices speaking,
Yet there isn't a train goes by all day
  But I hear its whistle shrieking.

All night there isn't a train goes by,
  Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming
But I see its cinders red on the sky,
  And hear its engine steaming.

My heart is warm with the friends I make,
  And better friends I'll not be knowing,
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,
  No matter where it's going.

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Researcher for this text: Victoria Brago

2. The betrothal [sung text checked 1 time]

Oh come, my lad, or go, my lad,
And love me if you like.
I shall not here the door shut
Or the knocker strike.

Oh bring me gifts or beg me gifts,
And wed me if you will.
I'd make a man a good wife,
Sensible and still.

And why should I be cold, my lad,
And why should you repine,
Because I love a dark head
That never will be mine.

I might as well be easing you
As lie alone in bed
And waste the night in wanting
A cruel dark head.

You might as well be calling yours
What never will be his,
And one of us be happy --
There's few enough as is.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Lynn Steele

3. A song of shattering [sung text checked 1 time]

The first rose on my rose tree
Budded, bloomed, and shattered
During sad days, when to me
Nothing mattered.
Grief of grief has drained me clean.
Still, it seems a pity
No one saw.  It must have been
Very pretty.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Lynn Steele

4. Afternoon on a hill [sung text checked 1 time]

I will be the gladdest thing
Under the sun,
I will touch a hundred flowers
And [not pick one.]1

I will look at cliffs and clouds
With quiet eyes,
Watch the wind bow down the grass,
And the grass rise.

And when lights begin to show
Up from the town,
I will mark which must be mine
And then start down.

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1 Grier: "pick not one."

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. Low tide [sung text checked 1 time]

These wet rocks where the tide has been,
Barnacled white and weeded brown,
And slimed beneath to a beautiful green,
These wet rocks where the tide went down

Will show again when the tide is high,
Faint and perilous, far from shore,
No place to dream, but a place to die,
The bottom of the sea once more.

There was a child that wandered through
A giant's empty house all day.
House full of wonderful things and new --
But no fit place for a child to play.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Lynn Steele

6. Mariposa [sung text checked 1 time]

 Butterflies are white and blue
 In this field we wander through.
 Suffer me to take your hand.
 Death comes in a day or two.

 All the things we ever knew
 Will be ashes in that hour.
 Mark the transient butterfly,
 How he hangs upon a flower.

 Suffer me to take your hand,
 Suffer me to cherish you
 Till the dawn is in the sky,
 Whether I be false or true.
 Death comes in a day or two.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Lynn Steele

7. Wild swans [sung text checked 1 time]

I looked in my heart [while]1 the wild swans went over.
And what did I see I had not seen before?
Only a question less or a question more:
Nothing to match the flight of wild birds flying.

Tiresome heart, forever living and dying,
House without air, I leave you and lock your door.
Wild swans, come over the town, come over
The town again, trailing your legs and crying!

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1 Steele: "when"

Researcher for this text: Victoria Brago