Dark is the forest and deep, and overhead Hang stars like seeds of light In vain, though not since they were sown was bred Anything more bright. And evermore mighty multitudes ride About, nor enter in; Of the other multitudes that dwell inside Never yet was one seen. The forest foxglove is purple, the marguerite Outside is gold and white, Nor can those that pluck either blossom greet The others, day or night.
Strange Journey: Songs of Edward Thomas
Song Cycle by Elaine Hugh-Jones (b. 1927)
1. The dark forest  [sung text not yet checked]
- by Edward Thomas (1878 - 1917), "The dark forest" [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
2. The new house  [sung text not yet checked]
Now first, as I shut the door, I was alone In the new house; and the wind Began to moan. Old at once was the house, And I was old; My ears were teased with the dread Of what was foretold, Nights of storm, days of mist, without end; Sad days when the sun Shone in vain: old griefs and griefs Not yest begun. All was foretold me; naught Could I foresee; But I learnt how the wind would sound After these things should be.
- by Edward Thomas (1878 - 1917), "The new house" [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
3. House and man  [sung text not yet checked]
One hour: as dim he and his house now look As a reflection in a rippling brook, While I remember him; but first, his house. Empty it sounded. It was dark with forest boughs That brushed the walls and made the mossy tiles Part of the squirrels' track. In all those miles Of forest silence and forest murmur, only One house - 'Lonely!' he said, 'I wish it were lonely' - Which the trees looked upon from every side, And that was his. He waved good-bye to hide A sigh that he converted to a laugh. He seemed to hang rather than stand there, half Ghost-like, half like a beggar's rag, clean wrung And useless on the brier where it has hung Long years a-washing by sun and wind and rain. But why I call back man and house again Is there now a beech-tree's tip I see As then I saw - I at the gate, and he In the house darkness, - magpie veering about, A magpie like a weathercock in doubt.
- by Edward Thomas (1878 - 1917), "House and man" [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
4. The bridge  [sung text not yet checked]
I have come a long way to-day: On a strange bridge alone, Remembering friends, old friends, I rest, without smile or moan, As they remember me without smile or moan. All are behind, the kind And the unkind too, no more To-night than a dream. The stream Runs softly yet drowns the Past, The dark-lit stream has drowned the Future and the Past. No traveller has rest more blest Than this moment brief between Two lives, when the Night's first lights And shades hide what has never been, Things goodlier, lovelier, dearer, than will be or have been.
- by Edward Thomas (1878 - 1917), "The bridge" [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
5. Lights out  [sung text not yet checked]
I have come to the borders of sleep, The unfathomable deep Forest where all must lose Their way, however straight Or winding, soon or late; They can not choose. Many a road and track That, since the dawn's first crack Up to the forest brink Deceived the travellers, Suddenly now blurs, And in they sink. Here love ends --- Despair, ambition ends; All pleasure and all trouble, Although most sweet or bitter, Here ends, in sleep that is sweeter Than tasks most noble. There is not any book Or face of dearest look That I would not turn from now To go into the unknown I must enter, and leave, alone, I know not how. The tall forest towers: Its cloudy foliage lowers Ahead, shelf above shelf: Its silence I hear and obey That I may lose my way And myself.
- by Edward Thomas (1878 - 1917), "Lights out" [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
See other settings of this text.Researcher for this text: David Kenneth Smith