Strange Journey: Songs of Edward Thomas

Song Cycle by Elaine Hugh-Jones (b. 1927)

Word count: 571

1. The dark forest [sung text not yet checked]

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.


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

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.


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

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. 


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

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.


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

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.


See other settings of this text.

Researcher for this text: David Kenneth Smith