by Walter De la Mare (1873 - 1956)

Tit for tat
Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE GER
Have you been catching [of]1 fish, Tom Noddy? 
  Have you snared a weeping hare? 
Have you whistled "No Nunny" and gunned a poor bunny,
  Or blinded a bird of the air? 

Have you trod like a murderer through the green woods,
  Through the dewy deep dingles and glooms,
While every small creature screamed shrill to Dame Nature
  "He comes - and he comes!"? 

Wonder I very much do, Tom Noddy,
  If ever, when [you are a-roam]2,
An Ogre from space will stoop a lean face,
  And lug you home: 

Lug you home over his fence, Tom Noddy,
  Of thorn-sticks nine yards high,
With your bent knees strung round his old iron gun
  And your head a dan-dangling by: 

And hang you up stiff on a hook, Tom Noddy,
  From a stone-cold pantry shelf,
Whence your eyes will glare in an empty stare,
  Till [you're]3 cooked yourself!

View original text (without footnotes)
1 omitted by Britten.
2 Britten: "off you roam"
3 Britten: "you are"

Authorship

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , title 1: "Un prêté pour un rendu", copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , title 1: "Wie du mir, so ich dir", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:40
Line count: 20
Word count: 146