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King David was a sorrowful man: No cause for his sorrow had he; And he called for the music of a hundred harps, To ease his melancholy. They played till they all fell silent: Played and play sweet did they; But the sorrow that haunted the heart of King David They could not charm away. He rose; and in his garden Walked by the moon alone, A nightingale hidden in a cypress tree, Jargoned on and on. King David lifted his sad eyes Into the dark-boughed tree -- "Tell me, thou little bird that singest, Who taught my grief to thee?" But the bird in no-wise heeded; And the king in the cool of the moon Hearkened to the nightingale's sorrowfulness, Till all his own was gone.
- by Walter De la Mare (1873 - 1956), "King David", appears in Peacock Pie: A Book of Rhymes, in 4. Places and People, no. 12, first published 1913 [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by Cecil Armstrong Gibbs (1889 - 1960), "King David", published 1951 [ mezzo-soprano solo (or semichorus), SSA chorus, and string orchestra, and piano ], from In a Dream's Beguiling [sung text not yet checked]
- by Herbert Norman Howells (1892 - 1983), "King David", 1919, published 1923 [ voice and piano ], from A Garland for de la Mare, no. 12 [sung text checked 1 time]
- by Michael John Hurd (1928 - 2006), "King David", published 1968 [ unison chorus and piano ], from Sea and Shore Songs [sung text not yet checked]
- by Charles Proctor (1906 - 1996), "King David", published 1945 [ high voice and piano or string orchestra ], from Four Various Songs [sung text not yet checked]
- by Freda Mary Swain (1902 - 1985), "King David", 1945-50 [ baritone and piano or string quartet ensemble ], from From "Peacock Pie" [sung text not yet checked]
Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):
- GER German (Deutsch) (Sharon Krebs) , "König David", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
- SPA Spanish (Español) (José Miguel Llata) , "El rey David", copyright © 2020, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
Research team for this text: Virginia Knight , Sharon Krebs [Guest Editor]
This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 20
Word count: 127
El rey David era un hombre afligido, sin causa para sus penas; Y ordenó que sonara la música de cien arpas, para aliviar su melancolía. Tocaron hasta que acabaron en silencio, tocaron y tocaron dulcemente; Pero la pena que perseguía el corazón del Rey David no pudieron alejar. Se levantó; y en su jardín paseó solo a la luz de la luna. Un ruiseñor escondido en un ciprés. gorjeaba sin parar. El Rey David elevó su triste mirada hacia las oscuras ramas del árbol, "Dime tú, pajarillo que cantas, ¿quién te habló de mis penas? Pero el pájaro no le prestó ninguna atención; Y el rey, bajo la fresca noche de luna, Escuchó la aflicción del ruiseñor hasta que la suya se desvaneció.
- Translation from English to Spanish (Español) copyright © 2020 by José Miguel Llata, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.
- a text in English by Walter De la Mare (1873 - 1956), "King David", appears in Peacock Pie: A Book of Rhymes, in 4. Places and People, no. 12, first published 1913
This text was added to the website: 2020-10-05
Line count: 20
Word count: 123