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When I [bring to you colour'd]1 toys, my child, I understand why there is such a play of colours On clouds, on water, and why flow'rs are painted in tints: When I give colour'd toys to you, my child. When I sing to make you dance, [I truly know why there is]2 music in leaves, And why waves send their chorus of voices To the heart of the listening earth: When I sing to make you dance.3 When I bring sweet things to your greedy hands, I know why there is honey in the cup of the flower And why fruits are secretly filled with sweet juice: When I bring sweet things to your greedy hands. When I kiss your face to make you smile, my darling, I surely understand what pleasure streams from the sky in morning light, and what delight that is that is which the summer breeze brings to my body - when I kiss you to make you smile.
M. Trotta sets stanzas 2, 3, 1
About the headline (FAQ)View original text (without footnotes)
Note: in Gitanjali, the poem has no title; but in The Crescent Moon, its title is "When and why"
1 Carpenter: "bring you coloured"
2 Trotta: "I know why there's"
3 Trotta adds "We are free", and in the last repeat, "We are one."
- by Rabindranath Tagore (1861 - 1941), no title, written 1913, appears in Gitanjali, no. 62, appears in The Crescent Moon, no. 9, first published 1913 [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
- a text in Bangla (Bengali) by Rabindranath Tagore (1861 - 1941), no title, appears in গীতাঞ্জলি (Gitanjali), no. 62 [text unavailable]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive):
- by John Alden Carpenter (1876 - 1951), "When I bring to you colour’d toys", published 1914 [ voice and piano ], from Gitanjali (Song Offerings), no. 1, New York, G. Schirmer [sung text checked 1 time]
- by Darius Milhaud (1892 - 1974), "When and why", op. 36 no. 1 (1916), published 1923, first performed 1919 [ high voice and piano ], from Child Poems, no. 1, Éd. Composers Music Corporation [sung text not yet checked]
- by John Fitz Rogers (b. 1963), "When I bring to you coloured toys", 2008 [ soprano and piano ], from Songs of Time and Tide, no. 3 [sung text not yet checked]
- by Michael John Trotta (b. 1978), "When I sing to make you dance", published 2012, stanzas 2,3,1 [ SSA chorus and piano with optional flute ], Carl Fischer [sung text checked 1 time]
Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:
- Also set in German (Deutsch), a translation by Marie Luise Gothein (1863 - 1931) ; composed by Jan Pieter Hendrik van Gilse.
Other available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):
- GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 18
Word count: 163