Beyond the town - oh far! beyond it she walks - that lady - have you seen her? that thief of spring, that floral bandit who leaves the grass she walks on greener. And she can sing - the blackbirds hear her - those little coals with throats of flame - and they can find, alighting near her, no sweeter practice than her name. What is her name? O ask the linnet, for human tongue would strive in vain to speak the buds uncrumpling in it, and the small language of the rain. Who is this lady? What is she? the Sylvia all our swains adore? Yes, she is that unchangingly, but she is also something more. For buds at best are little green keys on an old thin clavichord, that only has the one high tune - that, since the first, all springs have heard. And all first love with the same sighing tunes, though more sweetly touched, has lingered, as though he were forever trying toccatas Purcell might have fingered. But no one knows her range nor can guess half the phrases of her fiddle, the lady who fore ev'ry man breaks off her music in the middle.
- by Humbert Wolfe (1885 - 1940), "The floral bandit", appears in The Unknown Goddess, first published 1925 [author's text not yet checked 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 Gustav Holst (1874 - 1934), "The floral bandit", op. 48 no. 6, H. 174 no. 12 (1929), published 1930 [voice and piano], from Twelve Humbert Wolfe Songs, no. 6. [text verified 1 time]
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 28
Word count: 200