I am: yet what I am none cares or knows, My friends forsake me like a memory lost; I am the self-consumer of my woes, They rise and vanish in oblivious host, Like shades in love and death's oblivion lost; And yet I am, and live with shadows tossed Into the nothingness of scorn and noise, Into the living sea of waking dreams, Where there is neither sense of life nor joys, But the vast shipwreck of my life's esteems; And e'en the dearest - that I loved the best - Are strange - nay, rather stranger than the rest. I long for scenes where man has never trod, A place where woman never smiled or wept; There to abide with my Creator, God, And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept: Untroubling and untroubled where I lie, - The grass below - above the vaulted sky.
About the headline (FAQ)View text with footnotes
- by John Clare (1793 - 1864), "I am", appears in The Life of John Clare, first published 1865 [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 Trevor Hold (1939 - 2004), "I am", 1964, first performed 1968 [tenor and instrumental ensemble], from For John Clare [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]
- by Thomas Mirante (b. 1931), "I am", published 1969 [SATB chorus and piano] [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]
- by Nico Muhly (b. 1981), "I am: yet what I am none cares or knows", 2016, first performed 2017 [voice and piano], from Strange Productions, no. 4, confirmed with a concert programme booklet [ sung text checked 1 time]
- by Kurt George Roger (1895 - 1966), "Elegy", 1946, first performed 1950 [baritone and piano], from Three English Poems [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]
- by David Evan Thomas (b. 1958), "I am", 1990, first performed 1993 [baritone, piano], from Heard in a Violent Ward, no. 6 [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]
- by Ian Venables (b. 1955), "I am", op. 30 no. 4 (1997) [tenor and string quartet], from Invite to Eternity, no. 4 [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]
Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:
- Also set in German (Deutsch), a translation by Bertram Kottmann , "Ich bin", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission ; composed by Gary Bachlund.
Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Malcolm Wren [Guest Editor]
This text was added to the website: 2005-12-19
Line count: 18
Word count: 147