[Say]1, wilt thou go with me, sweet maid, Say, maiden, wilt thou go with me Through the valley-depths of shade, Of [bright]2 and dark obscurity; Where the path has lost its way, Where the sun forgets the day, Where there's nor [light nor life]3 to see, Sweet maiden, wilt thou go with me? Where stones will turn to flooding streams, Where plains will rise like ocean's waves, Where life will fade like visioned dreams And [darkness]4 darken into caves, Say, maiden, wilt thou go with me Through this sad non-identity Where parents live and are forgot, And sisters live and know us not? Say, maiden, wilt thou go with me In this strange death of life to be, To live in death and be the same, Without this life or home or name, At once to be and not to be -- That was and is not -- yet to see Things pass like shadows, and the sky Above, below, around us lie? The land of shadows wilt thou trace, Nor look nor know each other's face; The present marred with reason gone, And past and present both as one? Say, maiden, can thy life be led To join the living and the dead? Then trace thy footsteps on with me: We are wed to one eternity.
About the headline (FAQ)View original text (without footnotes)
1 omitted by Muhly, Venables.
2 Muhly, Venables: "night"
3 Muhly, Venables: "life nor light"
4 Muhly, Venables: "mountains"
- by John Clare (1793 - 1864), "Invitation to Eternity", appears in John Clare: Poems, first published 1920 [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 David Campbell Dorward (b. 1933), "Invitation to Eternity", 1967, first performed 1967. [tenor, piano] [ sung text not verified ]
- by Nico Muhly (b. 1981), "Say, wilt thou go with me, sweet maid", 2016, first performed 2017 [voice and piano], from Strange Productions, no. 2, confirmed with a concert programme booklet [ sung text verified 1 time]
- by Patric Standford (b. 1939), "Invitation to Eternity", published 1976 [women's chorus or boys' chorus and orchestra], from A John Clare Cantata [ sung text not verified ]
- by Ian Venables (b. 1955), "An Invite, to Eternity", op. 30 no. 2 (1997) [tenor and string quartet], from Invite to Eternity, no. 2. [ sung text verified 1 time]
Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Malcolm Wren [Guest Editor]
This text was added to the website: 2005-12-19
Line count: 32
Word count: 215