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by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 - 1882)
Witlaf, a king of the Saxons
Witlaf, a king of the Saxons, Ere yet his last he breathed, To the merry monks of Croyland His drinking-horn bequeathed,-- That, whenever they sat at their revels, And drank from the golden bowl, They might remember the donor, And breathe a prayer for his soul. So sat they once at Christmas, And bade the goblet pass; In their beards the red wine glistened Like dew-drops in the grass. They drank to the soul of Witlaf, They drank to Christ the Lord, And to each of the Twelve Apostles, Who had preached his holy word. They drank to the Saints and Martyrs Of the dismal days of yore, And as soon as the horn was empty They remembered one Saint more. And the reader droned from the pulpit Like the murmur of many bees, The legend of good Saint Guthlac, And Saint Basil's homilies; Till the great bells of the convent, From their prison in the tower, Guthlac and Bartholomaeus, Proclaimed the midnight hour. And the Yule-log cracked in the chimney, And the Abbot bowed his head, And the flamelets flapped and flickered, But the Abbot was stark and dead. Yet still in his pallid fingers He clutched the golden bowl, In which, like a pearl dissolving, Had sunk and dissolved his soul. But not for this their revels The jovial monks forbore, For they cried, "Fill high the goblet! We must drink to one Saint more!"
About the headline (FAQ)
- by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 - 1882), "King Witlaf's Drinking-Horn", appears in The Seaside and the Fireside, first published 1849 [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 Henry Erskine Allon (1864 - 1897), "King Witlaf", alternate title: "The monks of Croyland", published 188-? [ voice and piano ] [sung text not yet checked]
- by George Coleman Gow (1860 - 1938), "King Witlaf's drinking horn", op. 2 (Five songs) no. 5, published 1888 [ baritone or bass and piano ] [sung text not yet checked]
- by John Liptrot Hatton (1809 - 1886), "King Witlaf's drinking-horn" [ ATTB chorus and piano ] [sung text not yet checked]
- by May Ostlere , "The monks of Croyland", alternate title: "King Witlaf", published 187-? [ voice and piano ] [sung text not yet checked]
- by Willoughby Hunter Weiss (1820 - 1867), "King Witlaf's drinking-horn" [ voice and piano ] [sung text not yet checked]
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website: 2008-06-18
Line count: 40
Word count: 237