by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 - 1894)

Brave lads in olden musical centuries
Language: English 
Brave lads in olden musical centuries
Sang, night by night, adorable choruses,
   Sat late by alehouse doors in April
   Chaunting in joy as the moon was rising.

Moon-seen and merry, under the trellises,
Flush-faced they play'd with old polysyllables
   Spring scents inspired, old wine diluted:
   Love and Apollo were there to chorus.

Now these, the songs, remain to eternity,
Those, only those, the bountiful choristers
   Gone -- those are gone, those unremember'd
   Sleep and are silent in earth for ever.

So man himself appears and evanishes,
So smiles and goes; as wanderers halting at
   Some green-embower'd house, play their music,
   Play and are gone on the windy highway.

Yet dwells the strain enshrined in the memory
Long after they departed eternally,
   Forth-faring tow'rd far mountain summits,
   Cities of men or the sounding Ocean.

Youth sang the song in years immemorial:
Brave chanticleer, he sang and was beautiful;
   Bird-haunted green tree-tops in springtime
   Heard, and were pleased by the voice of singing.

Youth goes and leaves behind him a prodigy -- 
Songs sent by thee afar from Venetian
   Sea-grey lagunes, sea-paven highways,
   Dear to me here in my Alpine exile.

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Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive):

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2008-11-29
Line count: 28
Word count: 187