by Maurice Baring (1874 - 1945)

The clown
Language: English 
There was once a poor clown all dressed in white,
  In a dungeon, chained to the bars ; 
And he danced all day, and he danced all night, 
  To the sound of the dancing stars. 

"O clown, silly clown, O why do you dance ? 
  You know you can never be free. 
You are tied by the leg to the strings of chance, 
  But you dance like captive flea." 

"My chain is heavy, my dungeon is dark, 
  I know I can never be free. 
In my heart, in my heart there's a dancing spark, 
  And the stars make music for me. 

"Oh ! muffle my cell and rivet my chains, 
  And fetter my feet and my hands, 
My soul is a horse of foam without reins. 
  That dances on deathless sands." 

Confirmed with The Collected Poems of Maurice Baring, London : John Lane, the Bodley Head; New York : John Lane Company, 1911, page 58.


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

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2016-01-01
Line count: 16
Word count: 131