I leaned on the turf, I looked at a rock Left dry by the surf; For the turf, to call it grass were to mock: Dead to the roots, so deep was done The work of the summer sun. And the rock lay flat As an anvil’s face: No iron like that! Baked dry; of a shell, of a weed no trace: Sunshine outside, but ice at the core, Death’s altar by the lone shore. On the turf, sprang gay With his films of blue, No cricket, I’ll say, But a warhorse, barded and chanfroned too, The gift of a quixote-mage to his knight, Real fairy, with wings all right. On the rock, they scorch Like a drop of fire From a brandished torch, Fall two red fans of a butterfly: No turf, no rock: in their ugly stead, See, wonderful blue and red! Is it not so With the minds of men? The level and low, The burnt and bare, in themselves; but then With such a blue and red grace, not theirs, Love settling unawares!
- by Robert Browning (1812 - 1889) [author's text not yet checked 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 Arthur Somervell, Sir (1863 - 1937), "On the cliff" [ mezzo-soprano and orchestra ], from James Lee's Wife, no. 4, confirmed with a CD booklet [sung text checked 1 time]
Researcher for this text: Malcolm Wren [Guest Editor]
This text was added to the website: 2020-06-03
Line count: 30
Word count: 177