My own country

Tags: Royal Academy of Music, Graham Johnson, Felicity Lott, Harold Fraser-Simpson, Frank Bridge, Gustav Holst, Dame Felicity Lott, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Wigmore Hall, Aunt, John Ireland, Hilaire Belloc, Benjamin Britten, Roger Quilter, William Shakespeare, Peter Warlock, Christina Rossetti, James Levine, Boston Symphony, Arts et des Lettres, Violet Pearn, Thomas Hampson, Dame Janet Baker, Wigmore Hall Medal, New York Philharmonic, Brigitte Fassbaender, Victoria de los Angeles, Sir Andrew Davis, Munich Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Royal Opera House, Donna Elvira, Berlin Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall, Vienna Philharmonic, Dame Margaret Price, Palais Garnier, La Voix Humaine, Sir Thomas Allen, Indian culture, Donald Mitchell, London, Peter Pears, Joanna Wyld, Marschallin, Ian Bostridge, Dame Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Cleveland Orchestra, Philippe Jordan, Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Teatro de La Zarzuela, Matthias Goerne, Fraser-Simpson, Kenneth Grahame, Ellen Orford, Armin Jordan, Royal Holloway College, English song, Mary Shelley, Sir Arnold Bax, Julian Millard, HENRY KING Liza Lehmann, Happy Day, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Jane Williams, Ireland, Sir Hubert Parry, Aldous Huxley, present laughter, Arthur Christopher Benson, Arthur Leslie Salmon, Matthew Arnold, Edward Elgar, Sir Edward Elgar, Gilbert Parker, Henry Kirke White, Rosy, GRAHAM JOHNSON Graham Johnson, Bavarian State Opera, Algernon Blackwood, Western music, Angelika Kirchschlager, Anne Trulove, Vienna State Opera, Metropolitan Opera, Christine Schaefer, Olivier Messiaen, Matilda, hey, Blush, untimely death, Countess Almaviva, Countess Madeleine, Liza Lehmann, Carlos Kleiber
Content: Produced by Mark Brown Engineered by Julian Millard Recorded in The Music Room, Champs Hill, Pulborough, Sussex, 14-16 May 2003
MY OWN COUNTRY an English song collection Felicity Lott soprano Graham Johnson piano
MY OWN COUNTRY an English song collection
Country Courtship 1 O MISTRESS MINE 2 THE TRELLIS 3 MY HEART IS LIKE A SINGING BIRD To Music 4 SPEAK, MUSIC, OP.41 NO.2 5 IN MOONLIGHT 6 MUSIC, WHEN SOFT VOICES DIE 7 MUSIC AND MOONLIGHT Love's Philosophy 8 PLEADING, OP.48 NO.1 9 TWILIGHT, OP.59 NO.6 10 UNDER THE GREENWOOD TREE 11 STREW NO MORE RED ROSES 12 LOVE'S PHILOSOPHY Country Scenes 13 HA'NACKER MILL 14 MY OWN COUNTRY 15 I HAVE TWELVE OXEN 16 GO, LOVELY ROSE 17 GO NOT, HAPPY DAY
Sir Hubert Parry
1'19
John Ireland
2'46
Sir Hubert Parry
2'03
Sir Edward Elgar
3'02
Sir Edward Elgar
2'05
Roger Quilter
1'30
Roger Quilter
2'09
Sir Edward Elgar
2'58
Sir Edward Elgar
3'04
Sir Edward Elgar
1'32
Frank Bridge
2'40
Roger Quilter
1'21
Peter Warlock
2'50
Peter Warlock
2'37
John Ireland
1'51
Roger Quilter
2'42
Frank Bridge
1'20
Night and Dawn
18 NOW SLEEPS THE CRIMSON PETAL
19
SLEEP
20
THE NIGHT
21 THE WHITE PEACE
22 USHAS (DAWN)
Roger Quilter
2'02
Peter Warlock
2'25
Peter Warlock
2'14
Sir Arnold Bax
2'30
Gustav Holst
3'07
Children's Corner
23 THE BLUE-EYES FAIRY, OP.78
Sir Edward Elgar
2'37
24
MISSING
Harold Fraser-Simpson 1'37
25 POLITENESS
Harold Fraser-Simpson 0'43
26 HALFWAY DOWN
Harold Fraser-Simpson 1'53
27 Lines Written BY A BEAR OF VERY LITTLE BRAIN Harold Fraser-Simpson 1'05
28
HENRY KING
Liza Lehmann
2'42
29
MATILDA
Liza Lehmann
2'58
Envoys 30 WHEN I AM DEAD, MY DEAREST 31 GOOD-NIGHT
John Ireland
1'52
Sir Hubert Parry
2'07
Total Time: 70.12
Felicity Lott soprano Graham Johnson piano
"Englishness is difficult to define in musical terms.... Word-setting is certainly one way in which a composer may publish his birth certificate: his response to a specific turn of speech, to the rhythm of his own language, may result in an idiosyncratic musical equivalent that could not have derived from another tongue." 1 So wrote the critic Donald Mitchell, and the collection of songs on this disc supports his assertion: any `Englishness' exhibited by these songs does not derive so much from a musical style unique to this country, as from each composer's response to the text. Graham Johnson has, in this recital with Dame Felicity Lott, divided the songs into seven categories. Country Courtship Hubert Parry, as Director of the Royal College of Music from 1893, taught both Vaughan Williams and Holst, who said of him, "At last I had met a man who did not terrify me; he gave us, so it seemed to me, a vision rather than a lecture." `O Mistress Mine', from English Lyrics, Set 2 (1886-7) is a skittish, quicksilver setting of a text from Twelfth Night, both this and `My Heart is Like a Singing Bird' (Set 10, 1918), demand some agility from the performers. In `My Heart' in particular, the soprano traverses a wide range, reaching a sustained top A during `my love is come to me'. In contrast, John Ireland's `The Trellis' is soporific and seductive, scented with Debussian harmony: whole tones and chromatic shifts abound. To Music Edward Elgar is frequently viewed as a paradigm of Englishness, yet this may owe more to the gruff, Kiplingesque personality he cultivated, and to his association with imperial `pomp and circumstance', than to musical factors. He was more interested in Wagner than in English music. The lilting `Speak, Music' is in the unusual metre of 15/8, with echo effects establishing the relationship between soprano and piano. `In Moonlight' is more concerned with melody than with word-painting, though the climax of the piece, at `Sing again', is marked cantabile, the song then fades to its close with a throwaway staccato gesture in the piano. 1 Donald Mitchell, `Elgar and the English Oratorio', Cradles of the New: Writings on Music 1951­91,Faber & Faber Ltd., 1995
In `Music, When Soft Voice Die' Roger Quilter's harmony is pervaded by ninths, building, as with Parry's `My Heart', towards a high-point at `love'. Also a setting of Shelley, `Music and Moonlight' is a jovial, good-humoured song, conjuring up the `tinkling' of the guitar and the `twinkling' of the stars. Shelley wrote this poem for Jane Williams, for whom he bought a guitar. In 1822, three weeks before his death, the poet wrote: "I like Jane more and more.... She has a taste for music.... I listen the whole evening on our terrace to the simple melodies with excessive delight." Love's Philosophy The yearning quality of Elgar's `Pleading' is gently punctured by the piano's final gestures, the humour of which suggests that the plea of `turn my night to day' is not hopeless. `Twilight' is more chilling, with a recurrent chromatic line low in the piano part darkening the mood. But again, Elgar subverts the atmosphere he has created with an ambiguous ending: the piece, hitherto in B minor, finishes on a brief D major chord, as though to hint at some resolution not apparent in the text. Parry's `Under The Greenwood Tree' has a sturdy merriment that aptly communicates the text, from As You Like It. Frank Bridge entered the RCM in 1896, three years after Parry's appointment, and later taught Benjamin Britten, who championed his music. The haunting chromaticism of `Strew No More Red Roses' might foreshadow a similar musical language in, for instance, Britten's Winter Words. Bridge exploits the ominous lower range of the piano and, in contrast with Elgar, the shadows do not lift even at the end. The filigree piano texture of `Love's Philosophy' reflects the watery imagery of the text. Shelley wrote it for his uncle's ward Sophia Stacey, who, according to Mary Shelley, "sings well for an English dilettante". This rather sour appraisal is in contrast with Quilter's impassioned setting, the soprano part soaring through the last lines: `What are all these kissings worth / If thou kiss not me?'
Country Scenes Peter Warlock was advised by Delius only to write music he felt. `Ha'nacker Mill' and `My Own Country' convey two very different moods, as befits Belloc's contrasting texts: the former is dark-hued, full of harmonic ambiguity and false-relations; the latter reassuring, shapely and idyllic. They were written not long after Warlock began his turbulent `open house' life in Eynsford, Kent. Ireland's jolly I Have Twelve Oxen employs a range of piano textures. The final bars seem to incorporate gestures reminiscent both of Petrushka and Mother Goose, suggesting that Ireland was not fixed in an English tradition. Quilter's `Go, Lovely Rose', No.3 of his Five Songs, Op.24, is a fluid journey through subtle harmonic shifts, while Bridge's `Go Not, Happy Day' is direct and melodic, with a quick-moving and syncopated right-hand piano part. This jollity belies the tumult of the year in which it was published, 1916: World War One left Bridge, a pacifist, with psychological scars that spawned music of a much more sombre tone, not even hinted at by this sunny work. Night and Dawn The second of Quilter's Three Songs, Op.3, is the tender `Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal', taken from Tennyson's The Princess. Warlock's `Sleep' is suffused with melancholy, the contrapuntal writing creating a restless quality that conveys a desire for escape in slumber; the final G major chord seems to hint that this desire is granted. A similar sense of hope creeps into the end of each phrase of `The Night', which begins with the soprano intoning and the piano part slowly unfolding. The work's final notes flow into the ether, ending the piece as mysteriously as it began. Arnold Bax began at the Royal Academy of Music in 1900, where he became a great lover of poetry, especially that of Yeats, which he later said "meant more to me than all the music of the centuries". `The White Peace' sets a poem by `Fiona MacLeod', the pseudonym of William Sharp.
Gustav Holst is another composer whose music does not always sit comfortably with the notion of `Englishness'. Years before figures such as Olivier Messiaen brought elements of Indian culture into Western music, Holst had become fascinated by it, though this interest is communicated textually rather than musically in `Ushas' (Dawn). Children's Corner Marked tempo di valse, Elgar's `The Blue-Eyes Fairy' is from the Starlight Express, Op.78, written for a play by Violet Pearn based on Algernon Blackwood's A Prisoner in Fairyland, first performed in 1915. Both Harold Fraser-Simpson and Liza Lehmann wrote extensively for the British Theatre. Fraser-Simpson's many theatre scores include Kenneth Grahame's Toad of Toad Hall as dramatised by A.A. Milne; this project inspired another collaboration with the song-cycle The Hums of Pooh, premiered in 1970. Lehmann made her name as a soprano and later became a composer of musical comedies. `Henry King' and `Matilda', the latter a duet (both parts recorded by Felicity Lott for this disc), have a marvellous sense of mock-melodrama. Envoys `When I Am Dead, My Dearest' is a pared-down Ireland song, its simplicity of line allowing the nuances of Christina Rossetti's text to breathe. The song is marked `at speaking pace', which also emphasises the role of the words. We return to Donald Mitchell's assertion that the composer's response to words, in particular those of his or her own language, may determine the manner in which they write the music even more than purely musical considerations. Parry's second of his `English Lyrics', Set 1, however, is very pianistic, writing idiomatic music for both parts seems to have meant as much to him as communicating the text's meaning. Nevertheless, the flowing and repetitive piano textures create an apt lullaby effect. And so, with the piano's pitches gently enveloping the soprano line, the voice bids us, unwillingly, "Good-Night". Joanna Wyld, 2004
photo: Trevor Leighton
DAME FELICITY LOTT Felicity Lott was born and educated in Cheltenham, read French at Royal Holloway College (of which she is now an Honorary Fellow) and singing at the Royal Academy of Music (of which she is a Fellow and a visiting professor). Her operatic repertoire ranges from Handel to Stravinsky, but above all she has built up her formidable international reputation as an interpreter of the great roles of Mozart and Strauss. At the Royal Opera House she has sung Anne Trulove, Blanche, Ellen Orford, Eva, Countess Almaviva and ­ under Mackerras, Tate, Davis and Haitink ­ the Marschallin. At the Glyndebourne Festival her roles have included Anne Trulove, Pamina, Donna Elvira, Oktavian, Christine (Intermezzo), Countess Madeleine (Capriccio) and the title role in Arabella. Her roles at the Bavarian State Opera, Munich include Christine, Countess Almaviva, Countess Madeleine and the Marschallin. For the Vienna State Opera her roles include the Marschallin under Kleiber which she has sung both in Vienna and Japan.
In Paris, at the Opйra Bastille, Opйra Comique, Chвtelet and Palais Garnier she has sung Cleopatra, Fiordiligi, Countess Madeleine, the Marschallin and the title roles in La Belle Hйlиne and La Grande-Duchesse de Gйrolstein. At the Metropolitan Opera, New York, she sang the Marschallin under Carlos Kleiber and Countess Almaviva under James Levine. She recently sang Poulenc's heroine in staged performances of La Voix Humaine at the Teatro de La Zarzuela, Madrid, the Maison de la Culture de Grenoble and the Opйra National de Lyon. She has sung with the Vienna Philharmonic and Chicago Symphony orchestras under Solti, the Munich Philharmonic under Mehta, the London Philharmonic under Haitink, Welser-Mцst and Masur, the Concertgebouw under Masur, the Suisse Romande and Tonhalle orchestras under Armin Jordan, the Boston Symphony under Previn, the New York Philharmonic under Previn and Masur, the BBC Symphony Orchestra with Sir Andrew Davis in London, Sydney and New York, and the Cleveland Orchestra under Welser-Mцst in Cleveland and at Carnegie Hall. In Berlin she has sung with the Berlin Philharmonic under Solti and Rattle and the Deutsche Staatskapelle under Philippe Jordan. A founder member of The Songmakers' Almanac, Felicity has appeared on the major recital platforms of the world, including the Salzburg, Prague, Bergen, Aldeburgh, Edinburgh and Munich festivals, the Musikverein and Konzerthaus in Vienna and the Salle Gaveau, Musйe d'Orsay, Opйra Comique, Chвtelet and Thйвtre des ChampsЙlysйes in Paris. She has a particularly close association with the Wigmore Hall and received the Wigmore Hall Medal in February 2010 for her significant contribution to the venue. Her many awards include honorary doctorates at the Universities of Oxford, Loughborough, Leicester, London and Sussex and the Royal Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow. She was made a CBE in the 1990 New Year Honours and in 1996 was created a Dame Commander of the British Empire. In February 2003 she was awarded the title of Bayerische Kammersдngerin. She has also been awarded the titles Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and Chevalier de l'Ordre National de la Lйgion d'Honneur by the French government.
GRAHAM JOHNSON Graham Johnson is recognised as one of the world's leading vocal accompanists. Born in Rhodesia, he came to London to study in 1967. After leaving the Royal Academy of Music his teachers included Gerald Moore and Geoffrey Parsons. In 1972 he was the official pianist at Peter Pears' first masterclasses at The Maltings, Snape which brought him into contact with Benjamin Britten ­ a link which strengthened his determination to become an accompanist. In 1976 he formed The Songmakers' Almanac to explore neglected areas of piano-accompanied vocal music; the founder singers were Dame Felicity Lott, Ann Murray DBE, Anthony Rolfe Johnson and RICHARD JACKSON ­ artists with whom he has established long and fruitful collaborations both on the concert platform and in the recording studio. Some 250 Songmakers' programmes were presented over the years. Graham Johnson has accompanied such distinguished singers as Sir Thomas Allen, Victoria de Los Angeles, Elly Ameling, Arleen Auger, Ian Bostridge, Brigitte Fassbaender, Matthias Goerne, Thomas Hampson, Simon Keenlyside, Angelika Kirchschlager, Philip Langridge,
Sergei Leiferkus, Angelika Kirchschlager, Christopher Maltman, Edith Mathis, Lucia Popp, Christoph Prйgardien, Dame Margaret Price, Thomas Quasthoff, Dorothea Rцschmann, Kate Royal, Christine Schaefer, Peter Schreier, Dame Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Sarah Walker. His relationship with the Wigmore Hall is a special one. He devised and accompanied concerts in the hall's re-opening series in 1992, and in its centenary celebrations in 2001. He has been Chairman of the jury for the Wigmore Hall Song Competition since its inception. He is Senior Professor of Accompaniment at the Guildhall School of Music and has led a biennial scheme for Young Songmakers since 1985. He has had a long and fruitful link with Ted Perry and Hyperion Records for whom he has devised and accompanied a set of complete Schubert Lieder on 37 discs, a milestone in the history of recording. A complete Schumann series is halfway completed, and there is an ongoing French Song series where the complete songs of such composers as Chausson, Chabrier and Faurй are either already available, or in preparation. All these discs are issued with Graham Johnson's own programme notes which set new standards for CD annotations. He has also recorded for Sony, BMG, Harmonia Mundi, Forlane, EMI and DGG. Awards include the Gramophone solo vocal award in 1989 (with Dame Janet Baker), 1996 (Die schцne Mьllerin with Ian Bostridge), 1997 (for the inauguration of the Schumann series with Christine Schдfer) and 2001 (with Magdalena Kozena). He was The Royal Philharmonic Society's Instrumentalist of the Year in 1998; in June 2000 he was elected a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. He is author of The Songmakers' Almanac; Twenty Years of Recitals in London (Thames 1996), The French Song Companion for OUP (2000), The Vocal Music of Benjamin Britten (Guildhall 2003) and Gabriel Faurй ­ The Songs and their Poets (2009). Johnson was made an OBE in the 1994 Queen's Birthday Honours list and in 2002 he was created Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government. He was also made an Honorary Member of the Royal Philharmonic Society in February 2010.
1 O Mistress Mine O Mistress mine, where are you roaming? O stay and hear! Your true love's coming That can sing both high and low. Trip no further pretty sweeting, Journeys end in lovers' meeting Every wise man's son doth know. What is love? `tis not hereafter; Present mirth hath present laughter; What's to come is still unsure. In delay there lies no plenty; Then come kiss me Sweet and twenty; Youth's a stuff will not endure. William Shakespeare (1564­1616), from Twelfth Night, Act II, Scene iii 2 The Trellis Thick-flowered is the trellis That hides our joys From prying eyes of malice And all annoys, And we lie rosily bow'r'd Through the long afternoons And evenings endlessly Drawn out, when summer swoons In perfume windlessly, Sounds our light laughter. With whisper'd words between And silent kisses. None but the flow'rs have seen Our white caresses Flow'rs and the bright-eyed birds. Aldous Huxley (1894­1963)
3 My Heart is Like a Singing Bird My heart is like a singing bird Whose nest is in a watered shoot; My heart is like an apple tree Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit; My heart is like a rainbow shell That paddles in a purple sea; My heart is gladder than all these Because my love is come to me. Raise me a dais of purple and gold; Hang it with vair and purple dyes; Carve it in doves and pomegranates, And peacocks with a hundred eyes; Work it in gold and silver grapes, In leaves and silver fleur-de-lys; Because the birthday of my life Is come, my love, is come to me. Christina Rossetti (1830­1894) 4 Speak, Music Speak, speak, music, and bring to me Fancies too fleet for me, Sweetness too sweet for me, Wake, wake, voices, and sing to me, Sing to me tenderly; bid me rest. Rest, Rest! Ah, I am fain of it! Die, Hope! Small was my gain of it! Song, take thy parable, Whisper, whisper that all is well, Say, say that there tarrieth Something, something more true than death, Waiting to smile for me; bright and blest. Arthur Christopher Benson (1862­1925)
5 In Moonlight As the moon's soft splendour O'er the faint, cold starlight of heav'n Is thrown, So thy voice most tender To the strings without soul has given Its own. Though the sound o'erpowers, Sing again, with thy sweet voice revealing A tone Of some world far from ours, Where music and moonlight and feeling Are one. Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792­1822) 6 Music, When Soft Voices Die Music, when soft voices die, Vibrates in the memory; Odours, when sweet violets sicken, Live within the sense they quickeN. Rose leaves, when the rose is dead, Are heap'd for the beloved's bed; And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone, Love itself shall slumber on. Percy Bysshe Shelley
7 Music and Moonlight The keen stars were twinkling, And the fair moon was rising among them, Dear Jane! The guitar was tinkling, But the notes were not sweet till you sung them Again. As the moon's soft splendour O'er the faint, cold starlight of Heaven Is thrown So your voice most tender To the strings without soul had then given Its own. The stars will awaken, Tho' the moon sleep a full hour later, Tonight; No leaf will be shaken Whilst the dews of your melody scatter Delight. Tho' the sound overpow'rs, Sing again, with your dear voice revealing A tone Of some world far from ours, Where music and moonlight and feeling Are one. Percy Bysshe Shelley
8 Pleading
10 Under the Greenwood Tree
Will you come homeward from the hills of Dreamland, Home in the dusk, and speak to me again? Tell me the stories that I am forgetting, Quicken my hope, and recompense my pain? Will you come homeward from the hills of Dreamland? I have grown weary, though I wait you yet; Watching the fallen leaf, the faith grown fainter, The mem'ry smoulder'd to a dull regret. Shall the remembrance die in dim forgetting All the fond light that glorified my way? Will you come homeward from the hills of Dreamland, Home in the dusk, and turn my night to day? Arthur Leslie Salmon (b.1865­death unknown) 9 Twilight
Under the greenwood tree Who loves to lie with me, And turn his merry note Unto the sweet bird's throat, Come hither, come hither, come hither! Here shall he see No enemy But winter and rough weather. Who doth ambition shun, And loves to live i' the sun, Seeking the food he eats, And pleas'd with what he gets. Come hither, come hither, come hither! Here shall he see, No enemy But winter and rough weather. William Shakespeare, from As You Like It, Act II, Scene v
Adieu! And the sun goes awearily down, The Mist creeps up o'er the sleepy town, The white sail bends to the shudd'ring mere, And the reapers have reaped, and the night is here. Adieu! And the years are a broken song, The right grows weak in the strife with wrong, The lilies of love have a crimson stain, And the old days never will come again. Adieu! Some time shall the veil between The things that are, and that might have been Be folded back for our eyes to see, And the meaning of all be clear to me.
11 Strew No More Red Roses Strew no more red roses, maidens, Leave the lilies in the dew; Pluck, pluck cypress, O pale maidens! Dusk, O dusk the hail with yew! Shall I seek, that I may scorn her, Her I lov'd at eventide? Shall I ask, what faded mourner Stands at daybreak, weeping by my side? Matthew Arnold (1822­1888)
Gilbert Parker (1862­1932)
12 Love's Philosophy The fountains mingle with the river And the rivers with the ocean; The winds of Heav'n mix forever With a sweet emotion. Nothing in the world is single; All things, by a law divine In one another's being mingle, Why not I with thine? See the mountains kiss high Heav'n And the waves clasp one another; No sister-flower would be forgiv'n If it disdained its brother. And the sunlight clasps the earth And the moonbeams kiss the sea, What are all these kissings worth If thou kiss not me? Percy Bysshe Shelley 13 Ha'nacker Mill Sally is gone that was so kindly, Sally is gone from Ha'nacker Hill, And the Briar grows ever since then so blindly, And ever since then the clapper is still, And the sweeps have fallen from Ha'nacker Mill. Ha'nacker Hill is in Desolation: Ruin atop and a field unploughed. And Spirits that call on a fallen nation, Spirits that loved her calling aloud: Spirits abroad in a windy cloud.
Spirits that call and no-one answers; Ha'nacker's down and England's done. Wind and thistle for pipe and dancers And never a ploughman under the Sun. Never a ploughman. Never a one. Hilaire Belloc (1870­1953) 14 My Own Country I shall go without companions, And with nothing in my hand; I shall pass through many places That I cannot understand ­ Until I come to my own country, Which is a pleasant land. The trees that grow in my own country Are the beech tree and the yew; Many stand together And some stand few. In the month of May in my own country All the woods are new. When I get to my own country I shall lie down and sleep; I shall watch in the valleys The long flocks of sheep, And then I shall dream, for ever and all, A good dream and deep. Hilaire Belloc
15 I Have Twelve Oxen I have twelve oxen that be fair and brown, And they go a-grazing down by the town. With hey! with ho! with hey! with ho! Sawest not you mine oxen, you little pretty boy? I have twelve oxen, they be fair and white, And they go a-grazing down by the dyke. With hey! with ho! with hey! with ho! Sawest not you mine oxen, you little pretty boy? I have twelve oxen, they be fair and red, And they go a-grazing down by the mead, With hey! with ho! with hey! with ho! Sawest not you mine oxen, you little pretty boy? I have twelve oxen, they be fair and black, And they go a-grazing down by the lake. With hey! with ho! with hey! with ho! Sawest not you mine oxen, you little pretty boy? Anonymous, early 16th century 16 Go, Lovely Rose Go, lovely rose! Tell her that wastes her time and me, That now she knows, When I resemble her to thee, How sweet and fair she seems to be. Tell her that's young, And shuns to have her graces spied, That hadst thou sprung In deserts, where no men abide, Thou must have uncommended died.
Small is the worth Of beauty from the light retired: Bid her come forth, Suffer herself to be desired, And not blush so to be admired. Then die ­ that she The common fate of all things rare May read in thee; How small a part of time they share That are so wondrous sweet and fair! Edmund Waller (1606­1687) and Henry Kirke White (1785­1806) 17 Go Not, Happy Day Go not, happy day, From the shining fields, Go not, happy day, Till the maiden yields. Rosy is the West, Rosy is the South, Roses are her cheeks, And a rose her mouth. When the happy yes Falters from her lips, Pass and blush the news Over glowing ships; Over blowing seas, Over seas at rest, Pass the happy news, Blush it thro' the West.
Blush from West to East, Blush from East to West, Till the West is East, Blush it thro' the West. Rosy is the West, Rosy is the South, Roses are her cheeks, And a Rose her mouth. Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809­1892) 18 Now Sleeps The Crimson Petal Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white; Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk; Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font: The fire-fly wakens: waken thou with me. Now folds the lily all her sweetness up, And slips into the bosom of the lake: So fold thyself, my dearest, thou, and slip Into my bosom and be lost in me. Alfred, Lord Tennyson
19 Sleep Come, sleep, and with thy sweet deceiving Lock me in delight awhile; Let some pleasing dreams beguile All my fancies that from thence There may steal an influence All my powers of care bereaving. Tho' but a shadow, but a sliding, Let me know some little joy. We that suffer long annoy Are contented with a thought. Thro' an idle fancy wrought: O let my joys have some abiding. John Fletcher (1579­1625) 20 The Night Most Holy Night, that still dost keep The keys of all the doors of sleep, To me when my tired eyelids close Give thou repose. And let the far lament of them That chaunt the dead day's requiem Make in my ears, who wakeful lie, Soft lullaby. Let them that guard the horned moon By my bedside their memories croon. So shall I have new dreams and blest In my brief rest. Fold your great wings about my face, Hide dawning from my resting-place, And cheat me with your false delight, Most Holy Night. Hilaire Belloc
21 The White Peace
23 The Blue-Eyes Fairy
It lies not on the sunlit hill Not on the sunlit plain: Nor ever on any running stream Not on the unclouded main. But sometimes, through the Soul of Man, Slow moving o'er his pain, The moonlight of a perfect piece Floods heart and brain. Fiona MacLeod 22 Ushas (Dawn) Behold the Dawn, the fairest of all visions, Day's glory now appears. Arise! For the night hath fled! Arise and greet the Dawn. Welcome her! Unveiled she now appeareth, All things greet her radiant smile. Borne by the wingиd horse and car She steals across the sky. Child of heav'n arrayed in shining garments, Blushing maiden draw thou near: Sovran lady of earth and sky, we hail thee as our queen. Heav'n's breath awakeneth creation, The sky is all aflame, Th'eastern Portals open wide. The Sun draws nigh. Greeting thee, the holy fire ascendeth, Greeting thee, our hymns arise, Greeting thee, the Sun appeareth, Greeting thee, thy worshippers Bow down and bless and adore.
There's a fairy that hides in the beautiful eyes Of the children who treat her well; In the little round hole where the eyeball lies She weaves her magical spell. She is awfully tiny and shy to the sight, But her magic's past believing, For she fills you with light and with laughter, It's the spell of her own sweet weaving. But the eyes must be blue, And the heart must be true, And the child must be better than gold! And then if you let her, The quicker the better, She'll make you forget that you're old. So if such a child you should chance to see, Or with such a child to play, No matter how tired or dull you be, Not how many tons you weigh, You will suddenly find that you're young again, And your movements light and airy, And you'll try to be solemn and stiff in vainIt's the spell of the Blue-Eyes fairy! Algernon Blackwood (1869­1951)
Gustav Holst (1874­1934), after the Sanskrit of the Rig Veda
24 Missing Has anyone seen my mouse? I opened his box for half a minute, Just to make sure he was really in it, And while I was looking, he jumped outside! I tried to catch him, I tried, I tried, I think he's somewhere about the house. Has anyone seen my mouse? Uncle John, have you seen my mouse? Just a small sort of mouse, a dear Little Brown one, He came from the country, he wasn't a town one, So he'll feel all lonely in a London street; Why, what could he possibly find to eat? He must be somewhere, I'll ask Aunt Rose: Have you soon a mouse with a woffelly nose? Oh! Somewhere about He's just got out. Hasn't anybody seen my mouse? A. A. Milne (1882­1956)
25 Politeness If people ask me, I always tell them: "Quite well, thank you, I'm very glad to say." If people ask me, I always answer, "Quite well, thank you, how are you today?" I always answer, I always tell them, If they ask me Politely... BUT SOMETIMES I wish That they wouldn't. A. A. Milne 26 Halfway Down Halfway down the stairs Is a stair where I sit. There isn't any other stair quite like it. I'm not at the bottom, I'm not at the top, So this is the stair where I always stop. Halfway up the stairs Isn't up, And isn't down. It isn't in the nursery, It isn't in the town; And all sorts of funny thoughts Run around my head: "It isn't really anywhere! It's somewhere else Instead!" A. A. Milne
27 Lines Written By A Bear Of Very Little Brain On Monday, when the sun is hot I wonder to myself a lot: "Now is it true, or is it not, That what is which and which is what?" On Tuesday, when it hails and snows, The feeling on me grows and grows That hardly anybody knows If those are these or these are those. On Wednesday, when the sky is blue, And I have nothing else to do, I sometimes wonder if it's true That who is what and what is who. On Thursday, when it starts to freeze And hoar-frost twinkles on the trees, How very readily one sees That these are whose ­ but whose are these? On Friday ­ "What did happen on Friday?" A. A. Milne 28 Henry King (Who chewed little bits of string, and was early cut off in dreadful agonies) The chief defect of Henry King, Was chewing little bits of string. At last he swallowed some which tied Itself in ugly knots inside. Physicians of the utmost fame Were called at once, but when they came, They answered, as they took their fees, "There is no cure for this disease. Henry will very soon be dead."
His parents stood about his bed Lamenting his untimely death, When Henry, with his latest breath, Cried: "Oh, my friends, be warned by me, That breakfast, dinner, lunch and tea, Are all the human frame requires." With that the wretched child expires! Hilaire Belloc 29 Matilda (Who told lies, and was burned to death) Matilda told such awful lies, It made one gasp and stretch one's eyes. Her Aunt, who, from her earliest youth, Had kept a strict regard for truth, Attempted to believe Matilda: The effort very nearly killed her. Now once, towards the close of day, Matilda, growing tired of play, And finding she was left alone, Went to the telephone, And summoned the immediate aid Of London's noble Fire Brigade. From Putney, Hackney Downs, and Bow, With courage high and hearts aglow, They galloped, roaring through the town, "Matilda's house is burning down!" They ran their ladders through a score Of windows on the ballroom floor; And took peculiar pains to souse The pictures up and down the house,
Until Matilda's Aunt succeeded In showing them they were not needed; And even then she had to pay To get the men to go away! It happen'd that a few weeks later Her Aunt went off to the Theatre, To see that entertaining play, "The second Mrs Tanqueray". That night a fire did break out ­ You should have heard Matilda shout! You should have heard her scream and bawl, And throw the window up and call! But ev'ry time she shouted: "Fire!" The people answered "Little Liar!" And therefore when her Aunt returned, Matilda, and the house were burned. Hilaire Belloc 30 When I Am Dead, My Dearest When I am dead, my dearest, Sing no sad songs for me; Plant thou no roses at my head, Nor shady cypress tree: Be the green grass above me With show'rs and dewdrops wet; And if thou wilt, remember, And if thou wilt, forget.
I shall not see the shadows, I shall not feel the rain; I shall not hear the nightingale Sin on, as if in pain: And dreaming through the twilight That doth not rise nor set, Haply I may remember, And haply may forget. Christina Rossetti 31 Good-Night Good night! Ah no the hour is ill That severs those it should unite; Let us remain together still, Then it will be good-night. How can I tell the lone night good Though they sweet wishes wing its flight? Be it not said, thought, understood That it will be good-night. To hearts which near each other move From evening's close to morning's light, The night is good; because, my love, They never say good-night. Percy Bysshe Shelley
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