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ClassicsOnline Home » HOLST: Vedic Hymns / Four Songs, Op. 35 / Humbert Wolfe Settings (English Song, Vol. 6)
Originally released by Collins Classics as part of its English Songs Series, this recording offers a fascinating selection of the 72 solo songs Holst wrote across his entire compositional career. They range from the Six Songs from 1903-04, representative of the composer’s earlier styles, through the Vedic Hymns of 1907-08, Holst’s first confident use of ancient Hindu literature, the Four Songs for voice and violin, inspired by medieval lyrics and folk music modes, to the Twelve Humbert Wolfe settings of 1929, songs of ‘love, reflection and fantasy’. The disc concludes with The Heart Worships, one of Holst’s best loved songs.
Gustav Holst (1874-1934)
Four songs for voice and violin • Six Songs • Vedic Hymns •
Twelve Humbert Wolfe Songs
The English composer Gustav Holst was the son of a musician
and descended from a family of mixed Scandinavian, German and Russian origin
that had settled in England in the early nineteenth century. His childhood was
spent in Cheltenham, where his father supervised his study of the piano. A
later period at the Royal College of Music in London brought a lasting
friendship with Ralph Vaughan Williams, an association that was to the
advantage of both in their free criticism and discussion of one another’s compositions.
It was in part a weakness in health, as well as financial
necessity, that prompted Holst for a time to earn his living as a trombonist,
touring with the Carl Rosa Opera Company and playing with the Scottish
Orchestra. Eventually he decided to devote himself, as far as possible, to
composition. Teaching positions, and particularly his long association with St
Paul’s Girls’ School in Hammersmith, and his work as director of music for the
enthusiastic amateurs at Morley College, allowed him some time, at least in the
summer holidays, but the relatively even tenor of his life, which suited his
diffident character, was considerably disturbed by the great popular success of
The Planets, which had its first complete public performance in 1920. His later
music never achieved such a lasting triumph with the public, although his
Shakespearian opera At the Boar’s Head aroused respectful interest at the time,
while other works generally had a mixed critical reception, including his 1927
Egdon Heath, published as a tribute to Thomas Hardy. His St Paul’s Suite,
written for the school in Hammersmith, retains a firm place in string orchestra
repertoire, as does the later Brook Green Suite, and the 1917 Hymn of Jesus for
choruses and orchestra has an honourable position in English choral music.
Holst’s later years brought engagements that overtaxed his
strength, not least a stimulating and busy period in the United States, where
his music was welcomed and where he conducted the Boston Symphony Orchestra in
a series of three concerts of his own works and taught and composed during a
short period at Harvard, lecturing on Haydn at the Library of Congress in
Washington. He also took the opportunity to visit his younger brother Emil,
established in America as an actor under the name of Ernest Cossart. By June
the following year, 1932, he was in England again, able to entertain his
brother, with whom he visited scenes from their childhood. His time in America
had brought a temporary break in hospital, and when he returned to England his
health was uncertain, leading to periods in hospital. He succeeded, however, in
completing the Brook Green Suite and the Lyric Movement for viola and
orchestra, written for Lionel Tertis. He died on 25th May 1934, after a major
operation, and is buried in Chichester Cathedral, where his music had often
been heard, near the grave of his favourite Tudor composer, Thomas Weelkes.
The Four Songs for Voice and Violin, Op.35, were written in
1916-1917 and published in 1920. The spareness of texture, a contrast to the
scoring of The Planets, on which he had been working, was suggested by hearing
one of his Morley College students, Christine Ratcliffe, singing and
accompanying herself on the violin one evening in the church at Thaxted. Holst
and his wife had found refuge from London in a cottage nearby, and in 1916 he
had established a festival in the church for singers. Three of the songs were
first performed there in 1917. The words were taken from A Medieval Anthology
by Mary Segar and seemed to suit the composer, whose practical study of Purcell
had helped him to an understanding of English word-setting. In the Aeolian mode
first song, Jesu sweet, the violin provides an introduction and links between
the rhythmically free phrases of the voice part. My soul hath nought but fire
and ice is in a transposed Phrygian mode, vestigially accompanied, and followed
by I sing of a maiden, again in the Aeolian mode. The set ends with My Leman is
so true, a Phrygian setting in which the vocal line is accompanied by a violin
counterpart, ending with an E major chord.
Holst’s Six Songs, Op.16, date from 1903-1904, relatively
early in the composer’s career. The death of his father had brought Holst a
small legacy, which he and his wife decided to spend on a holiday in Germany.
On his return, their resources now exhausted, he was invited temporarily to
take the place of a singing-teacher at James Allen Girls’ School in Dulwich.
His success there was the start of his career in teaching. During this period
he became used to the rejection of his compositions by publishers, and some of
the group of Six Songs remained unpublished. Calm is the morn sets words from
Tennyson’s In Memoriam and is followed by the setting of Philip Sidney’s My
true love hath my heart, a song characteristic of its period. Weep you no more
suggests in its piano accompaniment the ‘sad fountains’ of the text, while the
Breton text Lovely kind and kindly loving is fuller in its romantic texture and
more extended range. The set ends with Blake’s Cradle Song, which is impelled
forward by the rhythm of its accompaniment, no mere lullaby, and the serenity
of Alfred Hyatt’s Peace.
In 1899 Holst had developed a particular interest in
Sanskrit literature in translation, the Rig Veda and the Baghavad Gîtâ.
Dissatisfied with the translations he found and unable on his own to proceed
any further, he began study at the School of Oriental Languages of the London
Institution. This eventually enabled him to attempt translations himself, with
the aid of a dictionary. His Hymns from the Rig Veda, the Vedic Hymns, Op.24,
were written in 1907-1908 and published in 1920. He had already written an
opera, Sita, based on Ramayana, and there was to follow, in 1908, a chamber
opera, Sâvitri, based on the Mahabarata, followed by a set of choral hymns from
the Rig Veda. The first group of the Vedic Hymns starts with Ushas (Dawn), at
first accompanied by muted chords, with a more animated central section. Piano
chords are used in Varuna (Sky) to introduce and punctuate the hymn, while in
Maruts (Storm Clouds) the accompaniment has an illustrative effect in its
energetic progress. The second group starts with the stately Indra (God of
Storm and Battle), followed by the descending whole-tone scale of Varuna (The
Waters) and the irregular metre of Song of the Frogs. The third group begins
with Vac (Speech), largely in 5/4, followed by the unaccompanied 7/4 that
starts Creation. Faith brings a measure of rhythmic and dynamic tranquillity.
In 1929, after a winter holiday of three months in Italy
that did something to restore his strength and spirits, Holst set a group of
twelve poems by Humbert Wolfe, whose work he had discovered two years earlier.
A meeting with the poet brought friendship, as they shared a number of
interests, including a love of the peace that parts of London can bring. The
first performance of the songs was given in Paris by Dorothy Silk in a private
concert at the house of Louise Dyer, the founder of Editions de l’Oiseau Lyre,
after a preceding public concert there had elicited disapproval of Egdon Heath
from a vocal section of the audience. In February 1930 Dorothy Silk sang them
at the Wigmore Hall in London. The songs came after a gap of twelve years in
such compositions and were the last Holst wrote. The irregular rhythms of
Persephone give it a feeling of melodic freedom, reflected also in Things
lovelier. Now in these fairylands is marked by a descending melody, while there
is passing asymmetry in the rhythms of A little music, and The thought leaves
the voice largely free. The allusive The floral bandit, with its reference to a
Schubert Shakespeare setting and clavichord counterpoint, ends abruptly, as the
text suggests. It is succeeded by Envoi, its tranquillity leading to a final
climax. The dream-city reflects the poet’s and composer’s shared love of the
serenity to be found in London squares, away from the crowd, in the changing
seasons. Journey’s end and In the street of lost time meditate on the end of
life. To these Rhyme offers a contrast in its delicate accompaniment and light
texture. The set ends with the mystery of Betelgeuse.
The gently lyrical Margrete’s Cradle Song, a setting of a translation
of Ibsen, was written in 1896 and is one of a set of four songs. It was
composed at a time when Holst had found a particular enthusiasm for the plays
The heart worships was written in 1907, its vocal melody
accompanied by a series of repeated chords and breathing an air of utter
tranquillity and peace.
Four Songs for Voice and Violin, Op.35
Poems from A Medieval Anthology
Jesu Sweet, now will I sing
To Thee a son, of love longing;
Do in my heart a quick well spring
Thee to love above all thing.
Jesu Sweet, my dim heart’s gleam
Brighter than the sunnèbeam!
As thou wert born in Bethlehem
Make in me thy lovèdream.
Jesu Sweet, my dark heart’s light
Thou art day withouten night;
Give me strength and eke might
For to loven Thee aright.
Jesu Sweet, well may he be
That in Thy bliss Thyself shall see:
With love cords then draw Thou me
That I may come and dwell with Thee.
(Eke = also)
soul has nought but fire and ice
My soul has nought but fire and ice
And my body earth and wood:
Pray we all the Most High King
Who is the Lord of our last doom,
That He should give us just one thing
That we may do His will.
sing of a maiden
I sing of a maiden
That matchless is.
King of all Kings
Was her Son iwis.
He came all so still,
Where His mother was
As dew in April
That falleth on the grass:
To His mother’s bower
That falleth on flower.
Where His mother lay
That formeth on spray.
Mother and maiden
Was ne’er none but she:
Well may such a lady
God’s mother be.
(iwis = certainly)
Leman is so true
My Leman is so true
Of love and full steadfast
Yet seemeth ever new
His love is on us cast.
I would that all Him knew
And loved Him firm and fast,
They never would it rue
But happy be at last.
He lovingly abides
Although I stay full long
He will me never chide
Although I choose the wrong.
He says ‘Behold, my side
And why on Rood I hung;
For my love leave thy pride
And I thee underfong’.
I’ll dwell with Thee believe,
Leman, under Thy tree.
May no pain e’er me grieve
Nor make me from Thee flee.
I will in at Thy sleeve
All in Thine heart to be;
Mine heart shall burst and cleave
Ere untrue Thou me see.
(Leman = lover (Christ); underfong = take back)
Six Songs, Op.16
is the morn
Poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson,
from In Memoriam
Calm is the morn without a sound,
Calm as to suit a calmer grief,
And only thro’ the faded leaf
The chestnut pattering to the ground:
Calm and deep peace on this high wold
And on these dews that drench the furze
And all the silvery gossamers
That twinkle into green and gold:
Calm and still light on yon great plain
That sweeps with all its autumn bowers,
And crowded farms and lessening towers,
To mingle with the bounding main:
Calm and deep peace in this wide air,
These leaves that redden to the fall;
And in my heart, if calm at all,
If any calm, a calm despair:
Calm on the seas, and silver sleep,
And waves that sway themselves in rest,
And dead calm in that noble breast
Which heaves but in the heaving deep.
true love hath my heart
Poem by Sir Philip Sidney
My true love hath my heart and I have his,
By just exchange one for the other given:
I hold his dear, and mine he cannot miss,
There never was a better bargain driven:
My true love hath my heart and I have his.
His heart in me keeps me and him in one,
My heart in him his thoughts and senses guides:
He loves my heart, for once it was his own,
I cherish his because in me it bides:
you no more
Weep you no more, sad fountains!
What need you flow so fast?
Look how the snowy mountains
Heav’n’s sun doth gently waste.
But my sun’s heav’nly eyes
View not your weeping,
That now lies sleeping
Softly, now softly lies,
Sleep is a reconciling,
A rest that peace begets.
Doth not the sun rise smiling
When fair at ev’n he sets.
Rest you then, rest sad eyes!
Melt not in weeping,
While She lies sleeping
kind and kindly loving
Poem by Nicholas Breton
Lovely kind and kindly loving,
Such a mind were worth the moving,
Truly fair and fairly true
Where are all these but in you?
Wisely kind and kindly wise,
Blessed life where such love lies!
Wise and kind and fair and true,
Lovely live all these in you!
Sweetly dear and dearly sweet,
Blessed where these blessings meet
Sweet, fair, wise, kind, blessed, true
Blessèd be all these in you!
Poem by William Blake
Sweet dreams, form a shade
O’er my lovely infant’s head;
Sweet dreams of pleasant streams
By happy, silent, moony beams.
Sweet sleep, with soft down
Weave thy brows an infant crown.
Sweet sleep, Angel mild,
Hover o’er my happy child.
Sweet smiles, in the night
Hover over my delight;
Sweet smiles, Mother’s smile,
All the live long night beguile.
Sweet moans, dove-like sighs,
Chase not slumber from thine eyes.
Sweet moans, sweeter smile,
All the dove-like moans beguile.
Poem by Alfred H. Hyatt
The toil of day is done,
Its stress and stirring cease,
Falls soft a word, the gift of God.
Opal of evening sky,
Gold of the fading west,
A single star shining afar.
Vedic Hymns, Op.24
Words translated from the Sanskrit by Gustav Holst
© copyright 1920 J & W Chester Ltd.
All rights reserved, reproduced by permission.
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 wingèd 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.
Oh thou great judge, Varuna,
Day after day we break thy holy laws.
Oh let us not be yielded up to Death to be
To be destroyèd in thy wrath.
To gain forgiveness, Varuna,
In deepest woe I raise to thee my chant:
Behold, it riseth up towards thy holy throne to beg
As flies the bird unto his nest.
Thou knowest all, Varuna,
Thou knowest the pathway of the moon and wind,
Thy laws throughout eternity endure, thou mighty ruler,
And to thy judgement all must come.
He doth appear! My cry is answered!
I am delivered from my sin.
Children of Thunder,
Heralds of storm!
Through the gloom
Gathering round us
Ye and your horses
Appear in the sky;
Glowing like flames
From the holy fire
That springs from the altar,
Rising to God.
Flashing sword blades,
Tramping of horses,
Shouting of riders
Fill the sky!
Ye are seen
Spreading a mantle,
Cov’ring the heavens
And hiding the sun.
Then from above ’midst
The lightning’s bright gleam,
Rejoicing in freedom,
Falleth the rain.
Hurling your weapons,
Chanting your war songs
Nearer ye come!
We would fain
Welcome you fitly,
But faint are our voices
And feeble our lays.
Come then, dwell within us,
With your power inspire our hearts,
Then shall our songs,
Like clouds expanding,
Carry your glory
Throughout the world.
(God of Storm and Battle)
Noblest of songs for the noblest of Gods!
A song that shall reach to the throne of Indra,
The Lord of the sky!
Radiant with light, thou dost ride through the heav’ns.
The Holy Ones rush forth to greet the monarch,
Who ruleth the sky!
Lo! to thy shrine we come, pouring libations.
Swelling like mighty floods, our hymns rise to heav’n,
Yoking thy steeds to thy swift flying chariot,
Bringing thee earthward to aid us in battle,
Filling our hearts with valour and strength,
With strength as of heroes!
Like to the river expanding the sea,
Our loud swelling song shall increase
Thy glory o’er earth and sky.
Lover of sacrifice, lover of singing,
Shaker of mountains and Lord of the sky.
II (The Waters)
’Fore mine eyes,
Yawning and hungry,
Looms the grave.
Spare me, O great Varuna.
Tossed by winds,
Trembling and faint,
I come to thee.
Spare me, O great Varuna!
Waters o’erwhelm me
Thirst fiercely burning
Gnaws my heart.
Spare me, O great Varuna.
of the Frogs
Throughout the summer they were lying,
Their skins were scorching in the sun
Now the rain hath wakened their voices,
Their singing hath begun,
And welcoming each other,
They rise and quench their thirst.
And one repeats another’s greeting,
In courtly words polite and mild,
As a scholar learning a lesson,
A father teaching his child.
With eloquence and wisdom
They swell and seem to burst.
‘Brothers rise and join the throng
Our throats are moist and ripe for song
So pray you bellow like a cow,
Or bleat like goat, or grunt like sow.’
Like Brahmans sitting round the altar,
Who loudly talk of holy rite,
Round the pool the frogs are ranging
With speech and song and fight.
Their year-long vow of silence
Hath ended with the Rain.
The joyous earth is now reviving,
The trees and flowers now arise,
And our hearts go forth in gladness
To greet the noisy cries.
The singing of the Frogs
Hath brought wealth to us again.
I, the queen of all,
First of those that mankind worship,
Worthy of all praise,
I proclaim aloud my wisdom.
Hearken unto me,
My word is true:
Unto God and Man
I bring blessing,
Pouring forth my wealth,
Making wise the man I cherish.
Through me each one lives,
Each one breathes and sees and hearkens.
All unite in me,
I alone sustain creation,
Compassing the earth
I reach t’ward heav’n.
In the water’s depth
I have my dwelling,
On the summit of the universe
I bring forth the Father.
Beyond the earth and sky
I reign in my mystic grandeur.
Then, Life was not!
Non-life was not!
No vast expanse of air,
Nor vaster realm of sky that lies beyond.
Was water there, the deep abyss of ocean?
Then, Death was not!
Non-death was not!
No change of day and night.
And, cov’ring all, the gloom was lost in gloom.
All was unseen,
One universe unknown.
Then there was One! One alone!
Calm and self-existing:
Beyond and apart was naught.
Then up rose Desire,
Fierce glowing Desire.
The seed of spirit,
The germ of mind,
The source of life,
Begetting mighty forces,
All heaved in restless motion.
Who then knows,
Who can now declare
Whence cometh creation?
He the Primal One whose
Eye controlleth all things,
He alone doth know it,
Or perchance even
He knoweth it not!
By Thee the fire doth shine
Upon the sacred altar:
To Thee we raise our song of joy and homage,
Most Holy Faith!
By Thee the gen’rous heart
Is blessed with wealth and wisdom:
To Thee he giveth all in humble gladness,
By Thee the prayers are heard
That rise in silent worship:
To Thee mankind and God are drawing nearer,
By Thee inspired, our song
Ascendeth ever higher
To Thee at early morn, at noon, at even,
Twelve Humbert Wolfe Songs, Op.48
Come back Persephone! As moonflake thin,
Flutes for the dancers you danced with begin.
Leave the deep hellebore the dark, the untranquil
For spring’s pale primrose and her first jonquil.
Again they are singing (O will you not heed them?)
With none now to answer, and none to lead them.
They will grow older, till comes a day
When the last of your maidens is tired of play:
When the song as it rises faints and droops over,
And your playmates go seeking a gentler lover.
Listen, the dancers! The flutes, oh listen!
Hasten, Persephone! Persephone! Hasten!
You cannot dream things lovelier
Than the first love I had of her.
Nor air is any as magic shaken
As her breath in the first kiss taken;
And who, in dreaming, understands
Her hands stretched like a blind man’s hands?
Open, trembling, wise they were.
You cannot dream things lovelier.
in these fairylands
Now in these fairylands
Gather your weary hands
Close to your breast,
And be at rest.
Now in these silences
Lean to the cadences,
Moulding their grace
To the line of your face.
Now at the end of all,
Loveliest friend of all,
All things are yours
In this peace that endures.
Since it is evening, let us invent
Love’s undiscovered continent.
What shall we steer by, having no chart
But the deliberate fraud of the heart?
How shall we find it? Beyond what keys
Of boyhood’s Spanish piracies,
False Eldorados dim with the tears
Of beauty, the last of the buccaneers?
Since it is evening, let us design
What shall be utterly yours and mine.
There will be nothing that ever before
Beckoned the sailor from any shore.
Trees shall be greener by mountains more pale,
Thrushes outsinging the nightingale,
Flowers now butterflies, now in the grass,
Suddenly quiet as painted glass,
And fishes of emerald dive for the moon,
Whose silver is stained by the peacock lagoon.
Since it is evening, and sailing weather,
Let us set out for the dream together;
Set for the land fall, where love and verse
Enfranchise for ever the travellers.
I will not write a poem for you,
Because a poem, even the loveliest,
Can only do what words can do
Stir the air, and dwindle, and be at rest.
Nor will I hold you with my hands,
Because the bones of my hands on yours would
And you’d say after ‘Mortal was,
And crumbling, that lover’s tenderness.’
But I will hold you in a thought
Without moving spirit or desire or will
For I know no other way of loving,
That endures when the heart is still.
Beyond the town, oh far! beyond it
She walks that lady have you seen her?
That thief of spring, that floral bandit
Who leaves the grass she walks on greener.
And she can sing, the blackbirds hear her,
Those little coals with throats of flame
And they can find, alighting near her,
No sweeter practice than her name.
What is her name? O ask the linnet,
For human tongue would strive in vain
To speak the buds uncrumpling in it,
And the small language of the rain.
Who is this lady? What is she?
The Sylvia all our swains adore?
Yes, she is that unchangingly,
But she is also something more.
For buds at best are little green
Keys on an old thin clavichord
That only has the one high tune that,
Since the first, all springs have heard.
And all first love with the same sighing
Tunes, though more sweetly touched, has lingered,
As though he were for ever trying
Toccatas Purcell might have fingered.
But no one knows her range nor can
Guess half the phrases of her fiddle,
The lady who for ev’ry man
Breaks off her music in the middle.
When the spark that glittered flakes into ash,
And the spirit unfettered is done with flesh,
When all that wonder, this loveliness of heart
Lies under the sleepy grass,
And slow are the swift, and dark the fair,
And sweet voices lift not on the air,
When the long spell of dust lies on
All that was well bethought upon,
Of all that lovely, of all those brief
Hopes that went bravely beyond belief,
Of life’s deep blazon with love’s gold stain
Passing all reason, doth aught remain?
What need of answer? Bird chaunting priest
Dawn swings her censer of bloom-white mist,
Noon from her shoulder lets her sunshawl
Half loose, half hold her and drifting fall,
And evening slowly by hill and wood
Perfects her holy solitude,
Unasked, undaunted by love, or what
The heart has wanted, and wanteth not.
Unasked? Say rather that these will
Startle tomorrow other hearts with mortal beauty
They had from us, as we inherited that legacy.
Undaunted? Yes, since death can lend
To loveliness only an end
That with the beginning is one designed,
One shape, one meaning, beyond the mind.
On a dream-hill we’ll build our city,
And we’ll build gates that have two key
Love to let in the vanquished, and pity
To close the locks that shelter these.
There will be quiet open spaces,
And shady towers sweet with bells,
And quiet folks with quiet faces,
Walking among these miracles.
There’ll be a London Square in Maytime
With London lilacs, whose brave light
Startles with coloured lamps the daytime,
With sudden scented wings the night.
A silent Square could but a lonely
Thrush on the lilacs bear to cease
His song, and no sound else save only
The traffic of the heart at peace.
And we will have a river painted
With the dawn’s wistful stratagems
Of dusted gold, and night acquainted
With the long purples of the Thames.
And we will have, oh yes! the gardens
Kensington, Richmond Hill and Kew,
And Hampton, where winter scolds, and pardons
The first white crocus breaking through.
And where the great their greatness squander,
And while the wise their wisdom lose,
Squirrels will leap, and deer will wander,
Gracefully, down the avenues.
What will they give me, when journey’s done’
Your own room to be quiet in, Son!
Who shares it with me?
There is none shares that cool dormitory, Son!
Who turns the sheets?
There is but one, and no one needs to turn it, Son!
Who lights the candle?
Ev’ryone sleeps without candle all night, Son!
Who calls me after sleeping?
Son! You are not called when journey’s done.
the street of lost time
Rest and have ease;
Here are no more voyages;
Fold, fold your narrow pale hands;
And under the veil of night lie,
As I have seen you lie in your deep hair;
But patiently now that new loves,
New days, have gone their ways.
Rhyme is your clear chime we hear
Ringing, far-off and clear,
In beauty’s fairy granges
At evensong the changes
And swells of her lost elfin-bells.
You glimmering through, astir,
Wander a lamplighter,
Kindling that lamp and this
Of long-quenched memories
With blaze of their auto-da-fés,
Numbers the soul remembers,
(And moved among them
When the Sons of Morning sung them)
While the dim shadow
Of Seraphim half floats
Among your muted notes.
Tamer of love’s sweet grammar you parse,
And change his nouns to stars,
His verbs you conjugate,
So that they vanish straight from time,
And lift a moonlit paradigm.
Rhyme by your clear chime
We climb, clean out of space and time,
And the small earth behind us
Can neither lose nor find us,
Set free in your eternity.
On Betelgeuse the gold leaves hang in golden
For twice a hundred million miles,
And twice a hundred million years
They golden hang and nothing stirs,
Space is a wind that does not blow
On Betelgeuse and time is a bird,
Whose wings have never stirred
The golden avenues of leaves
On Betelgeuse there is nothing that joys or grieves
The unstirred multitude of leaves,
Nor ghost of evil or good
Haunts the gold multitude
And birth they do not use
Nor death on Betelgeuse,
And the God, of whom we are infinite dust,
Is there a single leaf of those gold leaves
Cradle Song, Op.4, No.2
English translation of Ibsen by
Now roof and rafters blend with the starry vault on high,
Now flieth little Hakon on dream-wings through the sky.
There mounts a mighty stairway from earth to God’s own land
There Hakon with the angels goes climbing, hand in hand.
God’s angel-babes are watching thy cot, the still night
God bless thee, little Hakon, thy mother watcheth too.
Silence in Heav’n,
Silence on Earth
Thy hush, O Lord,
O’er all the world covers the din.
I do not fear to speak of thee in mortal kind
And yet to all thy namelessness I am not blind.
Only I need and kneel again
Thy touch to win;
Silence in Heav’n
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HOLST: Vedic Hymns / Four Songs, Op. 35 / Humbert ...