THE EARTH, THE WIND, AND THE SKY
Set by John Mitchell (1941-), op. 24 (1977)
Texts by Emily Brontë (1818-1848)
1. For the Moors
Awaken on all my dear moorlands the wind in its glory and pride!
O call me from highlands
To walk by the hillriver's side!
It is swelled with the first snowy weather
The rocks are icy and hoar
And darker waves around the long heather
And the fernleaves are sunny no more.
There are no yellow stars on the mountain,
The bluebells have all died away
From the brink of the moss-bedded fountain,
From the side of the wint'ry brae
But lovelier than cornfields all waving
In emerald and scarlet and gold
Are the slopes where the northwind is raving
And the glens where I wandered of old.
For the moors,
For the moors, where the short grass like velvet beneath us should lie!
For the moors,
For the moors, where each high pass rose sunny against the clear sky!
For the moors, where the linnet was trilling its song on the old granite stone;
For the moors, where the lark, the wild skylark was filling every breast with delight
What language can utter the feeling
That rose when in exile afar,
On the brow of a lonely hill kneeling
I saw the brown heath growing there.
2. Winter Reflection
Cold, clear, and blue, the morning heaven
Expands its arch on high;
Cold, clear, and blue Lake Werna's water
Reflects the winter sky.
The moon has set, but Venus shines
A silent silvery star.
3. Tell me, tell me, smiling child
Tell me, tell me, smiling child,
What the past is like to thee?
"An autumn evening soft and mild
With a wind that sighs mournfully."
Tell me, what is the present hour?
"A green and flowery spray
Where a young bird sits gathering its power
To mount and fly away."
Tell me, tell me, what is the future, happy one?
"A sea beneath a cloudless sun;
a mighty, glorious, dazzling sea
Stretching into infinity.
4. The darkened woods
Woods, you need not frown on me;
Spectral trees that so dolefully
Shake your heads in the dreary sky,
You need not mock so bitterly.
High waving heather,
High waving heather, beneath stormy blasts bending,
Midnight and moonlight and bright shining stars;
Darkness and glory rejoicingly blending,
Earth rising to heaven and heaven descending,
Man's spirit away from its deep dungeon sending,
Bursting the fetters
Bursting the fetters and breaking the bars.
All down the mountain sides, wild forests lending
One mighty voice to the lifegiving wind;
Rivers their banks in the jubilee rending,
Fast thru the valleys a reckless course wending,
Wider and deeper their valleys extending,
Leaving a desolate desert behind.
Shining and lowering and swelling and dying
Changing forever from midnight to noon;
Roaring like thunder like soft music sighing,
Shadows on shadows advancing and flying,
Lightning-bright flashes the deep gloom defying,
Coming as swiftly and fading as soon.
Coming as swiftly and fading as soon.
Fading as soon.
The sun has set, and the long grass
Waves dreamily in the evening wind;
And the wild bird has flown from that old gray stone
In some warm nook a couch to find.
In all the lonely landscape round
I see no sight and hear no sound,
Except the wind which far away
Come sighing o'er the healthy sea.
7. I'm happiest when most away
I'm happiest when most away
I can bear my soul from its home of clay
On a windy night when the moon is bright
And the eye can wander thru worlds of light
When I am not and none beside
Nor earth nor sea nor cloudless sky
But only spirit wandering wide
Thru infinite immensity.
8. In summer moonlight
Moonlight, summer moonlight,
All soft, and still and fair;
The solemn hour of midnight
Breathes sweetly everywhere.
But most where trees are sending
Their breezy boughs on high,
Or, stooping low, are lending
A shelter from the sky.
And there in those wild bowers
A lovely form is laid;
Green grass and dew-steeped flowers
Wave gently round her head.
9.The Old Hall
Old Hall of Elbe, ruined, lonely now;
House to which the voice of life shall never more return;
Chambers roofless, desolate, where weeds and ivy grow;
Windows thru whose broken arches the nightwinds sadly mourn;
Home of the departed, the long-departed dead.
Old Hall of Elbe, ruined, lonely now.
10. The harp
Harp of wild and dreamy strain, when I touch thy strings,
Why sound out of longforgotten things?
Harp, in other, earlier days, I could sing to thee;
And not one of all my lays vexed my memory.
But now, if I awake a note that gave me joy before
Sounds of sorrow from thee float,
Yet, still steeped in memory's dyes, come sailing on,
Darkening my summer skies,
Shutting out my sun.
11. The traveler
O hinder me by no delay,
My horse is weary of the way;
His breast must stem the tide
Whose waves are foaming far and wide.
Miles off I heard their thundering roar,
As fast as they burst upon the shore;
A stronger steed than mine might dread
To brave them in their boiling bed.
So spoke the traveler, but in vain;
The stranger would not turn away;
Still she clung to his bridle rein,
And still entreated him to stay.
The night is darkening round me,
The wild winds coldly blow;
But a tyrant spell has bound me
And I cannot, cannot go.
The giant trees are bending
Their bare boughs weighed with snow,
And the storm is fast descending
And yet I cannot go.
Clouds upon clouds above me,
Wastes beyond wastes here below
But nothing here can move me;
I cannot, I will not go.
13. The caged bird
And like myself alone, wholly alone,
It sees the day's long sunshine glow;
And like myself it makes its moan
In unexhausted woe.
Give we the hills our equal prayer;
Earth's breezy hills and heaven's blue sea;
We ask for nothing further here
But our own hearts, the joy of liberty.
Could my hand unlock the chain,
How gladly would I watch it soar,
And never regret, and never complain
To see its shining eyes no more.
14. The pessimist
O for the time when I shall sleep without Identity,
And never care how rain or snow may cover me!
No promised Heav'n these wild Desires
Could all or half fulfill;
No threatened Hell with quenchless fires subdue this quenchless will!
So said I, and still say the same;
Still to my Death will say
Three Gods within this little frame
Are warring night and day.
Heaven could not hold them all
Yet they all are held in me,
And must be mine till I forget
My present entity.
O for the time when in my breast
Their struggles will be o'er;
O for the day when I shall rest
And never suffer more!
15. No coward soul is mine
No coward soul is mine,
No trembler in the world's storm-troubled sphere
I see heaven's glories shine
And faith shines equal, arming me from Fear
O God within my breast
Almighty, ever-present Deity
Life that in me has rest
As I, Undying Life, have power in Thee
Vain are the thousand creeds that move men's hearts, unutterably vain,
Worthless as withered weeds
Or idlest froth amid the boundless main
To waken doubt in one
Holding so fast by thine infinity
So surely anchored on
The steadfast rock of Immortality
With wide-embracing love
Thy spirit animates eternal years
Pervades and broods above,
Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates and rears
Though Earth and Man were gone
And suns and universes ceased to be
And Thou wert left alone,
Every existence would exist in thee
There is not room for Death
Nor atom that his might could render void
Since Thou are Being and Breath,
And what THOU art may never be destroyed.
The Beauty of Touch
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