Another Housman setting: words from Last Poems. I’ve followed the example of Michael Raven in using two separate (but consecutive) verses that are clearly connected thematically and in form, at least as far as this stand-alone song is concerned. However, in the suite of songs/pieces that this might eventually be used for, XXVI will probably be enough. The suite is going to be gloomy enough as it is…
Mike Raven used a traditional tune for his setting that sounds familiar, but I’m not sure from where. I think I may have heard it attached to The Holy Well but wouldn’t swear to it. That setting is beautifully sung unaccompanied by Joan Mills on the CD ‘A Shropshire Lad’ (with Mike Raven) reviewed here. However, I’ve put a new tune to it.
Version recorded for Ian Semple’s programme on CoastFM, but not actually used.
And here are Housman’s verses.
The half-moon westers low, my love,
And the wind brings up the rain;
And wide apart lie we, my love,
And seas between the twain.
I know not if it rains, my love,
In the land where you do lie;
And oh, so sound you sleep, my love,
You know no more than I.
The sigh that heaves the grasses
Whence thou wilt never rise
Is of the air that passes
And knows not if it sighs.
The diamond tears adorning
Thy low mound on the lea,
Those are the tears of morning,
That weeps, but not for thee.