I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

The original was too good

Plutarch sent me a generous present recently as a reminder to have another go at verse. But since Tone Deaf now comes with sharps and flats I had to get music in somewhere. Here are my words to go with Handel's tune for Did You Not Hear My Lady? - also known as Silent Worship. It proved to be extraordinarily difficult

Hymn to St Cecilia
Patron saint of music

Hers is the hand that makes up
Voices of choirs uniting
Chords from the strings and keyboard
Shrills of the brass exciting

Hers is the hand directing
Tenor and bass legato
Treble in high endeavour
Harmonised soprano

Lacking the pulse of rhythm,
Blind to the score's clear message
Hoarse-voiced and deaf as Moses
I love her fervently

Hand in her hand she leads me
Fast through those fierce cadenzas
Lentos and brisk allegros
Codas with loud hosannas

Brings to my thoughts and heart-beat
Passionate symbols in sound
Sorrow, import, triumph
Glories of music renowned
(Rewrit December 17)

Did you not hear my lady?
(Original words)

Did you not hear my lady
Go down the garden singing?
Blackbird and thrush were silent
To hear the alleys ringing

Oh saw you not my lady
Out in the garden there?
Shaming the rose and lily
For she is twice as fair

Though I am nothing to her
Though she must rarely look at me
And though I could never woo her
I love her till I die

Surely you heard my lady
Go down the garden singing?
Silencing all the songbirds
And setting the alleys ringing

But surely you see my lady
Out in the garden there
Rivalling the glittering sunshine
With a glory of golden hair

A perfect rendering of the original?

Click on Thomas Allen in his prime


  1. Oh bugger, that means 'Did you not hear my lady' earworms for the next 7 days at least... The only worse thing is that Gluck thing from Orpheus and Eurydice 'What is life?'. Or possibly 'Dominique' from the Singing Nun if you're seriously talking about bad music.

    I don't really mind about DYNHML as I love it so, and we tend to find we're singing it call and response around the house, which is rather sweet.

    I like the poem very much, it really fits.

  2. Lucy: Two or three days previously I'd provided a link to Janet Baker singing what we musical snobs call Che faro. I like the idea that we're marching in step but I'd just as soon sever the links with the Singing Nun.

    The verse has been rewrit since you read it. A quick glance down the lines will demonstrate that some of the lines now scan.

    Plutarch: See last para, above.

  3. Oh, lovely that Thomas Allan. I don't think I've heard this one before so I enjoyed following the original text, then imagining your words - well done!