SONGS OF EGYPT

SONGS OF EGYPT
Granville Bantock
Helen F. Schweitzer
Breitkopf & Hartel
“A thousand years ago” from the present would put one at the time of the Crusades, not the ancient Egyptians and the North African setting is not usually considered “tropical.” Given the stereotypes of the genre, however, these are par for the course.

A Cycle of Six Songs

1. Invocation to the Nile
2. In the Garden
3. The unutterable
4. Bridal Song
5. Lament of Isis
6. Festal Song

1. Invocation to the Nile

God of the fruitful stream,
Father of life divine,
Flowing afar and near,
Osiris hear!

God of the living earth,
Giver of harvest time,
King of the heaven clear,
Osiris hear!

Flow o’er the thirsting land,
Waken the bud to flower,
Ripen the golden ear,
Osiris hear!

2. In the Garden

Come, my beloved,
Hearest thou my voice;
Shadows are murmuring
Through rustling leaves.
The silver sycamore
In the Northwind bending,
She is my messenger,
Love, to thee.
Come, my beloved,
The beautiful bird
From Arabia is singing to welcome thee.
But its myrrh-scented wings
Waft not such delight
As the kiss of my Love,
My beloved.

3. The Unutterable

I am all that hath been, is, and shall be,
And my veil hath no mortal yet uncovered.
I was yesterday, and I know the morrow,
I am the lonely one, the ever silent,
Sleeping upon the heaven’s endless ocean.

I am Death and Birth, the night and morning,
Unfathomed mystery surrounds me.
From the beginning was my being;
Mightier than speech, my voice is silence!

4. Bridal Song

Fling wide, oh dawn, thy golden portals
To greet the fairest bride.
Sweetly sound thy lutes, O maidens,
Singing hymns of praise.
Sing of her eyes where shadows sleeping,
Are still as water-springs at eve,
Where sweet as some pale water-blossom,
Broodeth the soul of love.

Oh! sing her praises, scent her tresses
With dropping odours from the South,
Till all her garments smell of myrrh,
Sandal and frankincense.
Come, celebrate with joy the festal day,
Let music and let song be made,
For beautiful as goddess of the morning,
Beautiful as Hathor is the bride.

5. Lament of Isis

Gone is my love, my lord,
Gone is my beautiful one.
Lonely by land and sea,
Still am I wand’ring on.
Searching the earth, the wave,
Seeking his hidden grave.

Heaven and earth are dim,
The hours are long in their flight;
Dreary the sun by day,
Dreary the moon by night,
Watching while others sleep,
Weary I wake and weep.
To the great gods I cry,
They will not answer my prayer.

Gone is my love, my lord,
I am alone with despair,
Gone is my lovely one,
Gone is my lonely one,
I am alone, I am alone.

6. Festal Song

Oh! wreathe the bowl with Lotus flowers,
And drop the rose-leaves in the wine,
And feast away the festal hours,
Live while thy life is thine.
Too soon, thy soul will slip away,
Down to the land where no delight
Passeth along that shadowy way,
Which leads unto the night.

Then joyous laugh and sweep thy lyre,
And sing of love and dream of Fame,
And kiss, and clasp thy heart’s desire,
Since all will end the same, the same.
Oh! wreathe the bowl with Lotus flowers,
And drop the rose-leaves in the wine,
And feast away the festal hours,
Live while thy life is thine.

SONGS OF EGYPT