… that softer falls than petals…
Whenever I am in low spirits, I turn to poetry and song. Years ago, I stumbled on a CD by John Rutter and The Cambridge Singers. The cover caught my eye—a colourful painting of fields in summer, and the title, There Is Sweet Music, begging me to listen. (I don’t know who did the painting, but the title is taken from The Lotos-eaters, a poem by Lord Alfred Tennyson.) At the time, I was listening almost exclusively to classical music and art songs; but somehow, I picked this collection of choral works. To this day, I thank the gods that I did! There Is Sweet Music became one of my favourite records. If ever I am banished to an island, it makes my list of music to take. The songs—from composers like Edward Elgar and Frederick Delius—are perfectly sung. They make you want to run through the fields and weep on the hills! The wistful voices enchant you, transport your soul, uplift your spirit. I listen whenever I feel a little sad—or a little happy.
It was on the fifth of August…
One of my favourite songs from the recordings is “Brigg Fair”. It’s an English folk song arranged for choir and tenor by Peter Grainger, in the early 1900s. Here are the words, speaking of love and longing, and the melody and singing (Apple Music) are equally sublime:
It was on the fifth of August-er’ the weather fine and fair,
Unto Brigg Fair I did repair, for love I was inclined.
I rose up with the lark in the morning, with my heart so full of glee,
Of thinking there to meet my dear, long time I’d wished to see.
I took hold of her lily-white hand, O and merrily was her heart:
“And now we’re met together, I hope we ne’er shall part”.
For it’s meeting is a pleasure, and parting is a grief,
But an unconstant lover is worse than any thief.
The green leaves they shall wither and the branches they shall die
If ever I prove false to her, to the girl that loves me.