Samuel Barber

Must the winter come so soon?

Text by Gian Carlo Menotti (1911-)
Set by Samuel Barber (1910-1981), from the opera "Vanessa".

Must the winter come so soon?
Night after night I hear the hungry deer
wander weeping in the woods,
and from his house of brittle bark hoots the frozen        owl.
Must the winter come so soon?
Here in this forest neither dawn nor sunset
marks the passing of the days.
It is a long winter here.
Must the winter come so soon?

Sleep now, O sleep now

Text by James Joyce (1882-1941), copyright ©.

Set by

 Sleep now, O sleep now,
   O you unquiet heart!
 A voice crying "Sleep now"
   Is heard in my heart.
 The voice of the winter
   Is heard at the door.
 O sleep, for the winter
   Is crying "Sleep no more."
 My kiss will give peace now
   And quiet to your heart -
 Sleep on in peace now,
   O you unquiet heart!


Text by James Joyce (1882-1941), from Finnegan's Wake.
Set by Samuel Barber (1910-1981), op. 25 (1947).


 Nuvoletta in her light dress,
 spunn of sisteen shimmers,
 was looking down on them,
 leaning over the bannistars
 and list'ning all she childishly could...
 She was alone.
 All her nubied companions
 were asleeping with the squir'ls...
 She tried all the winsome wonsome ways
 her four winds had taught her.
 She tossed her sfumastelliacinous hair
 like la princesse de la Petite Bretagne
 and she rounded her mignons arms
 like Missis Cornwallis-West
 and she smiled over herself
 like the image of the pose
 of the daughter of the Emperour of Irelande
 and she sighed after herself as were she             born
 to bride with Tristis Tristior ristissimus.
 But, sweet madonnine, she might fair as well
 have carried her daisy's worth to Florida...
 Oh, how it was duusk. From Vallee Maraia to Grasyaplaina,
 dormimust echo! Ah dew! Ah dew!
 It was so duusk that the tears of night began to fall,
 first by ones and twos, then by threes and fours,
 at last by fives and sixes of sevens,
 for the tired ones were wecking;
 as we weep now with them. O! O! Par la pluie...
 Then Nuvoletta reflected for the last time
 in her little long life
 and she made up all her myriads of drifting minds in one.
 She cancelled all her engauzements.
 She climbed over the bannistars;
 she gave a childy cloudy cry:
 Nuée! Nuée!
 A light dress fluttered.
 She was gone.

Sure on this shining night

Text by James Agee (1909-1955), "Description of Elysium", from Permit Me Voyage (1934). Stanzas 6-8, copyright ©.
Set by Samuel Barber (1910-1981), op. 13 no. 3.

 Sure on this shining night
 Of starmade shadows round,
 Kindness must watch for me
 This side the ground.
 The late year lies down the north.
 All is healed, all is health.
 High summer holds the earth.
 Hearts all whole.
 Sure on this shining night
 I weep for wonder
 wandering far alone
 Of shadows on the stars.