San Sebastiano di Sodoma

(1984)
"San Sebastiano di Sodoma" is the second song in Bowles's song cycle Gothic Suite, which sets the texts of Tennessee Williams.

San Sebastiano di Sodoma
by Tennessee Williams

How did Saint Sebastian die?
Arrows pierced throat and thigh
which only knew before that time
The dolors of a concubine.

Near above him, hardly over,
hovered his gold martyr's crown.
Even Mary from her tower
Of heaven leaned a little down.

And as she leaned she raised a corner
of a cloud through which to spy.
Sweetly troubled Mary murmured
as she watched the arrows fly.

And as the cup that was profaned
gave up its sweet intemp'rate wine
All the golden bells of heaven
praised an emp'ror's concubine.

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