In Praise of Songs That Die

(2005)

"In Praise of Songs That Die" is the second song in Heggie's cycle Here and Gone, which sets texts of American poet Vachel Lindsay and English poet A. E. Housman. The song cycle is written for tenor and baritone with small chamber ensemble.

In Praise of Songs That Die
by Vachel Lindsay


Ah, they are passing, passing by,
Wonderful songs, but born to die!
Cries from the infinite human seas,
Waves thrice-winged with harmonies.
Here I stand on a pier in the foam
Seeing the songs to the beach go home,
Dying in sand while the tide flows back,
As it flowed of old in its fated track.
Oh, hurrying tide that will not hear
Your own foam children dying near
Is there no refuge-house of song,
No home, no haven where songs belong?
Oh, precious hymns that come and go!
You perish, and I love you so!


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