Testa dell'Efebo


"Testa dell'Efebo" is the first song in Bowles's song cycle Gothic Suite, which sets the texts of Tennessee Williams.

Testa dell'Efebo
by Tennessee Williams

Of Flora did his lustre spring
And gushing waters bathed him
so that trembling shells were struck
and held until his turning let them go.

Then gold he was when summer was.
Unchangeable this turning seemed
And the repose of sculpture told
how thinly gold his shoulder gleamed.

A cloud of birds awoke him when
Virgo murmured half awake.
Then higher lifted birds and clouds
to break in fire as glasses break.

A lunatic with tranquil eyes
He must have been when he had dimmed
and that town burned wherein was turned
this slender copper cast of him.

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