A death song - (2012)
Paul Laurence Dunbar
medium voice and piano
me down beneaf de willers in de grass,
Whah de branch 'll go a-singin' as it pass.
An' w'en I 's a-layin' low,
I kin hyeah it as it go
Singin', "Sleep, my honey, tek yo' res' at las'."
Lay me nigh to whah hit meks a little pool,
An' de watah stan's so quiet lak an' cool,
Whah de little birds in spring,
Ust to come an' drink an' sing,
An' de chillen waded on dey way to school.
Let me settle w'en my shouldahs draps dey load
Nigh enough to hyeah de noises in de road;
Fu' I t'ink de las' long res'
Gwine to soothe my sperrit bes'
Ef I's layin' 'mong de t'ings I's allus knowed.
pages, circa 3' 45"
text is found in Dunbar's collection, Lyrics of the Hearthside
(1899), available at the very fine
Wright State University Libraries online Dunbar Collection. For
other song settings of Dunbar's texts,
three gentle strophes, while divided typographically into five lines, read
as the standard quatrain. They are set as three hymn-like verses with a
short introduction and slightly extended bridge into the third verse in
which the accompaniment is simply pitched an octave higher. The intent is
more as a prayer than an art song, and should be treated in hushed dynamic
shades and colors.
The score for
A death song is available as a free PDF download, though any major
commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior
arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this