An Eternity

 

 

An Eternity - (2010)    

Archibald MacLeish

for low voice and piano


 

There is no dusk to be,
    There is no dawn that was,
Only there's now, and now,
    And the wind in the grass.

Days I remember of
    Now in my heart, are now;
Days that I dream will bloom
    White the peach bough.

Dying shall never be
    Now in the windy grass;
Now under shooken leaves
    Death never was.

[ 2 pages, circa 3' 00" ]


Archibald MacLeish

 

Archibald MacLeish (1892-1982) was born in Glencoe, Illinois, and studied at Yale and Harvard Law School, writing poetry during this time. He served in the US military during World War One, lived a time in France in the literary company of Kay Boyle, Ernest Hemingway, and Ezra Pound. Returning to the US, he served as editor for Fortune magazine, wrote radio dramas, served a time as Librarian of Congress, then as director of the War Department's Office of Facts and Figures and assistant director of the Office of War Information, specializing in propaganda. In 1944 he was appointed assistant Secretary of State for cultural affairs. Post World War Two, he taught as Harvard's Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory, and then Simpson Lecturer at Amherst College. His work garnered three Pulitzer prizes, an Academy Award for his work on The Eleanor Roosevelt Story, and National Book Award and the Bollingen Prize. The text is found in MacLeish's early Tower of Ivory (1917). 

 

 

The song setting is of two verses, and a variation as the final stanza. The harmonic stillness is meant to capture a sense of peace and timelessness, with the pedal in the tonic being relieved only by a momentary glimpse of the subdominant.

 

 

The score for An Eternity 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 piano-vocal score.

 

An Eternity