At the Tavern - (2012)
Paul Laurence Dunbar
medium voice and piano
lilt and a swing,
And a ditty to sing,
Or ever the night grow old;
The wine is within,
And I'm sure 't were a sin
For a soldier to choose to be cold, my dear,
For a soldier to choose to be cold.
We're right for a spell,
But the fever is – well,
No thing to be braved, at least;
So bring me the wine;
No low fever in mine,
For a drink is more kind than a priest, my dear,
For a drink is more kind than a priest.
pages, circa 2' 00"
text is found in Dunbar's collection, Lyrics of Love and Laughter
(1903), available at the very fine
Wright State University Libraries online Dunbar Collection. For
other song settings of Dunbar's texts,
little vignette is of two characters "at the tavern," that soldier as the
text identifies and the "dear" to whom this proposition is addressed.
Alternative versions might assign the second verse to the woman as to the
soldier. This is left to the invention of the performer, as is so much in
song interpretation. The two strophe setting employees both a music hall
style with the so-called blue notes additional musical commentary on the
scene offered in the accompaniment as in the closed mouth hum as notated for
The score for
At the tavern 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