Over the Hills

 

 

Over the Hills - (2009)    

Paul Laurence Dunbar

for medium or low voice and piano


for Marilyn

Over the hills and the valleys of dreaming
Slowly I take my way.
Life is the night with its dream-visions teeming,
Death is the waking at day.

Down thro’ the dales and the bowers of loving,
Singing, I roam afar.
Daytime or night-time, I constantly roving,-
Dearest one, thou art my star.

[ 2 pages, circa 2' 10" ]


Paul Laurence Dunbar

 

This sweet rhyme was first published in Lyrics of the Hearthside, 1899, midway through the short career of this prolific American poet. Dunbar mixes images of life and death with dreaming and waking, a comparison borrowed from biblical ideas as interpreted by poets across the ages with whose works Dunbar was most likely acquainted as a reader of poetry as well as writer. Midway through the second stanza, he interrupts himself as the hyphen and seemingly incorrect grammar indicates a thought broken, to come directly to his point. "Dearest one, thou are my star."

 

 

The setting is marked "simply, as a folk song." The first stanza of the poem is treated as A in a song form, with the second stanza as the B section. Thus the repetition of the first stanza with some few modifications for emphasis, before the short repetition of the final phrase and summation.

 

 

 

The score for Over the Hills 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.

 

Over the Hills