Twell De Night Is Pas'
Paul Laurence Dunbar
medium voice and piano
de night long twell de moon goes down,
Lovin’ I set at huh feet,
Den fu’ de long jou’ney back f’om de town,
Ha’d, but de dreams mek it sweet.
All de night long twell de break of de day,
Dreamin’ agin in my sleep,
Mandy comes drivin’ my sorrers away,
Axin’ me, “Wha’ fu’ you weep?”
All de day long twell de sun goes down,
Smilin’, I ben’ to my hoe,
Fu’ dough de weddah git nasty an’ frown,
One place I know I kin go.
All my life long twell de night has pas’
Let de wo’k come ez it will,
So dat I fin’ you, my honey, at las’,
Somewhaih des ovah de hill.
pages, circa 3' 15" ]
text is found in Dunbar's collection, Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow,
1901. The notion that one may be sustained by a memory as by a promise of
return is beautifully summed up in the poet's last gesture, telling us that
there is fact is "somewhere over the hill." This common dream is as easily
expressed in the iconic "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" in the words of Yip
Harburg (1896-1981), as well as myriad other texts also tell. This is the
same human yearning whether painted in the widely social visions of various
political "utopian" philosophies, or in the small and very personal forms as
shown in the text above. On the personal level, it is a nourishment for the
heart, while on the social level it often is a vision which sometimes
refuses to allow that another have a different vision.
setting is simple, a strophic form with repeat in which the third strophe
drifts a moment into the relative major before returning to the tonic minor
to conclude its affirmation of "over there." The interior line in the
accompaniment is meant to be brought out above the outside voices, its
off-beat stress as a rhythmic juxtaposition to the vocal line and simple
setting is painted in dynamics noted as mezzo piano and quieter. For
this the vocal line might well be colored with "crooning," and the last
phrases fade into the quiet, with thought that Ursula Vaughan Williams'
lovely line, "where music and silence meet, and both are heard."
The score for
Twell De Night Is Pas' 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
Twell De Night Is Pas'