Music and Texts of Gary Bachlund


The Ghost -  (2007)    

Walter de la Mare

for medium voice and piano

        Peace in thy hands,
        Peace in thine eyes,
        Peace on thy brow;
Flower of a moment in the eternal hour,
        Peace with me now.

        Not a wave breaks,
        Not a bird calls,
        My heart, like a sea,
Silent after a storm that hath died,
        Sleeps within me.

        All the night's dews,
        All the world's leaves,
        All winter's snow
Seem with their quiet to have stilled in life's dream
        All sorrowing now.

[ 3 pages, circa 3' 00" ]

Walter de la Mare


Of de la Mare's work, it has been said that it forms "a sustained treatment of romantic themes: dreams, death, rare states of mind and emotion, fantasy worlds of childhood, and the pursuit of the transcendent." In this short poem, that theme of transcendence is most evident as the speaker addresses a "ghost." Who is this ghost, this spirit which has found peace? The first two stanzas fold in upon "me" and the third says simply that sorrowing has been "stilled." The text was first published in Motley and Other Poems, Holt, 1918



For this gentle sentiment and at year's end, I thought to set the stanzas in a simple A-B-A form, with a short echo of the opening gesture. Wholly predictable, so is stillness and peace "in life's dream." The accompaniment is meant to be sonorous, yet not too forceful, and blurred in a sostenuto.



Many other of my settings of Walter de la Mare's texts may be found through this site's Author's Alphabetical Index - D.


The score for The Ghost 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.


The Ghost