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Snatches, from Baptized Generations

for tenor and piano

Year:  1995   ·  Duration:  15m

Year:  1995
Duration:  15m

Composer:   Lyell Cresswell

Films, Audio & Samples

Sample Score

Sample: Pages 1, 4, 6, 8, 10, 14, 16 and 19

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When Bells stop ringing – Church – begins –
The Positive – of Bells –
Then Cogs – stop – that’s Circumference –
The Ultimate – of Wheels.

A word is dead
When it is said,
Some say.
I say it just
Begins to live
That day.

Drab Habitation of Whom?
Tabernacle or Tomb –
Or Dome of Worm –
Or Porch of Gnome –
Or some Elf’s Catacomb?

I’ve seen a Dying Eye
Run round and round a Room –
In search of Something – as it seemed –
Then Cloudier become –
And then – obscure with Fog –
And then – be soldered down
Without disclosing what it be
‘Twere blessed to have seen –

I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – Too?
Then there’s a pair of us?
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!

How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one’s name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!

Ample make this Bed –
Make this Bed with Awe –
In it wait till Judgement break
Excellent and Fair.

Be its Mattress straight –
Be its Pillow round –
Let no Sunrise’ yellow noise
Interrupt this Ground –

Over and over, like a Tune –
The Recollection plays –
Drums off the Phantom Battlements
Cornets of Paradise –
Snatches, from Baptizes Generations –
Cadences too grand
But for the Justified Processions
At the Lord’s Right hand.

There is a pain – so utter –
It swallows substance up –
Then covers the Abyss with Trance –
So Memory can step
Around – across – upon it –
As one within a Swoon –
Goes safely – where an open eye –
Would drop Him – Bone by Bone.

“Faith” is a fine invention
When Gentlemen can see –
But Microscopes are prudent
In an emergency.

Too few the mornings be,
Too scant the nights.
No lodging can be had
For the delights
That come to earth to stay,
But no apartment find
And ride away.

Wild Nights – Wild Nights!
Were I with thee
Wild nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile – the Winds –
To a Heart in port –
Done with the Compass –
Done with the Chart!

Rowing in Eden –
Ah, the Sea!
Might I but moor – Tonight –
In Thee!

Commissioned note

Commissioned by Aberdeen University

Text note

Poem by Emily Dickinson

Performance history

28 Sep 1995: Premiered by Neil Mackie and Roger Williams; Aberdeen, Scotland.