Monday, October 11, 2010

Spring and Fall

Happy Monday!  & we’re having a very Robert Frost’s Banjo day around here, because we’re presenting both poetry & music.

Since first hearing Natalie Merchant’s extraordinary Leave Your Sleep album earlier this year, one of my favorite selections has been her setting of Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poem “Spring & Fall.” I’ve had it in mind to post the poem along with a video of Ms Merchant’s setting as soon as a good version became available on YouTube.  The other day I found just such a video; please give it a listen—it’s remarkable music.  In case you missed it earlier, you can read my review of Leave Your Sleep right here.  If you do check out the review, please note that since I wrote that I’ve come around to liking “The King of China’s Daughter.”  In fact, this remarkable album continues to amaze & inspire me
it certainly stands up to repeated listening!

The poem itself, I give without comment—it’s too true & beautiful to explain away.  But I should note that Hopkins placed accents over syllables he wanted stressed.

Hope you enjoy Hopkins’ poem & Merchant’s music!

Spring and Fall
to a young child

MÁRGARÉT, áre you gríeving   
Over Goldengrove unleaving?   
Leáves, líke the things of man, you   
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?   
Áh! ás the heart grows older           
It will come to such sights colder   
By and by, nor spare a sigh   
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;   
And yet you wíll weep and know why.   
Now no matter, child, the name:           
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.   
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed   
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:   
It ís the blight man was born for,   
It is Margaret you mourn for.           

Gerard Manley Hopkins


  1. Wow! I'm speechless. She is just so good!

  2. Hi Roy: Yes--a stunning setting & a great performance of same.

  3. That was lovely I managed to fit both the words and the video on the screen together and my enjoyment was greatly enhanced by being able to concentrate on the words whilst letting the song float me along.

  4. I'm at my mom's and she's playing the radio which currently is in the middle of Beethoven's Pastorale Symphony, so my own listening to Natalie will have to wait, but as for the poem, it is exquisite!


  5. Hi Heather, Alan & Kat

    Heather: Right on!

    Alan: Glad you liked it.

    Kat: You're in for a treat when you can give it a listen.

  6. Certainly, one of the most beautiful poems ever written, and so tenderly and sensitively sung by Ms. Merchant.

  7. Hi nothingprofound: Thanks for stopping by--glad you enjoyed this.

  8. Truly wonderful. I was introduced to the album by willow (of the manor) and reminded of the Hopkins poem in a comment, more recently.

    Thanks for putting the two together for us to enjoy, John.

  9. This is a gift, thank you!
    We are lucky to listen and see these artists' works, I will look for her album. I have often wondered what my poems would sound like to music.
    until next monday, songman!

  10. Very beautiful and much appreciated - thank you.

  11. Hi Share My Garden: Thanks--glad you liked this, & thanks too for stopping by.


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