A Dirge for Two Veterans (Gustav Holst)

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  • (Posted 2020-07-14)  CPDL #59746:     
Editor: Douglas Walczak (submitted 2020-07-14).   Score information: Letter, 12 pages, 137 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes:

General Information

Title: A Dirge for Two Veterans
Composer: Gustav Holst
Lyricist: Walt Whitman

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: TTBB
Genre: SecularLament

Language: English

First published: 1914
Description: Accompaniment for 3 Trumpets, Trombone, Tuba, Snare Drum and Bass Drum can be provided on request.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

The last sunbeam
Lightly falls from the finished Sabbath,
On the pavement here, and there beyond it is looking,
Down a new-made double grave.

Lo, the moon ascending,
Up from the east the silvery round moon,
Beautiful over the house-tops, ghastly, phantom moon,
Immense and silent moon.

I see a sad procession,
And I hear the sound of coming full-keyed bugles,
All the channels of the city streets they are flooding,
As with voices and with tears.

I hear the great drums pounding,
And the small drums steady whirring
And every blow of the great convulsive drums,
Strikes me through and through.

For the son is brought with the father,
(In the foremost ranks of the fierce assault they fell,
Two veterans son and father dropt together,
And the double grave awaits them.)

And nearer blow the bugles,
And the drums strike more convulsive,
And the daylight o'er the pavement quite has faded,
And the strong dead march enwraps me.

O strong dead march you please me!
O moon immense with your silvery face you soothe me!
O my soldiers twain! O my veterans passing to burial!
What I have I also give you.

The moon gives you light,
And the bugles and the drums give you music,
And my heart, O my soldiers, my veterans,
My heart gives you love.