Break, break, break on thy cold grey stones, O sea (George Alexander Macfarren)

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Editor: David Anderson (submitted 2023-11-13).   Score information: Letter, 12 pages, 535 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes:
  • (Posted 2019-04-22)  CPDL #54033:         
Editor: James Gibb (submitted 2019-04-22).   Score information: A4, 9 pages, 135 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes:

General Information

Title: Break, break, break on thy cold grey stones, O sea
Composer: George Alexander Macfarren
Lyricist: Alfred Tennyson

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SecularPartsong

Language: English
Instruments: Keyboard or a cappella

First published: 1869 in Novello Part-Song Book (2nd Series), Vol. 2, no. 63

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Break, break, break,
 On thy cold grey stones, O Sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter
 The thoughts that arise in me.

O, well for the fisherman's boy,
 That he shouts with his sister at play!
O, well for the sailor lad,
 That he sings in his boat on the bay!

And the stately ships go on
 To their haven under the hill;
But O for the touch of a vanish'd hand,
 And the sound of a voice that is still!

Break, break, break
 At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!
But the tender grace of a day that is dead
 Will never come back to me.