The Lesson of the Leaves (Alfred Alexander)

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  • (Posted 2023-09-14)  CPDL #75378:     
Editor: David Anderson (submitted 2023-09-14).   Score information: Letter, 12 pages, 898 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes:

General Information

Title: The Lesson of the Leaves
Composer: Alfred Alexander
Lyricist: Isabella Varley Banks
Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SecularPartsong

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1891 Novello, Ewer and Co.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

   Glancing in the sunlight,
      Dancing in the breeze,
   See the new-born leaflets
      On the summer trees:
   Joying in existence,
      Whisp’ringly they play,
   Toying with each other
      Through the golden day:
   And when evening’s eyelids
      Close upon the hill,
   Casting loving glances
      On the answering rill:
   Thus they dance and flutter
      All the summer through,
   Light, and gay, and gladsome,
      Leaflets green and new:
“Life is all before us—life is full of glee!”
Is the joyous chorus heard from every tree.

   Hanging in the branches,
      Drooping in the shade,
   Mark the autumn leaflets
      How they pine and fade;
   Rustling— as the storm-blast
      Sweeps across the moor—
   Driven by the whirlwind
      To the cottar’s door;
   Dark, and thick, and heavy,
      With the dust of Time,
   Weary of existence,
      List their wintry chime,
   As the mournful cadence
      Rings in human ears,
   A never-ending moral
      For the coming years,
This the parting chorus— “Leaves, our course is run;
Death is now before us— but our work is done!”