Over the mountains (John Harrison Tenney)

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Editor: David Anderson (submitted 2024-06-06).   Score information: Letter, 8 pages, 380 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes:

General Information

Title: Over the mountains
Composer: John Harrison Tenney
Lyricist: Caroline L. Jackson
Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SecularPartsong

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1875 Lee & Shepard
Description: A WINTER SONG

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Tenney set only stanzas 1, 2, & 4 of the poem

Over the mountains the snow-wreaths are drifting,
    Hanging their garlands on laurel and pine;
Robing the fields with a crystalline beauty,
    Bending the feathery sprays of the vine,
Falling, like down, on the breast of the river,
    Crowning the maple trees over the way;
Drifting along on the winds to the southward,
    Hiding the vessels far out on the bay.

In the red sun-set the snow-flakes are shining,
    Snow-drift on snow-drift and curl upon curl;
Flashing back colors of exquisite brightness,
    Diamonds and rose-leaves and mother of pearl,
Softly ye snow-wreaths droop over the hill-side,
    Where in sweet slumbers the weary ones rest,
Where by the pine-tree, my mother is sleeping,
    Tenderly lay your white folds on her breast.

Come with a sound like the footsteps of angels,
    Come, in the hush, in the silence of prayer,
Keep ye your watch by the eloquent marbles,
    Wrap your soft folds round the myrtle wreaths there;
Soon o’er the hillside, warm suns shall be shining;
    Soon shall the myrtles be purple with bloom;
Soon the green spathes of the lilies shall open;
    Soon shall the clovers give sweetest perfume.

Soon shall a spring-time break over the mountains,
    Over its beauty no cold wind shall blow;
Frost shall not breathe there to wither the flowers—
    Never again shall they hide in the snow.
Eye hath not looked on that spring in its beauty;
    Songs of the seraphs shall welcome its birth;
Come, in the beauty and glow of the morning,
    Spring-time eternal, dawn over the earth.