The merry summer months (John Henry Rheem)

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  • (Posted 2023-12-01)  CPDL #77766:     
Editor: David Anderson (submitted 2023-12-01).   Score information: Letter, 16 pages, 599 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes:

General Information

Title: The merry summer months
Composer: John Henry Rheem
Lyricist: William Motherwell
Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SecularPartsongGlee

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1874 J. C. Crandall

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

They come! the merry summer months of beauty, song, and flowers;
They come! the gladsome months that bring thick leafiness to bowers.
Up, up, my heart! and walk abroad; fling cark and care aside;
Seek silent hills, or rest thyself where peaceful waters glide;
Or, underneath the shadow vast of patriarchal tree,
Scan through its leaves the cloudless sky in rapt tranquillity.

The grass is soft, its velvet touch is grateful to the hand;
And, like the kiss of maiden love, the breeze is sweet and bland;
The daisy and the buttercup are nodding courteously;
It stirs their blood with kindest love, to bless and welcome thee;
And mark how with thine own thin locks—they now are silvery gray—
That blissful breeze is wantoning, and whispering, “Be gay!”

There is no cloud that sails along the ocean of yon sky
But hath its own winged mariners to give it melody;
Thou seest their glittering fans outspread, all gleaming like red gold;
And hark! with shrill pipe musical, their merry course they hold.
God bless them all, those little ones, who, far above this earth,
Can make a scoff of its mean joys, and vent a nobler mirth.

But soft! mine ear upcaught a sound,—from yonder wood it came!
The spirit of the dim green glade did breathe his own glad name;—
Yes, it is he! the hermit bird, that, apart from all his kind,
Slow spells his beads monotonous to the soft western wind;
Cuckoo! Cuckoo! he sings again,—his notes are void of art;
But simplest strains do soonest sound the deep founts of the heart.

Good Lord! it is a gracious boon for thought-crazed wight like me,
To smell again the summer flowers beneath this summer tree!
To suck once more in every breath their little souls away,
And feed my fancy with fond dreams of youth’s bright summer day,
When, rushing forth like untamed colt, the reckless, truant boy
Wandered through greenwoods all day long, a mighty heart of joy!

I ’m sadder now,—I have had cause; but O, I ’m proud to think
That each pure joy-fount, loved of yore, I yet delight to drink;—
Leaf, blossom, blade, hill, valley, stream, the calm, unclouded sky.
Still mingle music with my dreams, as in the days gone by.
When summer’s loveliness and light fall round me dark and cold,
I ’ll bear indeed life’s heaviest curse,—a heart that hath waxed old!