ORFEO ED EURIDICE, an opera by Cristoph Willibald Glück, presented by the London Philharmonic at the Glyndebourne Opera Festival, with original text by Ranieiri De’ Calzabigi, produced by Peter Hall, choreographies by Stauart Hopps and directed by Raymond Leppard. This version was filmed in 1982 and edited for video.

Video

Nurse’s Song

A Poem by William Blake

When voices of children are heard on the green,
And laughing is heard on the hill,
My heart is at rest within my breast,
And everything else is still.

‘Then come home my children the sun is gone down,
And the dews of night arise;
Come, come, leave off play, and let us away
Till the morning appears in the skies.’

‘No, no, let us play, for it is yet day,
And we cannot go to sleep;
Besides, in the sky, the little birds fly,
And the hills are all covered with sheep.’

‘Well, well, go and play till the light fades away,
And then go home to bed.’
The little ones leaped, and shouted, and laugh’d
And all the hills echoed.

[Analysis of Nurse’s Song]

Nurse’s Song by William Blake – Poetry Reading:

Video

Night

A Poem by William Blake

The sun descending in the west,
The evening star does shine;
The birds are silent in their nest,
And I must seek for mine.
The moon, like a flower,
In heaven’s high bower,
With silent delight
Sits and smiles on the night.

Farewell, green fields and happy groves,
Where flocks have took delight.
Where lambs have nibbled, silent moves
The feet of angels bright;
Unseen they pour blessing,
And joy without ceasing,
On each bud and blossom,
And each sleeping bosom.

They look in every thoughtless nest,
Where birds are covered warm;
They visit caves of every beast,
To keep them all from harm.
If they see any weeping
That should have been sleeping,
They pour sleep on their head,
And sit down by their bed.

When wolves and tigers howl for prey,
They pitying stand and weep;
Seeking to drive their thirst away,
And keep them from the sheep.
But if they rush dreadful,
The angels, most heedful,
Receive each mild spirit,
New worlds to inherit.

And there the lion’s ruddy eyes
Shall flow with tears of gold,
And pitying the tender cries,
And walking round the fold,
Saying, ‘Wrath, by His meekness,
And, by His health, sickness
Is driven away
From our immortal day.

‘And now beside thee, bleating lamb,
I can lie down and sleep;
Or think on Him who bore thy name,
Graze after thee and weep.
For, washed in life’s river,
My bright mane for ever
Shall shine like the gold
As I guard o’er the fold.’

[Background and Analysis of Night]

‘Night’ by William Blake from Songs of Innocence – read by poet Arthur L Wood:

To the Evening Star

A Poem by William Blake

Thou fair-haired angel of the evening,
Now, whilst the sun rests on the mountains, light
Thy bright torch of love; thy radiant crown
Put on, and smile upon our evening bed!
Smile on our loves, and while thou drawest the
Blue curtains of the sky, scatter thy silver dew
On every flower that shuts its sweet eyes
In timely sleep. Let thy west wing sleep on
The lake; speak silence with thy glimmering eyes,
And wash the dusk with silver. Soon, full soon,
Dost thou withdraw; then the wolf rages wide,
And the lion glares through the dun forest.
The fleeces of our flocks are covered with
Thy sacred dew; protect with them with thine influence.

[Analysis of To the Evening Star]

Now Art Has Lost its Mental Charms

A Poem by William Blake

`Now Art has lost its mental charms
France shall subdue the world in arms.’
So spoke an Angel at my birth;
Then said `Descend thou upon earth,
Renew the Arts on Britain’s shore,
And France shall fall down and adore.
With works of art their armies meet
And War shall sink beneath thy feet.
But if thy nation Arts refuse,
And if they scorn the immortal Muse,
France shall the arts of peace restore
And save thee from the ungrateful shore.’

Spirit who lov’st Britannia’s Isle
Round which the fiends of commerce smile —

[Analysis of Now Art Has Lost its Mental Charms]

Video

A Dream

A Poem by William Blake

Once a dream did weave a shade
O’er my angel-guarded bed,
That an emmet lost its way
Where on grass methought I lay.

Troubled, wildered, and forlorn,
Dark, benighted, travel-worn,
Over many a tangle spray,
All heart-broke, I heard her say:

“Oh my children! do they cry,
Do they hear their father sigh?
Now they look abroad to see,
Now return and weep for me.”

Pitying, I dropp’d a tear:
But I saw a glow-worm near,
Who replied, “What wailing wight
Calls the watchman of the night?

“I am set to light the ground,
While the beetle goes his round:
Follow now the beetle’s hum;
Little wanderer, hie thee home!”

[Background and Analysis of A Dream]

“A Dream” by William Blake, read by The Wordman:

Video

A Cradle Song

A Poem by William Blake

Sweet dreams, form a shade
O’er my lovely infant’s head!
Sweet dreams of pleasant streams
By happy, silent, moony beams!

Sweet Sleep, with soft down
Weave thy brows an infant crown.
Sweet Sleep, angel mild,
Hover o’er my happy child!

Sweet smiles, in the night
Hover over my delight!
Sweet smiles, mother’s smiles,
All the livelong night beguiles.

Sweet moans, dovelike sighs,
Chase not slumber from thy eyes!
Sweet moans, sweeter smiles,
All the dovelike moans beguiles.

Sleep, sleep, happy child!
All creation slept and smiled.
Sleep, sleep, happy sleep,
While o’er thee Thy mother weep.

Sweet babe, in thy face
Holy image I can trace;
Sweet babe, once like thee
Thy Maker lay, and wept for me:

Wept for me, for thee, for all,
When He was an infant small.
Thou His image ever see,
Heavenly face that smiles on thee!

Smiles on thee, on me, on all,
Who became an infant small;
Infant smiles are his own smiles;
Heaven and earth to peace beguiles.

[Background and Analysis of A Cradle Song]

A Cradle Song’ by William Blake from Songs of Innocence – read by poet Arthur L Wood: