From my first CD "Argo", released 1996, lieder: melody set to Kipling's poem "A Tree Song" in "Puck of Pook's Hill". Puck's ode to trees celebrates the wild, ancient aspects of Faery. It's also a tribute to Shakespeare's play, "A Midsummer Night's Dream". Oak, Ash and Thorn are three magical trees associated with Puck Robin, guardian of the greenwood, also known as Robin Goodfellow, The Green Man and many other names; as such, this is also a hymn for all trees.
Of all the trees that grow so fair, Old England to adorn,
Greater are none beneath the Sun, than Oak, and Ash, and Thorn
Sing Oak, and Ash, and Thorn, good Sirs (All of a Midsummer morn!)
Surely we sing no little thing, in Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!
Oak of the Clay lived many a day, or ever Aeneas began;
Ash of the Loam was a lady at home, when Brut was an outlaw man;
Thorn of the Down saw New Troy Town (From which was London born);
Witness hereby the ancientry of Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!
Yew that is old in churchyard mould, he breedeth a mighty bow;
Alder for shoes do wise men choose, and beech for cups also.
But when ye have killed, an your bowl is spilled, an your shoes are clean outworn,
Back ye must speed for all that ye need, to Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!
Ellum she hateth mankind, and waiteth till every gust be laid,
To drop a limb on the head of him that anyway trusts her shade:
But whether a lad be sober or sad, or mellow with ale from the horn,
He will take no wrong when he lieth along ‘neath Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!
Oh, do not tell the Priest our plight, or he would call it a sin;
But - we have been out in the woods all night, a-conjuring Summer in!
And we bring you news by word of mouth - good news for cattle and corn –
Now is the Sun come up from the South, with Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!
Sing Oak, and Ash, and Thorn, good Sirs (All of a Midsummer morn)!
England shall bide till Judgment Tide, by Oak, and Ash, and Thorn!
(Sing Oak and Ash and Thorn! Sing Oak and Ash and Thorn!
released May 3, 1996
Melodies (vocal & musical riffs): Louisa John-Krol, circa 1991.
Lyrics by Rudyard Kipling from a poem "A Tree Song" in his novel "Puck of Pook's Hill".
Produced with Harry Williamson at Spring Studio, Melbourne, Australia.
Instrumentation / Performance:
- vocals, organs, synth chords & harpsichord lines: Louisa John-Krol
- Puck (narration): Harry Williamson
- percussion, effects (e.g. creaking trees) & baroque orchestral soundscape additions: Harry Williamson
Thanks to Mark Krol for introducing me to this book and inspiring me to set this melody to the poem.
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