Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Long Day Closes

Nearly thirteen years after graduating from college, there are a lot of glee club songs that I don't remember in their entirety. One that I do remember is "The Long Day Closes," cowritten by Arthur Sullivan before his shared fame with W.S. Gilbert. The words, pasted below, come to mind when I'm putting the kids to bed, but only when they're content to snuggle and listen rather than demand new made-up songs. Then I go lay awake myself thinking about having sung a song about death to my kids. Come to think about it, my kids are experts on songs about death. They've heard this one, "Loch Lomond," and "Danny Boy" hundreds of times.

No star is o'er the lake,
Its pale watch keeping,
The moon is half awake,
Through gray mists creeping,
The last red leaves fall round
The porch of roses,
The clock hath ceased to sound,
The long day closes.

Sit by the silent hearth
In calm endeavour,
To count the sounds of mirth,
Now dumb for ever.
Heed not how hope believes
And fate disposes:
Shadow is round the eaves,
The long day closes.

The lighted windows dim
Are fading slowly.
The fire that was so trim
Now quivers lowly.
Go to the dreamless bed
Where grief reposes;
Thy book of toil is read,
The long day closes.

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