for bass voice and piano
John Harrison, bass
Benjamin Krause, piano
The Song of Wandering Aengus
By William Butler Yeats (1865 – 1939)
I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.
When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And someone called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.
Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done,
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.
In my opinion, “The Song of Wandering Aengus” is a love song filled with great magic, delirium, fantasy, tenderness, and ultimately extreme sadness. I have always felt sorrowful for the fisherman in his relentless and unending pursuit of the “glimmering girl,” though on some level, I do admire his perseverance in what he believes to be a noble search for his one true love. I say believes to be, because I think that she secretly placed a spell on him when she called him by name and has trapped him in his forever chase. I hope he finds her one day that the spell might be broken.