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Jim Clark: Music

The Elm and the Moon

(Jim Clark)
November 22, 2010
Words: Byron Herbert Reece/Music: Jim Clark

Certainly a rather alien sounding story to modern ears; do we even recognize this girl's life-or-death quandary given today's casual mores?  I worried that the music was maybe too static, or repetitive, given the lack of verse/chorus variation, so I added two very brief instrumental "bridges."

The Elm and the Moon

 

 

A girl was thinking about her lover

Under the elm tree under the moon;

She was saying over and over

A mournful chanty, a cruel croon:

Love is given me but to grieve me,

What I have given’s no more to give;

Because I have given it he will leave me,

Because he will leave me I cannot live.

 

The moon looked down between the elm leaves,

Shadow mottled her lovely face;

She was grieving as only a girl grieves

Who has bargained her gift of grace

For knowledge tart as the taste of aloes,

For pain as sharp as the nettle’s thrust,

For the garb of her who dressed in grey goes

Soberly down to a house of dust.

 

The girl was gone before the dawning;

The elm and the moon remained to hear

Again the voice of girlhood moaning

In summer, in winter, in the spring of the year:

Love is given me but to grieve me,

If I surrender I suffer his throes,

If I deny him then he will leave me

In tropic country shut fast by snows.