Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger:

Henry Kimball HADLEY (1871-1937)
The Ocean - tone poem (1921) [14.26]
The Culprit Fay (rhapsody) (1909) [15.53]
Symphony No. 4 (North, East, South, West) (1911) [38.20]
National SO of Ukraine/John McLaughlin Williams
rec Kiev, 1-7 Dec 1999
  AmazonUK   AmazonUS

Hadley's works were conducted by Karl Muck, Anton Seidl and Walter Damrosch, played by the elite orchestras of Berlin, New York, Cincinnati, Philadelphia and given at the Met and Chicago. He did not lack for attention in his lifetime. From his death, however, his unfashionable music plummeted deep into cobwebs and librarians' dust.

His music might well be familiar to some readers. Hadley's Second Symphony The Four Seasons was recorded by the redoubtable but still, largely unsung Karl Krueger. Krueger's Society for the Promotion of the American Musical Heritage issued many LPs of neglected Americana from before the Copland-Harris generation. This one was SPAMH MIA 145. I got out my tape of this symphony (unplayed for at least fifteen years) to prepare the ground for the Naxos disc. It plays for about the same length as the North-East-South-West symphony i.e. circa 40 minutes. Hadley excels at the dramatic and the first movement (the four are in sequence: Winter-Spring-Summer-Autumn) surges and rushes in a style that bridges the gap between Tchaikovsky's Fourth, Elgar's First and Brahms' Tragic Overture. The second movement's Glazunov-like lilt is contrasted with the ascendant hyper-romantic idylls of Summer. Interesting that Hadley has the seasons in exactly the same sequence as Glazunov in his ballet. Autumn buffets the listener along with Tchaikovskian premonitions of Winter and balletic recollections of the warmth of Summer. It ends valiantly, as does The Ocean, against the conventional odds, in a superbly choreographed descent to a satisfied and satisfying niente as does his tone poem Salomé.

The Royal Philharmonic recorded in 1968 are magnificent with wonderful work from the horn section - lead by Barry Tuckwell, presumably. I do hope that Bridge (who have already reissued some of the Krueger tapes onto CD) will get around to this. The natural coupling to assemble an all-Hadley CD would be Hadley's discursive-ruminative tone poem Salome - another Krueger/RPO collaboration. This was issued on SPAMH MIA 138. Hadley's Salome pre-dates the premiere of Strauss's opera of the same name. In it the darker Tchaikovsky of Hamlet meets Delius's Dance Rhapsodies. Wieczyslaw Karlowicz is another who might be bracketed with Hadley. Towards the end Hadley's world is remarkably close to the art nouveau ornamentation of Bantock's Pierrot of the Minute. Bantock makes a pretty good analogue for Hadley - both having a pretty consistent practical fixation with the exotic.

To the contents of this Naxos disc.

Hadley wrote several tone poems. The Ocean pitches in with the gruff summonsing of the brass and the craggy crash of surf. This is all so much more vibrant than the pictorialism of Rubinstein's Ocean Symphony or Haakon Børresen's Sea Symphony (No. 2). Yet it lacks the penetrating distinction of say Frank Bridge's The Sea or Bax's Tintagel. Its second half is predominantly a Delian poem of hazed dawn sea-light. It is so much more effective in these moments than in the strenuous crashing of the opening pages.

Hadley is more fantastic still in the Straussian The Culprit Fay. The music is coloured by the Franck orchestral works: especially Chasseur Maudit and Les Eolides. There is a fertile imaginative talent at work here: listen to the eerie high harmonics at 8.01 and the howling and wailing downward spiral of the woodwind at 15.35. For some reason I was also reminded of Hamilton Harty's Irish Symphony (recently recorded on Naxos but also still available in a cracking version from Chandos - Bryden Thomson and the Ulster Orchestra). I have known the piece for some time in a historic underground tape from 1937 acetates: Joseph Maddy conducted the National High Schools Symphony Orchestra in a spirited performance.

And so we come to the Fourth Symphony. The first movement (North) is less Brahmsian and more in the line of Franck's sensuous Psyché - a well rounded movement. East (II) is nicely nuanced and orientally shaded. The shading is slight and presumably the same tinge also flavours his 1930 suite The Streets of Pekin and the Oriental Suite. In this music there is just that suspicion of Ketèlbeyian pigtailed condescension. The South (III) is brisk and if the Ledins' notes claim a ragtime influence it is just a trace. Certainly nothing to compare with more than a few wince-making moments in Louis Gruenberg's Violin Concerto (recently reissued in the Heifetz recording - Naxos). I detected more Coatesian hustle and bustle married with the jubilant Furiant strains of Dvorák's Eighth Symphony. The finale (West) is Straussian, generous and lush of melody. Do listen to the big tune given its head by John McLaughlin Williams at 8.05. The Eastern interludes are recalled at 5.05.

Everything is performed with polish and spirit. What a pleasure to see that these zestful performances were prepared over seven days rather than rushed through rough edges and all. Lastly please don't be put off by condemnation of the Ukraine orchestra occasionally to be read in the newsgroups. These performances vie for the leading edge of fluency with the 1960s RPO. Definitely not a library exercise driven by a lacuna-filling race. Very easy to recommend.

I have the highest hopes for this already prestigious series. Surely it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that we will see issues of Louis Coerne's Excalibur, Edward Burlingame Hill's Violin Concerto; Arthur Farwell's The Gods of the Mountain (1929) and his epic-heroic Symphony Rudolph Gott (1934), Leo Sowerby's Delian violin concerto (1924), Cecil Effinger's five Symphonies (the latter three from the 1950s), … Not to mention Arnold Rosner's symphonies.

Rob Barnett

The Conductor, John McLaughlin Williams, adds a personal note:-

Doing Hadley was fascinating from the beginning. I had, of course, heard what little was available of Hadley on LP and CD. The Krueger 2nd symphony is a valiant effort but not well-played (if you've got a score), and has sound which does Hadley an extreme disservice. Hadley's magic is in the sound. I looked at about twenty scores. The program I arrived at was not my original choice, though the present program does not suffer at all for that. My original choice was the tone poem Lucifer and the 5th symphony, but their requirement for an organ put them out of the picture. (No organ at the Grand Hall!)

I showed up in Kiev just as they were inaugurating Leonid Kuchma for a second term. We began recording and were interrupted by the NSOU being called to do performances related to the inauguration. We lost quite a bit of time because of that, and the NSOU schedule had to be re-worked to accommodate the lost recording sessions. I worked with great detail when we resumed days later, but began to be pressed for time. (I ended up extending my trip significantly in order to finish Carpenter.)

The orchestra took to Hadley like they had known it all their lives, once I told them to play it like Strauss. Sometimes just giving artists an image is enough to free them from the tensions associated with the unfamiliar. The Ocean was a completely moving experience. The orchestra loved the work, and asked if Hadley was famous in America. They attended playback sections, and some (including myself) were moved to tears when we heard the playbacks of the final apotheosis. I cannot describe the impact of Hadley's sound live. It seemed to have flesh, so powerful and tactile it was.

It is always interesting to us on this side of the pond how the English hear American music, just as it must be to you and how we hear English music! Sometimes the Americanisms are too subtle to be ascertained by non-natives. I think this particularly true with a composer like McKay. In the 3rd movement of Hadley's symphony the southern flavor is very strong, if assimilated politely. It is based upon the African dance called a Juba, though I doubt Hadley was aware of its name and origin. The Ledin's notes actually partly quote Hadley's own notes given for the first performance, notes which are too politically incorrect to be printed verbatim in proper America today. (Those notes were given to me by Dr. John Canfield, who wrote the most extensive work on Hadley in his 1960 dissertation.) In the notes Hadley plainly states that his purpose was to give a representation of "Darky music". "Darky" is an extremely pejorative term to American blacks. I think Hadley imitated the music heard on plantations very well. Were you to hear a Juba movement from a Florence Price symphony, you would understand.

Further to Gruenberg, again his representation of African-American music is absolutely excellent; it's a great concerto. However, Heifetz plays it like ... Heifetz plays! He makes the tunes sound far more like those of Hebrew origin! Hear the second movement and think how Paul Robeson would have sung the same opening phrase. Heifetz does it like a Cantor. It's beautiful but it ain't black! In some ways the Gruenberg is the Most American of American Concerti. It awaits a different perspective. (There were discussions about my playing it with Peter Bay, the conductor of the Austin Symphony, but it seems unlikely for the near future.)

It was a joy for me and the orchestra in doing The Culprit Fay and the Symphony. The Culprit posed some interesting technical challenges for the violins regarding bowing. I explained the poem as we went along, as the music follows it EXACTLY. Find the poem on the net and listen to it again. For the audiences of the day the poem was still a vital part of their cultural lives. Today it is rather obscure.

Hadley was a great master, but his best works are his large choral/orchestral works. Resurgam and his Music: An Ode especially deserve recordings. Cross your fingers.

Recording Carpenter was more demanding, particularly for me. He is a very exacting composer, whereas Hadley leaves plenty of room for interpretation (which is why I think his representation on record has been variable). Hadley doesn't mark much, and most of the flexibility you hear in The Ocean is the result of my rather Stokowskian liberties. Carpenter leaves many, many metronome marks and expressions and the orchestra had difficulty grasping his original idiom. Adventures was one thing, but the Symphonies, particularly #2, were intense going. The first movement of #2 is an original take on Sonata form, extremely motivic, down to just a few notes, and very dependent upon quartal harmony. Of course they ultimately got it, but they were not as fond of Carpenter as they were Hadley. I think that if they hear the final result they may change their minds.

I recorded one more Carpenter piece for that CD. The piece was Danza from the Dance Suite. It's a difficult, Spanish flavored work written mostly in 5/4. We were quite behind because of the inauguration, and I could not change my plane flight a second time. We worked as well and as fast as we were able, but I still wasn't happy with the final result and had it removed from the final edit. Lastly, I have to say that both of these recordings would never have happened without Victor and Marina Ledin, the series producer for the American Series. I have to say it because their credit was inexplicably left off of both these recordings.

I truly hope that this fine music brings you the same joy in listening that it brought us in performing. Hadley and Carpenter are both masters, and Carpenter in particular deserves an Edition.

John McLaughlin Williams





By special correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor [Marion M. Scott]

LONDON, England - Outstanding features of the Promenade Concert at the Queen's Hall on September 25 were the first introduction in England of Henry Hadley's orchestral rhapsody "The Culprit Fay," the first performance of Herbert Howells' already famous little piece, "Puck's Minuet," and Mr. Leonard Borwick's splendid playing in the Schumann piano concerto. Obviously the rest of the program had been put together to carry out the idea of legends and romance thus initiated. Though interesting in itself, even educational, the plan might have been better carried out, for as it stood the program was a little hard on the new works, and did not leave them that free space in which to show their merits which a congruous contrast supplies. Anyone who recalls Weber's overture to "Der Freischutz," Sibelius's morbid (but alas! popular) "Valse Triste," and Saint Saens' "Dance Macabre" (certainly a very polished and genial bizarrerie!) will realize this, especially when, as at this concert, an aria from Tschaikowsky's "Dame de Pique" and one from Wagner's "Flying Dutchman" are added...

Hadley's rhapsody, "The Culprit Fey," is founded on a fairy poem by J. R. Drake, and represents the Odyssey of an elf who loved a mortal maiden. It belongs to that school of program music advocated by Liszt, wherein the literary form practically governs the musical, and a knowledge of the story is indispensable to the listener. Granted this, the rhapsody is a most enjoyable work, and has the merit of becoming steadily more interesting the farther it proceeds. Planned on large lines, using orchestration, it shows Mr. Hadley as a very accomplished composer. If some sections indicate that his musical thoughts are clothed in cosmopolitan rather than individual formulae, the end - depicting cock-crow and the flight of the fairies - is delightfully humorous and original. It has the true American tang and the audience appreciated it keenly....

(Marion M. Scott (1877-1953) was an English musicologist, critic, writer (biographer of Beethoven), editor, violinist, who is best know today as the friend of composer-poet Ivor Gurney)

Reprinted courtesy of S. Hardy Prince and Pamela Blevins

Text of the poem The Culprit Fay

"My visual orbs are purged from film, and lo!
"Instead of Anster's turnip-bearing vales
"I see old fairy land's miraculous show!
"Her trees of tinsel kissed by freakish gales,
"Her Ouphs that, cloaked in leaf-gold, skim the breeze,
"And fairies, swarming ----- "

Tennant's Anster Fair


'Tis the middle watch of a summer's night --
The earth is dark, but the heavens are bright;
Nought is seen in the vault on high
But the moon, and the stars, and the cloudless sky,
And the flood which rolls its milky hue,
A river of light on the welkin blue.
The moon looks down on old Cronest,
She mellows the shades on his shaggy breast,
And seems his huge gray form to throw
In a sliver cone on the wave below;
His sides are broken by spots of shade,
By the walnut bough and the cedar made,
And through their clustering branches dark
Glimmers and dies the fire-fly's spark --
Like starry twinkles that momently break
Through the rifts of the gathering tempest's rack.


The stars are on the moving stream,
And fling, as its ripples gently flow,
A burnished length of wavy beam
In an eel-like, spiral line below;
The winds are whist, and the owl is still,
The bat in the shelvy rock is hid,
And nought is heard on the lonely hill
But the cricket's chirp, and the answer shrill
Of the gauze-winged katy-did;
And the plaint of the wailing whip-poor-will,
Who moans unseen, and ceaseless sings,
Ever a note of wail and woe,
Till morning spreads her rosy wings,
And earth and sky in her glances glow.


'Tis the hour of fairy ban and spell:
The wood-tick has kept the minutes well;
He has counted them all with click and stroke,
Deep in the heart of the mountain oak,
And he has awakened the sentry elve
Who sleeps with him in the haunted tree,
To bid him ring the hour of twelve,
And call the fays to their revelry;
Twelve small strokes on his tinkling bell --
('Twas made of the white snail's pearly shell:- )
"Midnight comes, and all is well!
Hither, hither, wing your way!
'Tis the dawn of the fairy day."


They come from beds of lichen green,
They creep from the mullen's velvet screen;
Some on the backs of beetles fly
From the silver tops of moon-touched trees,
Where they swung in their cobweb hammocks high,
And rock'd about in the evening breeze;
Some from the hum-bird's downy nest --
They had driven him out by elfin power,
And pillowed on plumes of his rainbow breast,
Had slumbered there till the charmed hour;
Some had lain in the scoop of the rock,
With glittering ising-stars inlaid;
And some had opened the four-o'clock,
And stole within its purple shade.
And now they throng the moonlight glade,
Above -- below -- on every side,
Their little minim forms arrayed
In the tricksy pomp of fairy pride!


They come not now to print the lea,
In freak and dance around the tree,
Or at the mushroom board to sup,
And drink the dew from the buttercup; --
A scene of sorrow waits them now,
For an Ouphe has broken his vestal vow;
He has loved an earthly maid,
And left for her his woodland shade;
He has lain upon her lip of dew,
And sunned him in her eye of blue,
Fann'd her cheek with his wing of air,
Played in the ringlets of her hair,
And, nestling on her snowy breast,
Forgot the lily-king's behest.
For this the shadowy tribes of air
To the elfin court must haste away:--
And now they stand expectant there,
To hear the doom of the Culprit Fay.


The throne was reared upon the grass
Of spice-wood and of sassafras;
On pillars of mottled tortoise-shell
Hung the burnished canopy --
And o'er it gorgeous curtains fell
Of the tulip's crimson drapery.
The monarch sat on his judgment-seat,
On his brow the crown imperial shone,
The prisoner Fay was at his feet,
And his peers were ranged around the throne.
He waved his sceptre in the air,
He looked around and calmly spoke;
His brow was grave and his eye severe,
But his voice in a softened accent broke:


"Fairy! Fairy! list and mark,
Thou hast broke thine elfin chain,
Thy flame-wood lamp is quenched and dark,
And thy wings are dyed with a deadly stain --
Thou hast sullied thine elfin purity
In the glance of a mortal maiden's eye,
Thou hast scorned our dread decree,
And thou shouldst pay the forfeit high,
But well I know her sinless mind
Is pure as the angel forms above,
Gentle and meek, and chaste and kind,
Such as a spirit well might love;
Fairy! had she spot or taint,
Bitter had been thy punishment.
Tied to the hornet's shardy wings;
Tossed on the pricks of nettles' stings;
Or seven long ages doomed to dwell
With the lazy worm in the walnut-shell;
Or every night to writhe and bleed
Beneath the tread of the centipede;
Or bound in a cobweb dungeon dim,
Your jailer a spider huge and grim,
Amid the carrion bodies to lie,
Of the worm, and the bug, and the murdered fly:
These it had been your lot to bear,
Had a stain been found on the earthly fair.
Now list, and mark our mild decree --
Fairy, this your doom must be:


"Thou shalt seek the beach of sand
Where the water bounds the elfin land,
Thou shalt watch the oozy brine
Till the sturgeon leaps in the bright moonshine,
Then dart the glistening arch below,
And catch a drop from his silver bow.
The water-sprites will wield their arms
And dash around, with roar and rave,
And vain are the woodland spirits' charms,
They are the imps that rule the wave.
Yet trust thee in thy single might,
If thy heart be pure and thy spirit right,
Thou shalt win the warlock fight.


"If the spray-bead gem be won,
The stain of thy wing is washed away,
But another errand must be done
Ere thy crime be lost for aye;
Thy flame-wood lamp is quenched and dark,
Thou must re-illume its spark.
Mount thy steed and spur him high
To the heaven's blue canopy;
And when thou seest a shooting star,
Follow it fast, and follow it far --
The last faint spark of its burning train
Shall light the elfin lamp again.
Thou hast heard our sentence, Fay;
Hence! to the water-side, away!"


The goblin marked his monarch well;
He spake not, but he bowed him low,
Then plucked a crimson colen-bell,
And turned him round in act to go.
The way is long, he cannot fly,
His soiled wing has lost its power,
And he winds adown the mountain high,
For many a sore and weary hour.
Through dreary beds of tangled fern,
Through groves of nightshade dark and dern,
Over the grass and through the brake,
Where toils the ant and sleeps the snake;
Now o'er the violet's azure flush
He skips along in lightsome mood;
And now he thrids the bramble bush,
Till its points are dyed in fairy blood.
He has leapt the bog, he has pierced the briar,
He has swum the brook, and waded the mire,
Till his spirits sank, and his limbs grew weak,
And the red waxed fainter in his cheek.
He had fallen to the ground outright,
For rugged and dim was his onward track,
But there came a spotted toad in sight,
And he laughed as he jumped upon her back;
He bridled her mouth with a silk-weed twist;
He lashed her sides with an osier thong;
And now through evening's dewy mist,
With leap and spring they bound along,
Till the mountain's magic verge is past,
And the beach of sand is reached at last.


Soft and pale is the moony beam,
Moveless still the glassy stream,
The wave is clear, the beach is bright
With snowy shells and sparkling stones;
The shore-surge comes in ripples light,
In murmurings faint and distant moans;
And ever afar in the silence deep
Is heard the splash of the sturgeon's leap,
And the bend of his graceful bow is seen --
A glittering arch of silver sheen,
Spanning the wave of burnished blue,
And dripping with gems of the river dew.


The elfin cast a glance around,
As he lighted down from his courser toad,
Then round his breast his wings he wound,
And close to the river's brink he strode;
He sprang on a rock, he breathed a prayer,
Above his head his arms he threw,
Then tossed a tiny curve in air,
And headlong plunged in the waters blue.


Up sprung the spirits of the waves,
From sea-silk beds in their coral caves,
With snail-plate armour snatched in haste,
They speed their way through the liquid waste;
Some are rapidly borne along
On the mailed shrimp or the prickly prong,
Some on the blood-red leeches glide,
Some on the stony star-fish ride,
Some on the back of the lancing squab,
Some on the sidelong soldier-crab;
And some on the jellied quarl, that flings
At once a thousand streamy stings --
They cut the wave with the living oar
And hurry on to the moonlight shore,
To guard their realms and chase away
The footsteps of the invading Fay.


Fearlessly he skims along,
His hope is high, and his limbs are strong,
He spreads his arms like the swallow's wing,
And throws his feet with a frog-like fling;
His locks of gold on the waters shine,
At his breast the tiny foam-beads rise,
His back gleams bright above the brine,
And the wake-line foam behind him lies.
But the water-sprites are gathering near
To check his course along the tide;
Their warriors come in swift career
And hem him round on every side;
On his thigh the leech has fixed his hold,
The quarl's long arms are round him roll'd,
The prickly prong has pierced his skin,
And the squab has thrown his javelin,
The gritty star has rubbed him raw,
And the crab has struck with his giant claw;
He howls with rage, and he shrieks with pain,
He strikes around, but his blows are vain;
Hopeless is the unequal fight,
Fairy! nought is left but flight.


He turned him round and fled amain
With hurry and dash to the beach again;
He twisted over from side to side,
And laid his cheek to the cleaving tide.
The strokes of his plunging arms are fleet,
And with all his might he flings his feet,
But the water-sprites are round him still,
To cross his path and work him ill.
They bade the wave before him rise;
They flung the sea-fire in his eyes,
And they stunned his ears with the scallop stroke,
With the porpoise heave and the drum-fish croak.
Oh! but a weary wight was he
When he reached the foot of the dog-wood tree;
- Gashed and wounded, and stiff and sore,
He laid him down on the sandy shore;
He blessed the force of the charmed line,
And he banned the water-goblin's spite,
For he saw around in the sweet moonshine,
Their little wee faces above the brine,
Giggling and laughing with all their might
At the piteous hap of the Fairy wight.


Soon he gathered the balsam dew
From the sorrel leaf and the henbane bud;
Over each wound the balm he drew,
And with cobweb lint he stanched the blood.
The mild west wind was soft and low,
It cooled the heat of his burning brow,
And he felt new life in his sinews shoot,
As he drank the juice of the cal'mus root;
And now he treads the fatal shore,
As fresh and vigorous as before.


Wrapped in musing stands the sprite:
'Tis the middle wane of night,
His task is hard, his way is far,
But he must do his errand right
Ere dawning mounts her beamy car,
And rolls her chariot wheels of light;
And vain are the spells of fairy-land,
He must work with a human hand.


He cast a saddened look around,
But he felt new joy his bosom swell,
When, glittering on the shadowed ground,
He saw a purple muscle shell;
Thither he ran, and he bent him low,
He heaved at the stern and he heaved at the bow,
And he pushed her over the yielding sand,
Till he came to the verge of the haunted land.
She was as lovely a pleasure boat
As ever fairy had paddled in,
For she glowed with purple paint without,
And shone with silvery pearl within;
A sculler's notch in the stern he made,
An oar he shaped of the bootle blade;
Then spung to his seat with a lightsome leap,
And launched afar on the calm blue deep.


The imps of the river yell and rave;
They had no power above the wave,
But they heaved the billow before the prow,
And they dashed the surge against her side,
And they struck her keel with jerk and blow,
Till the gunwale bent to the rocking tide.
She wimpled about in the pale moonbeam,
Like a feather that floats on a wind tossed-stream;
And momently athwart her track
The quarl upreared his island back,
And the fluttering scallop behind would float,
And patter the water about the boat;
But he bailed her out with his colen-bell,
And he kept her trimmed with a wary tread,
While on every side like lightening fell
The heavy strokes of his bootle-blade.


Onward still he held his way,
Till he came where the column of moonshine lay,
And saw beneath the surface dim
The brown-backed sturgeon slowly swim:
Around him were the goblin train --
But he sculled with all his might and main,
And followed wherever the sturgeon led,
Till he saw him upward point his head;
Then he dropped his paddle blade,
And held his colen goblet up
To catch the drop in its crimson cup.


With sweeping tail and quivering fin,
Through the wave the sturgeon flew,
And, like the heaven-shot javelin,
He sprung above the waters blue.
Instant as the star-fall light,
He plunged him in the deep again,
But left an arch of silver bright
The rainbow of the moony main.
It was a strange and lovely sight
To see the puny goblin there;
He seemed an angel form of light,
With azure wing and sunny hair,
Throned on a cloud of purple fair,
Circled with blue and edged with white,
And sitting at the fall of even
Beneath the bow of summer heaven.


A moment and its lustre fell,
But ere it met the billow blue,
He caught within his crimson bell,
A droplet of its sparkling dew --
Joy to thee, Fay! thy task is done,
Thy wings are pure, for the gem is won --
Cheerly ply thy dripping oar,
And haste away to the elfin shore.


He turns, and lo! on either side
The ripples on his path divide;
And the track o'er which his boat must pass
Is smooth as a sheet of polished glass.
Around, their limbs the sea-nymphs lave,
With snowy arms half swelling out,
While on the glossed and gleamy wave
Their sea-green ringlets loosely float;
They swim around with smile and song;
They press the bark with pearly hand,
And gently urge her course along,
Toward the beach of speckled sand;
And, as he lightly leapt to land,
They bade adieu with nod and bow,
Then gayly kissed each little hand,
And dropped in the crystal deep below.


A moment staied the fairy there;
He kissed the beach and breathed a prayer,
Then spread his wings of gilded blue,
And on to the elfin court he flew;
As ever ye saw a bubble rise,
And shine with a thousand changing dyes,
Till lessening far through ether driven,
It mingles with the hues of heaven:
As, at the glimpse of morning pale,
The lance-fly spreads his silken sail,
And gleams with blendings soft and bright,
Till lost in the shades of fading night;
So rose from earth the lovely Fay --
So vanished, far in heaven away!
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Up, Fairy! quit thy chick-weed bower,
The cricket has called the second hour,
Twice again, and the lark will rise
To kiss the streaking of the skies --
Up! thy charmed armour don,
Thou'lt need it ere the night be gone.


He put his acorn helmet on;
It was plumed of the silk of the thistle down:
The corslet plate that guarded his breast
Was once the wild bee's golden vest;
His cloak, of a thousand mingled dyes,
Was formed of the wings of butterflies;
His shield was the shell of a lady-bug queen,
Studs of gold on a ground of green;
And the quivering lance which he brandished bright,
Was the sting of a wasp he had slain in fight.
Swift he bestrode his fire-fly steed;
He bared his blade of the bent grass blue;
He drove his spurs of the cockle seed,
And away like a glance of thought he flew,
To skim the heavens and follow far
The fiery trail of the rocket-star.


The moth-fly, as he shot in air,
Crept under the leaf, and hid her there;
The katy-did forgot its lay,
The prowling gnat fled fast away,
The fell mosqueto checked his drone
And folded his wings till the Fay was gone,
And the wily beetle dropped his head,
And fell on the ground as if he were dead;
They crouched them close in the darksome shade,
They quaked all o'er with awe and fear,
For they had felt the blue-bent blade,
And writhed at the prick of the elfin spear;
Many a time on a summer's night,
When the sky was clear and the moon was bright,
They had been roused from the haunted ground,
By the yelp and bay of the fairy hound;
They had heard the tiny bugle horn,
They had heard of twang of the maize-silk string,
When the vine-twig bows were tightly drawn,
And the nettle-shaft through the air was borne,
Feathered with down the hum-bird's wing.
And now they deemed the courier ouphe,
Some hunter sprite of the elfin ground;
And they watched till they saw him mount the roof
That canopies the world around;
Then glad they left their covert lair,
And freaked about in the midnight air.


Up to the vaulted firmament
His path the fire-fly courser bent,
And at every gallop on the wind,
He flung a glittering spark behind;
He flies like a feather in the blast
Till the first light cloud in heaven is past,
But the shapes of air have begun their work,
And a drizzly mist is round him cast,
He cannot see through the mantle murk,
He shivers with cold, but he urges fast,
Through storm and darkness, sleet and shade,
He lashes his steed and spurs amain,
For shadowy hands have twitched the rein,
And flame-shot tongues around him played,
And near him many a fiendish eye
Glared with a fell malignity,
And yells of rage, and shrieks of fear,
Came screaming on his startled ear.


His wings are wet around his breast,
The plume hangs dripping from his crest,
His eyes are blur'd with the lightning's glare,
And his ears are stunned with the thunder's blare,
But he gave a shout, and his blade he drew,
He thrust before and he struck behind,
Till he pierced their cloudy bodies through,
And gashed their shadowy limbs of wind;
Howling the misty spectres flew,
They rend the air with frightful cries,
For he has gained the welkin blue,
And the land of clouds beneath him lies.


Up to the cope careering swift
In breathless motion fast,
Fleet as the swallow cuts the drift,
Or the sea-roc rides the blast,
The sapphire sheet of eve is shot,
The sphered moon is past,
The earth but seems a tiny blot
On a sheet of azure cast.
O! it was sweet in the clear moonlight,
To tread the starry plain of even,
To meet the thousand eyes of night,
And feel the cooling breath of heaven!
But the Elfin made no stop or stay
Till he came to the bank of the milky-way,
Then he checked his courser's foot,
And watched for the glimpse of the planet-shoot.


Sudden along the snowy tide
That swelled to meet their footstep's fall,
The sylphs of heaven were seen to glide,
Attired in sunset's crimson pall;
Around the Fay they weave the dance,
They skip before him on the plain,
And one has taken his wasp-sting lance,
And one upholds his bridle rein;
With warblings wild they lead him on
To where through clouds of amber seen,
Studded with stars, resplendent shone
The palace of the sylphid queen.
Its spiral columns gleaming bright
Were streamers of the northern light;
Its curtain's light and lovely flush
Was of the morning's rosy blush,
And the ceiling fair that rose aboon
The white and feathery fleece of noon.


But oh! how fair the shape that lay
Beneath a rainbow bending bright,
She seemed to the entranced Fay
The loveliest of the forms of light;
Her mantle was the purple rolled
At twilight in the west afar;
'Twas tied with threads of dawning gold,
And buttoned with a sparkling star.
Her face was like the lily roon
That veils the vestal planet's hue;
Her eyes, two beamlets from the moon,
Set floating in the welkin blue.
Her hair is like the sunny beam,
And the diamond gems which round it gleam
Are the pure drops of dewy even
That ne'er have left their native heaven.


She raised her eyes to the wondering sprite,
And they leapt with smiles, for well I ween
Never before in the bowers of light
Had the form of an earthly Fay been seen.
Long she looked in his tiny face;
Long with his butterfly cloak she played;
She smoothed his wings of azure lace,
And handled the tassel of his blade;
And as he told in accents low
The story of his love and woe,
She felt new pains in her bosom rise,
And the tear-drop started in her eyes.
And 'O sweet spirit of earth,' she cried,
'Return no more to your woodland height,
But ever here with me abide
In the land of everlasting light!
Within the fleecy drift we'll lie,
We'll hang upon the rainbow's rim;
And all the jewels of the sky
Around thy brow shall brightly beam!
And thou shalt bathe thee in the stream
That rolls its whitening foam aboon,
And ride upon the lightning's gleam,
And dance upon the orbed moon!
We'll sit within the Pleiad ring,
We'll rest on Orion's starry belt,
And I will bid my sylphs to sing
The song that makes the dew-mist melt;
Their harps are of the umber shade,
That hides the blush of waking day,
And every gleamy string is made
Of silvery moonshine's lengthened ray;
And thou shalt pillow on my breast,
While heavenly breathings float around,
And, with the sylphs of ether blest,
Forget the joys of fairy ground.'


She was lovely and fair to see
And the elfin's heart beat fitfully;
But lovelier far, and still more fair,
The earthly form imprinted there;
Nought he saw in the heavens above
Was half so dear as his mortal love,
For he thought upon her looks so meek,
And he thought of the light flush on her cheek;
Never again might he bask and lie
On that sweet cheek and moonlight eye,
But in his dreams her form to see,
To clasp her in his reverie,
To think upon his virgin bride,
Was worth all heaven and earth beside.


'Lady,' he cried, 'I have sworn to-night,
On the word of a fairy knight,
To do my sentence-task aright;
My honour scarce is free from stain,
I may not soil its snows again;
Betide me weal, betide me woe,
Its mandate must be answered now.'
Her bosom heaved with many a sigh,
The tear was in her drooping eye;
But she led him to the palace gate,
And called the sylphs who hovered there,
And bade them fly and bring him straight
Of clouds condensed a sable car.
With charm and spell she blessed it there,
From all the fiends of upper air;
Then round him cast the shadowy shroud,
And tied his steed behind the cloud;
And pressed his hand as she bade him fly
Far to the verge of the northern sky,
For by its wane and wavering light
There was a star would fall to-night.


Borne after on the wings of the blast,
Northward away, he speeds him fast,
And his courser follows the cloudy wain
Till the hoof-strokes fall like pattering rain.
The clouds roll backward as he flies,
Each flickering star behind him lies,
And he has reached the northern plain,
And backed his fire-fly steed again,
Ready to follow in its flight
The streaming of the rocket-light.


The star is yet in the vault of heaven,
But its rocks in the summer gale;
And now 'tis fitful and uneven,
And now 'tis deadly pale;
And now 'tis wrapp'd in sulphur smoke,
And quenched is its rayless beam,
And now with a rattling thunder-stroke
It bursts in flash and flame.
As swift as the glance of the arrowy lance
That the storm-spirit flings from high,
The star-shot flew o'er the welkin blue,
As it fell from the sheeted sky.
As swift as the wind in its trail behind
The elfin gallops along,
The fiends of the clouds are bellowing loud,
But the sylphid charm is strong;
He gallops unhurt in the shower of fire,
While the cloud-fiends fly from the blaze;
He watches each flake till its sparks expire,
And rides in the light of its rays.
But he drove his steed to the lightning's speed,
And caught a glimmering spark;
Then wheeled around to the fairy ground,
And sped through the midnight dark.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Ouphe and goblin! imp and sprite!
Elf of eve! and starry Fay!
Ye that love the moon's soft light,
Hither -- hither wend your way;
Twine ye in the jocund ring,
Sing and trip it merrily,
Hand to hand, and wing to wing,
Round the wild witch-hazel tree.
Hail the wanderer again,
With dance and song, and lute and lyre,
Pure his wing and strong his chain,
And doubly bright his fairy fire.
Twine ye in an airy round,
Brush the dew and print the lea;
Skip and gambol, hop and bound,
Round the wild witch-hazel tree.
The beetle guards our holy ground,
He flies about the haunted place,
And if mortal there be found,
He hums in his ears and flaps his face;
The leaf-harp sounds our roundelay,
The owlet's eyes our lanterns be;
Thus we sing, and dance and play,
Round the wild witch-hazel tree.
But hark! from tower on tree-top high,
The sentry elf his call has made,
A streak is in the eastern sky,
Shapes of moonlight! flit and fade!
The hill-tops gleam in morning's spring,
The sky-lark shakes his dappled wing,
The day-glimpse glimmers on the lawn,
The cock has crowed, the Fays are gone.



No. 1 Youth and Life (1897)

No. 2 The Four Seasons (1901)

No. 3 (1910)

No. 4 (1897)

No. 5 Connecticut (1935)


Safié - one act (1909)

Azora, Daughter of Montezuma (1915)

Bianca (1916)

Cleopatra's Night (1918)

Night in Old Paris - a radio opera (1925)

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