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And Thou Shalt Love

Music: Chaconne from the Suite in E Flat.
By Gustav Holst. Sequenced by George Pollen.

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i

All I ever looked for was happiness:
Not for myself only; also for mine.
Dumbstruck, I learned the futility of being good.

Tell me, how does one get pleasure out of life?
How, when so much engenders pain?
Only maudlin moments of forgetfulness
Unloose the tears that turn the blood to wine.

Simple Simon went into a wood,
Hoping to return his damaged wife.
A drunken druid drove him forth again,
Laughing like a god at his distress:
Take her, fool! For you she'll do just fine!

Longing comes easy in darkness. I should
Open my eyes, turn on the light. A knife,
Viciously twisting, argues for pain.
Eagerly I press on, in fear of nothingness.

ii

There! Do you see the light
High on that mountain?
Even here there is

Light! Do you see it?
Only darkness. You see
Reflections of dreams. Here
Darkness covers even

Tomorrow. Who can
Hope any longer for light?
Yet there it is! We must

Go towards it, or else--
Or be of those who love
Darkness, luminous darkness . . .

iii

Wealth isolates, hardship unites.
In darkness people hold hands.
Those only who cry out are comforted.
However we live, death is the same.

And so we come to know Thy name:
Lounging easy in our rights,
Loving only as need demands,

The grace most sought uncelebrated,
Happiness inextricable from shame.
Yet we, too, have known lidless nights.

Hope is not for one who understands.
Even blameless, we are rejected.
All are lost who win the game.
Reason renders only lights.
Those who fear know Thy commands.

Copyright by Nicholas Gordon



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