Four Valentines: A Lover's Journey

Libby Larsen (b. 1950)


i. In The Still Garden
O bella bionda,
Sei come l’ onda!

Of a cool sweet dew and radiance mild
The moon a web of silence weaves
In the still garden where a child
Gathers the simple salad leaves.

A moondew stars her hanging hair
And moonlight kisses her brow
And, gathering, she sings an air:
Fair as the wave is, fair art thou!

Be mine, I pray, a waxen ear
To shield me from her childish croon
And mine a shielded heart for her
Who gathers simples of the moon.
                 Simples,1915, James Joyce (1882-1941)


ii. St. Valentine’s Day

Good morning, it is St. Valentine’s Day,
So early before sunshine.
I, young maid at the window,
Will be your Valentine.

The young man put trousers on,
Opened the chamber door,
Let in the maid who as a maid
Departed nevermore.

By St. Nicholas and Charity,
A shameless breed!
A young man does it when he can,
For truth, that is not right.
She said: Before you trifled with me,
You promised me to wed.
I’d not by sunlight break my word
If you had not come in.
                   Hamlet Act V, Scene V - William Shakespeare (1564-1616)


iii. Will you, nill You

Will you, nill you, I will marry you.
        The Taming of the Shrew, Act II, Scene I - William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

iv. Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?

Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed:
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed.
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st;

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long loves this, and this gives life to thee.
               William Shakespeare (1564-1616)



This piece was performed on Octarium’s Modern Masters, November 2009.

This piece is also featured on Octarium's 2009 release, Modern Masters.