GROW OLD WITH ME (Long Love’s Day)

For mixed choir and woodwind quintet
Duration: 31:30  |  1991
Commissioned by the Vancouver Cantata Singers
Première Performance November 3, 1991
Vancouver Cantata Singers, The Winds of Vancouver
Hotel Vancouver Ballroom


The Sleeping Beauty: Wilfred Owen
Sojourning through a southern realm in youth,
I came upon a house by happy chance
Where bode a marvellous Beauty. There, romance
Flew faerily until I lit on truth –
For lo! the fair Child slumbered. Though, forsooth,
She lay not blanketed in drowsy trance,
But leapt alert of limb and keen of glance,
From sun to shower; from gaity to ruth;
Yet breathed her loveliness asleep in her:
For, when I kissed, her eyelids knew no stir.
So back I drew tiptoe from that Princess,
Because it was too soon, and not my part,
To start voluptuous pulses in her heart,
And kiss her to the world of Consciousness.


To his Coy Mistress: Andrew Marvell
Had we but world enough, and time,
This coyness, Lady, were no crime.
We would sit down, and think which way
To walk, and pass our long loves day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges side
Should’st rubies find: I by the tide
of Humber would complain…
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow.
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze.
Two hundred to adore each breast: But thirty thousand to adore the rest.
An age at least to every part,
And the last age to show your heart.
For, Lady, you deserve this state;
Nor would I love you at lower rate.

But at my back I always hear
Times winged chariot hurrying near:
 And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found;
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song: then worms shall try
That long preserv’d virginity: And your quaint honour turn to dust;
And into ashes all my lust.
The grave’s a fine and private place
But none I think do there embrace.

Now therefore, while the youthful hew
Sits on thy skin like morning dew
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may;
And now, like am’rous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour,
Than languish in his slow-chapp’d pow’r.
Let us roll all our strength, and all
Our sweetness, up into one ball: And tear our pleasures with rough strife,
Through the iron gates of life.
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.


My Shy Hand: Wilfrid Owen
My shy hand shades a hermitage apart, –
O large enough for thee, and thy brief hours.
Life there is sweeter held than in God’s heart,
stiller than in the heavens of hollow flowers.

The wine is gladder there than in gold bowls.
And Time shall not drain thence, nor trouble spill.
Sources between my fingers feed all souls,
Where thou mayest cool thy lips, and draw thy fill.

Five cushions hath my hand, for reveries;
And one deep pillow for thy brow’s fatigues
Languour of June all winterlong, and ease
For ever from the vain untravelled leagues.

Thither your years may gather in from storm,
And Love, that sleepeth there, will keep thee warm.


To Lizbie Browne: Thomas Hardy
Dear Lizbie Browne,
Where are you now?
In sun in rain? – Or is your brow
Past joy, past pain,
Dear Lizbie Browne?

Sweet Lizbie,
How you could smile,
How you could sing! – How archly wile
In glance-giving
Sweet Lizbie Browne!

And Lizbie Browne,
Who else had hair
Bay-red as yours,
Or flesh so fair
Bred out of doors,
Sweet Lizbie Browne?

When, Lizbie Browne,
You had just begun
To be endeared
By stealth to one,
You disappeared
My Lizbie Browne!

Ay, Lizbie Browne
So swift your life
And mine so slow,
You were a wife
Ere I could show
Love, Lizbie Browne.

Still, Lizbie Browne,
You won, they said,
The best of men
When you were wed…
Where went you then?
O Lizbie Browne?
Dear Lizbie Browne,
I should have thought,
‘ Girls ripen fast,’
And coaxed and caught
You ere you passed,
Dear Lizbie Browne!

But, Lizbie Browne
I let you slip;
Shaped not a sign;
Touched never your lip
With lip of mine,
Lost Lizbie Browne!


Waltz: Edith Sitwell
Daisy and Lily,
Walk by the shore of the wan grassy sea,
Talking once more ’neath a swan-bosomed tree.
Rose castles,
Those bustles
Where swells
Each foam-bell of ermine,
They roam and determine
What fashions have been and what fashions will be –
What tartan leaves born,
What crinolines worn.
By Queen Thetis,
Of tarlatine blue,
Like the thin plaided leaves that the castle crags grew;
Or velours d’Afrande: On the water-gods’ land
Her hair seemed gold trees on the honey-cell sand
When the thickest gold spangles, on deep water seen,
Were like twanging guitar and like cold mandoline,
And the nymphs of great caves,
With hair like gold waves,
Of Venus, wore tarlatine,
Louise and Charlottine
(Boreas’ daughters)
And the nymphs of deep waters,
The nymph Taglioni, Grisi the ondine,
Wear plaided Victoria and thin Clementine
Like the crinolined waterfalls;
Wood-nymphs wear bonnets, shawls,

Elegant parasols
Floating are seen.
The Amazons wear balzarine of jonquille
Beside the blond lace of a deep-falling rill;
Through glades like a nun
They run from and shun
The enormous and gold-rayed rustling sun;
And the nymphs of the fountains
Descend from the mountains
Like elegant willows
On their deep barouche pillows,
The stars in their apiaries,
Sylphs in their aviaries,
Seeing them, spangle these, and the sylphs
From their aviaries fanned
With each long fluid hand
The manteaux espanols,
Mimic the waterfalls
Over the long and the light summer land.

So Daisy and Lily,
Walk by the shore of the wan grassy sea,
Talking once more ‘neath a swan-bosomed tree.
Rose castles,
Those bustles!
Ladies, how vain, – hollow, –
Gone is the sweet swallow, –
Gone, Philomel!


When You are Old: W.B. Yeats
When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.


From Rabbi Ben Ezra: Robert Browning
Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made.
Our times are in His hand
Who saith “A whole I planned,
Youth shows by half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!”