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The morning after a sad Zoom session with four of UD‘s old friends, she found this old English folk song in one of her piano music books and really took to it, singing and playing away, and finding its lyrics profound.

Come, let’s be merry, let’s be airy,

‘Tis a folly to be sad.

Come, let’s be merry, let’s be airy,

‘Tis a folly to be sad.

For, since the world’s gone mad, mad, mad,

Why alone should we be wise,

And like dull fools, and like dull fools,

Like dull fools gaze on other men’s joys?

Let not tomorrow bring you sorrow,

While the stream of life flows on,

Let not the morrow bring you sorrow,

While the stream of life flows on;

But when the cheerful day is gone

Still endeavour that the next

Shall be as gay, shall be as gay,

Be as gay and as little perplexed.

If you have leisure, follow pleasure,

Let not an hour of joy pass by.

If you have leisure, follow pleasure,

Let not an hour of joy pass by.

For as the fleeting moments fly,

Time it will your youth decay;

Then try to live, then try to live

Then try to live and enjoy while you may.

**************************

Lotte Lehmann tells you how to sing it. Frank O’Hara elaborates on it:

Two communities outside Birmingham, Alabama, are
still searching for their dead.” —News Telecast

And tomorrow morning at 8 o’clock in Springfield, Massachusetts,
my oldest aunt will be buried from a convent.
Spring is here and I’m staying here, I’m not going.
Do birds fly? I am thinking my own thoughts, who else’s?

When I die, don’t come, I wouldn’t want a leaf
to turn away from the sun— it loves it there.
There’s nothing so spiritual about being happy
but you can’t miss a day of it, because it doesn’t last.

So this is the devil’s desire? Well I was born to dance.
It’s a sacred duty, like being in love with an ape,
and eventually I’ll reach some great conclusion, like assumption,
when at last I meet exhaustion in these flowers, go straight up.

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One Response to “Lyrics for Our Time”

  1. University Diaries » ‘Džeimss Džoiss’ Celebrated in Latvia and Around the World. Says:

    […] I have said that the mad, sad world should never settle us into despondency; but, you know, easy to say that when you’ve been blessed by – those same gods? – with a silly, high-spirited disposition. Art and nature are, however, there for all of us, sorrowful and euphoric. […]

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