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by Benjamin Britten From Who are these children? (1969) Op. 84

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English source: William Soutar

The tree stood flowering in a dream:
Beside the tree a dark shape bowed:
As lightning glittered the axe-gleam
Across the wound in the broken wood.

The tree cried out with human cries:
From its deepening hurt the blood ran:
The branches flowered with children’s eyes
And the dark murderer was a man.

There came a fear which sighed aloud;
And with its fear the dream-world woke:
Yet in the day the tree still stood
Bleeding beneath the axe-man’s stroke.


Benjamin Britten

Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten (22 November 1913 – 4 December 1976) was an English composer, conductor and pianist. He was a central figure of 20th-century British classical music, with a range of works including opera, other vocal music,…


William Soutar

William Soutar was a Scottish poet from Perthshire.

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