Renascence - Renascence Lyrics

2019 Off-Broadway
Renascence the Musical - Renascence Lyrics

(by Edna St. Vincent Millay)

I could see from where I stood   
Was three long mountains and a wood;   
I turned and looked the other way,   
And saw three islands in a bay.   
So with my eyes I traced the line
Of the horizon, thin and fine,   
Straight around till I was come   
Back to where I’d started from;   
And all I saw from where I stood   
Was three long mountains and a wood.
Over these things I could not see:   
These were the things that bounded me;   
And I could touch them with my hand,   
Almost, I thought, from where I stand.   
And all at once things seemed so small   
My breath came short, and scarce at all.   
But, sure, the sky is big, I said;   
Miles and miles above my head;   
So here upon my back I’ll lie   
And look my fill into the sky.
And so I looked, and, after all,   
The sky was not so very tall.   
The sky, I said, must somewhere stop,   
And—sure enough!—I see the top!   
The sky, I thought, is not so grand;
I ’most could touch it with my hand!   
And reaching up my hand to try,   
I screamed to feel it touch the sky.   
I screamed, and—lo!—Infinity   
Came down and settled over me;
Forced back my scream into my chest,   
Bent back my arm upon my breast,   
And, pressing of the Undefined   
The definition on my mind,   
Held up before my eyes a glass
Through which my shrinking sight did pass   
Until it seemed I must behold   
Immensity made manifold;   
Whispered to me a word whose sound   
Deafened the air for worlds around,
And brought unmuffled to my ears   
The gossiping of friendly spheres,   
The creaking of the tented sky,   
The ticking of Eternity.   
I saw and heard and knew at last
The How and Why of all things, past,   
And present, and forevermore.   
The Universe, cleft to the core,   
Lay open to my probing sense   
That, sick’ning, I would fain pluck thence
But could not,—nay! But needs must suck   
At the great wound, and could not pluck   
My lips away till I had drawn   
All venom out.—Ah, fearful pawn!   
For my omniscience paid I toll
In infinite remorse of soul.   
All sin was of my sinning, all   
Atoning mine, and mine the gall   
Of all regret. Mine was the weight   
Of every brooded wrong, the hate
That stood behind each envious thrust,   
Mine every greed, mine every lust.   
And all the while for every grief,   
Each suffering, I craved relief   
With individual desire,—
Craved all in vain! And felt fierce fire   
About a thousand people crawl;   
Perished with each,—then mourned for all!   
A man was starving in Capri;   
He moved his eyes and looked at me;
I felt his gaze, I heard his moan,   
And knew his hunger as my own.   
I saw at sea a great fog bank   
Between two ships that struck and sank;   
A thousand screams the heavens smote;
And every scream tore through my throat.   
No hurt I did not feel, no death   
That was not mine; mine each last breath   
That, crying, met an answering cry   
From the compassion that was I.
All suffering mine, and mine its rod;   
Mine, pity like the pity of God.   
Ah, awful weight! Infinity   
Pressed down upon the finite Me!   
My anguished spirit, like a bird,
Beating against my lips I heard;   
Yet lay the weight so close about   
There was no room for it without.   
And so beneath the weight lay I   
And suffered death, but could not die.

Long had I lain thus, craving death,   
When quietly the earth beneath   
Gave way, and inch by inch, so great   
At last had grown the crushing weight,   
Into the earth I sank till I
Full six feet under ground did lie,   
And sank no more,—there is no weight   
Can follow here, however great.   
From off my breast I felt it roll,   
And as it went my tortured soul
Burst forth and fled in such a gust   
That all about me swirled the dust.   

Deep in the earth I rested now;   
Cool is its hand upon the brow   
And soft its breast beneath the head
Of one who is so gladly dead.   
And all at once, and over all   
The pitying rain began to fall;   
I lay and heard each pattering hoof   
Upon my lowly, thatchèd roof,
And seemed to love the sound far more   
Than ever I had done before.   
For rain it hath a friendly sound   
To one who’s six feet under ground;   
And scarce the friendly voice or face:
A grave is such a quiet place.   

The rain, I said, is kind to come   
And speak to me in my new home.   
I would I were alive again   
To kiss the fingers of the rain,
To drink into my eyes the shine   
Of every slanting silver line,   
To catch the freshened, fragrant breeze   
From drenched and dripping apple-trees.   
For soon the shower will be done,
And then the broad face of the sun   
Will laugh above the rain-soaked earth   
Until the world with answering mirth   
Shakes joyously, and each round drop   
Rolls, twinkling, from its grass-blade top.
How can I bear it; buried here,   
While overhead the sky grows clear   
And blue again after the storm?   
O, multi-colored, multiform,   
Beloved beauty over me,
That I shall never, never see   
Again! Spring-silver, autumn-gold,   
That I shall never more behold!   
Sleeping your myriad magics through,   
Close-sepulchred away from you!
O God, I cried, give me new birth,   
And put me back upon the earth!   
Upset each cloud’s gigantic gourd   
And let the heavy rain, down-poured   
In one big torrent, set me free,
Washing my grave away from me!   

I ceased; and through the breathless hush   
That answered me, the far-off rush   
Of herald wings came whispering   
Like music down the vibrant string
Of my ascending prayer, and—crash!   
Before the wild wind’s whistling lash   
The startled storm-clouds reared on high   
And plunged in terror down the sky,   
And the big rain in one black wave
Fell from the sky and struck my grave.   
I know not how such things can be;   
I only know there came to me   
A fragrance such as never clings   
To aught save happy living things;
A sound as of some joyous elf   
Singing sweet songs to please himself,   
And, through and over everything,   
A sense of glad awakening.   
The grass, a-tiptoe at my ear,
Whispering to me I could hear;   
I felt the rain’s cool finger-tips   
Brushed tenderly across my lips,   
Laid gently on my sealèd sight,   
And all at once the heavy night
Fell from my eyes and I could see,—   
A drenched and dripping apple-tree,   
A last long line of silver rain,   
A sky grown clear and blue again.   
And as I looked a quickening gust
Of wind blew up to me and thrust   
Into my face a miracle   
Of orchard-breath, and with the smell,—   
I know not how such things can be!—   
I breathed my soul back into me.
Ah! Up then from the ground sprang I   
And hailed the earth with such a cry   
As is not heard save from a man   
Who has been dead, and lives again.   
About the trees my arms I wound;
Like one gone mad I hugged the ground;   
I raised my quivering arms on high;   
I laughed and laughed into the sky,   
Till at my throat a strangling sob   
Caught fiercely, and a great heart-throb
Sent instant tears into my eyes;   
O God, I cried, no dark disguise   
Can e’er hereafter hide from me   
Thy radiant identity!   
Thou canst not move across the grass
But my quick eyes will see Thee pass,   
Nor speak, however silently,   
But my hushed voice will answer Thee.   
I know the path that tells Thy way   
Through the cool eve of every day;
God, I can push the grass apart   
And lay my finger on Thy heart!   

The world stands out on either side   
No wider than the heart is wide;   
Above the world is stretched the sky,—
No higher than the soul is high.   
The heart can push the sea and land   
Farther away on either hand;   
The soul can split the sky in two,   
And let the face of God shine through.
But East and West will pinch the heart   
That can not keep them pushed apart;   
And he whose soul is flat—the sky   
Will cave in on him by and by.

Other Songs: Renascence the Musical Songs Lyrics
Renascence the musical song Lyrics

Renascence the Musical Lyrics

The Beanstalk
Afternoon on a Hill
What Lips My Lips Have Kissed
I Shall Forget You Presently, My Dear
The Ballad of the Harp Weaver
First Fig / The Penitent
When the Year Grows Old
Time Does Not Bring Relief