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The Birthright -- Eiluned Lewis

Guest poem sent in by Dave Fortin :
(Poem #1297) The Birthright
 We who were born
 In country places,
 Far from cities
 And shifting faces,
 We have a birthright
 No man can sell,
 And a secret joy
 No man can tell.

 For we are kindred
 To lordly things,
 The wild duck's flight
 And the white owl's wings;
 To pike and salmon,
 To bull and horse,
 The curlew's cry
 And the smell of gorse.

 Pride of trees,
 Swiftness of streams,
 Magic of frost
 Have shaped our dreams:
 No baser vision
 Their spirit fills
 Who walk by right
 On the naked hills.
-- Eiluned Lewis
I grew up in rural Missouri and this evokes happy memories, especially
now that I am stuck in a sprawling subruban environment. I like the
usage of the short lines and traditional Welsh imagery to bring forth
the beauty and joys of rural life.

As for the poetess, Eiluned Lewis (1900-1979) was born at Newtown,
Montgomeryshire. She became a journalist and was assistant editor of The
Sunday Times, 1931-36. Her novel _Dew on the Grass_ (1934) won the Gold
Medal of the Book Guild.

Dave Fortin

61 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Philip Wall said...

I am searching for the name of the composer of the music set to the words
by Eiluned Lewis, which begin "We who were born in country places", and my
internet has come up with the layout for this e-mail.

If you can let me have any information about the song, and, if
possible, who was the publisher of it, I shall be very grateful.

Yours sincerely, Philip Wall.

Rosalie Shipp said...

I just borrowed this poem to use on a birthday card.

It has such nice thoughts. The card was made for someone who grew up in
rural Mississippi.

Good to see it out on the web. I was searching for it's publish date.

Kathy Harrigan said...

Philip Wall,
I find you on a google search and wonder if you are Philip Wall, son of Julia and Russel Hughes? I am Kathy Harrigan, daughter of Norma Locander, Julia's neice and hope to make contact with you, if, indeed, you are this man.
Kathy Harrigan

IT Department said...

This was our school song at Brockhill County Secondary, Saltwood, Kent, UK.
In the 60's when I was there the grounds were huge and included a lake. Back
then it was farmland and agriculture played a part in our education - I
believe it's now a park given over to public access and farming is no longer
on the curriculum. I suppose that's progress. I'd certainly forgotten most
of the lyrics - thanks for the nostalgia trip!

Regards,

Geoff Lewis
Head of Information Technology
tel:

Information Technology Dept. Mildmay Mission Hospital said...

Hmmm... didn't realise the author has my surname!!
This was the school song of Brockhill County Secondary School, Saltwood,
Hythe, Kent, UK
I attended 1966 - 69. Headmaster at the time was Jack Setterfield, who I
assume choose this as the school song (is Jack's name spelt correctly??).
Anyone got the music score?
The school grounds are now parkland and open to the public and, like this
poem, were beautiful but I haven't been back there in years.

Regards,

Geoff Lewis

Anonymous said...

Hi Philip,

The music was written by Margaret Sutherland

Country places [music] : we who were born in Country Places : two-part song / words by Eiluned Lewis ; music by Margaret Sutherland

http://catalogue.nla.gov.au/Record/2250661

Anonymous said...

Nicely sung by the Australian Girls Choir acc by piano on "Over The Top With Macca" LP in 1991. Ian Macnamara has hosted the Australian ABC Sunday morning radio show for many years and produces the odd record of favourite Australian Music. A universal poem.

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Anonymous said...

My mother told me it was composed by a person in her orchestra, I had it played at her funeral and forgot to collect the sheet music after the service. I still sing it

Anonymous said...

The evil that men do live with them and after them.

Anonymous said...

We learned this in Girl Scout camp. I am chuffed to bits to have all the words and the poet's name!

Anonymous said...

this was our school song at collingham woodhill county secondary school notts in the 50s and 60s. i still sing it now and again

Anonymous said...

Has anyone anywhere got the sheet music? I only want it for nostalgic reasons andon't want to pay huge copyright and copying fees to the Australian library....

Anonymous said...

This was a song taught at my school ( Shaftesbury High School in Dorset UK) way back in 1942.....by the then Music Mistress Miss Drake. It was very popular. The Head Mistress was a Mrs Radd who had been a concert pianist. The school was a mixture of local girls and boarders.

localcolor said...

does anyone have a lead to a performance online or sheetmusic available for this poem. Or anyone willing to call me and sing it!:)

localcolor said...

does anyone have a lead to a performance online or sheetmusic available for this poem. Or anyone willing to call me and sing it!:)

Anonymous said...

I learned this in the 1950's at YWCA Camp Timbertall in Mendocino, California. We sang it as a 4 part round and I am currently teaching it to my family singing groups in the SF East Bay in honor of Earth Day.
Localcolor: I'd be happy to sing it for you if you live in the SF Bay Area.

Anonymous said...

'Magic of frost have shaped our dreams' how wonderful those words are, I went to North End school in Eastleigh. Our school choir sang this at the music festivals held in Bournemouth and Southampton way back in the sixties. So many happy memories from those days. I've been battling cancer for a very long time so I frequently need my soul lifting 'The Birthright' does that everytime I sing it.

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