The Dragon Sings

Poet/Lyricist: 

Siegfried Sassoon
Siegfried Sassoon was an English poet, writer and soldier. Decorated for bravery on the Western Front, he became one of the leading poets of the First World War. The hymn "O Valiant Hearts" (quoted in the middle section) remembers the fallen of World War I. See program notes for excerpts of the verses.

Commissioned by: 

The Draco Voces Men's Choir, Dr. Daniel A. Mahraun, conductor, on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of Minnesota State University Moorhead

Premiere: 

Minnesota State University Moorhead
Item Voicing Media Price
LK023-02 TTBB with piano and percussion
$2.50
LKD023-02
digital download
TTBB with piano and percussion $2.00

Text:

The Dragon and the Undying (1918)

All night the flares go up; the Dragon sings
And beats upon the dark with furious wings;
And, stung to rage by his own darting fires,
Reaches with grappling coils from town to town;
He lusts to break the loveliness of spires,
And hurls their martyred music toppling down.

Yet, though the slain are homeless as the breeze,
Vocal are they, like storm-bewildered seas.
Their faces are the fair, unshrouded night,
And planets are their eyes, their ageless dreams.
Tenderly stooping earthward from their height,
They wander in the dusk with chanting streams,
And they are dawn-lit trees, with arms up-flung,
To hail the burning heavens they left unsung.

Program Notes: 

"O Valiant Hearts" O valiant hearts who to your glory came Through dust of conflict and through battle flame; Tranquil you lie, your knightly virtue proved, Your memory hallowed in the land you loved. Proudly you gathered, rank on rank, to war As who had heard God’s message from afar; All you had hoped for, all you had, you gave, To save mankind—yourselves you scorned to save. O risen Lord, O Shepherd of our dead, Whose cross has bought them and Whose staff has led, In glorious hope their proud and sorrowing land Commits her children to Thy gracious hand.