The Beguilers

The Beguilers are a new F-IRE Collective band that bring together tender, mellifluous singing and sensitively crafted song-writing. These elements are woven into the narratives of poems by Blake, Shakespeare, Joyce, Clare and many others, delicately bringing their images and metaphors to life with finely wrought harmonies and luscious melodies. Composed by Fred Thomas, these songs invite your imagination to be at once moved, released and beguiled.

Ellie Rose – voice
Dave Shulman – clarinets
Liam Byrne – viola da gamba
Fred Thomas – guitar, piano, composition

 

The Beguilers’ debut double-album will be out soon.

 

“The Beguilers create a mellifluous, graceful sound that entirely justifies their band name. Rose has a touching, pure, sweet voice, well suited to the affecting melodies Thomas writes, and Shulman provides just the right amount of textural and tonal variety.The Beguilers plough a singularly rich furrow and clearly entranced an attentive Vortex audience.” – Chris Parker (London Jazz)

“The Beguilers took William Blake’s poetry and wove a rich tapestry of intricate acoustic guitar and clarinet, over which Ellie Rose’s exquisite vocals were allowed to shine. Blake’s work was given new life with this simple but textured approach, which made these classic works come to life” – The Liminal

“The Beguilers start with songs based on some of the greatest poetry in the English language, but it’s the combination of Ellie Rose’s haunting voice with Fred Thomas’s beautiful compositions that give this band its unique and unclassifiable quality – a treat equally for lovers of poetry, jazz, classical music and folksong” – Peter Slavid (UK Jazz Radio)

“The Beguilers’ version of Blake’s ‘London’ is the finest setting of the poem that I know – the human ear adorned with manacles more beautiful than any earring” – Tim Heath, Chair of the Blake Society

 

POEMS:

A Dream (William Blake)

Once a dream did weave a shade
O’er my angel-guarded bed,
That an emmet lost its way
Where on grass methought I lay.

Troubled, wildered, and forlorn,
Dark, benighted, travel-worn,
Over many a tangled spray,
All heart-broke, I heard her say:

‘Oh my children! do they cry,
Do they hear their father sigh?
look abroad to see,
Now return and weep for me.’

Pitying, I dropped a tear:
But I saw a glow-worm near,
Who replied, ‘What wailing wight
Calls the watchman of the night?

‘I am set to light the ground,
While the beetle goes his round:
Follow now the beetle’s hum;
Little wanderer, hie thee home!’

 

The Little Boy Lost (William Blake)

‘Father, father, where are you going?
Oh do not walk so fast!
Speak, father, speak to you little boy,
Or else I shall be lost.’

The night was dark, no father was there,
The child was wet with dew;
The mire was deep, and the child did weep,
And away the vapour flew.

 

How Sweet I Roam’d (William Blake)

How sweet I roam’d from field to field,
And tasted all the summer’s pride
‘Til the prince of love beheld
Who in the sunny beams did glide!

He shew’d me lilies for my hair
And blushing roses for my brow;
He led me through his garden fair,
Where all his golden pleasures grow.

With sweet May dews my wings were wet,
And Phoebus fir’d my vocal rage
He caught me in his silken net,
And shut me in his golden cage.

He loves to sit and hear me sing,
Then, laughing, sports and plays with me;
Then stretches out my golden wing,
And mocks my loss of liberty.

 

Mother, I Cannot Mind My Wheel (Walter Savage Landor, after Sappho)

Mother, I cannot mind my wheel;
My fingers ache, my lips are dry:
Oh! if you felt the pain I feel!
But Oh, who ever felt as I!

No longer could I doubt him true;
All other men may use deceit:
He always said my eyes were blue,
And often swore my lips were sweet.

 

A Cradle Song (William Blake)

Sleep! sleep! beauty bright,
Dreaming o’er the joys of night;
Sleep! sleep! in thy sleep
Little sorrows sit and weep.

Sweet Babe, in thy face
Soft desires I can trace,
Secret joys and secret smiles,
Little pretty infant wiles.

As thy softest limbs I feel,
Smiles as of the morning steal
O’er thy cheek, and o’er thy breast
Where thy little heart does rest.

O! the cunning wiles that creep
In thy little heart asleep.
When thy little heart does wake
Then the dreadful lightnings break,

From thy cheek and from thy eye,
O’er the youthful harvests nigh.
Infant wiles and infant smiles
Heaven and Earth of peace beguiles.

 

Love to Faults is Always Blind (William Blake)

Love to faults is always blind,
Always is to joy inclin’d,
Lawless, wing’d & unconfin’d,
And breaks all chains from every mind.

Deceit to secrecy confin’d,
Lawful, cautious & refin’d,
To every thing but interest blind,
And forges fetters for the mind.

There souls of men are bought and sold,
And milk-fed Infancy for gold;
And Youth to slaughter-houses led,
And Beauty, for a bit of bread.

 

I Laid Me Down (William Blake)

I laid me down upon a bank,
Where Love lay sleeping;
I heard among the rushes dank
Weeping, weeping.

Then I went to the heath and the wild,
To the thistles and thorns of the waste;
And they told me how they were beguiled,
Driven out, and compelled to be chaste.

 

Stranger to me Now (James Joyce)

Because your voice was at my side
I gave him pain,
Because within my hand I held
Your hand again.

There is no word nor any sign
Can make amend.
He is a stranger to me now
Who was my friend.

 

There is a Lady Sweet and Kind (Thomas Ford)

There is a lady sweet and kind,
Was never face so pleas’d my mind;
I did but see her passing by,
And yet I love her till I die.

Her gesture, motion, and her smiles,
Her wit, her voice, my heart beguiles,
Beguiles my heart, I know not why,
And yet I love her till I die.

Cupid is winged and doth range,
Her country so my love doth change:
But change she earth, or change she sky,
Yet will I love her till I die.

 

Take, O Take Those Lips Away (William Shakespeare)

Take, O take those lips away,
That so sweetly were forsworn;
And those eyes, the break of day,
Lights that do mislead the morn!

But my kisses bring again,
Bring again;
Seals of love, but seal’d in vain,
Seal’d in vain!

 

The Smile (William Blake)

There is a smile of love,
And there is a smile of deceit,
And there is a smile of smiles
In which these two smiles meet.

 

O Mistress Mine (William Shakespeare)

O Mistress mine, where are you roaming?
O, stay and hear; your true love’s coming,
That can sing both high and low:
Trip no further, pretty sweeting;
Journeys end in lovers meeting,
Every wise man’s son doth know.

What is love? ‘Tis not hereafter;
Present mirth hath present laughter;
What’s to come is still unsure:
In delay there lies not plenty;
Then, come kiss me, sweet and twenty,
Youth’s a stuff will not endure.

 

Ask Me No More (Thomas Carew)

Ask me no more where Jove bestows,
When June is past, the fading rose;
For in your beauty’s orient deep
These flowers, as in their causes, sleep.

Ask me no more whither do stray
The golden atoms of the day;
For in pure love heaven did prepare
Those powders to enrich your hair.

Ask me no more whither doth haste
The nightingale, when May is past;
For in your sweet dividing throat
She winters, and keeps warm her note.

Ask me no more where those stars ’light,
That downwards fall in dead of night;
For in your eyes they sit, and there
Fixed become, as in their sphere.

Ask me no more if east or west
The phoenix builds her spicy nest;
For unto you at last she flies,
And in your fragrant bosom dies.

 

The Secret (John Clare)
 
I loved thee, though I told thee not,
Right earlily and long,
Thou wert my joy in every spot,
My theme in every song.

And when I saw a stranger face
Where beauty held the claim,
I gave it like a secret grace
The being of thy name.

And all the charms of face or voice
Which I in others see
Are but the recollected choice
Of what I felt for thee.

 

Rest, Sweet Nymphs (Francis Pilkington)
 
Rest, sweet nymphs, let golden sleep
Charm thy star brighter eyes,
While my lute the watch doth keep
With pleasing sympathies.
Lulla, lullaby. Lulla, lullaby.
Sleep sweetly, sleep sweetly,
Let nothing affright ye,
In calm contentments lie.

Dream, fair virgins, of delight
And blest Elysian groves,
While the wandring shades of night
Resemble your true loves.
Lulla, lullaby. Lulla, lullaby.
Your kisses, your blisses,
Send them by your wishes,
Although they be not nigh.

Thus, dear damsels, I do give
‘Good night’, and so am gone:
With your hearts’ desires long live,
Still joy, and never moan.
Lulla, lullaby. Lulla, lullaby.
Hath pleased you and eased you,
And sweet slumber seized you,
And now to bed I hie.

 

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening (Robert Frost)

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

 

Gentle Lady (James Joyce)

Gentle lady, do not sing
Sad songs about the end of love;
Lay aside sadness and sing
How love that passes is enough.

Sing about the long deep sleep
Of lovers that are dead, and how
In the grave all love shall sleep:
Love is aweary now.

 

The Night Wind (Emily Brontë)

In summer’s mellow midnight,
A cloudless moon shone through
Our open parlour window,
And rose-trees wet with dew.

I sat in silent musing;
The soft wind waved my hair;
It told me heaven was glorious,
And sleeping earth was fair.

I needed not its breathing
To bring such thoughts to me;
But still it whispered lowly,
How dark the woods will be!

“The thick leaves in my murmur
Are rustling like a dream,
And all their myriad voices
Instinct with spirit seem.”

I said, “Go, gentle singer,
Thy wooing voice is kind:
But do not think its music
Has power to reach my mind.

“Play with the scented flower,
The young tree’s supple bough,
And leave my human feelings
In their own course to flow.”

The wanderer would not heed me;
Its kiss grew warmer still.
“O come!” it sighed so sweetly;
“I’ll win thee ‘gainst thy will.

“Were we not friends from childhood?
Have I not loved thee long?
As long as thou, the solemn night,
Whose silence wakes my song.

“And when thy heart is resting
Beneath the church-aisle stone,
I shall have time for mourning,
And thou for being alone.”

 

Lover’s Tale (James Joyce)

O Sweetheart, hear you
Your lover’s tale;
A man shall have sorrow
When friends him fail.

For he shall know then
Friends be untrue
And a little ashes
Their words come to.

But one unto him
Will softly move
And softly woo him
In ways of love.

His hand is under
Her smooth round breast;
So he who has sorrow
Shall have rest.

 

Fall, Leaves, Fall (Emily Brontë)

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.

I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

 

I Hid My Love (John Clare)

I hid my love when young till I
Couldn’t bear the buzzing of a fly;
I hid my love to my despite
Till I could not bear to look at light:
I dare not gaze upon her face
But left her memory in each place;
Where’er I saw a wild flower lie
I kissed and bade my love good-bye.

I met her in the greenest dells,
Where dewdrops pearl the wood bluebells;
The lost breeze kissed her bright blue eye,
The bee kissed and went singing by,
A sunbeam found a passage there,
A gold chain round her neck so fair;
As secret as the wild bee’s song
She lay there all the summer long.

I hid my love in field and town
Till e’en the breeze would knock me down;
The bees seemed singing ballads o’er,
The fly’s bass turned a lion’s roar;
And even silence found a tongue,
To haunt me all the summer long;
The riddle nature could not prove
Was nothing else but secret love.

 

Tara’s Halls (Thomas Moore)

The harp that once through Tara’s halls
The soul of music shed,
Now hangs as mute on Tara’s walls
As if that soul were fled.
So sleeps the pride of former days,
So glory’s thrill is o’er,
And hearts that once beat high for praise,
Now feel that pulse no more!

No more to chiefs and ladies bright
The harp of Tara swells;
The chord alone that breaks at night,
Its tale of ruin tells.
Thus Freedom now so seldom wakes,
The only throb she gives
Is when some heart indignant breaks,
To show that still she lives.

 

To Mary (John Clare)

I sleep with thee, and wake with thee,
And yet thou art not there;
I fill my arms with thoughts of thee,
And press the common air.

Thy eyes are gazing upon mine,
When thou art out of sight;
My lips are always touching thine,
At morning, noon, and night.

I think and speak of other things
To keep my mind at rest:
But still to thee my memory clings
Like love in woman’s breast.

I hide it from the world’s wide eye,
And think and speak contrary;
But soft the wind comes from the sky,
And whispers tales of Mary.

The night wind whispers in my ear,
The moons shines in my face;
A burden still of chilling fear
I find in every place.

The breeze is whispering in the bush,
And the dews fall from the tree,
All sighing on, and will not hush,
Some pleasant tales of thee.

 

The Water’s Monotone (James Joyce)

All day I hear the noise of waters
Making moan,
Sad as the sea-bird is when, going
Forth alone,
He hears the winds cry to the water’s
Monotone.

The grey winds, the cold winds are blowing
Where I go.
I hear the noise of many waters
Far below.
All day, all night, I hear them flowing
To and fro.

 

The Birds (William Blake)

He. Where thou dwellest, in what grove,
Tell me Fair One, tell me Love;
Where thou thy charming nest dost build,
O thou pride of every field!

She. Yonder stands a lonely tree,
There I live and mourn for thee;
Morning drinks my silent tear,
And evening winds my sorrow bear.

He. O thou summer’s harmony,
I have liv’d and mourn’d for thee;
Each day I mourn along the wood,
And night hath heard my sorrows loud.

She. Dost thou truly long for me?
And am I thus sweet to thee?
Sorrow now is at an end,
O my Lover and my Friend!

He. Come, on wings of joy we’ll fly
To where my bower hangs on high;
Come, and make thy calm retreat
Among green leaves and blossoms sweet.


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Ancient of Days - by William Blake



The Beguilers



The Beguilers

Photo by Vincent Whiteman © 2012 Void Photography