Elie Siegmeister Textsettings
for the Elie Siegmeister Centennial CD on Original Cast Records OC 6235

1. As I Was Goin' Along
Words by Edward Eager (1911-1964), from Sing Out, Sweet Land!
Music Copyright 1944 (rev. 1967)

As I was goin' along,
I saw a bird on a twig.
An' it swelled its chest an' it spoke up proud
an' a brook joined in at the end real loud
an' a maple started to jig.
An' I started singin' a song
As I was goin' along.

I wasn't singin' for supper,
I wasn't singin' for bread,
I was singin' because
I suddenly was
with a tune right out of my head.
And it felt so good that I started out
to find some more things to sing about.

So I kept goin' along
an' I saw a bird on a bush.
An' a goat stepped elegant through the dew
an' under the earth where a bean row grew
the spring was beginnin' to push.
An' I put 'em all in my song
As I was goin' along.

Maybe I don't sing pretty.
Sometimes I hope I do,
an' if folks disapprove
one of us got to move
'cause I won't never stop 'til I'm through,
And I'll keep right on like I started out
still lookin' for things to sing about.

So I keep goin' along
an' I see the sun in the sky.
An' the land that stretches beyond the town
like a patchwork quilt spreadin' out an' down
with some roads I haven't been by.
An' there's lots to happen an' lots to be
an' some brand new places I aim to see
an' I still got tunes to try,
So I'll keep singin' a song
And I'll keep goin' along.
An' I'll keep goin' along.

2. Euclid
Words by Vachel Lindsay (1879-1931)
Copyright 1925
Music Copyright 1940

Old Euclid drew a circle
On a sand-beach long ago.
He bounded and enclosed it
With angles thus and so.
His set of solemn greybeards
Nodded and argued much
Of arc and circumference,
Diameter and such.
A silent child stood by them
From morning until noon
Because they drew such charming
Round pictures of the moon.

3. Johnny Appleseed
Words by Rosemary Benet (1900-1962)
Copyright 1933
Music Copyright Mar. 20, 1940
"for Miriam - four weeks old"
by Elie Siegmeister & Olin Downes
Music Copyright Assigned 1941 to Maxwell Weaner Publications, NYC
Published by Edward B. Marks, 1947

Johnny Appleseed! Johnny Appleseed!
Of Jonathan Chapman two things are known:
that he loved apples, that he walked alone.
At seventy odd he was gnarled as could be,
but ruddy and sound as a good appletree.
For fifty years over of harvest and dew
he planted his apples where no apples grew.
The winds of the prairie might blow through his rags,
but he carried his seed in deerskin bags.

Johnny Appleseed! Johnny Appleseed!
From Ashtabula to Fort Wayne,
he planted and pruned and planted again.
He had no hat to encumber his head,
he wore a tin pan on his white hair instead.
A fine old man as ripe as a pippin,
his heart still light, and his step still skippin'.
He nested with owl, with bearcub and possum,
and knew all his orchards, root tendril and blossom.

Johnny Appleseed! Johnny Appleseed!
The stalking Indian, the beast in its lair
[2007 revision: The stalking panther, the lion in its lair]
did not hurt while he was there,
for they could tell, as wild things can,
that Jonathan Chapman was God's own man.
Why did he do it? We do not know.
He wished that apples might root and grow.
He has no statue, he has no tomb,
but he has his apple trees still in bloom.
Johnny Appleseed! Johnny Appleseed!

4. Nancy Hanks

by Rosemary Benet (1900-1962)
Copyright 1933
Music Copyright June 27, 1941 "for Hannah on her birthday"
Published by Edward B. Marks, 1947

If Nancy Hanks came back as a ghost,
Seeking news of what she loved most,
She'd ask first "Where's my son?
What's happened to Abe? What's he done?"

"Poor little Abe, left all alone.
Except for Tom, who's a rolling stone;
He was only nine the year I died.
I remember still how hard he cried."

"Scraping along in a little shack,
With hardly a shirt to cover his back,
And a prairie wind to blow him down,
Or pinching times if he went to town."

"You wouldn't know about my son?
Did he grow tall? Did he have fun?
Did he learn to read? Did he get to town?
Do you know his name? Did he get on?"

5. Abraham Lincoln
by Rosemary & Stephen Vincent Benet (1898-1943), Copryight 1933
Music Copyright Sept. 20, 1941
Edited & Completed by Leonard Lehrman, Oct. 2006
Copyright by Leonard Lehrman & Miriam Koren 2008
[Lines #9-12 cut in this version]

Lincoln was a long man. He liked the out of doors.
He liked the wind [a-]blowing and the talk in country stores.
He liked telling stories. He liked telling jokes.
“Abe’s quite a character,” said quite a lot of folks.
Lots of folks in Springfield saw him every day,
[Just a-]walking down the street in his gaunt, long way.
Shawl around his shoulders, letters in his hat.
“That’s Abe Lincoln.” They thought no more than that.
[Knew that he was honest, guessed that he was odd,
Knew he had a cross wife, though she was a Todd.
Knew he had three little boys who liked to shout and play,
Knew he had a lot of debts it took him years to pay.]
Knew his clothes and knew his house. “That’s his office, here.
Blame good lawyer, on the whole, though he’s sort of queer.
Sure he went to Congress, once. But he didn’t stay.
Can’t expect us all to be smart as Henry Clay.
Need a man for troubled times? Well, I guess we do.
Wonder who we’ll ever find? Yes — I wonder who.”
That is how they met and talked, Knowing and unknowing.
Lincoln was the green pine. Lincoln kept on growing.

6. Anne Rutledge
by Leo Israel (aka Leo Daniels/Victor Lear)
Copyright Dec. 1941; Choral version publ. by Southern Music Publ., 1953

I hear Abe Lincoln's going away.
He's sold his store, no reason to stay,
Since Anne died he doesn't know
What he will do, where he can go.

Courted Anne Rutledge, neighbors say,
Fair as an appletree blooming in May,
There was something she seemed to know
Rooted in Lincoln, bound to grow.

Appletree blooming, spring in the sky,
What was she saying as they went by?
Talk of a new land, folks striving on,
What will his answer be now she is gone?

She wasn' there to see how he grew,
What he might dream or do,
But he'd go on,
Anne Rutledge knew.

7. Paul Bunyan
by Leo Israel (aka Leo Paris)
Copyright Oct. 1941
Published by Edward B. Marks, 1947

Out of the North Paul Bunyan blew,
Riding a nine-day blizzard through,
Carrying an ox the color of blue,
Lumberman just lookin' for some work to do.
Blitzzad ended and he gazed around,
from the State of Maine to Puget Sound,
said, "Boys now look at the job I've found
gonna trim the whole U.S. A. right down to the ground!"
Trees started fallin',
the ox started haulin',
They chopped and piled the logs up ten miles tall.
Gouged out the prairie
and poured the Great Lakes in to float them all.
And the ox roared, "Bunyan! Paul Bunyan!!!"

And once it rained from a cloud in the sky,
Forty days and nights went by,
the shanty boys began to sigh
They were twenty-one feet under water come the Fourth of July
Paul heard them complainin',
said, "I'll stop that rainin',"
Swam up the water spout to the middle of the air,
Plugged up the spiggot
and rode the last drop down to the Courthouse Square,
And the crowd yelled, "Bunyan! Speech! Paul Bunyan!!!"

On Corkscrew River he met his fate
where the water ran crooked and the shores ran straight,
and the trees unwound at half-past eight,
They'd cut the last tree in Oregon State,
they were making flapjacks to celebrate,
the batter was ready bu the little ox ate
the red-hot cookstove! "Bunyan! Hooray! Bunyan!"

8. Childhood Memories
from Two Songs of the City (June 29, 1951) and A Cycle of Cities (1974)
Words by Langston Hughes, Copyright 1974 by George Houston Bass, Trustee
[aka Second Generation: New York]
Music Copyright 1975 by Carl Fischer

Mama remembers the four-leaf clover
And the bright blue Irish sky,
I remember East River Parkway
And the tugboats passing by.
I remember Third Avenue
And the "L" trains overhead,
And our one window-sill geranium
Blooming red, warm and red.
Mama remembers Ireland;
All I remember is here.

Papa remembers the plains of Poland
And moonlight on the snow,
I remember autumn
With the skyscrapers all aglow.
I remember the games we played
With lamplight overhead,
And our one window-sill geranium
Blooming red, warm and red.

All I remember is here
This house, this street, this city,
And it's dear, yes, it's dear!

9. No Rose Need Ask
from The Wizard of Altoona
by Langston Hughes (1902-1967), 1951
Completed by Leonard Lehrman, 2008
Copyright 2008 by Leonard Lehrman & Miriam Koren

ALBERTO: Norma, this morning, along the roadside throught the valley,
violets bloomed and bird songs filled the air.
Then I saw lilacs on your hill. I saw the roses in your garden there.
If you look out your window, Norma, you will find your answer everywhere:
No rose need ask if sun is sun,
No bird need ask if spring is spring.
Your heart need only ask your heart if love is love.
No sunrise asks if night is done,
No garden asks if June is June.
No lovers ever ask the moon
if its silvery beams
are really real or golden dreams.
As moon knows moonrise,
as sun knows sunrise,
That's how your heart knows love.
No lilacs ask if dew is dew,
nor morning star if sky is sky.
You need only ask your heart
if that feeling in your heart
is like the sunrise,
like the moonrise,
just ask your heart when love is love.

NORMA: I dare not ask if love is love,
I dare not ask if dreams come true,
my heart can only ask my heart, "What shall I do?"

ALBERTO: I dare not hope that you'll love me.

NORMA: I dare not tell you I love you.

BOTH: If there's a pathway to the stars, what can lovers do
to find that pathway to pursue?

NORMA: I'll know no moonrise

ALBERTO: I'll know no sunrise

BOTH: Until my heart knows love.

NORMA: I dare not dream a dream of love,

ALBERTO: I dare not ask if dreams come true.

BOTH: I can only ask my heart
since the feeling in my heart is like the sunrise,
like the moonrise,
I ask my heart if love is you.

10. Floatin' Down the River
Words by Elie Siegmeister, Copyright Jan. 1952

My luck is bad, my teacher's mad,
My hound dog's lookin' awful sad,
But summer is the time for play.
I've got a raft of hick'ry wood,
I tested it, it floats real good;
I'm itchin' to get started today.
Floatin' down the river on a lazy summer day,
Sleepy, dreamy river far away,
Nothin' on this river but a raft, a dog and me.
Guess we'll keep a-floatin' to the sea.
Just watch those islands driftin' by
While you blink your eye -
Don't you see a camel in that cloud in the sky?
Guess there's nothin' finer than a raft, a dog and me,
Floatin' down the river to the sea.

11.-18. For My Daughters
(8 songs)
Words by Norman Rosten (1914-1995)
based on his Songs for Patricia, Copyright 1951
Music Copyright 1952

#1. Have You a Question?

Have you a question
In your small closed hand?
Bring it to me breathing
And where was it found?

Bring it to me quickly
We'll open and we'll see
It must have been a bird
That's flown away

Even as I hold you
Darling it must change
For love will ever grow
And make the parent strange

And like a hand will open
Even [orig. Almost] as yours does now
And will you remember
Who was first to let you go?

#2. Rain

Look at the rain it's raining.
What will we do while it's raining?
We're in the house all alone.
We can't go out so we have to stay at home.
Mama, will you tell me what to do?

Take out your blocks and crayons,
Play with your toys and dolls.
Feed the turtle, feed the fish,
Do everything you wish.
Well, I still don't know what to do!

Did you try to draw a picture?
What about Noah's ark?
Or you might model some clay.
It's perfect for a rainy day.
But I want something else to do!

Why not try your newest record,
The one about the fairy queen?
Oh, but I've got something really new,
Please listen, I'm talking to you!

Let's take some glue and papers,
We'll find our little scissors,
And oh! I forgot to mention --
Child, you're not paying attention!
Mother, please, can't you see I'm busy?

#3. May I Escape?

Must you continue
These long conversations
[orig. I am thoroughly disconcerted
By your long conversations]
Which appoint me a lion that must answer questions
Or a talking rabbit consuming an enormous carrot
And furthermore, you expect me to enjoy it!
[orig. it's expected that I enjoy it]

And must I [orig. we] go through the removal of my navel
Which you've just [orig. you have lately] discovered
and I fear will soon [orig. ultimately] unravel?

I beg you, being caught at least a dozen times today
May I have your kind [orig. dear] permission
To escape and go my way?

#4. Good Morning

Get up get up good morning again
It's six o'clock or maybe ten
Get up get up it's time for school
Please help me dress it's time for school.

Hurry hurry I have to rush
Hurry hurry where's my toothbrush?
It's four o'clock or maybe nine
It doesn't matter I can't tell time.

We're having a party
Ice cream and cake
Mother please get up
I mustn't be late.

And after school my dear friend Sue
She's having a baby at half past two
Then over to Bobby to play with a train
Or out in the park if it doesn't rain.

So please get up, mommy and dad.
The street's full of people
And you're still in bed.

I keep wondering how long can you sleep?
The sun is shining how long can you sleep?
How long can you sleep?

#5. What Did You Do Today?

What did you do outside today?
I did sitting

And what did you see?

And what were they doing?
Running up and down

For what, can you tell, sweet?
To catch a white bird

Will they ever?
Too fast, too fast

What was [the] prettiest?
[The] Little dogs and cats

[And] What were they doing?
Smelling and kissing

#6. Saying Good Night

I point out the windows
And those with no light
Show the children asleep
They've all said goodnight.


You call for some water
In a favorite glass
Where does water come from
Now did you have to ask?


How high was the beanstalk
Of climber Jack?
I don't know--say a mile
Up and back.


Where's the policeman?
Is his horse in bed?
Oh you'd rather phone the cat
I see
Let's do that tomorrow
Shall we?

Now a last goodnight
To that bright hanging star

A nearer one? a lonely one?
That little one at the corner of the roof?

The little one, the lonely one, yes


#7. Growing

Growing growing [musical setting repeats this line]
Each day an astonishment

Names and objects
Swim into view

And must be examined
A place found for all

Where shall we fit
The bad moon that wanders

The chicken and the egg
And all such wonders

The cat that cries
And the thing called dead

And Nancy and Nina [changed by composer to Mimi]
And Johnny-in-the-park

The doll that fell down
And lost her head

And the organ-grinder too
And snow that won't stay

Growing growing
The days rush by [orig.: The pollen of days]

Lightly as leaves [orig.: Swirls in the air]
Soon to be gone

And what shall come later
Though much more wise

Will never be found
As breathless as these

[musical setting repeats first line - twice]

#8. Goodbye, Goodbye

Goodbye goodbye
I'm going away
Next morning will come
Quite without me

Goodbye goodbye
What will you say
To the morning after
That comes without me

Here is a kiss
I put on each eye
Weightless as love
But will they stay

Here is a touch
On your laughing mouth
[Musical setting repeats first 2 lines instead of going on to 2 last lines]
Don't watch me
As I go out

19. Lazy Afternoon

by Leo Israel (aka Leo Paris)
Music Copyright 1943, used in Ozark Set
Choral version published by Southern Music Publ., 1946
Solo song version published by E.B. Marks, 1947

It's a lazy afternoon;
Feel like singin' a lazy tune,
With the grass for my bed,
And a plum tree shady overhead.
But the barley's not yet in;
I hear tell it should've been,
And I've no call to lie here dreaming
on a lazy afternoon.

There's a bee comes buzzin' by;
Got his chores, and so have I:
Heard a song about the bee,
Says that busy little bug might be me!
Gettin' honey, sun to sun,
'Til the honey harvest's done,

20. Isabella's Broom Dance from Act II Scene 2 of The Marquesa of O
Words by Norman Rosten, after the novella, Die Marquise von O by Heinrich von Kleist
Copyright 1980

(Sweeping Dance)
Sweet Isabella met a new caballero;
he asked me to dance around his sombrero;
La, la, little broom, when he holds me so tight,
Watch out, Isabella, beware of the night.
I've found a lover here in the country.
He is my hombre, perhaps he shall have me.
La, la, little broom, there is danger ahead;
Watch out, Isabella, stay away from his bed.
Rich man or poor man, they all want to kiss me;
My caballero is the one who shall love me.
Turn, little broom, sweep this Pedro away;
I have another waiting to play.

21. The Memory Is Green from The Mermaid in Lock No. 7
Words by Edward Mabley (1907-1985)
Copyright 1958, publ. by Henmar Press (C.F. Peters)

LIZ: Lyin' on a rock with the sun splashin' down and a free wind singing
JACK: Land's End, Land's End.
LIZ: Naked to the sky, with your skin turning brown, and a bell buoy ringing
Land's End, Land's End.
JACK: Can it be true
the sight of you
half carried me away?
And were we really so in love that half forgotten day?
But when you speak of time gone by
In music so serene,
I touch your hand
and suddenly the memory is green.
LIZ: Tonight the past is gleaming.
Forget the here and now.
Tonight is meant for dreaming.
Remember our tender vow.
BOTH: The place was where. The time was when.
But we were there. Love me again.
LIZ: Can it be true
when I met you
upon that distant shore
JACK: we found a pure undying love we'd never known before
BOTH: I think of places far away and all the years between
JACK: I touch your hand
LIZ: And suddenly
BOTH: the memory is green.
LIZ: I touch your hand
JACK: And suddnely
BOTH: the memory is green.

22. Dublin Song from the opera The Plough and the Stars,
after the 1936 play by Sean O'Casey (1880-1964)
Words by Edward Mabley, Copyright 1969

If you notice, on your way to market,
That you step along as light as air,
If a grim and gray and grimy Dublin
Seems radiant and fair;
What's the reason why?
Let me tell you why:
You're after bein' in love.
On every clothesline the washin'
Is flappin' pink, blue and red,
Glowin' like a garden that is burstin' into bloom,
And when you pass by the bakery
and smell the fresh buns and bread,
That's a fragrance sweeter than a bottle of perfume.
The locomotive's puffin' in the freight yard,
The factory whislte calls "It's noontime,"
And all the rest take up the trumpet cry.
Oh, hear them makin' music in the sky!
If there's a day full of splendor,
And if your heart's gay and free,
Chances are that you're in love,
and that's the way to be.
That's the way to be.

There's all the colors of sunset
Before the light fades away;
High above the city floats a fiery little cloud;
You see a great purple shadow,
It's just the gasworks by day,
Turned into a palace that would make a princess proud.
And when they light the shops on summer evenings,
It's like a hundred thousand stars sparklin' in the streets
to make a diamond crown.
Oh, never was there such a lovely town.
If there's a night full of wonder
That makes your heart seem to glow,
It must be that you're in love,
for that is how you know,
That is how you know.

23. Derogatory Wrong from the opera The Plough and the Stars,
after the 1936 play by Sean O'Casey (1880-1964)
Words by Edward Mabley, Copyright 1969

FLUTHER: Spendin' money on a hat?
What the hell is wrong with that,
When a girl is captivatin' as a song?
Where's the muttonhead that would begrudge it,
though it strains the fam'ly budget?
What is so derogatory wrong?
Say the day is bright and clear,
And it's just the time of year,
On the river when the fish are runnin' strong,
So if all exertion I'd be shirkin',
Catchin' fish instead of workin',
What is so derogatory wrong?
Oh, ou're livin' here and now,
You'd best enjoy it now while you are livin'.
I doubt we're comin' back here anyhow,
So why not make the most of what we're given?
If your cronies hire a hall,
For an alcoholic brawl,
And the gin is flowin' freely left and right,
Are you home in bed serenely snoozin'?
You could just as well be chooisin'
More excitin' ways to spend the night!
Tell me, what is so derogatory wrong?

MRS. GOGAN: God forgive you, Fluther,
for makin' a maddenin' mockery
of everything I learneed at me mother's knee.
It'll be a nice thing on me conscience, an' me dyin',
to look back in rememberin' shame of list'nin' to you.
Sing some more.

FLUTHER: When there's fightin' to be done,
And it's Johnny-get-your-gun,
I am far wfrom where they say that I belong.
If I do not yearn to be a hero,
If my claim to fame is zero,
What is so derogatory wrong?
Oh you're livin' here and now,
You'd best enjoy it here, and not hereafter.
One life on earth is all that they allow,
Sowhynot live that one with joy and laughter?
When the ladies of the town
start paradin' up and down,
Andtheir faces and their figures are sublime,
Are you home in bed, asleep and snorin'?
When there's such a lot of more in-
gratiatin' ways to pass the time!
Tell me, what is so derogatory wrong?

24. Languages

Words by Miriam Waddington, Copyright 1986-89
Music Copyright Sept. 16, 1987 "to Mimi"

Once a man came to my door
selling storm windows,
he asked me was I widow
and the answer was yes.
I married him and he begged me
to teach him better English
so he could drive a taxi. 
After some years
we went different ways,
I taught people
in many schools how
to speak better English
and I forgot the storm windows
and the man who sold them, 
Until one day
jumping into a taxi
to go to one of my schools
to teach people how
to speak better English
I gave the taxi driver
directions and he turned
around to me and said: 
Do you remember storm windows
and how widowed you were?
I’m married again
I have a little boy
I speak good English
plain for everyday; 
But your English,
it’s pretty your English
is like a flower.

25. To a Little Girl ("for Lauren Kabat")
Words by Elie Siegmeister, Copyright June 3, 1942 & June 3, 1943
Composite by Leonard Lehrman, Feb. 2008
Copyright by Leonard Lehrman & Mimi Koren

Sleep, my baby, sleep and rest,
Sleep so still on Mummy's breast,
Daddy says you are the best,
Mummy knows the very best
baby in the world.

Underneath that dreamland tree,
Baby sleeps so quietly.
Be a big girl by and by,
Look around at earth and sky:
See a lovely world.

Sleep, my darling, sleep so still,
Mummy sings on dreamland hill.
Folks are building everywhere,
to free the earth and clean the air
for every baby girl.

26. Outside My Window ("to Nancy")
Words by Kim Rich (b. 1952), Copyright 1989
Music Copyright Dec. 21, 1989

I like the way the broad stone ledge just outside my window
holds the warmth of the sun hours after the sun has set.
And when the street is dark and cool,
I lean out to feel the warm, rough stone beneath my hands.
And that is real to me,
more real than the whole city.
If I were careless as a cat,
I'd curl up on the ledge and drowse;
Unafraid of the night to come:
warmed by the memory of the sun.

27. Untitled
Music Copyright April 1955
Words by Leonard Lehrman, June 2007
Copyright 2008 by Leonard Lehrman & Miriam Koren

I don't know,
In fact I don't care,
Whatever you want to do is fine
But I just have to say
I've waited all day
Hoping you would make up your mind.
It's all right.
Yes, really, it is.
I'm not saying that so you'll feel bad.
I would just like to know
Where you'd like to go
And I think that's what makes me mad.
It has een nice knowing you.
Do you feel that too?
So, tell me, please:
I'm waiting to hear
Just what your next move is going to be,
And if maybe,
just maybe,
there might be a place in your life for me.

28. Elie Siegmeister
Words by Leonard Lehrman, Copyright 1984
Music: "Johnny Appleseed" by Elie Siegmeister, Copyright 1940

Elie Siegmeister... Elie Siegmeister!

Of Uncle Elyusha two things are known:
He writes his music, and often walks alone.
At 75 he's young as can be,
Still ruddy and sound as a good appletree.
For 50 years over of harvest and dew
He planed his apples, and his apples grew.
Though people of power might give him the boot
Still he carried his seeds, and they took root.

Elie Siegmeister... Elie Siegmeister!

New York, Bellagio, Shreveport, Berlin
He planted and pruned and planted agin
And he could be tough on a wild little boy
But Uncle Elyusha's the real McCoy.
Why did he do it? I think we know.
He liked to help - and to watch things grow.
He has his Hannah, his family, and yet
He's also had students who won't forget

Elie Siegmeister... Elie Siegmeister!