SATB choir. 3 mins.
Selection from Sauntering Songs: a concert-length cantata on the theme of walking, commissioned by Skylark Vocal Ensemble.
Performance score available for purchase. Please direct inquiries to Nell Shaw Cohen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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“Where There Was No Path” is a choral selection from Sauntering Songs: a concert-length cantata on the theme of walking, commissioned by Skylark Vocal Ensemble. This piece is a setting of the poem “Trespass” by 19th century Romantic poet John Clare. Clare was a defender of public access to the land, and poems such as this were his response to the “enclosure” acts of Britain that gave wealthy landowners the right to fence off the countryside and exclude the working class from access.
I dreaded walking where there was no path
And pressed with cautious tread the meadow swath
And always turned to look with wary eye
And always feared the owner coming by;
Yet everything about where I had gone
Appeared so beautiful I ventured on
And when I gained the road where all are free
I fancied every stranger frowned at me
And every kinder look appeared to say
“You’ve been on trespass in your walk today.”
I’ve often thought, the day appeared so fine,
How beautiful if such a place were mine;
But, having naught, I never feel alone
And cannot use another’s as my own.
“Trespass” by John Clare (1793-1864).
Visit the Sauntering Songs page for performance history.