Nature and Man

  • for choir SATB divisi and narrator

  • Duration 9' 30"


by Anne Hemming

privately commissioned

This work sets the poem Nature and Man, part one of The Seasons. Quite difficult - suitable for advanced chamber choirs.

Performances by

Queldryk Chamber Choir / Paul Ayres
Exmoor Singers / James Jarvis


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Ah, Spring!
Who can endure so keen a thing?
The young
Taste its tart sweetness on the tongue;
The old
Find the bright blade too sharp to hold;
To all
Spring is the honey and the gall.


Comes glad, sad Summer and the rose, its queen.
Have you not seen
Her silk and velvet fade, leaving the green
Crown-pointed orb she bears,
Thorn-guarded, yet from which some bird that dares
Will peck and spit her heirs?

As the moon nightly changes, so the rose
While bud to flower grows,
Each day a new perfection shows,
But at last blows.

It is of life ever to wax and wane,
Not to remain.
Each flawless summer rose will show again
Beauty is perfect pain.


Summer has smiled and gently gone;
Autumn comes striding on,
Vivid and hearty, in his prime,
Lavish as rich at this almsgiving time.
Lordly and loud his call,
And the bowing orchards let fall
Treasure in heaps.
The fields where he reaps
Yield up their gold,
Till the earth lies bare in the cold.
His all he gives,
Living largesse to all that lives,
Then, setting the trees on fire,
vLeaps laughing onto his funeral pyre.


Loud at the gates the trumpets blow.
Heralds of woe.

The black knight, Winter, takes the field
With his white shield,
Keen sword, cold spear.
Yield, he cries, yield!
Life shrinks in fear.
Weaponless, daunted, she must creep
To dungeons deep,
Dark and drear,
In chains to sleep,
Till she shall hear
Her champion's challenge. The green knight,
Spring, comes to fight
Her battle here,
And put to flight
The tyrant of the year.

Vanquished the foe.
Loud at the gates the trumpets blow.

(Anne Hemming)
(used by permission of the estate of Anne Hemming, c/o Tim Hemming)