SERENADE
by
Edgar Allan Poe


So sweet the hour, so calm the time,
I feel it more than half a crime,
When Nature sleeps and stars are mute,
To mar the silence ev'n with lute.
At rest on ocean's brilliant dyes
An image of Elysium lies:
Seven Pleiades entranced in Heaven,
Form in the deep another seven:
Endymion nodding from above
Sees in the sea a second love.
Within the valleys dim and brown,
And on the spectral mountain's crown,
The wearied light is dying down,
And earth, and stars, and sea, and sky
Are redolent of sleep, as I
Am redolent of thee and thine
Enthralling love, my Adeline.
But list, O list,- so soft and low
Thy lover's voice tonight shall flow,
That, scarce awake, thy soul shall deem
My words the music of a dream.
Thus, while no single sound too rude
Upon thy slumber shall intrude,
Our thoughts, our souls- O God above!
In every deed shall mingle, love.

SERENADE

As I lie and watch the moon
On the lonely sea,
Watch it tug the lonely tide
Like a comforter over me,
The still and faceless moon
Fills the beach tonight
With only a ghost of day,
All shadow gray, and moonbeam white.
And you lie alone tonight,
As alone as I;
Lonely girl in your lonely flat, well, that's where it's at,
So hush your lonely cry.
How can I come to you, put out the moon, send back the tide?
The night has gone so gray, I'd lose the way, and it's dark inside.
No, I must lie alone,
Till it comes for me;
Till it takes the sky, the sand, the moon, and the lonely sea.
And the lonely sea . . . etc.

(Fade out.)

As sung by the Paranoids from Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49.

Serenade, by Steve Miller (played by the— you'll never guess it— the Steve Miller Band), is my favorite song by him and one of my all-time favorite songs. The lyrics aren't necessarily the best part of the song however; they're rather simplistic, even though they get the point across quite nicely. No, it's the music itself that's the highlight, from the trademark, Classic Rock, clean, jangling guitar, to Steve Miller's layered vocals.

Now, Steve Miller has been described as something of an everyman, mostly because of his voice, which is talented but not necessarily "great," by critical standards. In this song, however, he (as far as I can figure) layered his voice three times, to make it sound as if his voice fills the room. And his Mediterranean coloratura throughout the song adds a certain exotic flair, full of mordents and turns. It's a surprisingly good vocal performance, especially for the seventies, an era lacking in pitch correction hardware and other ways of making a singer sound better than he actually is.

The chorus (that would be the "oh's" and "ah's") is pained in all of its echolalic glory, implying that perhaps the lover Steve Miller is talking of is perhaps lost to him, strengthened by the extremely exotic Phrygian melody, implying she is far away.

The song clocks in at three minutes and twelve seconds, somewhat long for a typical rock song of the era, but it seems really short in context of the song.

Serenade can be found on several discs by Steve Miller, the two of most interest to people who aren't collectors would be Greatest Hits 1974-1978 and Fly Like An Eagle. It's track five on the former and track four on the latter. It debuted on Fly Like An Eagle, in 1976.


Did you see the lights,
As they fell all here 'round you?
Did you hear the music,
A serenade from the stars?

Wake up, wake up
Wake up and look here 'round you
We're lost in space
And the time is our own.

Oh-OooOoooOoooo, Oh-OooOoooOoooo
Ah-AaaAaaaAaaaa

Did you feel the wind
As it blew all here 'round you?
Did you feel the love
That was in the air?

Wake up, wake up
Wake up and look here 'round you
We're lost in space
And the time is our own.

Oh-OooOoooOoooo, Oh-OooOoooOoooo
Ah-AaaAaaaAaaaa

The sun comes up
And it shines all here 'round you
You're lost in space
And the earth is your own.

Oh-OooOoooOoooo, Oh-OooOoooOoooo
Ah-AaaAaaaAaaaa


There was one discrepancy I couldn't figure out: the repeating vocal line "... all here 'round you" could possibly be "... all the way 'round you." The first is more poetic and fitting, in my opinion, but the second one sounds a bit more like what I actually heard.

Ser`*enade" (?), n. [F. s'er'enade, It. serenata, probably fr. L. serenus serene (cf. Serene), misunderstood as a derivative fr. L. serus late. Cf. Soir'ee.] Mus. (a)

Music sung or performed in the open air at nights; -- usually applied to musical entertainments given in the open air at night, especially by gentlemen, in a spirit of gallantry, under the windows of ladies.

(b)

A piece of music suitable to be performed at such times.

 

© Webster 1913.


Ser`e*nade", v. t. [imp. & p. p. Serenaded; p. pr. & vb. n. Serenading.]

To entertain with a serenade.

 

© Webster 1913.


Ser`e*nade", v. i.

To perform a serenade.

 

© Webster 1913.

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