Look Down, Fair Moon

SATB divisi, a cappella

This work, commissioned in 2013 by Schola Cantorum of Texas (Jerry McCoy, artistic director) as part of their 50th Anniversary season, is a setting of text fragments from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.


Word over all, beautiful as the sky,
Beautiful that war and all its deeds of carnage must in time be utterly lost,
That the hands of the sisters Death and Night incessantly softly wash again,
and ever again, this soil’d world;

The darkness, lit by spots of kindled fire—the silence;
While wind in procession thoughts, O tender and wondrous thoughts,
Of life and death—of home and the past and loved,
and of those that are far away;

Look down, fair moon and bathe this scene,
Pour softly down night’s nimbus floods,
Pour down your unstinted nimbus, sacred moon.

—Walt Whitman (1819-1892), fragments