The Love for what is Far Away

Because I love what’s far away
My heart is sad yet filled with joy,
All pastimes else appear a toy,
Figures of mist the winds destroy,
Or  hopes and fears that last a day,
Beside this love that comes from oh so far away!
I hear a voice from far away,
An angel voice that speaks my name,
And calls to me, always the same,
Burning me like a heatless flame,
Then in this land I cannot stay
But must depart for what is oh so far away!
 I see a face from far away,
No mortal face its likeness is,
Its eyes foretell eternal bliss,
All earth’s delights are nought to this,
Then I must leave without delay
And seek this face that is so very far away!

Because I sought what’s far away
My life was sad yet filled with joy,
All pastimes else appeared a toy,
Figures of mist the winds destroy,
But now beside me, come what may,
A presence stands that once was oh so far away!

  

                                                      Sebastian Hayes

   

The starting point for this song was this vida, or brief biography, of the twelfth century troubadour Jaufre Rudel de Blaia  :

             Jaufre Rudel de Blaia was of gentle birth, and was Prince of Blaia. And he fell in love with the Countess of Tripoli without ever having seen her, simply because of the good things he had heard pilgrims returning from Antioch tell of her, and for her he wrote many fine poems, rich in melody and poor in words. But wishing to see her, he took the Cross and went to sea. In the boat he became ill, and when he arrived at Tripoli, he was taken to an inn, for he was near death. The Countess was told about this and she came to him, to his bedside, and took him in her arms. He realized it was the Countess, and all at once recovered his sense of sight and smell, and praised God for having sustained his life until he had seen her. And then he died in her arms. And she had him buried with great ceremony in the  house of the Knights Templars. And then, on that same day, she took the veil for the grief she felt at his death.  

            One verse of his most famous song particularly struck me :

I shall take no more joy in love
If I have none from far away,
For I know none fairer or nobler
Anywhere, near or far away.
I hold it in such esteem
That, for her, I’d be proclaimed
A captive among the Saracens.

            As the editor writes, “He [Jaufre Rudel] moves in a world close to that of the mystics, where the sensual and the divine become fused. So close is this fusion that some critics have taken his ‘distant love’ as being an allegory for the Virgin Mary or the Holy Land” (Bonner, Songs of the Troubadours).

             For all that, my song is based on personal experience and does not really have a ‘double meaning’ as in Jaufre Rudel, since my song expresses the love for, and desire to be united with, a reality ‘that is far away’, conceived as a vaguely feminine presence which is habitual in troubadour lyrics.

I wrote the words first and intended to get a composer friend of mine to compose the melody. But, although I cannot read music and have never written a song in my life, the melody came to me one afternoon and I subsequently sung it to John Baird who wrote it down and played the piano accompaniment in the CD (for which many thanks).

Download and listen to the first verse of The Love for what is Far Away.

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