That night, that year of now done darkness is a through-composed setting of a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins about living through despair and coming to hope. The mood and structure of the poem are mirrored in the musical form, in which four sections are set apart by short interludes for piano. Contrapuntal, homophonic, and hocketing relationships between the voices are used to define the overall structure, as is the use of inside and keyboard piano techniques. The piece is unified by reiteration of certain register-specific intervals, continual development of limited motivic material, and saturation with the intervals of m2, M2 and tritone. Some of the recurring motives and melodic fragments are restricted to the voices, while others appear in both voices and piano.
Instrumentation: Soprano, Alto, Piano
Not, I'll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee;
Not untwist--slack they may be--these last strands of man
In me ór, most weary, cry I can no more. I can;
Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be.
But ah, but O thou terrible, why wouldst thou rude on me
Thy wring-world right foot rock? lay a lionlimb against me? scan
With darksome devouring eyes my bruisèd bones? and fan,
O in turns of tempest, me heaped there; me frantic to avoïd thee and flee?
Why? That my chaff might fly; my grain lie, sheer and clear.
Nay in all that toil, that coil, since (seems) I kissed the rod,
Hand rather, my heart lo! lapped strength, stole joy, would laugh, cheer.
Cheer whóm though? The héro whose héaven-handling flúng me, fóot tród
Me? or mé that fóught him? O whích one? is it éach one? That níght, that yéar
Of now done darkness I wretch lay wrestling with (my God!) my God.
Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)