Out of the Rolling Ocean the Crowd
for 2 Baritones and Piano

In this song cycle, I took three poems by Walt Whitman and arranged them into a larger cycle. The first poem (Out of the Rolling Ocean the Crowd), I divided into three sections, and used as 'bookends' for the other two poems, creating one continuous narrative. The overarching compositional technique that I used here was the idea of 'first one, then the other, then both together', which works at various levels throughout the piece.

Out of the rolling ocean the crowd came a drop gently to me, 
Whispering, I love you, before long I die, 
I have travell’d a long way merely to look on you to touch you, 
For I could not die till I once look’d on you, 
For I fear’d I might afterward lose you. 

Now we have met, we have look’d, we are safe, 
Return in peace to the ocean my love, 
I too am part of that ocean, my love, we are not so much separated, 
Behold the great rondure, the cohesion of all, how perfect! 
But as for me, for you, the irresistible sea is to separate us, 
As for an hour carrying us diverse, yet cannot carry us diverse forever; 
Be not impatient – a little space – know you I salute the air, the ocean and the land, 
Every day at sundown for your dear sake, my love. 


Are you the new person drawn toward me? 
To begin with, take warning, I am surely far different from what you suppose; 
Do you suppose you will find in me your ideal? 
Do you think it so easy to have me become your lover? 
Do you think the friendship of me would be unalloy’d satisfaction? 
Do you think I am trusty and faithful? 
Do you see no further than this façade, this smooth and tolerant manner of me? 
Do you suppose yourself advancing on real ground toward a real heroic man? 
Have you no thought, O dreamer, that it may be all maya, illusion? 


When I heard at the close of the day how my name had been receiv’d with plaudits in the capitol, still it was not a happy night for me that follow’d, 
And else when I carous’d, or when my plans were accomplish’d, still I was not happy, 
But the day when I rose at dawn from the bed of perfect health, refresh’d, singing, inhaling the ripe breath of autumn, 
When I saw the full moon in the west grow pale and disappear in the morning light, 
When I wander’d alone over the beach, and undressing bathed, laughing with the cool waters, and saw the sun rise, 
And when I thought how my dear friend my lover was on his way coming, O then I was happy, 
O then each breath tasted sweeter, and all that day my food nourish’d me more, and the beautiful day pass’d well, 
And the next came with equal joy, and with the next at evening came my friend, 
And that night while all was still I heard the waters roll slowly continually up the shores, 
I heard the hissing rustle of the liquid and sands as directed to me whispering to congratulate me, 
For the one I love most lay sleeping by me under the same cover in the cool night, 
In the stillness in the autumn moonbeams his face was inclined toward me, 
And his arm lay lightly around my breast – and that night I was happy. 

for information on obtaining sheet music, please contact me at WalkerWilliamsMusic@gmail.com