For voice and piano
Composition date: Nov 1922
Revised: ca. 1930-1940; ca. 1967-1968
Composition History

Composed 1922

Fair copies made ca. 1923-1924

Further draft made (perhaps from memory) in ca. 1930s

Revised and prepared for publication in 1967-68

Published 1985

First performance: 4 Mar 1980 >>
Type of performance: Concert performance
Location: University of East Anglia, Arthur Batchelor Lecture
Performance details:

Peter Pears ten, Pianist unknown.

Genre: Solo vocal
Text: Henry W Longfellow (1807-1882)

The text is a translation of a poem, Hut du dich from the collection of German folk poetry, Des Knaben Wunderhorn.

Duration: 1'


Britten made numerous copies of this song throughout the 1920s, returning to it some time in the 1930s and then again the 1960s. He revised it along with O that I'd ne'er been married (1922) and Fuzzy-wuzzy (ca. 1922) in 1967-8 around the same time of revising the Walter de la Mare songs which comprise Tit for Tat (Faber Music, 1969). The reason 'Beware' and the other two songs were not also published at this time is not known. One of the non-holograph sources for this song (see Fair copy) has a copyright date of 1976 from Faber, suggesting that the process of publication had begun while Britten was still alive.

It was published, along with 'O that I'd ne'er been married' and Epitaph (1926), in 1985.