Life Has Loveliness to Sell

Serene treatment of  Sara Teasdale’s thoughtful poem, with gentle flute and piano accompaniment. For young voices or older treble groups. SSA, flute, piano.


SSA, flute, piano. Duration: 3’35”

Order from Shawnee/Mark Foster (Hal Leonard) or music retailer.


(Northfield Youth Choirs, Northfield, MN; Cora Scholz conducting)



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Composer’s Notes

This setting of Sara Teasdale’s moving poem was written on commission from the Mankato (MN) Children’s Chorus and premiered under Julie Aune at the Minnesota Music Educators Association Annual Convention in Minneapolis in 1998. The vocal and instrumental parts are not difficult, and if the three part divisi toward the end is too much for your group to handle, just sing the top line in unison, and have the pianist fill in the harmony parts. This piece may be performed as part of a Teasdale triptych, along with There Will Be Rest and To Joy. Here is the text:

Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring bird that sways and sings,
And children’s faces looking up
Holding wonder like a cup.

Life has loveliness to sell,
Music like a curve of gold,
Scent of pine trees in the rain,
Eyes that love you, arms that hold,
And for your spirit’s still delight,
Holy thoughts that star the night.

Spend all you have for loveliness,
Buy it and never count the cost;
For one white singing hour of peace
Count many a year of strife well lost
And for a breath of ecstasy
Give all you have been, or could be.

–Sara Teasdale