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The Railway Children
Have You Heard?
music & lyrics by Stephen Kingsbury

Click here to see 'Have You Heard?' in the Vocal Score in a new window
 
The children sit, opening text books and mumbling complaints.
 
Mother

Well?
 

Peter Interea magno misceri murmure
Caelum incipit insequitur commixta
Grandine nimbus, et Tyrii...
 
Phyllis ...And nine times nine is eighty one
And ten times nine is ninety
 
Bobbie King Edward the Fourth, fourteen sixty one
King Edward the Fifth, fourteen eighty three
 
Phyllis I'm sick of awful mathematics
 
Peter I'm so fed up of boring Latin...
 
Bobbie Too many dates!
 
Phyllis Any other lesson would do!
 
Peter I'd rather be outside today
 
Children So, Mother, could we please go out
And then when we come back
We'll be so fresh and keen and wide awake
For learning something new!
 
Mother All right, but don't go far and be back before it gets dark!
 
Peter We will. I know; let's go to the railway, we haven't been there for ages.
 
Phyllis I wonder if it misses us.
 
Peter Come on! Last one there has to eat a lump of coal!
 
Bobbie You two go on ahead...
 
Peter and Phyllis run off.
 
Mother What is it my sweetheart? You don't feel ill do you?
 
Bobbie I don't know...I want to be by myself. My head feels all silly and my insides are all upside down.
 
Mother Hadn't you better lie down?
 
Bobbie I'll be better outside.
 
Bobbie All the old familiar things seem different today
The sky to me has never looked this blue
The flowers are just as beautiful
But brighter somehow
It's almost like the world has been
Replaced by something new
 
Chorus Have you heard the news, Miss Roberta?
Have you heard the news?
Can't think of who it was that told us
Perhaps it was a little bird?
 
Post Mistress (kissing her) God bless you, love...run along do!
 
Bobbie But...
 
Post Mistress Run along to the station. I have a telegram to deliver for your mother, but...it's best if you run along to the station now...run along, love!
 
The Post mistress leaves briskly. Mr James, the Blacksmith rushes on.
 
Mr James And a good morning to you, Missie, and many of them! I wish you joy, that I do!
 
Bobbie Good mor... (he has gone)
 
Bobbie Everyone I meet just talks in riddles to me
It's like seeing people acting out a dream
But I can't help feeling something good
Is coming this way
I have questions with no answers
What do all these myst'ries mean?
 
Chorus Have you heard the news, Miss Roberta?
Have you heard the news?
Can't think of who it was that told us
Perhaps it was a little bird?
+
Bobbie I wonder why the truth is always
So hard to find
Everything that's precious
In this world is so well hidden

Like a perfect diamond buried
Deep beneath the ground
I wonder, If I search hard enough
Surely the truth can still be found
 
Perks Hello! 'ere you are. Well, God bless you, my dear! I see it in the paper and I don't think I was ever so glad of anything in all my born days! One I must have, Miss, and no offence, I know, but on a day like this 'ere! (He kisses her on both cheeks) You ain't offended, are you? I ain't took too great a liberty? But, on a day like this...
 
Bobbie No, no, of course it's not a liberty, dear Mr Perks; we love you quite as much as if you were an uncle of ours, but...on a day like what?
 
Chorus We travel on through life
The scenery goes rushing by
We hardly stop; we hardly ever have the time to try
Before the journey ends
Discover something precious on the way
(No one can be sure they'll ever pass this way again)
But let us not forget
Our journey's not quite over yet

We only know the precious things that matter to us
When the light they shed is suddenly not there
And though the darkest tunnel seems to swallow evr'y dream
It's only time before we breathe the fresh and open air

We travel on through life
The scenery goes rushing by
We hardly stop; we hardly ever have the time to try
Before the journey ends
Discover something precious on the way
+

Bobbie I wonder why the truth is always
So hard to find
Everything that's precious
In this world is so well hidden
Like a perfect diamond buried
Deep beneath the ground
Surely then the truth can still be found
+
Peter & Phyllis I wonder why the truth is hard to find
Everything that's precious in this world is so well hidden
Like a perfect diamond in the ground
+
Perks Everything that's precious in this world
Like a diamond in the ground
Surely truth can still be found
 
Perks Mind out! Here it comes: the 11:54. Stand back please!
 
Chorus And so now we've come full circle
We've seen truth erase the lies
Remember where we started, if you can:
Our 'perfect urban fam'ly'
Now a little more wise
(We're all a little wiser now)
Our tickets have returned us to
The place where we began
 
The train arrives and as the smoke clears we see the figure of Father. Bobbie rushes to him.
 
Bobbie Oh, my Daddy, my Daddy!
 
Company (to audience)
This is your station too, dear friends
And so our little journey ends