Many great composers creating their works in the early pre-WW II period were drawn to Gitanjali and The Gardener, Tagore’s first books in English. The ambigeous tone in many of these poems, whether to be a hymn to nature, to a deity, or to a lover, presented as a kind of song-offering was impossible not to use in one way or another. Later on, composers also used other texts, when they became available, like the Cresent Moon and Fruit-Gathering.

Those true settings that I could identify are 341 settings based on a verse from Gitanjali. From The Gardener there are 275 settings of verses, and for instance from The Crescent Moon 40.

Till this day Tagore’s poems are set to music, in all kinds of musical formats. And besides true poems, also aphorisms are widely used and set to music, especially from Stray Birds.


Many of the translations used in musical settings can be found on-line:

Gitanjali (Gtj) – a collection of 103 poems translated from the Bengali into English by Tagore himself, published in 1912. Around half of these poems were originally published in the Bengali Gitanjali, in 1910. The remaining ones were taken from other collections, mainly Gitimallo, Noibeddo (1901) and Khea (1906).
Full texts: Song Offerings, Sangesopfer, Canti di offerta
See also the Wikipedia pages in English, and in Bangla.

The Gardener (Grd) – a collection of 85 poems, also translated by Tagore, published in 1913 in English.
Full text: The Gardener, El Jardinero, Le jardinier d’amour, Ogrodnik

Fruit-gathering (Frg) – a colletion of 86 poems, translated 1916 from the Bengali by RT.
Full text: Fruit-gathering, Il paniere di frutta

Fireflies or Lekhan (Lek) – published bilangual by Tagore in facsimile in 1926 in Budapest. It consists of 256 epigrams and short verses, a bit like haikus. The difference is that Bangla in itself is able to express with a minimum of words, where Western languages need much more words. An earlier bundle epigrams was published in 1899 as Kanika, a third, posthumus bundle in 1945 as Sphulinga (Sphul).
Full text: Fireflies

Straybirds (Sb) – translated 1916 from the Bengali by RT
Full text: Straybirds

Lover’s Gift – (Gift) – 60 poems published together with Crossing in 1918
Full text is available via Google Books
(English Writings of Rabindranath Tagore: Poems – Sahitya Akademi, 2004
ISBN 8126012951)

The Fugitive (Fug) – 1921
Full text: The Fugitive and Other Poems

Songs of Kabir (Kb) – 100 poems from Kabir, a medieval poet, translated by Tagore, published in 1915
Full text: Songs of Kabir

Other texts:
Visarjan (The Sacrifice) – published 1890
Raja (The King of the Dark Chamber) – published 1910
Dak Ghar (The Post Office) – published 1912
The Crescent Moon (CM) – published 1913, on-line text here
Sadhana: The Realisation of Life – published 1913
The Hungry Stones and other stories – published 1916
Ghare Baire (The Home and The World) – published 1916
The Harvest (Har) – text in Spanish: La Cosecha
The Child (Child)
Land of Cards (Tasher Desh) – a dance drama based on Alice in Wonderland
For a synopsis: Land of Cards

See also:
Google Books: Tagore’s English texts
Gutenberg project on Tagore’s texts
Terebess Asia Online (TAO)

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