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The Proud Pebble

(Humility & Pride)

FROM: Virtues and Vices: 7 Pieces for SATB Chorus and Piano





TONE: vibrant storytelling




GENERAL: This work was commissioned by Sound Ecologies Inc. (Indiana 2024, Luke Garrigus, President). It premiered at Choral Reflections: Sacred Music by Indiana Composers at the University of Indianapolis, on March 7, 2024. (Recording Below)


TEXT: Anonymous 

The Proud Pebble (Humility & Pride) 


At the top of a slope a pebble lay,
At the top of a sandy dune;
And he sung to himself in a lordly way,
To a slow and majestic tune:


"Oh, I am the king of the beach below,
That curves to the north and the south;
And I am the king of the boats that go
To the busy harbor's mouth.


"Yes, I am the king of the swaying tide, 

And the waves that lightly race;
And I am the king of the ocean wide
To the very end of space."


The pebble looked down from his outlook clear
On a stone at the foot of the slope.
"Poor creature," said he, "of a lower sphere,
Condemned to grovel and grope.


"But some are made to be stately and grave, 

And some are born to obey,
As yonder stone was made for a slave,
And I was born to hold sway."


A boy just then, with a kick of his toe,
Sent the stone some inches aside,
And down forthwith, reluctant and slow,
The cliff began to glide.


Higher and higher the movements reach
On the dune's steep sloping face,
Till they touch our pebble of lordly speech,
And draw it down to the base.


There it lies by the side of the stone,
And it has not a word to say
About the folks who are born to a throne,
And the folks who are born to obey.

Note from the Composer

“The Proud Pebble” is the second movement of Virtues and Vices: 7 Pieces for SATB Chorus and Piano and it explores the virtue/vice of humilty/pride. This anonymous poem tells a parable of a pebble who thinks highly of himself. Throughout the story the pebble asserts his superiority over others and his command of nature. Despite the pebble’s confidence, the pebble is quickly dethroned by a kick of a boy’s toe. This text reads like a nursery rhyme and is set to an equally tuneful melody and supporting harmonic lines. Sopranos and altos act as the omniscient narrator while the tenors and basses play the role of the proud pebble. Part divisi (tenor/bass) is diatonic and accessible. This piece will make you smile!  

Ordering Scores

This work is published as a digital score with a performance license. The cost is $3.00 per score, 10 copy minimum order. See "Virtues and Vices" to purchase the complete multi-movement work. 


To Order:

  • Click the link to email Daniel Watson Music LLC. 

  • Specify the total number of performers (include all singers, directors, pianists) and the name of your choir.

  • An invoice will be sent to you via PayPal requesting payment.  

  • Once payment is received, you will emailed the licensed PDF for the above number of copies within three business days (excluding weekends and holidays).

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