Lyrics from the Song-Books of the Elizabethan Age, by Various (1887)

From Thomas Campion’s Two Books of Airs, 1613.

AWAKE, awake! thou heavy sprite
That sleep’st the deadly sleep of sin!
Rise now and walk the ways of light,
’Tis not too late yet to begin.
Seek heaven early, seek it late;
True Faith finds still an open gate.
Get up, get up, thou leaden man!
Thy track, to endless joy or pain,
Yields but the model of a span:
Yet burns out thy life’s lamp in vain!
One minute bounds thy bane or bliss;
Then watch and labour while time is.

From Henry Youll’s Canzonets to three voices, 1608.

AWAKE, sweet Love! ’tis time to rise:
Phœbus is risen in the east,
Spreading his beams on those fair eyes
Which are enclosed with Nature’s rest.
Awake, awake from heavy sleep
Which all thy thoughts in silence keep!

From Thomas Bateson’s First Set of English Madrigals, 1604.

AY me, my mistress scorns my love;
I fear she will most cruel prove.
I weep, I sigh, I grieve, I groan;
Yet she regardeth not my moan.
Then, Love, adieu! it fits not me
To weep for her that laughs at thee.

From John Dowland’s Third and Last Book of Songs or Airs, 1603.

BEHOLD a wonder here!
Love hath receiv’d his sight!
Which many hundred year
Hath not beheld the light.
Such beams infusèd be
By Cynthia in his eyes,
As first have made him see
And then have made him wise.
Love now no more will weep
For them that laugh the while!
Nor wake for them that sleep,
Nor sigh for them that smile!
So powerful is the Beauty
That Love doth now behold,
As Love is turned to Duty
That’s neither blind nor bold.
Thus Beauty shows her might
To be of double kind;
In giving Love his sight
And striking Folly blind.

From John Dowland’s Third and Last Book of Songs or Airs, 1603.

BY a fountain where I lay,
(All blessèd be that blessèd day!)
By the glimm’ring of the sun,
(O never be her shining done!)
When I might see alone
My true Love, fairest one!
Love’s dear light!
Love’s clear sight!
No world’s eyes can clearer see!
A fairer sight, none can be!
Fair with garlands all addrest,
(Was never Nymph more fairly blest!)
Blessèd in the highest degree,
(So may she ever blessèd be!)
Came to this fountain near,
With such a smiling cheer!
Such a face,
Such a grace!
Happy, happy eyes, that see
Such a heavenly sight as She!
Then I forthwith took my pipe,
Which I all fair and clean did wipe,
And upon a heavenly ground,
All in the grace of beauty found,
Play’d this roundelay:
“Welcome, fair Queen of May!
Sing, sweet air!
Welcome, Fair!
Welcome be the Shepherds’ Queen,
The glory of all our green!”

From Thomas Ravenscroft’s Brief Discourse, &c., 1614.

The Urchins’ Dance.

BY the moon we sport and play,
With the night begins our day:
As we frisk the dew doth fall;
Trip it, little urchins all!
Lightly as the little bee,
Two by two, and three by three;
And about, about go we.

The Elves’ Dance.

ROUND about in a fair ring-a,
Thus we dance and thus we sing-a;
Trip and go, to and fro,
Over this green-a;
All about, in and out,
Over this green-a.

8 thoughts on “November-17

  1. ‘My mistress’ air’

    At first she will laugh
    when ever the love
    fits not me, she
    will scorn
    as my world (was never
    fair and clean)
    which hath not
    beheld beauty
    many hundred year(s)
    her silence burn(s), and
    she regardeth not my sighs

    Liked by 4 people

  2. a brief discourse on the dancework

    with the night begins her day
    awake from heavy leaden sleep
    rise and dance now for the man
    and all thy thoughts in silence keep

    rise now and dance into the light with happy smile and shining face
    welcome the laughs be bold be sweet trip up keep up the model dance

    in and out and to and fro and sport and play and yield and go
    and see the heavy spreading man now watch and sigh and moan in bliss

    his sight is blind his age is vain his might is endless first and last
    in sport he will most cruel prove such striking folly binds his eyes

    o do not weep for her she too is powerful and double bold
    she scorns the man she laughs at him yet pain sleeps deadly in her eyes

    in time the dancework lamp burns out we all might wake from sleep to wipe
    our world’s blind eye and see clear light show grace and love be wise at last

    with the day begins her night
    phoebus risen light and fair
    no eyes no voices silence now
    alone my mistress sleeps on air

    Liked by 4 people

  3. The Book of Air

    Weep for Love!
    Sleep my Love!

    Awake to grace: such beauty rise, dance sweet light and air.
    All about, in and out, trip lightly on the green.

    Night and day, Oh, Queen of May,
    By the moon begins our play!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. By a fountain where I lay

    The Urchins study world’s death dying
    The Elves discourse on Funeral Tears

    BEHOLD thou sweet Nymph sleep’st sleep of Sin rise and walk the ways late
    ’Tis not too yet thy life’s lamp in joy bounds and burns thy bane in bliss
    which are enclosed with Nature’s silence
    ’tis time Spreading the deadly Faith a wonder hath receiv’d
    the Last Book of Madrigals And Songs and Airs to be
    of Beauty she regardeth her laughs
    at many hundred year Folly of the cruel and wise
    which hath not beheld the ghosts and shades
    of blessèd Grace glimm’ring night shining done
    by thee the fairest mistress of the Moon in May

    AWAKE in the sight of Pale infusèd darkness
    found to be neither hellish sleep nor blind
    that doth forthwith banish thoughts of
    despair and hapless grief, sorrow, woes
    and the blackest of poisoned joy

    ’Tis now all in the grace of Beauty found
    that thus this Play shall be

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Duty

    A shepherd’s labour is endless
    One minute of sleep, a deadly sin
    An open gate regardeth me

    Heavy from sport, I groan to see
    This leaden track, cruel and bright
    To seek my urchins, by degree

    I weep, I sigh, it is too late
    Light burns my eyes, I trip, I fall
    Not yet wise, I sleep’st more
    As heavenly sun now garlands all

    But my folly of a powerful kind,
    This endless bane, hath turned me blind

    Liked by 4 people

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