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Four Shakespeare Duets

Word count: 435

Song Cycle by Mervyn, Lord Horder, the Second Baron of Ashford (1910 - 1998)

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1. It was a lover and his lass [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): FIN FRE GER GER GER

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):


It was a lover and his lass,
  With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino
That o'er the green [corn-field]1 did pass.
  In [the]2 spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding a ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.

[Between the acres of the rye,
  With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
These pretty country [folks]3 would lie,
  In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding a ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring. ]4

[This carol they began that hour,
  With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
How that [a life]5 was but a flower
  In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding a ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.]4

[And therefore take the present time]6
  [With]7 a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
For love is crownéd with the prime
  In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding a ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.


View original text (without footnotes)
1 Morley: "cornfields"
2 omitted by Barton, Bush, and Morley, passim.
3 Delius, Dring: "folk"
4 In Dring and Parry, only the first and third lines are set.
5 sometimes "life"?
6 Barton, Morley : "Then, pretty lovers, take the time"
7 Bush: "And with"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. Come unto these yellow sands [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): FIN FRE FRE FRE FRE SPA

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):


Come unto these yellow sands,
[Then]1 take hands:
Curtsied when you have and kissed,
The wild waves [whist]2:
Foot it featly here and there;
And, sweet sprites, the [burthen]3 bear.

Hark, hark!
Bow-wow.
The watch dogs bark;
Bow-wow.
Hark, hark!
I hear the strain of strutting Chanticleer
Cry, Cock-a-diddle dow.


View original text (without footnotes)
1 Bacon, Beach, Quilter: "And then"
2 Bacon: "shist"
3 Bacon: "burden"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. Where the bee sucks [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): FIN FRE FRE GER SPA

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):


  Where the bee sucks there [suck]1 I:
  In a cow-slip's [bell]2 I lie;
  There I couch when owls do cry.
  On a bat's back [I do]3 fly
  After [summer]4 merrily,
Merrily, merrily shall I live now
Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.


View original text (without footnotes)
1 Arne: "lurk"
2 Arne: "bed"
3 Arne: "do I"
4 Arne: "sunset"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. When that I was and a little tiny boy [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): DAN FIN FRE GER NOR SWE

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):


When that I was and a little tiny boy,
[With]1 hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
A foolish thing was but a toy,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came to man's estate,
[With]1 hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
'Gainst knaves and thieves men shut their gate,
For the rain it raineth every day.

[ But when I came, alas! to wive,
[With]1 hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
By swaggering could I never thrive,
For the rain it raineth every day.]2

[ But when I came unto my beds,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
With toss-pots still had drunken heads,
For the rain it raineth every day.]3

A great while ago the world [begun]4,
[With]1 hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
But that's all one, our play is done,
And we'll strive to please you every day.


View original text (without footnotes)
1 Amram: "With a"
2 Omitted by Amram.
3 set only by Baxter.
4 Amram: "began"

Submitted by Ted Perry

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