Three Songs: The Words by John Donne

Song Cycle by Bernard George Stevens (1916 - 1983)

Word count: 540

?. Go and catch a falling star [sung text not yet checked]

Go and catch a falling star,
Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me where all past years are,
Or who cleft the devil's foot,
Teach me to hear mermaids singing,
Or to keep off envy's stinging,
And find
What wind
Serves to advance an honest mind.

If thou be'st born to strange sights,
Things invisible to see,
Ride ten thousand days and nights,
Till age snow white hairs on thee,
Thou, when thou return'st, wilt tell me,
All strange wonders that befell thee,
And swear,
No where
Lives a woman true and fair.

If thou find'st one, let me know,
Such a pilgrimage were sweet;
Yet do not, I would not go,
Though at next door we might meet,
Though she were true, when you met her,
And last, till you write your letter,
Yet she
Will be
False, ere I come, to two, or three.

Authorship

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

  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Va', e cattura una stella cadente", copyright © 2005, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. Sweetest love, I do not go [sung text not yet checked]

Sweetest love, I do not go,
    For weariness of thee,
Nor in hope the world can show
    A fitter love for me ;
        But since that I
[At the last must part, 'tis best,
Thus to use myself in jest
    By feigned]1 deaths to die.

Yesternight the sun went hence,
    And yet is here to-day ;
He hath no desire nor sense,
    Nor half so short a way ;
        Then fear not me,
But believe that I shall make
Speedier journeys, since I take
    More wings and spurs than he.

O how feeble is man's power,
    That if good fortune fall,
Cannot add another hour,
    Nor a lost hour recall ;
        But come bad chance,
And we join to it our strength,
And we teach it art and length,
    Itself o'er us to advance.

When thou sigh'st, thou sigh'st not wind,
    But sigh'st my soul away ;
When thou weep'st, unkindly kind,
    My life's blood doth decay.
        It cannot be
That thou [lovest]2 me as thou say'st,
If in thine my life thou waste,
    That art the best of me.

Let not thy divining heart
    Forethink me any ill ;
Destiny may take thy part,
    And may thy fears fulfil.
        But think that we
Are but turn'd aside to sleep.
They who one another keep
    Alive, ne'er parted be.

Authorship

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

  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Mio dolcissimo amore", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Emery: "Must die at last, 'tis best/ To use myself in jest/Thus by feign'd"
2 Emery: "lov'st"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. The Good-morrow [sung text not yet checked]

I wonder, by my troth, what thou, and I 
Did, till we lov'd? Were we not wean'd till then? 
But suck'd on country pleasures, childishly? 
Or snorted we in the seven sleepers' den? 
'Twas so; but this, all pleasures fancies be. 
If ever any beauty I did see, 
Which I desir'd and got, 'twas but a dream of thee. 

And now good morrow to our waking souls, 
Which watch not one another out of fear;
For love, all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room, an everywhere. 
Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone, 
Let Maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown, 
Let us possess one world, each hath one, and is one. 

My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears, 
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest 
Where can we find two better hemispheres 
Without sharp North, without declining West? 
Whatever dies was not mixed equally; 
If our two loves be one, or thou and I 
Love so alike, that none do slacken, none can die.

Authorship

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

  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Il buongiorno", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]