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Four Madrigals

Word count: 701

Song Cycle by William Mayer (b. 1925)

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1. The passionate shepherd to his love [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): GER

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

  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (Walter A. Aue) , "Der feurige Schäfer zu seiner Liebsten", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Come live with me and be my Love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That [hills and valleys, dale and field]1,
[And all the craggy mountains yield]2.

[There will we]3 sit upon the rocks
[And see]4 the shepherds feed their flocks,
[By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals]5.6

[ ... ]
[The shepherd swains shall dance and sing For thy delight each May-morning:]5 If these delights thy mind may move, Then live with me and be my Love.

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Confirmed with The Golden Treasury, Francis T. Palgrave, ed., 1875.

See Raleigh's famous response, The nymph's reply to the shepherd.

See also the parody by Archibald Stodart-Walker.

1 Bennett, Bishop, Goldmark: "hill and valley, dale and field" ; Mayer: "valleys, groves, hills, and fields"
2 Mayer: "Woods, or steepy mountain yields"
3 Goldmark: "There we shall"; Mayer: "And we will"
4 Goldmark: "And watch"; Mayer: "Seeing"
5 omitted by Bishop.
6 Bennett inserts here "And if these pleasures may thee move,/ Then live with me and be my love." (from later in the poem)
7 Bennett, Bishop: "With"
8 Goldmark: "And"
9 Goldmark: "bed"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. The nymph's reply to the passionate shepherd [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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If [all]1 the world [and love were]2 young,
And truth in every shepherd's tongue,
These pretty pleasures might me move
To live with thee and be thy love.

[Time drives the flocks]3 from field to fold
When rivers rage and rocks grow cold,
And Philomel becometh dumb;
The rest complains of cares to come.

[ ... ]
But could youth last and love still breed, Had joys no date nor age no need, Then these delights my mind might move To live with thee and be thy love.

View original text (without footnotes)
A response to Marlowe's The passionate shepherd to his love
Note: the first stanza was published in The Passionate Pilgrim after no. 20.
1 In The Passionate Pilgrim and Barker: "that"
2 Mayer: "were gay and"
3 Mayer: "But Time drives flocks"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. Corinna's going a-Maying [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

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Get up, get up for shame, the blooming morn
Upon her wings presents the god unshorn.
See how Aurora throws her fair
Fresh-quilted colours through the air;
Get up, sweet slugabed, and see
The dew bespangling herb and tree,
Each flower has wept, and bowed towards the east,
Above an hour since, yet you not dressed,
Nay! not so much as out of bed;
When all the birds have matins said,
And sung their thankful hymns: 'tis sin,
Nay, profanation to keep in,
When as a thousand virgins on this day,
Spring, sooner than the lark, to fetch in May.
Rise, and put on your foliage, and be seen
To come forth like the springtime, - fresh and green,
And sweet as Flora. Take no care
For jewels for your gown or hair:
Fear not, the leaves will strew
Gems in abundance upon you:
Besides, the childhood of the day has kept
Against you come, some orient pearls unwept.
Come, and receive them while the light
Hangs on the dewlocks of the night,
And Titan on the eastern hill
Retires himself, or else stands still
Till you come forth... Wash, dress, be brief in praying:
Few beads are best, when once we go a-Maying.
Come, let us go, while we are in our prime,
And take the harmless folly of the time.
We shall grow old apace and die
Before we know our liberty.
Our life is short, and our days run
As fast away as does the sun:
And as a vapour, or a drop of rain
Once lost, can ne'er be found again:
So when or you or I are made
A fable, song, or fleeting shade,
All love, all liking, all delight,
Lies drowned with us in endless night.
Then while time serves, and we are but decaying,
Come, my Corinna, come, let's go a-Maying.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. To Electra [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): GER

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

  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (Bertram Kottmann) , "An Elektra", copyright © 2007, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


I dare not ask a kiss,
    I dare not beg a smile,
Lest having that, or this,
    I might grow proud the while.

No, no, the utmost share
    Of my desire shall be
Only to kiss that air
    That lately kissed thee.


Submitted by Bertram Kottmann

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