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Lute Songs on Renaissance Poetry

Word count: 711

Song Cycle by Emma Lou Diemer (b. 1927)

Show the texts alone (bare mode).

1. When to her lute Corinna sings [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

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When to her lute Corrina sings,
Her voice revives the leaden strings,
And doth in highest notes appear,
As any challeng'd echo clear;
But when she doth of mourning speak,
Even with her sighs the strings do break.

And, as her lute doth live or die,
Led by her passion, so must I:
For when of pleasure she doth sing,
My thoughts enjoy a sudden spring;
But if she doth of sorrow speak,
Even from my heart the strings do break.


Submitted by Brian Holmes

2. Blame not my lute [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Authorship


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          Blame not my Lute! for he must sound
Of this or that as liketh me;
For lack of wit the Lute is bound
To give such tunes as pleaseth me;
Though my songs be somewhat strange,
And speak such words as touch thy change,
          Blame not my Lute!

My Lute! alas! doth not offend,
Though that perforce he must agree
To sound such tunes as I intend,
To sing to them that heareth me;
Then though my songs be somewhat plain,
And toucheth some that use to feign,
          Blame not my Lute!

My Lute and strings may not deny,
But as I strike they must obey;
Break not them then so wrongfully,
But wreak thyself some other way;
And though the songs which I indite
Do quit thy change with rightful spite,
          Blame not my Lute!

Spite asketh spite, and changing change,
And falsed faith must needs be known;
The faults so great, the cause so strange;
Of right it must abroad be blown:
Then since that by thine own desert
My songs do tell how true thou art,
          Blame not my Lute!

Blame but thyself that hast misdone,
And well deserved to have blame;
Change thou thy way, so evil begone,
And then my Lute shall sound that same;
But if 'till then my fingers play,
By thy desert their wonted way,
          Blame not my Lute!

Farewell! unknown; for though thou break
My strings in spite with great disdain,
Yet have I found out for thy sake,
Strings for to string my Lute again:
And if, perchance, this sely rhyme
Do make thee blush, at any time,
          Blame not my Lute!


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. An odd conceit [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

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Lovely kind, and kindly loving,
Such a mind were worth the moving;
Truly fair, and fairly true -
Where are all these but in you?

Wisely kind, and kindly wise;
Blessed life, where such love lies!
Wise, and kind, and fair, and true -
Lovely live all these in you.

Sweetly dear, and dearly sweet,
Blessed where these blessings meet,
Sweet, fair, wise, kind, blessed, true -
Blessed be all these in you!


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. The lover complaineth the unkindness of his love [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

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My lute, adieu ! perform the last
Labour that thou and I shall waste,
And end that I have now begun ;
For when this song is sung and past,
My lute be still, for I have done.

As to be heard where ear is none,
As lead to grave in marble stone,
My song may pierce her heart as soon:
Should we then sing, or sigh, or moan,
No, no, my lute ! for I have done.

The rock doth not so cruelly
Repulse the waves continually,
As she my suit and affection;
So that I am past remedy ;
Whereby my lute and I have done.

Proud of the spoil that thou hast got
Of simple hearts, thorough loves shot.
By whom, unkind, thou hast them won;
Think not he hath his vow forgot,
Although my lute and I have done.

Vengeance shall fall on thy disdain,
That mak'st but game of earnest payne.
Trow not alone under the sun,
Unquit the cause thy lovers plaine,
Although my lute and I have done.

May chance thee lye withred and old,
In winter nights that are so cold,
Playning in vain unto the moon;
Thy wishes then dare not be told:
Care then who list! for I have done.

And then may chaunce thee to repent
The time that thou hast lost and spent,
To cause thy lovers sigh and swoon;
Then shall thou know beauty but lent,
And wish and want, as I have done.

Now cease, my lute! this is the last
Labour that thou and I shall waste,
And ended is that I begun;
Now is this song both sung and past:
My lute! be still, for I have done.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

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