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O dear life, when shall it be

Language: English

O dear life, when shall it be 
  That mine eyes thine eyes may see;
  And in them thy mind discover,
Whether absence [hath]1 had force,
Thy remembrance to divorce
  From the image of thy lover?

[Or]2 if I myself find not,
[After parting, aught]3 forgot :
  Nor debarr'd from Beauty's treasure,
  Let no tongue aspire to tell 
In what high joys I shall dwell,
  Only Thought aims at the pleasure. 

Thought, therefore, I will send thee
To take up the place for me:
  Long I will not after tarry:
There, unseen, thou may'st be bold,
Those fair wonders to behold, 
  Which in them my hopes do carry.

Thought, see thou no place forbear,
Enter bravely everywhere ;
  Seize on all to her belonging :
But, if thou wouldst guarded be,
Fearing her beams, take with thee
  Strength of liking, rage of longing.

Think of that most grateful time,
When thy leaping heart will climb,
  In my lips to have his biding ;
There those roses for to kiss,
Which do breathe a sugar'd bliss,
  Opening rubies, pearls dividing.

Think of my most princely power,
Which I, blessed, shall devour
  With my greedy lick'rous senses,
Beauty, music, sweetness, love,
While she doth against me prove
  Her strong darts but weak defences.

Think, think of those dairyings,
When with dove-like murmurings,
  With glad moaning passed anguish,
We change eyes ; and heart for heart,
Each to other do depart,
  Joying till joy makes us languish.

O my thought! my thoughts surcease,
Thy delights my woes increase ;
  My life [melts]4 with too much thinking :
Think no more, but die in me,
Till thou shalt revived be,
  At her lips my nectar drinking.

Anonymous sets stanzas 1-3, 8
W. Byrd sets stanzas 1-3

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 sometimes printed as "have"
2 Anonymous composer and Byrd: "O"
3 Byrd: "Though my parting aught"
4 Anonymous composer: "fleets"

Submitted by John Versmoren


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.

Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:50
Line count: 48
Word count: 281

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