You can help us modernize! The present website has been online for a very long time and we want to bring it up to date. As of May 6, we are $2,380 away from our goal of $15,000 to fund the project. The fully redesigned site will be better for mobile, easier to read and navigate, and ready for the next decade. Please give today to join dozens of other supporters in making this important overhaul possible!

The LiederNet Archive

Much of our material is not in the public domain.
It is illegal to copy and distribute our copyright-protected material without permission.
Printing texts or translations without the name of the author or translator is also illegal.
You must use the copyright symbol © when you reprint copyright-protected material.

For more information, contact us at the following address:
licenses (AT) lieder (DOT) net
Please read the instructions below the translations before writing!
In your e-mail, always include the names of the translators if you wish to reprint something.

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 had force,
Thy remembrance to divorce
  From the image of thy lover?

Or if I myself find not,
After parting, aught 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 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 text with footnotes

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

Gentle Reminder
This website began in 1995 as a personal project, and I have been working on it full-time without a salary since 2008. Our research has never had any government or institutional funding, so if you found the information here useful, please consider making a donation. Your gift is greatly appreciated.
     - Emily Ezust

Browse (Petrucci Music Library) for Lieder or choral works