First Book of Airs

by Robert Jones (flourished 1597-1615)

Word count: 3216

1. A woman's looks [sung text checked 1 time]

  A woman's looks
  Are barbèd hooks,
  That catch by art
  The strongest heart
When yet they spend no breath;
  But let them speak,
  And sighing break
  Forth into tears,
  Their words are spears
That wound our souls to death.

  The rarest wit
  Is made forget,
  And like a child
  Is oft beguiled
With love’s sweet-seeming bait;
  Love with his rod
  So like a God
  Commands the mind;
  We cannot find,
Fair shows hide foul deceit.

  Time, that all things
  In order brings,
  Hath taught me how
  To be more slow
In giving faith to speech,[Pg 4]
  Since women’s words
  No truth affords,
  And when they kiss
  They think by this
Us men to over-reach.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. Fond Wanton youths [sung text checked 1 time]

    οὐκ ἔστι γήμας ὅστις οὐ χειμάζεται,
    λέγουσι πάντες· καὶ γαμοῦσιν εἰδότες.
            --Anthol. Græc.

Fond wanton youths make love a God
Which after proveth Age’s rod;
Their youth, their time, their wit, their art
They spend in seeking of their smart;
And, which of follies is the chief,
They woo their woe, they wed their grief.

All find it so who wedded are,
Love’s sweets, they find, enfold sour care;
His pleasures pleasing’st in the eye,
Which tasted once with loathing die:
They find of follies ’tis the chief,
Their woe to woo, to wed their grief.

If for their own content they choose
Forthwith their kindred’s love they lose;
And if their kindred they content,
For ever after they repent;
O ’tis of all our follies chief,
Our woe to woo, to wed our grief.

In bed, what strifes are bred by day,
Our puling wives do open lay;
None friends, none foes we must esteem
But whom they so vouchsafe to deem:
O ’tis of all our follies chief,
Our woe to woo, to wed our grief.

Their smiles we want if aught they want,
And either we their wills must grant
Or die they will, or are with child;
Their longings must not be beguiled:
O ’tis of all our follies chief,
Our woe to woo, to wed our grief.

Foul wives are jealous, fair wives false,
Marriage to either binds us thrall;
Wherefore being bound we must obey
And forcèd be perforce to say, —
Of all our bliss it is the chief,
Our woe to woo, to wed our grief.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. She whose matchless beauty [sung text checked 1 time]

She whose matchless beauty staineth
What best judgment fair’st maintaineth,
She, O she, my love disdaineth.

Can a creature, so excelling,
Harbour scorn in beauty’s dwelling,
All kind pity thence expelling?

Pity beauty much commendeth
And th’ embracer oft befriendeth
When all eye-contentment endeth.

Time proves beauty transitory;
Scorn, the stain of beauty’s glory,
In time makes the scorner sorry.

None adores the sun declining;
Love all love falls to resigning
When the sun of love leaves shining.

So, when flower of beauty fails thee,
And age, stealing on, assails thee,
Then mark what this scorn avails thee.

Then those hearts, which now complaining
Feel the wounds of thy disdaining,
Shall contemn thy beauty waning.

Yea, thine own heart, now dear-prizèd,
Shall with spite and grief surprisèd
Burst to find itself despisèd.

When like harms have them requited
Who in others’ harms delighted,
Pleasingly the wrong’d are righted.

Such revenge my wrongs attending,
Hope still lives on time depending,
By thy plagues thy torrents ending.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. Once did I love [sung text checked 1 time]

Once did I love, and yet I live
Though love and truth be now forgotten.
Then did I joy, now do I grieve
That holy vows must needs be broken.

Hers be the blame that caused it so;
Mine be the grief though it be little.
She shall have shame, I cause, to know
What 'tis to love a dame so fickle.

Love her that list! I am content,
For that chameleon like she changeth,
Yielding such mists as may prevent
My sight to view her when she rangeth.

Let him not vaunt that gains my loss,
For when that he and Time hath proved her, 
She may him bring to weeping cross.
I say no more, because I loved her.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. Led by a strong desire [sung text checked 1 time]

Led by a strong desire
To have a thing unseen,
Nothing could make me tire
To be where as I had been. 
I got her sight, which made me think
My thirst was gone because I saw my drink.

Kept by the careful watch
Of more than a hundred eyes,
I sought but could not catch
The thing she not denies.
'Tis better to be blind and fast
Than, hungry, see thy love and can not taste.

But lovers' eyes do wake
When others are at rest;
And in the night they slake
The fire of day's unrest.
Methinks that joy is of most worth
Which painful Time and passed fears bring forth.

Yet husbands do suppose
To keep their wives by art,
And parents will disclose
By looks their children's heart.
As if they which have will to do
Had not the wit to blind such keepers too.

Peace then, ye aged fools,
That know yourselves so wise,
That from experience schools
Do think wit must arise.
Give young men leave to think, and say:
Your senses with your bodies do decay.

Love ruleth like a god,
Whom earth keeps not in awe,
Nor fear of smarting rod
Denounced by reason¼s law.
Give grave advice, but rest you there.
Youth hath his course and will; and you youths were.

Think not by prying care
To pick love's secrets out;
If you suspicious are
Yourselves resolve your doubt.
Who seek to know such deeds once done
Finds perjury before confession.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

6. Lie down, poor heart [sung text checked 1 time]

Lie downe, poore heart and die a while for griefe
thinke not that this world will ever do thee good,
fortune forewarnes ye looke to thy reliefe,
and sorrow sucks upon thy living bloud,
then this is all can helpe thee of this hell,
lie downe and die and then thou shalt doe well.

Day gives his light but to thy labours toyle
And night her rest but to thy weary bones
Thy fairest fortune follows with a foyle:
And laughing endes but with their after grones
then this is all can helpe thee of thy hell,
lie downe and die and then thou shalt doe well.

Patience doth pine and pitty ease no paine,
Time weares the thoughts but nothing helps the mind,
Dead and alive alive and dead againe:
These are the fits that thou art like to finde.
then this is all can helpe thee of thy hell,
lie downe and die and then thou shalt doe well.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

7. Where ling'ring fear [sung text not yet checked]

Where ling'ring fear doth once possess the heart,
There is the tongue,
First to prolong,
And smother up his suit, while that his smart,
Like fire supprest, flames more in every part.

Who dares not speak deserves not his desire,
The Boldest face,
Findeth most grace:
Though women love that men should them admire,
They slily laugh at him dares come no higher.

Some think a glance expressed by a sigh,
Winning the field,
Maketh them yield:
But while these glancing fools do roll the eye,
They beat the bush, away the bird doth fly. 

A gentle heart in virtuous breast doth stay,
Pity doth dwell,
In beauty's cell:
A womans heart doth not though tongue say nay
Repentance taught me this the other day.

Which had I wist I presently had got,
The pleasing fruit,
Of my long suit:
But time hath now beguil'd me of this lot,
For that by his foretop I took him not.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

8. Hero, care not though they pry [sung text checked 1 time]

Hero, care not though they pry,
I will love thee till I die.
Jealousy is but a smart
That torments a jealous heart.
Crows are black that were white
For betraying loves delight.

They that love to find a fault
May repent what they have sought.
What the fond eye hath not viewed,
Never wretched heart hath rued.
Vulcan then proved a scorn
When he saw he wore a horn.

Doth it then by might behove
To shut up the gates of love?
Women are not kept by force
But by nature's own remorse.
If they list they will stray;
Who can hold that will away?

Jove in golden shower obtained,
His love in a tower restrained.
So perhaps if I could do
I might hold my sweet love too.
Gold, keep out at the door,
I have love that conquers more.

Wherefore did they not suspect
When it was to some effect?
Every little glimm'ring spark
Is perceived in the dark.
This is right; owlets' kind
See by night, by day be blind.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

9. When love on time and measure makes his ground [sung text checked 1 time]

When love on time and measure makes his ground,
Time that must end though love can never die,
Tis love betwixt a shadow and a sound,
A love not in the hart but in the eie,
A love that ebbes and flowes now up now downe,
A mornings favor and an evenings frowne.

Sweet lookes shew love, yet they are but as beames,
Faire wordes seeme true, yet they are but as wind,
Eies shed their teares yet are but outward streames:
Sighes paint a sadnes in the falsest minde,
Lookes, wordes, tearesm sighes, shew love when love they leave,
False harts can weepe, sigh, sweare, and yet deceive.

Authorship

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

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Linda Godry) , "Wenn Liebe auch weder Zeit noch Maß kennt", copyright © 2007, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Linda Godry

10. Sweet come away, my darling [sung text checked 1 time]

Sweet come away, my darling,
And sweetly let me hear thee sing.
Come away, come away, come away and bring
My heart thou hast so fast in keeping.

O fie upon this long stay
That thus my loving hopes delay!
Come again, come again, come again and stay:
Sweet heart, I'll never more say thee nay.

Dear, be not such a tyrant
Still to rejoice thee in my want.
Come and do, come and do, come and do not scant
Me of thy sight so fair and pleasant.

Why hear'st thou not his sighing,
Whose voice all hoarse is with crying?
Come and do, come and do, come and do something
That may revive thy true love dying.

This is the pride of women,
That they make beggares of all men.
We must sigh, we must cry, We must die, and then
Forsooth it may be they will hearken.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

11. Women, what are they? [sung text checked 1 time]

Women, what are they? changing weather-cocks,
That smallest puffs of lust have power to turn;
Women, what are they? virtue's stumbling blocks,
Whereat weak fools do fall, the wiser spurn;
We men, what are we? fools and idle boys,
To spend our time in sporting with such toys.

Women, what are they? trees whose outward rind
Makes shew for fair when inward heart is hollow:
Women, what are they? beasts of heinous kind,
That speak those fair'st, whom most they mean to swallow:
We men, what are we? fools and idle boys,
To spend our time in sporting with such toys.

Women, what are they? rocks upon the coast,
Whereon we suffer shipwreck at our landings:
Women, what are they? patient creatures most,
That rather yield than strive 'gainst aught withstanding.
We men, what are we? fools and idle boys,
To spend our time in sporting with such toys.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

12. Farewell, dear love, since thou wilt needs be gone [sung text checked 1 time]

Farewell, dear love, since thou wilt needs be gone
Mine eyes do show my life is almost gone
Nay, I will never die so long as I can spy.
     There be many mo'tho' that she do go
     There be many mo' I fear not
Why then let her go, I care not.

Farewell, farewell, since this I find is true
I will not spend more time in wooing you.
But I will seek elsewhere If I may find love there
     Shall I bid her go? What and if I do?
     Shall I bid her go and spare not?
     Oh no no no, I dare not.

Ten thousand times farewell; yet stay awhile
Sweet, kiss me once; sweet kisses time beguile.
I have no pow'r  to move. How now am I in love?
     Wilt thou needs begone? Go then, all is one
     Wilt thou needs begone? Oh hie thee!
     Nay, stay, and do no more deny me.

Once more adieu, I see loath to depart
Bids oft adieu to her that holds my heart.
But seeing I must lose thy love, which I did choose,
     Go thy way for me since that may not be.
     Go, thy ways for me. But whither?
     Go, of but where I may come thither.

What shall I do? My love is now departed
She is as fair as she is cruel-hearted.
But seeing I must lose thy love with prayers oft repeated
     If she come no more, shall I die therefore?
     If she come no more, what care I?
     Faith, let her go, or come, or tarry!

Authorship

Note: quoted in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

13. O my poor eyes [sung text checked 1 time]

O my poor eyes, the sun whose shine
Late gave you light doth now decline,
And, set to you, to others riseth.
She who would sooner die than change,
Not fearing death delights to range,
A now, O now, O now my soul despiseth.

Yet, O my heart, thy state is blest
To find our rest in thy unrest,
Since thou her slave no more remainest.
For she that bound thee sets thee free
Then when she first forsaketh thee.
Such, O such, O such right by wrong thou gainest.

Eyes, gaze no more! heart learn to hate!
Experience tells you all too late
Fond woman's love with faith still warreth,
While true desert speaks, writes and gives,
Some groom the bargain nearer drives,
And he, O he, O he, the market marreth.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

14. If fathers knew but how to leave [sung text checked 1 time]

If fathers knew but how to leave
Their children wit as they do wealth,
And could constrain them to receive
That physicke which brings perfect health,
The world would not admiring stand,
A woman's face and woman's hand.
Women confess they must obey,
We men will needs be servants still:
We kiss their hands and what they say,
We must commend be't never so ill.
Thus we like fools admiring stand,
Her pretty foot and pretty hand.
We blame their pride which we increase,
By making mountains of a mouse:
We praise because we know we please,
Poor women are too credulous.
To think that we admiring stand,
Or foot, or face, or foolish hand.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

15. Life is a Poet's fable [sung text checked 1 time]

Life is a Poet's fable,
And all her days are lies
Stolen from death's reckoning table,
For I die as I speak,
Death times the notes that I do break.
Childhood doth die in youth,
And youth in old age dies,
I thought I liv'd in truth:
But I die, now I see,
Each age of death makes one degree.
Farewell the doting score,
Of worlds arithmetic,
Life, I'll trust thee no more,
Till I die, for thy sake,
I'll go by death's new almanac.
This instant of my song,
A thousand men lie sick,
A thousand knells are rung:
And I die as they sing,
They are but dead and I dying.
Death is but lifes decay,
Life time, time wastes away,
Then reason bids me say: 
That I die, though my breath
Prolongs this space of ling'ring death.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

16. Sweet Philomel in groves and deserts haunting [sung text checked 1 time]

Sweet Philomel in groves and deserts haunting
Oft glads my heart and ears with her sweet chanting.
But then her tunes delight me best
When perched with thorn against her breast,
She sings fie, fie, fie, as if she suffered wrong;
Till, seeming pleased, sweet, sweet, sweet, concludes her song.

Sweet Jinny sings and talks and sweetly smileth,
And with her wanton mirth my griefs beguileth.
But then methinks she pleaseth best
When my hands move love's request, move love's request,
She sings fie, fie fie, and seeming loth gainsays,
Till, better pleased, sweet, sweet, sweet, content betrays.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

17. That heart, wherein all sorrows [sung text checked 1 time]

That heart, wherein all sorrows doth abound,
Lies in this breast and cries aloud for death. 
O blame not her when I am underground
That scorning wished t'out live my panting breath.
O do not her despise,
But let my death suffice, but let my death suffice 
To make all young men wise. 

My loving hopes prolonged my loathed life,
Till that my life grew loathsome to my loved;
Till Death and I were at no longer strife,
And I was glad my death her wish approved,
O let her not be shent,
Yet let my precedent
Make women's hearts relent.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

18. What if I seek for love of thee [sung text checked 1 time]

What if I seek for love of thee,
Shall I find beauty kind
To desert that still shall dwell in me?
But if I sue and live forlorn,
Then alas never was 
Any wretch to more misfortune born.
Though thy looks have charmed mine eyes,
I can forbeare to love.
But if ever sweet desire
Set my woeful heart on fire
Then can I never remove.

Frown not on me unless thou hate,
For thy frown cast me down
To despair of my most hapless state:
Smile not on me unless thou love,
For thy smile will beguile
My desires if thou unsteadfast prove:
If thy needs wilt bend thy brows,
A while refrain, my dear,
But if thou wilt smile on me,
Let it not delayed be:
Comfort is never too near.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

19. My mistress sings no other song [sung text checked 1 time]

My mistress sings no other song
But still complains I did her wrong.
Believe her not; it was not so,
I did but kiss her and let her go.

And now she swears I did but what?
Nay, nay, I must not tell you that.
And yet I will, it is so sweet
As 'te-he, ta-ha' when lovers meet.

But woman's words they are heedless,
To tell you more it is needless.
I ran and caught her by the arm,
And then I kissed her; this was no harm.

But she, alas, is angry still,
Which showeth but a woman's will.
She bites the lip and cries 'fie, fie.'
And kissing sweetly, away she doth fly.

Yet sure her looks betray content,
And cunningly her brawls are meant,
As lovers use to play and sport
When time and leisure is too short.My mistress sings no other song
But still complains I did her wrong.
Believe her not; it was not so,
I did but kiss her and let her go.

And now she swears I did but what?
Nay, nay, I must not tell you that.
And yet I will, it is so sweet
As 'te-he, ta-ha' when lovers meet.

But woman's words they are heedless,
To tell you more it is needless.
I ran and caught her by the arm,
And then I kissed her; this was no harm.

But she, alas, is angry still,
Which showeth but a woman's will.
She bites the lip and cries 'fie, fie.'
And kissing sweetly, away she doth fly.

Yet sure her looks betray content,
And cunningly her brawls are meant,
As lovers use to play and sport
When time and leisure is too short.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

20. Perplexed sore am I [sung text checked 1 time]

Perplexed, perplexed sore am I!
Thine eyes fair love like Phoebus' brightest beams
Doth set my heart on fire and daze my sight.
Yet do I live by virtue of those beams,
For when thy face is hid comes fearful night,
And I am like to die.
Then since my eyes cannot endure so heav'nly spark,
Sweet grant that I may still feel out my love by dark.

So shall I, so shall I joyful be.
Each thing on earth that liveth by the sun
Would die if he in glory still appear.
Then let some clouds of pity overrun
That glorious face, that I with lively cheer
May stand up before thee;
Or since my eyes cannot endure so heav'nly spark,
Sweet grant that I may still feel out my love by dark.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

21. Can modest plain desire 

Can modest plain desire
 . . . . . . . . . .

— The rest of this text is not
currently in the database but will be
added as soon as we obtain it. —

Authorship

  • by Anonymous / Unidentified Author