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.
First Book of Airs
by Robert Jones (flourished 1597-1615)
1. A woman's looks  [sung text checked 1 time]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- possibly by John Lilliat (1555? - 1629) [author's text not yet checked against a primary source]
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
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.
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.
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!
- by Anonymous / Unidentified Author [author's text not yet checked against a primary source]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. —
- by Anonymous / Unidentified Author