Summer's Last Will and Testament

Song Cycle by Constant Lambert (1905 - 1951)

1. Movement II. Madrigal con ritornelli [sung text checked 1 time]

Fair Summer droops, droop men and beasts therefore,
   So fair a Summer look for never more.
All good things vanish less than in a day,
   Prace, plenty, pleasure suddenly decay.
Go not yet away, bright soul of the sad year;
   The earth is hell when thou leav'st to appear.


What, shall those flowers that decked thy garland erst,
   Upon thy grave by wastefully dispersed?
O trees, consume your sap in sorrow's source;
   Streams, turn to tears your tributary course.
Go not yet hence, bright soul of the sad year;
   The earth is hell when thou leav'st to appear.

Authorship:

See other settings of this text.

Researcher for this text: Ahmed E. Ismail

2. Movement III. Coranto [sung text not yet checked]

Spring, the sweet Spring, is the year's pleasant king;
Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring,
Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing,
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The palm and may make country houses gay,
Lambs frisk and play, the [shepherds pipe]1 all day,
And we hear aye birds tune this merry lay,
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The fields breathe sweet, the daisies kiss our feet,
Young lovers meet, old wives a-sunning sit,
In every street these tunes our ears do greet,
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!
Spring! The sweet Spring!

Authorship:

See other settings of this text.

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

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Julia Hamann) , "Frühling", copyright © 2007, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Argento: "shepherd pipes"

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

3. Movement IV. Madrigal con ritornelli [sung text checked 1 time]

Autumn hath all the Summer's fruitful treasure;
   Gone is our sport, fled is poor Corydon's pleasure;
Short days, sharp days, long nights, come on apace.
   Ah! who shall hide us from the Winter's face?
Cold doth increase, the sickness will not cease,
   And here we lie, God knows with little ease.
From Winter, Plague, and Pestilence, good Lord deliver us.

London doth mourn, Lambeth is quite forlorn,
   Trades cry, Woe worth, that ever they were born;
The want of term is town and city's harm,
   Close chambers do we want to keep us warm.
Long banished must we live from our friends:
   This low-built house will bring us to our ends.
From Winter, Plague, and Pestilence, good Lord deliver us.

Authorship:

Researcher for this text: Ahmed E. Ismail

4. Movement VI. Saraband [sung text not yet checked]

Adieu, farewell earth's blisse,
This world uncertain is,
Fond are lifes lustfull joyes,
Death proves them all but toyes.
None from his darts can flye,
I am sick I must die--
      Lord have mercy on us.

Rich men, trust not in wealth,
Gold cannot buy you health;
Physic himself must fade.
All things to end are made.
The plague full swift goes by;
I am sick, I must die--
      Lord have mercy on us.

Beauty is but a flower,
Which wrinkles will devour,
Brightness falls from the air,
Queens have died young and fair,
Dust hath closed Helen's eye.
I am sick, I must die--
      Lord have mercy on us.

Strength stoops unto the grave,
Worms feed on Hector brave
Swords [may not]1 fight with fate
Earth still holds ope her gate;
Come, come! the bells do cry;
I am sick, I must die--
      Lord have mercy on us.

Wit with his wantonness
Tasteth death's bitterness
Hell's executioner
Hath no ears for to hear
What vain art can reply;
I am sick, I must die--
      Lord have mercy on us.

Haste therefore each degree,
To welcome destiny:
Heav'n is our heritage,
Earth but a player's stage,
Mount we unto the sky.
I am sick, I must die--
      Lord have mercy on us.

Authorship:

See other settings of this text.

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Rowland: "cannot"

Researcher for this text: Ahmed E. Ismail
Total word count: 525