Six Ayres

Song Cycle by Brian Holmes (b. 1946)

Word count: 646

1. I care not for these Ladies [sung text checked 1 time]

I care not for [these]1 Ladies
That must be wooed and prayed,
Give me kind Amarillis
The wanton country maid;
Nature art disdaineth,
Her beauty is her own;
   For when we court and kiss,
   She cries, forsooth, let go;
   But when we come where comfort is,
   She never will say no.

If I love Amarillis,
She gives me fruit and flowers,
But if we love these Ladies,
We must give golden showers;
Give them gold that sell love,
Give me the nut brown lass,
   For when we court and kiss,
   She cries, forsooth, let go;
   But when we come where comfort is,
   She never will say no.

These ladies must have pillows,
And beds by strangers wrought,
Give me a Bower of willows,
Of moss and leaves unbought,
And fresh Amarillis,
With milk and honey fed,
   For when we court and kiss,
   She cries, forsooth, let go;
   But when we come where comfort is,
   She never will say no.

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

  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) (Geart van der Meer) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRI Frisian [singable] (Geart van der Meer) , copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Gibbs: "those"; further changes may exist not noted.

Researcher for this text: Brian Holmes

2. When to her lute Corrina sings [sung text checked 1 time]

When to her lute Corrina sings,
Her voice revives the leaden strings,
And doth in highest notes appear,
As any challeng'd echo clear;
But when she doth of mourning speak,
Even with her sighs the strings do break.

And, as her lute doth live or die,
Led by her passion, so must I:
For when of pleasure she doth sing,
My thoughts enjoy a sudden spring;
But if she doth of sorrow speak,
Even from my heart the strings do break.

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Researcher for this text: Brian Holmes

3. There is a garden in her face [sung text checked 1 time]

There is a garden in her face,
  Where roses and white lilies [grow]1;
A heav'nly paradise is that place,
  Wherein all pleasant fruits do [flow]2.
There cherries grow, which none may buy
Till "Cherry ripe", themselves do cry.

Those cherries fairly do enclose
  Of orient pearl a double row;
Which when her lovely laughter shows,
  They look like rosebuds filled with snow.
Yet them no peer nor prince [can]3 buy
Till "Cherry ripe", themselves do cry.

Her eyes like angels watch them still;
  Her brows like bended bows do stand,
Threat'ning with piercing frowns to kill
  All that [attempt]4 with eye or hand
[Those]5 sacred cherries to come nigh
Till "Cherry ripe", themselves do cry.

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

  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) (Lidy van Noordenburg) , "Als een tuin is haar gelaat", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Moeran: "blow"
2 Moeran: "grow"
3 Moeran: "may"
4 Ireland, Moeran: "approach"
5 Ireland, Moeran: "These"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. Thrice toss these oaken ashes in the air [sung text checked 1 time]

Thrice tosse these Oaken ashes in the ayre;
Thrice sit thou mute in this inchanted chayre:
And thrice three times tye up this true loves knot,
And murmur soft shee will, or shee will not.

Goe burn these poys'nous weedes in yon blew fire,
These Screech-owles fethers, and this prockling bryer,
This Cypresse gathered at a dead mans grave;
That all my feares and cares an end may have.

Then come you Fayries, dance with me a round,
Melt her hard hart with yout melodious sound:
In vaine alre all the charms I can devise,
She hath an Arte to breake them with her eyes.

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Modernized text used by Brian Holmes and Douglas Steele follows:

Thrice toss these oaken ashes in the air,
Thrice sit thou mute in this enchanted chair;
Then thrice three times tie up this true love's knot,
And murmur soft, she will, or she will not.

Go burn this pois'nous weeds in yon blue fire,
These screech owl's feathers, and this prickling briar,
This cypress gathered at a dead man's grave:
That all thy fears and cares an end may have.

Then come, you Fairies, dance with me a round,
Melt her hard heart with your melodious sound.
In vain are all the charms I can devise:
She hath an Art to break them with her eyes.

Note: Note: Steele changes "pois'nous" to "poisonous" and keeps "Fairies" and "Art" lower-case.


Researcher for this text: Linda Godry

5. Come, O come, my life's delight [sung text not yet checked]

Come, O come, my life's delight!
  Let me not in languor pine:
Love loves no delay, thy sight
  The more enjoyed, the more divine.
O come, and take from me
The pain of being deprived of thee.

Thou all sweetness dost enclose,
  Like a little world of bliss:
Beauty guards thy looks: the rose
  In them pure and eternal is.
Come then! and make thy flight
As swift to me as heavenly light!

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Viens, oh viens, délice de ma vie", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

6. Now winter nights enlarge [sung text checked 1 time]

Now winter nights enlarge
   The number of their hours,
And clouds their storms discharge
   Upon the airy towers;
Let now the chimneys blaze
   And cups o'erflow with wine,
Let well-tuned [words]1 amaze
   With harmony divine.
Now yellow waxen lights
   Shall wait on honey Love,
While youthful Revels, [Masques]2, and Courtly sights,
   Sleep's leaden spells remove.

This time doth well dispense
   With lover's long discourse;
Much speech hath some defense,
   Though beauty no remorse.
all do not all things well:
   Some measures comely tread,
Some knotted Riddles tell,
   Some Poems smoothly read,
The Summer hath his joys,
   And winter his delights;
Though Love and all his pleasures are but toys,
   They shorten tedious [nights]3.

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View original text (without footnotes)
1 Holmes: "works"
2 Holmes: "Masks"
3 P. Moore: "night"

Researcher for this text: Brian Holmes