Three Songs of Ben Jonson

Song Cycle by Geoffrey Bush (1920 - 1998)

Word count: 217

1. Echo's Lament for Narcissus [sung text not yet checked]

 Slow, slow, fresh fount, keep time with my salt tears:
    [Yet slower, yet; O faintly,]1 gentle springs:
 List to the heavy part the music bears,
    Woe weeps out her [division]2 when she sings.
     Droop herbs and flowers,
     Fall grief in showers,
     Our [beauties are]3 not ours;
      [O, I could still,]4
 Like melting snow upon some craggy hill,
     [Drop, drop, drop, drop,]5
    Since [nature's]6 pride is, now, a withered daffodil.

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View original text (without footnotes)
1 Horsley: "O slower yet, O fainter"
2 Horsley: "division"
3 Horsley: "beauty is"
4 Quilter: "Or I could still"; Horsley: "O could I still"
5 Horsley: "Fall down, fall down."
6 Horsley: "summer's"

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

2. The Kiss [sung text not yet checked]

O that joy so soon should waste!
Or so sweet a bliss
As a kiss
Might not for ever last!
So sugared, so melting, so soft, so delicious,
The dew that lies on roses,
When the morn herself discloses,
Is not so precious.
O, rather than it would I smother,
Were I to taste such another;
It should be my wishing
That I might die kissing.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Malcolm Wren [Guest Editor]

3. A Rebuke [sung text not yet checked]

Still to be neat, still to be drest,
As you were going to a feast;
Still to be powder'd, still perfum'd:
Lady, Lady, it is to be presum'd:
Though art's hid causes are not found,
All is not sweet, all is not sound.
Give me a look, give me a face,
That makes simplicity a grace;
Robes loosely flowing, hair is free;
Such sweet neglect more taketh me 
Than all th'adulteries of art;
They strike mine eyes, but not my heart.

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

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]