The Third and Last Book of Songs or Airs

by John Dowland (1562 - 1626)

Word count: 970

?. Behold a wonder here [sung text checked 1 time]

Behold a wonder here -
Love hath receiv'd his sight,
Which many hundred years
Hath not beheld the light.

Such beams infused be
By Cynthia in his eyes,
At first have made him see
And then have made him wise.

Love now no more will weep
For them that laugh the while,
Nor wake for them that sleep,
Nor sigh for them that smile.

So pow'rful is the beauty
That Love doth now behold,
As love is turn'd to duty
That's neither blind nor bold.

Thus beauty shows her might
To be of double kind,
In giving Love his sight
And striking Folly blind.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

?. Time stands still [sung text checked 1 time]

Time stands still with gazing on her face,
Stand still and gaze, for minutes, hours and years to her give place.
All other things shall change but she remains the same,
Till heavens changed have their course and Time hath lost his name.
Cupid doth hover up and down, blinded with her fair eyes,
And Fortune captive at her feet contemned and conquered lies.

Whom Fortune, Love, and Time attend on,
Her with my fortunes, love and time I honour will alone.
If bloodless Envy say Duty hath no desert,
Duty replies that Envy knows herself his faithful heart.
My settled vows and spotless faith no fortune can remove,
Courage shall show my inward faith, and faith shall try my love.

Authorship

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. Weep you no more, sad fountains [sung text checked 1 time]

Weep you no more, sad fountains;
  What need [you]1 flow so fast?
Look how the snowy mountains
  Heaven's sun doth gently waste!
    But my sun's heavenly eyes
      View not your weeping,
      That now lies sleeping,
    [Softly now, softly]2 lies
        Sleeping.

Sleep is a reconciling,
  A rest that peace begets;
Doth not the sun rise smiling
  When fair at [e'en]3 he sets?
    Rest you, then, rest, sad eyes!
      Melt not in weeping,
      While she lies sleeping,
    [Softly now, softly]2 lies
        Sleeping.

Authorship

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

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

View original text (without footnotes)
1 van Dieren: "ye"
2 van Dieren, Holst, Moeran: "Softly, now softly"
3 Parry: "eve"; Moeran, Quilter, van Dieren: "even"; Holst: "ev'n"

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

?. What poor astronomers are they [sung text checked 1 time]

What poor astronomers are they,
Take women’s eyes for stars!
And set their thoughts in battle ’ray,
To fight such idle wars;
When in the end they shall approve
’Tis but a jest drawn out of Love.

And Love itself is but a jest
Devised by idle heads,
To catch young Fancies in the nest,
And lay them in fool’s beds;
That being hatched in beauty’s eyes
They may be fledged ere they be wise.

But yet it is a sport to see,
How Wit will run on wheels!
While Wit cannot persuaded be,
With that which Reason feels,
That women’s eyes and stars are odd
And Love is but a feignèd god!

But such as will run mad with Will,
I cannot clear their sight
But leave them to their study still,
To look where is no light!
Till time too late, we make them try,
They study false Astronomy!

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. By a fountain where I lay [sung text checked 1 time]

By a fountain where I lay,
(All blessèd be that blessèd day!)
By the glimm’ring of the sun,
(O never be her shining done!)[Pg 10]
  When I might see alone
  My true Love, fairest one!
    Love’s dear light!
    Love’s clear sight!
No world’s eyes can clearer see!
A fairer sight, none can be!

Fair with garlands all addrest,
(Was never Nymph more fairly blest!)
Blessèd in the highest degree,
(So may she ever blessèd be!)
  Came to this fountain near,
  With such a smiling cheer!
    Such a face,
    Such a grace!
Happy, happy eyes, that see
Such a heavenly sight as She!

Then I forthwith took my pipe,
Which I all fair and clean did wipe,
And upon a heavenly ground,
All in the grace of beauty found,
  Play’d this roundelay:
  “Welcome, fair Queen of May!
    Sing, sweet air!
    Welcome, Fair!
Welcome be the Shepherds’ Queen,
The glory of all our green!”

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. The lowest trees have tops [sung text checked 1 time]

The lowest trees have tops, the ant her gall,
The fly her spleen, the little spark his heat,
And slender hairs cast shadows though but small,
And bees have stings although they be not great.
Seas have their source, and so have shallow springs,
And love is love in beggars and in kings.

Where waters smoothest run, deep are the fords,
The dial stirs, yet none perceives it move:
The firmest faith is in the fewest words,
The turtles cannot sing, and yet they love,
True hearts have eyes and ears no tongues to speak:
They hear, and see, and sigh, and then they break.

Authorship

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

  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Cime hanno gli alberi più bassi", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

?. Flow not so fast, ye fountains [sung text checked 1 time]

Flow not so fast, ye fountains;
What needeth all this haste?
Swell not above your mountains,
Nor spend your time in waste.
Gentle springs, freshly your salt tears
Must still fall dropping from their spheres.

Weep they apace whom Reason
Or ling'ring Time can ease.
My sorrow can no Season,
Nor aught besides, appease.
Gentle springs, freshly your salt tears
Must still fall dropping from their spheres.

Time can abate the terror
Of every common pain;
But common grief is error,
True grief will still remain.
Gentle springs, freshly your salt tears
Must still fall dropping from their spheres.

Authorship

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

. It was a time when silly bees could speak [sung text checked 1 time]

It was a time when silly bees could speak,
And in that time I was a silly bee,
Who fed on time until my heart 'gan break,
Yet never found the time would favour me.
Of all the swarm I only did not thrive,
Yet brought I wax and hney to the hive.

Then thus I buzzed when time no sap would give:
Why should this blessed time to me be dry,
Sith by this time the lazy drone doth live,
The wasp, the worm, the gnat, the butterfly?
Mated with grief I kneeled on my knees,
And thus complained unto the king of bees:

My liege, gods grant thy time may never end,
And yet vouchsafe to hear my plaint of time,
Which fruitless flies have found to have a friend,
And I cast down when atomies do climb.
The king replied but thus: Peace, peevish bee,
Thou'rt bound to serve the time, the time not thee.

Authorship

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Set by by John Dowland (1562 - 1626), published 1603
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]