Five Jacobean Lyrics

Song Cycle by Roger Quilter (1877 - 1953)

Word count: 477

1. The jealous lover [sung text checked 1 time]

My dear mistress has a heart
Soft as those kind looks she gave me, 
When with love's resistless art,
And her eyes, she did enslave me.

But her constancy's so weak,
She's so wild, and apt to wander, 
That my jealous heart would break
Should we live one day asunder.

Melting joys about her move,
Killing pleasures, wounding blisses;
She can dress her eyes in love,
And her lips can [arm]1 with kisses.

Angels listen when she speaks;
She's my delight, all mankind's wonder;
But my jealous heart would break,
Should we live one day asunder.

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1 Quilter: "warm"

Researcher for this text: David K. Smythe

2. Why so pale and wan? [sung text not yet checked]

Why so pale and wan, fond lover?
  Prithee, why so pale?
Will, when looking well can't move her,
  Looking ill prevail?
  Prithee, why so pale?

Why so dull and mute, young sinner?
  Prithee, why so mute?
Will, when speaking well can't win her,
  Saying nothing [do't]1?
  Prithee, why so mute?

Quit, quit for shame, this will not move,
  This cannot take her;
If of herself she will not love,
  Nothing can make her;
  [The devil take her!]2

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

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1 Stöhr: "do"
2 Britten: "Let who will take her!"

Research team for this text: Ted Perry , Guy Laffaille [Guest Editor] , Johann Winkler

3. I dare not ask a kiss [sung text not yet checked]

I dare not ask a kiss,
    I dare not beg a smile,
Lest having that, or this,
    I might grow proud the while.

No, no, the utmost share
    Of my desire shall be
Only to kiss that air
    That lately kissed thee.

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

  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (Bertram Kottmann) , "An Elektra", copyright © 2007, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Bertram Kottmann

4. To Althea, from prison [sung text checked 1 time]

When Love with unconfined wings
  Hovers within my Gates;
And my divine Althea brings
  To whisper at the Grates:
When I lye tangled in her haire,
  [And]1 fetterd to her eye;
The Gods, that wanton in the Aire,
  Know no such Liberty.

When flowing Cups run swiftly round
  With no allaying Thames,
Our carelesse heads with Roses [bound]2,
  Our hearts with Loyall Flames;
When thirsty griefe in Wine we steepe,
  When Healths and draughts go free,
Fishes that tipple in the Deepe,
  Know no such Libertie.

When (like committed Linnets) I
  With shriller throat shall sing
The sweetnes, Mercy, Majesty,
  And glories of my KING;
When I shall voyce aloud, how Good
  He is, how Great should be;
[Inlarged]3 Winds that curle the Flood,
  Know no such Liberty.

Stone Walls doe not a Prison make,
  Nor I'ron bars a Cage;
Mindes innocent and quiet take
  That for an Hermitage;
If I have freedome in my Love,
  And in my soule am free;
Angels alone that sore above,
  Injoy such Liberty.

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

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1 Parry: "Or"
2 Parry: "crowned"
3 Quilter: "enlargèd"

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

5. The constant lover  [sung text checked 1 time]

Out upon it, I have loved
  Three whole days together!
And am like to love three more,
  If it prove fair weather.
 
Time shall moult away his wings
  Ere he shall discover
In the whole wide world again
  Such a constant lover.
 
But the spite on 't is, no praise
  Is due at all to me: 
Love with me had made no stays,
  Had it any been but she.
 
Had it any been but she,
  And that very face,
There had been at least ere this
  A dozen dozen in her place.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]