by Edmund Spenser (1552 - 1599)

Early, before the worlds light‑giving...
Language: English 
Early, before the worlds light-giving lampe
His golden beame upon the hils doth spred,
Having disperst the nights unchearfull dampe,
Doe ye awake, and, with fresh lustyhed,
Go to the bowre of my beloved Love,
My truest turtle dove.
Bid her awake; for Hymen is awake,
And long since ready forth his maske to move,
With his bright tead that flames with many a flake,
And many a bachelor to waite on him,
In theyr fresh garments trim.
Bid her awake therefore, and soone her dight,
For loe! the wished day is come at last,
That shall for all the paynes and sorrowes past
Pay to her usury of long delight:
And whylest she doth her dight,
Doe ye to her of ioy and solace sing,
That all the woods may answer, and your eccho ring.

R. Vaughan Williams sets lines 1-7

About the headline (FAQ)

Confirmed with The Poetical Works of Edmund Spenser, Volume V, edited by Francis J. Child, London: Imprinted for William Ponsonbie, dwelling in Paules Churchyard at the Signe of the Bishops Head, 1591.

Notes in text:
Tead, torch.
Dight, deck.

Modernized spelling used in Vaughan Williams's music:

Early, before the world's light-giving lamp,
His golden beam upon the hills doth spread,
Having dispersed the night's uncheerful damp,
Do ye awake and with fresh lusty head,
Go to the bower of my beloved love,
My truest turtle dove:
Bid her awake; for Hymen is awake.


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

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Gustav Ringel

Text added to the website: 2020-01-11 00:00:00
Last modified: 2020-01-12 10:59:34
Line count: 18
Word count: 136