by Edmund Spenser (1552 - 1599)

But let stil Silence trew night‑watches...
Language: English 
But let stil Silence trew night-watches keepe,
That sacred Peace may in assurance rayne,
And tymely Sleep, when it is tyme to sleepe,
May poure his limbs forth on your pleasant playne.
The whiles an hundred little winged Loves,
Like divers-fethered doves,
Shall fly and flutter round about the bed,
And in the secret darke, that none reproves, 
Their prety stealthes shall worke, and snares shall spread
To filch away sweet snatches of delight,
Conceald through covert night.
Ye sonnes of Venus, play your sports at will!
For greedy Pleasure, carelesse of your toyes, 
Thinks more upon her paradise of ioyes,
Then what ye do, albe it good or ill.
All night, therefore, attend your merry play,
For it will soone be day:
Now none doth hinder you, that say or sing; 
Ne will the woods now answer, nor your eccho ring.

R. Vaughan Williams sets lines 5-11 in (at least) one setting - see below for more information
R. Vaughan Williams sets lines 1-4 in (at least) one setting - see below for more information

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.

Modernized spelling used in Vaughan Williams's music (The minstrel's song):

But let still Silence true night watches keep,
That sacred peace may in assurance reign,
And timely sleep, when it is time to sleep,
May pour his limbs forth on your pleasant plain...

Modernized spelling used in Vaughan William's music (Song of the winged loves):

The whiles an hundred little wingèd loves,
Like divers fethered doves,
Shall fly and flutter round about your bed,    
And in the secret dark, that none reproves
Their pretty stealths shall work, and snares shall spread
To filch away sweet snatches of delight,
Concealed through covert night.

Authorship

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


This text (or a part of it) is used in a work
Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Gustav Ringel

Text added to the website: 2020-01-12 00:00:00
Last modified: 2020-01-12 12:12:00
Line count: 19
Word count: 142