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.
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by John Dowland (1562 - 1626), "It was a time when silly bees could speak", published 1603, from The Third and Last Book of Songs or Airs [sung text checked 1 time]
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 18
Word count: 158