by George Wither (1588 - 1667)

Shall I, wasting in despair
Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE
Shall I, wasting in despair,
Die because a woman's fair?
Or [my cheeks make pale]1 with care
'Cause another's rosy are?
Be she fairer than the day
Or the flowery meads in May --
If she be not so to me,
What care I how fair she be?

[Shall my foolish heart be pined]2
'Cause I see a woman kind;
[Or a well disposèd nature]3
Joinèd with a lovely feature?
Be she meeker, kinder, than
Turtle-dove or pelican,
[If she be not so to me,]4
What care I how kind she be?

Shall a woman's virtues move
Me to perish for her love?
Or her merit's value known
Make me quite forget mine own?
Be she with that goodness blest
Which may gain her name of Best;
If she seem not such to me,
What care I how good she be?

'Cause her fortune seems too high,
Shall I play the fool and die?
Those that bear a noble mind
[Where]5 they want of riches find,
Think what with them they would do
[Who]6 without them dare to woo;
And unless that mind I see,
What care I though great she be?

Great or good, or kind or fair,
I will ne'er the more despair;
If she love me, this believe,
I will die ere she shall grieve;
If she slight me when I woo,
I can scorn and let her go;
For if she be not for me,
What care I for whom she be?

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Still: "make pale my cheeks"
2 Still: "Should my heart be grieved or pined"
3 Still: "Or her well deserving known make me quite forget"
4 Still: "If she be not such to me"
5 Still: "What"
6 Still: "That"


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

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Résolution de l'amoureux", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2004-05-02
Line count: 40
Word count: 245