This is a cycle of four songs on poems by Thomas Campion, John Donne, Siegfried Sassoon and John Wilmot, the Second Earl of Rochester.
When to Her Lute Corinna Sings
When to her lute Corinna sings,/Her voice revives the leaden strings,/And doth in highest notes appear/As any challenged echo clear./But when she doth of mourning speak,/E'en with her sighs the strings do break.
And as her lute doth live or die,/Led by her passion, so must I./For when of pleasure she doth sing,/My thoughts enjoy a sudden spring;/But if she doth of sorrow speak,/E'en from my heart the strings do break.
Thomas Campion (c. 1567–1620)
Break of Day
Stay, O sweet, and do not rise;/The light that shines comes from thine eyes;/The day breaks not, it is my heart,/Because that you and I must part./Stay, or else my joys will die,/And perish in their infancy.
John Donne (1572–1631)
Sleep; and my song shall build about your bed/A paradise of dimness. You shall feel/The folding of tired wings; and peace will dwell/Throned in your silence; and one hour shall hold/Summer, and midnight, and immensity/Lulled to forgetfulness. For, where you dream,/The stately gloom of foliage shall embower/Your slumbering thought with tapestries of blue./And there shall be no memory of the sky,/Nor sunlight with its cruelty of swords./But, to your soul that sinks from deep to deep/Through drowned and glimmering colour, time shall be/Only slow rhythmic swaying; and your breath;/And roses in the darkness; and my love.
Siegfried Sassoon (1886–1967)
A Song of a Young Lady To Her Ancient Lover
Ancient person, for whom I,/All the flattering Youth defy;/Long be it e're thou grow Old,/Aking, shaking, Crazy Cold./But still continue as thou art,/Antient Person of my Heart.
On thy withered Lips and dry,/Which like barren Furrows lye;/Brooding Kisses I will pour,/Shall thy youthful Heat restore./Such kind Show'rs in Autumn fall,/And a second Spring recall:/Nor from thee will ever part,/Antient Person of my Heart.
Thy Nobler part, which but to name/In our Sex wou'd be counted shame/By Age's frozen grasp possest,/From his Ice shall be releast:/And, sooth'd by my reviving hand,/In former Warmth and Vigor stand./ All a Lover's wish can reach,/For thy Joy my Love shall teach:/And for thy Pleasure shall improve,/All that Art can add to Love./Yet still I love thee without Art,/Antient Person of my Heart.
John Wilmot, Second Earl of Rochester (1647–1680)
This portfolio last updated: Sep 11, 2015 8:35:00 AM