The works of John Dowland

The Third and Last Booke of Songs or Aires

Dowland´s The Third and Last Booke of Songs or Aires was published February 21st, 1602/03.
The text of the title-page reads:

Newly composed to sing to the
Lute, Orpharion, or viols, and a dia-
logue for a base and meane
Lute with fiue voices to
sing thereto.
in Musicke, and Lutenist to the most
high and mightie
the fourth by the grace of God
king of Denmark and Norwey, &c.

Bona quò communiora eò meliora.
Printed ar London by P.S. [Peter Short] for Thomas Adams,
and are to be sold at the signe of the white Lion in
Paules Churchyard, by the assignement of a Pa-
tent granted to Thomas Morley. 1603.

The Third and Last Booke of Songs or Aires contains the following 21 songs:


Farewell too faire

Structure: a-minor, 4/4 rhythm, 2 St.
Comment: A good legatio is essential for this song.

Farewell too fair, too chaste, but too too cruel,
Deiscretion never quenched fire with swords:
Why hast thou made my heart thine anger`s fuel,
And now would kill my passions with thy words?
This is proud Beauty`s true anatomy,
If that secure severe in secrecy,
Farewell, farewell.

Farewell too dear, and too too much desired,
Unless compassion dwelt more near thy heart:
Love by neglect (though constant) oft is tired,
And forc`d from Bliss unwillingly to part.
This is proud beauty`s true anatomy,
If that secure severe in secrecy,
Farewell, farewell. 

Time stands still

Structure: G-major, 2/2 rhythm, 2 St.
Comment: Line 4 of stanza 2 must be addressed to Elizabeth, the flattery is too gross for anybody else.

Time stands still with gazing om her face,
Stand still and gaze, for minutes, hours and years, to her give place:
All other things shall change, but she remains the same,
Till heavens changed have their course and Time hath lost his name.
Cupid doth hover up and down blinded with her fair eyes,
And Fortune captive at her feet contemn'd and conquer'd lies.

When Fortune, Love, and Time attend on,
Her with my fortunes, love, and time I honour will alone,
If bloodless Envy say, Duty hath no desert,
Duty replies that Envy knows herself his faithful heart,
My settled vows and spotless faith no fortune can remove,
Courage shall show my inward faith, and faith shall try my love. 

Behold the wonder heere

Structure: G-major, 3/2 rhythm, 5 St.
Comment: Care must be taken with the underlay of line 3 of each stanza, where two syllables require repetition.

Behold a wonder here
Love hath receiv'd his sight,
Which many hundred years
Hath not behold the light.

Such beams infused be
By Cynthia in his eyes,
As first have made him see
And then have made him wise.

Love now no more will weep
For them that laugh the while,
Nor wake for them that sleep,
Nor sigh for them that smile.

So pow'rful is the beauty
That Love doth now behold,
As love is turn'd to duty
That's blind nor bold.

Thus Beauty shows her might
To be of double kind,
In giving Love his sight
And striking Folly blind. 

Daphne wast not so chaste as she was changing

Structure: F-major, 4/4 rhythm, 2 St.
Comment: A lively denunciation of promiscuity.

Daphne was not so chaste as she was changing,
Soon begun love with hate estranging:
He hath to-day triumphs with favours graced,
Falls before night with scorns defaced.
Yet is thy beauty feign'd, and ev'ry one desires,
Still the false light of thy trait'rous fires.

Beauty can want no grace by true love viewed;
Fancy by looks is still renewed:
Like to a fruitful tree it never groweth,
Or the fresh spring that endless floweth.
But if that Beauty were one of consent with Love,
Love should live free and true pleasure prove. 

Me me and none but me

Structure: G-major, 4/4 rhythm, 2 St.
Comment: A prayer for death, wishing to join the beloved in heaven.

Me, me and none but me, dart home, O gentle Death,
And quickly, for I draw too long this idle breath.
O how I long till I may fly to heav'n above,
Unto my faithful, unto my faithful beloved turtle dove.

Like to the silver swan, before my death I sing,
And yet alive my fatal knell I help to ring.
Still I desire from earth and earthly joys to fly,
He never happy liv'd, never happy liv'd that cannot love to die. 

When Phoebus first did Daphne loue

Structure: G-major, 3/2 rhythm, 2 St.
Comment: An entertaining song in coranto form. The words "but one" in stanza 1 appear to have been added by Dowland in defence against possible wrath of the Queen.

When Phoebus first did Daphne love,
And no means might her favour move,
He crav'd the cause. The cause, quoth she,
Is, I have vow'd virginity.
Then in a rage he sware, and said,
Past fifteen none but one should live a maid.

If maidens then shall chance be sped
Ere they can scarcely dress their head,
Yet pardon them, for they be loath
To make good Phoebus break his oath.
And better 'twere a child were born,
Than that a god should be foresworn. 

Say loue if euer thou didst finde

Structure: G-major, 4/4 rhythm, 4 St.
Comment: The third stanza is omitted in all collections. Probably in praise of the Queen.

Say, love, if ever thou didst find
A woman with a constant mind?
None but one.
And what should that rare mirror be?
Some goddess or some queen is she;
She, she, she, and only she,
She only queen of love and beauty.

But could thy fiery poison'd dart
At no time touch her spotless heart,
Nor come near?
She is not subject to Love's bow;
Her eye commands, her heart saith no,
No, no, no, and only no;
One no another still doth follow.

How might I that fair wonder know,
That mocks desire with endless no.
See the moon
That ever in one change doth grow,
Yet still the same, and she is so;
So, so, so, and only so,
From heav'n her virtues she doth borrow.

To her then yield thy shafts and bow,
That can command affection so:
Love is free;
So are her thoughts that vanquish thee.
There is no queen of love but she,
She, she, she, and only she
She only queen of love and beauty. 

Say Love if ever thou didst find by John Dowland from Valeria Mignaco & Alfonso Marin on Vimeo.

Flow not so fast ye fountaines

Structure: g-minor, 2/2 rhythm, 3 St.

Flow not so fast, ye fountains;
What needeth all this haste?
Swell not above your mountains,
Nor spend your time in waste.
Gentle springs, freshly your salt tears
Must still fall dropping from their spheres.

Weep they apace whom Reason
Or ling'ring Time can ease.
My sorrow can no Season,
Nor aught besides, appease.
Gentle springs, freshly your salt tears
Must still fall dropping from their spheres.

Time can abate the terror
Of every common pain;
But common grief is error,
True grief will still remain.
Gentle springs, freshly your salt tears
Must still fall dropping from their spheres. 

What if I neuer speede

Structure: a-minor, 4/4 rhythm, 2 St.
Comment: A slightly gloomy opening leads to a cheerful and confident ending. The basic mood is optimistic.

What if I never speed?
Shall I straight yield to despair,
And still on sorrow feed
That can no loss repair?
Or shall I change my love?
For I find pow'r to depart,
And in my reason prove
I can command my heart.
But if she will pity my desire and my love requite,
Then ever shall she live my dear delight.
Come, come, come, while I have a heart to desire thee,
Come, come, come, for either I will love or admire thee.

Oft have I dreamed of joy,
Yet I never felt the sweet,
But tired with annoy,
My griefs each other greet.
Oft have I left my hope
As a wretch by fate forlorn,
But Love aims at one scope,
And lost, will still return.
He that once loves with a true desire never can depart,
For Cupid is the king of ev'ry heart.
Come, come, come, while I have a heart to desire thee,
Come, come, come, for either I will love or admire. 

Loue stood amaz'd at sweet beauties paine

Structure: g-minor, 4/4 rhythm, 6 St.
Comment: The words are closely matched to the music in the first stanza, but subsequent stanzas have different accentuation and will prove hard to fit convincingly. The last line, needing two syllables repeated, creates particular problems.

Love stood amaz'd at sweet Beauty's pain:
Love would have said that all was but vain,
And Gods but half divine.
But when Love saw that Beauty would die:
He all aghast, to heav'ns did cry,
'O gods, what wrong is mine.'

Then his tears bred in thoughts of salt brine,
Fell from his eyes, like rain in sunshine,
Expell'd by rage of fire:
Yet in such wise as anguish affords,
He did express in these his last words
His infinite desire.

Are you fled, fair? where are now those eyes,
Eyes but too fair, envied by the skies?
You angry gods do know,
With guiltless blood your sceptres you stain,
On poor true hearts like tyrants you reign:
Unjust why do you so?

Are you false gods? why then do you reign?
Are you just gods? why then have you slain
The life of Love on earth.
Beauty, now thy face lives in the skies,
Beauty, now let me live in thine eyes,
Where bliss felt never death.

Then from high rock, the rock of despair,
He falls, in hope to smother in the air,
Or else on stones to burst,
Or on cold waves to spend hislast breath,
Or his strange life to end by strange death,
But Fate forbade the worst.

With pity mov'd, the gods then change Love
To Phoenix shape, yet cannot remove
His wonted property,
He loves the sun because it is fair,
Sleep he neglects, he lives but by air
And would, but cannot, die. 

Lend your eares to my sorrow good people

Structure: a-minor, 4/4, 3/2, 4/4 rhythm, 3 St.
Comment: Content of this song: Listen to my grief, once I was happy in love, cold is the heart without love, for true love is like heaven.

Lend your ears to my sorrow
Good people that have any pity:
For no eyes will I borrow
Mine own shall grace my doleful ditty:
Chant it, my voice though rude like to my rhyming,
And tell forth my grief which here in sad despair
Can find no ease of tormenting.

Once I liv'd, once I knew delight,
No grief did shadow then my pleasure:
Grac'd with love, cheer'd with Beauty's sight,
I joy'd alone true heav'nly treasure,
O what a heaven is love firmly embraced,
Such pow'r alone can fix delight
In Fortune`s bosom ever placed.

Cold as ice, frozen is that heart,
Where thought of love could no time enter:
Such of life reap the poorest part
Whose weight cleaves to this earthly centre,
Mutual joys in hearts truly united
Do earth to heav'nly state convert,
Like heav'n still in itself delighted. 

By a fountaine where I lay

Structure: g-minor, 4/4 rhythm, 3 St.
Comment: In stanza 1/3 the accent comes on the second syllable, not the first, and in stanza 2/3 one syllable goes to the pair of quavers.

By a fountain where I lay,
All blessed be that blessed day,
By the glimm'ring of the sun,
O never be her shining done,
When I might see alone
My true love's fairest one,
Love's dear light,
Love's clear sight,
No world's eyes can clearer see,
A fairer sight none, none can be.

Fair with garlands all address'd,
Was never nymph more fairly bless'd,
Blessed in the high'st degree,
So many she ever blessed be
Came to this fountain near
With such a smiling cheer.
Such a face
Such a grace
Happy, happy eyes that see
Such a heav'nly sight as she.

Then I forthwith took my pipe,
Which I all fair and clean did wipe,
And upon a heav'nly ground,
All in the grace of beauty found,
Played this roundelay,
Welcome, fair Queen of May,
Sing, sweet air,
Welcome fair,
Welcome be the shepherd's Queen,
The glory of all our green. 

Oh what hath ouerwrought my all amazed thought

Structure: g-minor, 4/4 rhythm, 3 St.
Comment: A bright song, possibly written for a masque.

O what hath overwrought
My all amazed thought?
Or whereto am I brought
That thus in vain have sought
Till Time and Truth hath taught,
I labour all for nought?

The day I see is clear,
But I am ne'er the near,
For grief doth still appear
To cross our merry cheer,
While I can nothing hear,
But winter all the year.

Cold, hold,
The sun will shine warm,
Therefore now fear no harm.
O blessed beams
Where beauty streams
Happy happy light to love's dreams. 

Farewell vnkind farewell

Structure: G-major, 4/4 rhythm, 2 St.
Comment: Diana Poulton suggests this could well be from a play, and would fit Jessica in The Merchant of Venice.

Farewell unkind farewell, to me no more a father,
Since my heart, my heart holds my love most dear.
The wealth which thou dost reap another's hand must gather,
Though my heart my heart still lies buried there.
Then farewell, then farewell, O farewell,
Welcome, my love, welcome, my joy forever.

'Tis not the vain desire of human fleeting beauty,
Makes my mind to live through my means do die.
Nor do I Nature wrong, though I forget my duty:
Love not in the blood but in the spirit doth lie.
Then farewell, then farewell, O farewell,
Welcome, my love, welcome, my joy forever. 

Weepe you no more sad fountaines

Structure: g-minor, 4/4 rhythm, 2 St.
Comment: Stanza 1 line 7: "lie" gives better sense, since it is the eyes that are sleeping, but prefers "lies" as a rhyme with "eyes".

Weep you no more, sad fountains;
What need [you]1 flow so fast?
Look how the snowy mountains
Heaven's sun doth gently waste!
But my sun's heavenly eyes
View not your weeping,
That now lies sleeping,
Softly now, softly lies

Sleep is a reconciling,
A rest that peace begets;
Doth not the sun rise smiling
When fair at e'en he sets?
Rest you, then, rest, sad eyes!
Melt not in weeping,
While she lies sleeping,
Softly now, softly lies

Fie on this faining, is loue without desire

Structure: F-major, 4/4 rhythm, 3 St.
Comment: Curious: The song starts in F and ends in D.

Fie on this feigning
Is love without desire,
Heat still remaining
And yet no spark of fire?
Thou art untrue, nor wert with fancy moved,
For Desire hath pow'r on all that ever loved.

Show some relenting,
or grant thou dost now love,
two hearts consenting
shall they no comforts prove?
Yield, or confess that love is without plaesure,
And that women's bounties rob men of their treasure.

Truth is not placed
In words and forcèd smiles,
Love is not graced
With that which still beguiles.
Love or dislike, yield fire, or give no fuel,
So may'st thou prove kind, or at the least less cruel. 

I must complaine, yet doe enioy

Structure: g-minor, 4/4, 3/2, 4/4 rhythm, 2 St.
Comment: The poem is from Thomas Campion. Resigned acceptance that a beautiful mistress will not also be a faithful one.

I must complain, yet do enjoy my love,
She is too fair, too rich in beauty's parts.
Thence is my grief: for Nature, while she strove
With all her graces and divinest arts,
To form her too too beautiful of hue,
She had no leisure left to make her true.

Should I aggriev'd then wish she were less fair,
That were repugnant to my own desires,
She is admir'd, new suitors still repair,
That kindles daily loves' forgetful fires,
Rest jealous thoughts, and thus resolve at last,
She hath more beauty than becomes the chaste. 

It was a time when silly Bees could speake

Structure: d-minor, 4/4 rhythm, 3 St.
Comment: The poem being based on the words Thyme and Time, it is almost impossible to follow by ear rather than eye. One source describes this poem as "The Earl of Essex his Buzze", some ascribe it to Essex, some to his secretary, Henry Cuffe, and one to John Lyly.

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. 

The lowest trees haue tops

Structure: g-minor, 4/4 rhythm, 2 St.
Comment: The poem is from Sir Edward Dyer.

The lowest trees have tops, the ant her gall,
The fly her spleen, the little spark his heat,
And slender hairs cast shadows though but small,
And bees have stings although they be not great.
Seas have their source, and so have shallow springs,
And love is love in beggars and in kings.

Where waters smoothest run, deep are the fords,
The dial stirs, yet none perceives it move:
The firmest faith is in the fewest words,
The turtles cannot sing, and yet they love,
True hearts have eyes and ears no tongues to speak:
They hear, and see, and sigh, and then they break. 

What poore Astronomers are they

Structure: G-major, 4/4 rhythm, 4 St.
Comment: Repeat is recommended, but stanza 3 could be omitted.

What poor astronomers are they,
Take women's eyes for stars,
And set their thoughts in battle ray
To fight such idle wars,
When in the end they shall approve,
'Tis but a jest drawn out of love.

And love itself is but a jest,
Devis'd by idle heads,
To catch young fancies in the nest,
And lay it in fool's beds,
That being hatch'd in Beauty's eyes,
They may be fledg'd ere they be wise.

But yet it is a sport to see
How wit will run on wheels,
While Will cannot persuaded be
With that which Reason feels:
That women's eyes and stars are odd,
And Love is but a feigned god.

But such as will run mad with Will,
I cannot clear their sight:
But leave them to their study still,
To look where is no light.
Till time too late we make them try,
They study false astronomy. 

Come when I call, or tarrie till I come

Structure: F-major, 4/4 rhythm, 1 Strophe.
Comment: This song is a duet sung in dialogue form.

1st Voice - Come when I call, or tarry till I come,
If you be deaf I must prove dumb.
2nd Voice - Stay awhile, my heav'nly joy, I come with wings of love,
When envious eyes Time shall remove.
1st Voice - If thy desire ever knew the grief of delay,
No danger could stand in thy way.
2nd Voice - O do not add this sorrow to my grief
That languish here wanting relief.
1st Voice - What need we languish? can Love quickly fly:
Fear ever hurts more than jealousy.
Both - Then securely Envy scorning,
Let us end with joy our mourning,
Jealousy still defy,
And love till we die.