Ambitious love (William Byrd)

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  • (Posted 2008-08-28)  CPDL #17987:        (Sibelius 4)
Editor: David Fraser (submitted 2008-08-28).   Score information: A4, 5 pages, 110 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Revised August 2021 (voices 2 & 4 re-cleffed, minor formatting, editorial matters.)

General Information

Title: Ambitious Love
Composer: William Byrd

Number of voices: 5vv   Voicing: ATTBB
Genre: SecularPartsong

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1588 in Psalmes, Sonnets and Songs, no. 18

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Ambitious love hath forst me to aspire,
the beauties rare which doe adorne thy face:
Thy modest life yet bridles my desire,
whose severe law doth promise mee no grace.
But what? may love live under any law.
No, no? his power exceedeth mans conceit:
Of which the Gods themselves doe stand in awe,
for on his frown, a thousand torments waight.
Proceed then in this desperate enterprise,
with good advise, & follow love thy guide,
that leads thee to thy wished Paradise.
Thy climing thoughts, this comfort take with all,
that if it bee, thy foule disgrace to slide,
thy brave attempt, shall yet excuse thy fall.