As I beheld I saw a herdman wild (William Byrd)

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  • (Posted 2008-08-28)  CPDL #17988:        (Sibelius 4)
Editor: David Fraser (submitted 2008-08-28).   Score information: A4, 8 pages, 157 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Revised August 2021 (text underlay, minor formatting)

General Information

Title: As I beheld I saw a herdman wild
Composer: William Byrd

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

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1588 in Psalmes, Sonnets and Songs, no. 20

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

As I beheld, I saw a heardman wild,
with his sheephook a picture fine deface,
which he sometime his fancie to beguild,
had carv’d on barke of beech in secret place,
& with despite of most afflicted minde,
through deepe dispaire, of hart, for love dismaid,
he puld even from the tree, the carved rind,
& weping sore these wofull words he said:
ah Philida, would God thy picture faire,
I could as lightlie blot out of my brest,
then should I not thus rage, with great despight,
& teare the thing sometime I liked best:
but all in vaine, it booteth not god wot,
what printed is in hart, on tree to blot.