I joy not in no earthly bliss (William Byrd)

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  • (Posted 2003-06-30)  CPDL #05283:        (Sibelius 4)
Editor: David Fraser (submitted 2003-06-30).   Score information: A4, 3 pages, 221 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Revised May 2023.

General Information

Title: I joy not in no earthly bliss
Composer: William Byrd

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

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

    Manuscript 1580 in Dow Partbooks, no. 68
First published: 1588 in Psalmes, Sonnets and Songs, no. 11

External websites:

  • Free choir training aids for this work are available at Choralia.

Original text and translations

English.png English text

I joy not in no earthly blisse,
I force not Cressus welth a straw:
For care I know not what it is,
I feare not Fortunes fatall law.
My mind is such as may not move,
for beautie bright nor force of love.

I wish but what I have at will,
I wander not to seeke for more:
I like the plaine I clime no hill,
in greatest stormes I sit on shore:
and laugh at them that toyle in vaine,
to get what must bee lost againe.

I kisse not where I wish to kill,
I faine not love where most I hate:
I breake no sleepe to winne my will,
I waite not at the mighties gate:
I scorne no poore nor feare no rich,
I feele no want no have to much.

The Court and cart I like nor loath,
extreames are counted worst of all:
the golden meane beetweene them both,
doth surest sit and feare no fall:
this is my choyce, for why I finde,
no wealth is like the quiet minde.

attrib. Sir Edward Dyer (1543-1607)