Care for thy soul (William Byrd)

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  • (Posted 2003-10-12)  CPDL #05673:        (Sibelius 4)
Editor: David Fraser (submitted 2003-10-12).   Score information: A4, 3 pages, 95 kB    Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Revised March 2008.

General Information

Title: Care for thy soul
Composer: William Byrd
Number of voices: 5vv   Voicing: SAATB
Genre: SecularPartsong

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

 Manuscript 1580 in Dow Partbooks, no. 71
First published: 1588 in Psalmes, Sonnets and Songs, no. 31

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Care for thy soule as thing of greatest price,
made to the end to tast of power devine,
devoide of guilt, abhorring sinne and vice,
apt by Gods grace to vertue to encline,
care for it so, as by thy retchlesse traine,
it bee not brought to tast eternall paine.

Care for thy corps, but chiefly for souls sake
cut of excesse, sustaining food is best,
to vanquish pride, but comely clothing take,
seeke after skill, deep ignorance detest:
Care so I say, the flesh to feed and cloth,
that thou harme not thy soule & body both.

Care for the world to do thy body right,
rack not thy wit to win by wicked waies,
seek not t’oppresse the weak by wrongfull might,
to pay thy due do banish all delaies:
Care to dispend according to thy store,
and in like sort be mindfull of the poore.

Care for thy soule, as for thy chiefest stay,
care for thy bodie for the soules availe,
care for the world for bodies help alway,
care yet but so as vertue may prevaile,
care in such sort that thou be sure of this,
care keep thee not from heaven & heavenly blis.