If women could be fair (William Byrd)
- Editor: David Fraser (submitted 2004-06-28). Score information: A4, 4 pages, 98 kB Copyright: CPDL
- Edition notes: Revised August 08.
Title: If women could be fair
Composer: William Byrd
Original text and translations
If women could be faire & never fond,
or that their beautie might continue still:
I would not mervaile though they made men bond,
by service long, to purchase their good will.
But when I see, how frail these cretures are:
I laugh, that men forget themselves so far.
To marke what choise they make, and how they change,
how leving best the worst they chose out stil:
And how like haggards wilde, about they range,
Skorning after reason to follow will.
Who would not shake such bussards from the fist,
& let them flie (faire fooles) which way they list.
Yet for our sport, wee fawne and flatter both,
To passe the time, when nothing else can please:
And traine them on to yeeld by subtill oath,
The sweet content, that gives such humour ease.
And then wee say, when wee their follies trie,
To play with fooles, Oh what a foole was I.
Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford (1550-1604)