Let the night perish, Z 191 (Henry Purcell)

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  • (Posted 2019-05-18)  CPDL #54264:     
Editor: Raymond Nagem (submitted 2019-05-18).   Score information: Letter, 4 pages, 94 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: Original key, with original basso continuo part only (no editorial realization).
  • (Posted 2019-05-18)  CPDL #54263:     
Editor: Raymond Nagem (submitted 2019-05-18).   Score information: Letter, 5 pages, 110 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: Original key. Contains an editorial realization of the continuo part.

General Information

Title: Job's Curse "Let the night perish", Z 191
Composer: Henry Purcell
Lyricist: Jeremy Taylorcreate page

Number of voices: 1v   Voicing: Solo high with chorus (ad lib.) TB or SB
Genre: SacredSacred song

Language: English
Instruments: Basso continuo

First published: 1688
Description: Titled "Job's Curse." Although Purcell adds a bass voice in the chorus, this song can also be performed with solo voice and continuo only.

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Let the Night perish; cursed be the Morn,
Wherein 'twas said, "There is a Man-child born!"
Let not the Lord regard that day, but shroud
Its fatal Glory in some sullen Cloud:
May the dark Shades of an Eternal Night
Exclude the least kind Beam of dawning Light;
Let unborn Babes, as in the Womb they lie,
If it be mention'd, give a Groan and die:
No sounds of Joy therein shall charm the Ear;
No sun, no Moon, no twilight Stars appear;
But a thick Veil of gloomy Darkness wear.
Why did I not, when first my Mother's Womb
Discharg'd me thence, drop down into my Tomb?
Then had I been at quiet, and mine Eyes
Had slept, and seen no Sorrow; there the Wise
And Subtle Counsellor, the Potentate,
Who for themselves built Palaces of State,
Lie hush'd in Silence; there's no Midnight cry,
Caus'd by Oppression, and the Tyranny
Of wicked Rulers. Here the Weary cease
From Labour, here the Prisoner sleeps in Peace;
The Rich, the Poor, the Monarch, and the Slave,
Rest undisturb'd, and no distinction have,
Within the silent Chambers of the Grave.