O what shall I do? (John Wilbye)

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  • (Posted 2017-01-12)  CPDL #42619:  Icon_pdf_globe.gif Icon_snd_globe.gif Icon_mp3_globe.gif Icon_ly_ext.png Network.png Transposed edition, Part Midis, and Mp3s Available
Editor: Monique Rio (submitted 2017-01-12).   Score information: Letter, 3 pages, 442 kB   Copyright: CC BY 4.0
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  • (Posted 2012-04-30)  CPDL #26065:         
Editor: James Gibb (submitted 2012-04-30).   Score information: A4, 4 pages, 43 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Reformatting of #10286. This edition transposed down a perfect 4th for SAB.
  • (Posted 2005-11-30)  CPDL #10286:  Network.png
Editor: Vince M. Brennan (submitted 2005-11-30).   Score information: Letter, 6 pages, 65 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: Copyright (c) 2004 by V. M. Brennan
  • (Posted 2005-08-30)  CPDL #09302:         
Editor: Brian Russell (submitted 2005-08-30).   Score information: A4, 4 pages, 42 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: NoteWorthy Composer file may be viewed and printed with NoteWorthy Composer Viewer.

General Information

Title: O, what shall I do?
Composer: John Wilbye

Number of voices: 3vv   Voicings: SAT or SAB
Genre: SecularMadrigal

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1598 in The Second Set of Madrigals for 3-6 voices, no. 6

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

O, what shall I do, or whither shall I turn me?
Shall I make unto her eyes? O, no, they'll burn me!
Shall I seal up my eyes and speak my part?
Then in a flood of tears I drown my heart,
For tears being stopped will swell for scope,
Though they overflow love, life and hope,
By beauty's eye
I'll choose to die.

At thy feet I fall, fair creature rich in beauty,
And for pity call; O kill not love and duty.
Let thy smooth tongue fan on my sense thy breath,
to stay thine eyes from burning me to death.
But if mercy be exiled
From a thing so fair compiled,
Then patiently
By thee I'll die.