Whilst from our looks (William Jackson of Exeter)
- Editor: Christopher Shaw (submitted 2022-04-01). Score information: A4, 5 pages, 429 kB Copyright: CC BY SA
- Edition notes: Please click on the link for preview/playback/PDF download.
Title: Whilst from our looks
Composer: William Jackson of Exeter
Lyricist: Matthew Prior
Number of voices: 3vv Voicing: ATB
Genre: Secular, Glee
Instruments: Basso continuo
First published: 1762 Elegies Op. 3
Description: In his frontispiece, Jackson specified performance in the following terms: "I would just observe, that the following pieces will lose their effect, when the parts are doubled. The manner of performance that I would recommend, is by three voices singing moderately soft, and accompanied with any bass instrument that may have the effect of an accompaniment only; for nothing hurts a piece so much, as making a part principal, or even equal with others, when it was intended to be subservient. The equality of strength among the voices should also be observed; if one voice of the three be strong, and the others weak, it is necessary to soften it down, that the balance may not be destroyed; for it should always be remembered, that as no principal part was intended, there must be none produced".
Original text and translations
Whilst from our looks, fair nymph, you guess
The secret passions of our mind;
My heavy eyes, you say, confess
A heart to love and grief inclin'd.
There needs, alas, but little art,
To have this fatal secret known;
With the same ease you threw the dart,
'Tis certain you can shew the wound.
How can I see you, and not love,
While you as op'ning east are fair?
While cold as northern blasts you prove,
How can I love, and not despair?
The wretch in double fetters bound
Your potent mercy may release:
Soon, if my love but once were crown'd,
Fair Isabel, my grief would cease.