Who likes to love (William Byrd)

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  • (Posted 2003-10-21)  CPDL #05823:        (Sibelius 4)
Editor: David Fraser (submitted 2003-10-21).   Score information: A4, 3 pages, 90 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Revised Sept 08.

General Information

Title: Who likes to love
Composer: William Byrd
Number of voices: 5vv   Voicing: SATTB
Genre: SecularPartsong

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

 Manuscript 1580 in Dow Partbooks, no. 118
First published: 1588 in Psalmes, Sonnets and Songs, no. 13

External websites:

Original text and translations

Original text:

English.png English text

Who likes to love let him take heed,
and wot you why?
Among the Gods it is decreed
that love shall die,
and every wight that takes his part
shall forfeit each a mourning heart.

The cause is this as I have heard
a sort of dames
Whose beauty he did not regard
Nor secret flames
Complained before the gods above
That gold corrupts the God of love.

The gods did storm to hear this news
and there they swore
that sith he did such dames abuse
he should no more
be god of lovem but that he should
both die and forfeit all his gold.

His bow and shafts they took away
before their eyes
and gave these dames a longer day
for to devise
who should them keep, and they be bound
that love for gold should not be found.

These ladies, striving long, at last
they did agree
to give then to a maiden chaste,
whom I did see,
who with the same did pierce my heart
her beauty's rare and so I rest.