Young Thyrsis' fate (Henry Purcell)

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  • (Posted 2019-08-19)  CPDL #55093:     
Editor: Nickel van Duijvenboden (submitted 2019-08-19).   Score information: A4, 4 pages, 127 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: This is a modern transcription made with MuseScore based on the original score available in the Orpheus Brittanicus edition of 1698.

General Information

Title: Young Thyrsis' fate ye hills and groves deplore, Z 473 (1688)
Composer: Henry Purcell
Lyricist: Nahum Tate (attributed)

Number of voices: 2vv   Voicing: SB
, TB, Solo Soprano Genre: SecularArt song

Language: English
Instruments: Basso continuo

First published: 1698
Description:  Young Thyrsis’ fate is an elegy written for the composer Thomas Farmer, who died young. He was a colleague of Purcell’s in the theatre world. Thyrsis is a character from Virgil's Eclogues, more precisely a shepherd and bard who competes in a singing contest. Recorded versions exist for both soprano and tenor, supplemented in both cases with a bass in the "chorus" part at the end. The elegy can also be sung as a solo, however.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Young Thyrsis' fate ye hills and groves deplore
Thyrsis, the pride of all the plains
The joy of nymphs and envy of the swains,
The gentle Thyrsis is no more.

What makes the spring retire
And groves their song decline?
Nature for her love’d Thyrsis seems to pine
Whose artful strains and tuneful lyre
Made the spring bloom and did the groves inspire.

What can the drooping sons of art
From this sad hour impart
To charm the cares of life
And ease the lover's smart?

While thus in dismal notes
We mourn the skillful shepherd’s urn
To the glad skies his harmony he bears
And as he charm'd the earth, transports the spheres.

Dutch.png Dutch translation

Heuvels en bossen bewenen het lot van de jonge Thyrsis;
Thyrsis, de trots van de velden,
Door nimfen geliefd, door plattelandsknapen benijd,
De zachtmoedige Thyrsis is heengegaan.

Wat doet de lente wegtrekken
En het gezang der bossen wegebben?
De natuur lijkt te smachten naar haar geliefde Thyrsis
Die met virtuoos gezang en fijn liergetokkel
De lente deed opbloeien en de bossen nieuw leven inblies.

Wat kunnen de droeve zonen van de kunst
Op dit trieste uur nog uitbrengen
Om de zorgen des levens te bezweren
En het verdriet van geliefden te verlichten?

Terwijl wij in deze schrijnende toonaarden
Treuren rond de urn van de behendige herder
Draagt hij zijn harmonie naar de blijde hemelen
En beweegt het firmament zoals hij ook de aarde betoverde.

Translation by Nickel van Duijvenboden 2019.