Fair is the rose (Orlando Gibbons)

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  • (Posted 2017-10-30)  CPDL #47125:         
Editor: James Gibb (submitted 2017-10-30).   Score information: A4, 6 pages, 76 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Reformatting of #30682, with parts in original form, transposed down a minor 3rd for SATTB. MusicXML source file(s) in compressed .mxl format.
  • CPDL #30682:        (Finale 2004)
Editor: Willem Verkaik (submitted 2013-12-02).   Score information: A4, 10 pages, 158 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Measures 20-22 have been exchanged between S2 and A to allow a better range of modern singers. The original key (d) has been maintained.
MusicXML source file(s) in compressed .mxl format.

General Information

Title: Fair is the rose
Composer: Orlando Gibbons

Number of voices: 5vv   Voicings: SSATB or SATTB
Genre: SecularMadrigal

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1612 in The First Set of Madrigals and Mottets, no. 16


External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Fair is the rose, yet fades with heat or cold.
Sweet are the violets, yet soon grow old.
The lily is white, yet in one day 'tis done.
White is the snow, yet melts against the sun.
So white, so sweet was my fair mistress' face,
Yet altered quite in one short hour's space.
So short-lived beauty a vain gloss doth borrow,
Breathing delight today, but none tomorrow.