Is Love a boy? - Boy pity me (William Byrd)

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  • (Posted 2019-12-24)  CPDL #56400:         
Editor: Maia McCormick (submitted 2019-12-24).   Score information: A4, 6 pages, 163 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Parts 1 (notated with repeat) and 2.
  • (Posted 2012-04-17)  CPDL #25986:         
Editor: James Gibb (submitted 2012-04-17).   Score information: A4, 3 pages, 38 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Reformatting of #9197, with corrections. Part 1 (Is Love a boy?) only.
  • (Posted 2005-08-30)  CPDL #09197:         
Editor: Brian Russell (submitted 2005-08-30).   Score information: A4, 6 pages, 46 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Part 1 (Is Love a boy?) only. NoteWorthy Composer file may be viewed and printed with NoteWorthy Composer Viewer.
Error.gif Possible error(s) identified. See the discussion page for full description.
  • (Posted 2007-09-09)  CPDL #14853:         
Editor: Brian Russell (submitted 2007-09-09).   Score information: A4, 5 pages, 41 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Part 2 (Boy, pity me) only. NoteWorthy Composer file may be viewed and printed with NoteWorthy Composer Viewer.
  • (Posted 2004-09-09)  CPDL #07822:        (Sibelius 5)
Editor: David Fraser (submitted 2004-09-09).   Score information: A4, 7 pages, 270 kB    Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Revised Sept 2021 (error correction, formatting).

General Information

Title: Is Love a boy?
Composer: William Byrd

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SecularPartsong

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1589 in Songs of sundrie natures, no. 15-16

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Part 1

Is Love a boy? What means he then to strike?
Or is he blind? Why will he be a guide?
Is he a man? Why doth he hurt his like?
Is he a God? Why doth he men deride?
No one of these, but one compact of all,
A wilful boy, a man still dealing blows,
Of purpose blind, to lead men to their thrall,
A God that rules unruly, God he knows.

Part 2

Boy, pity me that am a child again,
Blind be no more, my guide to make me stray,
Man, use thy might to force away my pain,
God, do me good, and lead me to my way:
And if thou be'st a power to me unknown,
Power of my life, let here thy grace be shown.