O dear life (William Byrd)
- Editor: David Fraser (submitted 2002-11-08). Score information: A4, 3 pages, 86 kB Copyright: CPDL
- Edition notes: Revised Feb 09.
Title: O Dear Life
Composer: William Byrd
Description: A setting of a poem by Sir Philip Sidney (1554-86): the first three stanzas of the Tenth Song from Astrophel and Stella. The piece clearly originates as a consort song for high voice and four viols, though no source of this version is now known.
Original text and translations
O dear life, when may it be,
that mine eyes thine eyes may see,
And in them my mind discover,
Whether absence hath had force,
Thy remembrance to divorce,
From the Image of thy lover.
O, if I my self find not,
though my parting aught forgot
Nor debarred from beauty’s treasure
Let no tongue aspire to tell
In what high Joys I shall dwell,
Only thought aims at the pleasure.
Thought therefore I will send thee
To take up the place for me,
Long I will not after tarry,
There unseen thou mayst be bold
These fair wonders to behold,
Which in them my hopes do carry.