From Citheron the warlike boy is fled - There careless thoughts are freed - If Love be just (William Byrd)

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  • (Posted 2003-07-26)  CPDL #05358:        (Sibelius 5)
Editor: David Fraser (submitted 2003-07-26).   Score information: A4, 9 pages, 288 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Revised Sept 2021 (error correction, formatting).

General Information

Title: From Citheron the warlike boy is fled
Composer: William Byrd

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATT
Genre: SecularMadrigal

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1589 in Songs of sundrie natures, no. 19-21
Description: Madrigal in three parts.

Prima pars: From Citheron the warlike boy is fled
Secunda pars: There careless thoughts are freed
Tertia pars: If Love be just

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

From Citheron the warlike boy is fled
And smiling sits upon a Virgin's lap,
Thereby to train poor misers to the trap,
Whom Beauty draws with fancy to be fed:
And when Desire with eager looks is led,
Then from her eyes
The arrow flies,
Feather'd with flame, arm'd with a golden head.

There careless thoughts are freed of that flame
Wherewith her thralls are scorched to the heart:
If Love would so, would God the enchanting dart
Might once return and burn from whence it came!
Not to deface of Beauty's work the frame,
But by rebound
It might be found
What secret smart I suffer by the same.

If Love be just, then just is my desire;
And if unjust, why is he call'd a God?
O God, O God, O Just! reserve thy rod
To chasten those that from thy laws retire!
But choose aright (good Love! I thee require)
The golden head,
Not that of lead!
Her heart is frost and must dissolve by fire.