How shall a young man (William Byrd)

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  • (Posted 2016-10-13)  CPDL #41426:        (Sibelius 4)
Editor: Brian Marble (submitted 2016-10-13).   Score information: Letter, 4 pages, 71 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Arranged for SATB. Two verses.
  • (Posted 2016-10-13)  CPDL #41422:     
Viol parts: Superius:   Contratenor:   Tenor:   Bassus:  
Editor: David Fraser (submitted 2016-10-13).   Score information: A4, 3 pages, 222 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Original (?) version for voice and 4 viols, from Dow MS (GB-Och Music MSS 984-988)
  • (Posted 2003-07-16)  CPDL #05341:        (Sibelius 4)
Editor: David Fraser (submitted 2003-07-16).   Score information: A4, 4 pages, 126 kB    Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Revised July 22 (formatting).

General Information

Title: How shall a young man
Composer: William Byrd

Number of voices: 5vv   Voicing: SATTB
Genre: SacredPartsong Genre: SacredConsort song

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

Instruments: treble, 2 tenor & bass viols

    Manuscript 1580 in Dow Partbooks, no. 130
First published: 1588 in Psalmes, Sonnets and Songs, no. 4

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

How shall a young man prone to ill,
clense his unbridled heart?
If that thy law, O Lord hee doe,
all frailtie set apart.

Embrace with setled minde, and learne
thy word with care to keepe:
And seek to find with humble sprite,
thy judgements that are deepe.

With my whole heart I have thee sought,
and searched out thy way:
O suffer not that from thy word,
I swarve or goe astray.

Thy woord O Lord, within my heart,
least I should thee offend:
I have laid up as treasure great,
for that shall mee defend.

The Lord is blest, hee shall me teach,
the judgements of his mouth,
Thereby to rule and dresse the waies,
of my untamed youth.

Thy laws therefore in open place,
my lippes shall ever sound:
And never faile to shew forth that,
to which thou hast mee bound.

For in the way of thy precepts,
I set my whole delight:
No wealth, no treasure of the world,
so precious in my sight.

What thou command’st I will think on,
With diligent respect:
And to thy lawes have due regard,
for they shall mee protect.

In thy precepts O Lord, my soule
her whole delight hath set:
Thy words therefore more pure than gold,
I never will forget.

(Metrical version of Psalm 119: 9-16)