O heavy heart (Richard Allison)

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Editor: Christopher Shaw (submitted 2022-07-11).   Score information: A4, 11 pages, 144 kB   Copyright: CC BY SA
Edition notes: Please click on the link for preview/playback/PDF download.

General Information

Title: O heavy heart
Composer: Richard Allison
Lyricist: Anonymous
Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SSAB
Genre: SecularMadrigal

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1606 in An Howres Recreation in Musicke, no. 3 - 7

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

O heavy heart, whose charms are hid,
Thy help is hurt, thy hap is hard,
If thou should'st break, as God forbid,
Then should desert want his reward:
Hope well to have, hate not sweet thought,
Foul cruel storms fair calms have brought;
After sharp show'rs the sun shines fair,
Hope comes likewise after despair.

In hope, a king doth go to war;
In hope, a lover lives full long;
In hope, a merchant sails full far;
In hope, just men do suffer wrong;
In hope, the ploughman sows his seed;
Thus hope helps thousands at their need:
Then faint not heart, among the rest,
Whatever chance, hope thou the best.

Though wit bids will to blow retreat,
Will cannot work as wit would wish;
When that the roach doth taste the bait,
Too late to warn the hungry fish;
When cities burn on fiery flame,
Great rivers scarce may quench the same;
If will and fancy be agreed,
Too late for wit to bid take heed.

But yet it seems a foolish drift,
To follow will and leave the wit;
The wanton horse that runs too swift
May well be stay'd upon the bit;
But check a horse amid his race,
And out of doubt you mar his pace.
Though wit and reason doth men teach
Never to climb above their reach.

I can no more but hope, good heart,
For though the worst doth chance to fall,
I know a while shall ease thy smart
And turn to sweet thy sugar'd gall;
When thy good will and painful suit
Hath shak'd the tree and wants the fruit,
Then keep thou patience well in store,
That sovereign salve shall heal thy sore.