O sweet woods, the delight of solitarienesse (John Dowland)

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  • (Posted 2017-02-21)  CPDL #43237:         
Editor: James Gibb (submitted 2017-02-21).   Score information: A4, 4 pages, 59 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Reformatting of #16800, with minor changes to underlay.
  • (Posted 2008-05-06)  CPDL #16800:         
Editor: Brian Russell (submitted 2008-05-06).   Score information: A4, 5 pages, 36 kB   Copyright: CPDL
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  • (Posted 2006-06-13)  CPDL #11867:        (Finale 2006)
Editor: Daniel Harmer (submitted 2006-06-13).   Score information: Letter, 3 pages, 115 kB   Copyright: CPDL
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  • (Posted 2004-10-30)  CPDL #08399:   
Editor: Rolf Maeder (submitted 2004-10-30).   Score information: Letter, 3 pages, 48 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: Previously hosted on external site. Uploaded to CPDL server 2007-11-23.
  • (Posted 2001-01-11)  CPDL #01965:  Network.png PDF, MIDI and LilyPond files available.
Editor: Laura Conrad (submitted 2001-01-11).   Score information: A4, 8 pages, 104 kB   Copyright: GnuGPL
Edition notes: in partbook and score formats, with lute tablature, edited by Erik Koerner.

General Information

Title: O sweet woods, the delight of solitarienesse
Composer: John Dowland
Lyricist: Philip Sidney

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

Language: English
Instruments: Lute

First published: 1600 in The Second Booke of Songs or Ayres, no. 10

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

O sweet woods the delight of solitarinesse,
O how much do I love your solitarinesse.

From fames desire, from loves delight retir'd,
In these sad groves an Hermits life I led,
And those flase pleasures which once I admir'd,
With sad remembrance of my fall, I dread.
To birds to trees, to earth, impart I this,
For shee less secret, and as senceless is.
O sweet woods, etc.
O how much, etc.

Experience which repentance only brings,
Doth bid mee now my hart from love estrange,
Love is disdained when it doth looke at Kings,
And love loe placed, base and apt to change:
The power doth take from him his liberty,
His want of worth makes him in cradell die.
O sweet woods, etc.
O how much, etc.

You men that give false worship unto Love,
And seke that which you never shall obtaine,
The endlesse worke of Sisisphus you procure,
Whose end is this, to know you strive in vaine,
Hope and desire which now your Idols bee,
You needs must loose and feele dispaire with mee.
O sweet woods, etc.
O how much, etc.

You woods in you the fairest Nimphs have walked,
Nimphs at whose sight all harts did yeeld to Love.
You woods in whom deere lovers oft have talked,
How doe you now a place of mourning prove,
Wansted my Mistres saith this is the doome,
Thou art loves Childbed, Nursery, and Tombe.
O sweet woods, etc.
O how much, etc.