Of gold all burnished - Her breath is more sweet (William Byrd)

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  • (Posted 2022-11-05)  CPDL #71434:      (LilyPond)
Editor: Allen Garvin (submitted 2022-11-05).   Score information: Letter, 6 pages, 113 kB   Copyright: CC BY NC
Edition notes:
  • (Posted 2003-07-29)  CPDL #05364:        (Sibelius 4)
Editor: David Fraser (submitted 2003-07-29).   Score information: A4, 8 pages, 264 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Revised Sept 2021 (minor formatting).

General Information

Title: Of gold all burnished
Composer: William Byrd

Number of voices: 5vv   Voicing: SATTB
Genre: SecularPartsong

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1589 in Songs of sundrie natures, no. 36-37
Description: Song in two parts.

Prima pars: Of gold all burnished
Secunda pars: Her breath is more sweet

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Of gold all burnished, brighter than sunbeams,
Were those curled locks upon her noble head
Whose deep conceits my true deserving fled.
Wherefore mine eyes such store of tears outstreams.
Her eyes, fair stars ; her red, like damask rose ;
White, silver shine of moon on crystal stream ;
Her beauty perfect, whereon fancies dream.
Her lips are rubies ; teeth, of pearls two rows.
Her breath more sweet than perfect amber is ;
Her years in prime ; and nothing doth she want
That might draw gods from heaven to further bliss.
Of all things perfect this I most complain,
Her heart is rock, made all of adamant.
Gifts all delight, this last doth only pain.