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On a day (William Jackson of Exeter)

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  • (Posted 2022-04-14)  CPDL #68851:  Network.png
Editor: Christopher Shaw (submitted 2022-04-14).   Score information: A4, 10 pages, 453 kB   Copyright: CC BY SA
Edition notes: Please click on the link for preview/playback/PDF download.

General Information

Title: On a day
Composer: William Jackson of Exeter
Lyricist: William Shakespeare
Number of voices: 3vv   Voicing: ATB
Genre: SecularGlee

Language: English
Instruments: Basso continuo

First published: 1762 Op. 3
Description: In his frontispiece, Jackson specified performance in the following terms: "I would just observe, that the following pieces will lose their effect, when the parts are doubled. The manner of performance that I would recommend, is by three voices singing moderately soft, and accompanied with any bass instrument that may have the effect of an accompaniment only; for nothing hurts a piece so much, as making a part principal, or even equal with others, when it was intended to be subservient. The equality of strength among the voices should also be observed; if one voice of the three be strong, and the others weak, it is necessary to soften it down, that the balance may not be destroyed; for it should always be remembered, that as no principal part was intended, there must be none produced".

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Original text and translations

English.png English text

On a day (alack the day), love whose month is ever May
Spied a blossom passing fair, playing in the wanton air.
Through the velvet leaves the wind all unseen can passage find,
That the lover, sick to death, wished himself the heavens' breath.

Air (quoth he), thy cheeks may blow, air, would I might triumph so,
But alas my hand is sworn ne'er to pluck thee from thy thorn.
Vow alack for youth unmeet, youth so apt to pluck a sweet.

Do not call it sin in me if I am forsworn for thee,
Thou for whom ev'n Jove would swear Juno but an Ethiope were.
And deny himself for Jove, turning mortal for thy love.