Sweet honey-sucking bees (John Wilbye)

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  • (Posted 2011-10-02)  CPDL #24647:         
Editor: James Gibb (submitted 2011-10-02).   Score information: A4, 6 pages, 59 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: In original key. In this edition, the Alto and Tenor parts have been interchanged in bars 12-22, 47-61 and 65-69, so that the top of the Tenor range is G, rather than B flat. This follows James Turle’s edition for the London Antiquarian Music Society (c.1840).
  • (Posted 2005-11-30)  CPDL #10289:  Network.png
Editor: Vince M. Brennan (submitted 2005-11-30).   Score information: Letter, 7 pages, 78 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: Transposed down a tone. Copyright (c) 2004 by V. M. Brennan
Error.gif Possible error(s) identified. See the discussion page for full description.
  • (Posted 2005-08-30)  CPDL #09304:         
Editor: Brian Russell (submitted 2005-08-30).   Score information: A4, 14 pages, 99 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Transposed down a tone. Includes part 2: Yet, sweet, take heed. NoteWorthy Composer file may be viewed and printed with NoteWorthy Composer Viewer.
Error.gif Possible error(s) identified. See the discussion page for full description.

General Information

Title: Sweet honey-sucking bees
Composer: John Wilbye

Number of voices: 5vv   Voicings: SSATB or SSTTB
}} Genre: SecularMadrigal

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1598 in The Second Set of Madrigals for 3-6 voices, no. 17
Description: Part 1: for part 2, see Yet, sweet, take heed

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Sweet honey-sucking bees, why do you still
surfeit on roses, pinks and violets,
as if the choicest nectar lay in them
wherewith you store your curious cabinets?
Ah, make your flight to Melisuavia's lips.
There may you revel in ambrosian cheer,
where smiling roses and sweet lilies sit,
Keeping their springtide graces all the year.
[Part 2:
Yet, sweet, take heed, all sweets are hard to get:
Sting not her soft lips, O, beware of that,
for if one flaming dart come from her eye,
was never dart so sharp, ah, then you die.]