Tell me true Love where shall I seek thy being (John Dowland)

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  • (Posted 2020-01-22)  CPDL #56727:         
Editor: Martin Dietze (submitted 2020-01-22).   Score information: A4, 2 pages, 52 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: This edition contains the choral part only. It is meant to simplify matching the words on the different voices.
  • (Posted 2008-06-11)  CPDL #17179:     
Editor: David Fraser (submitted 2008-06-11).   Score information: A4, 3 pages, 128 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: SATB plus lute and bass viol.

General Information

Title: Tell me true Love where shall I seeke thy being
Composer: John Dowland

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SecularLute song

Language: English
Instruments: Lute, bass viol

First published: 1612 in A Pilgrimes Solace, no. 8
Description: Solo song (with lute and bass viol accompaniment) with SATB chorus.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Tell me true Love where shall I seeke thy being,
In thoughts or words, in vowes or promise making,
In reasons, lookes, or passions never seeing,
In men on earth, or womens minds partaking.
Thou canst not dye, and therefore living tell me
where is thy seate, why doth this age expell thee?

When thoughts are still unseene and words disguised;
vowes are not sacred held, nor promise debt:
By passion reasons glory is surprised,
in neyther sexe is true love firmly set.
Thoughts fainde, words false, vowes and promise broken
Made true Love flye from earth, this is the token.

Mount then my thoughts, here is for thee no dwelling,
since truth and falshood live like twins together:
Beleeve not sense, eyes, eares, touch, taste, or smelling,
both Art and Nature’s forc’d: put trust in neyther.
One onely shee doth true Love captive binde
In fairest brest, but in a fairer minde.

O fairest minde, enrich’d with Loves residing,
retaine the best, in hearts let some seed fall,
In stead of weeds Loves fruits may have abiding;
at Harvest you shall reape encrease of all.
O happy Love, more happy man that findes thee,
Most happy Saint, that keepes, restores, unbindes thee.