The fair young virgin - But not so soon (William Byrd)

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  • (Posted 2009-01-05)  CPDL #18714:     
Editor: David Fraser (submitted 2009-01-05).   Score information: A4, 9 pages, 157 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes:

General Information

Title: The fair young virgin - But not so soon
Composer: William Byrd
Lyricist: Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1535), Orlando Furioso, Canto I, stanzas 42-43, tr. ?Nicholas Yonge

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

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1588 in Musica Transalpina, Edition 1, no. 44-45
Description: Byrd's setting of the first stanza in Italian may be found at La virginella.

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

The fayre yong Virgin is lyke the rose untaynted,
in garden fayre while tender stalke doth beare it,
sole and untoucht, with no resort acquainted,
no shepherd nor his flock doth once come neare it,
th’ayre full of sweetnesse, the morning fresh depainted,
the earth, the water, with all theyr favours cheare it,
daintie yong gallants, and ladyes most desired,
delight to have therewith their heads and breasts attyred.

But not so soone, from greene stock where it growed,
the same is pluckt, and from the braunch removed,
as lost is all from heaven and earth that flowed,
both favour grace & beauty best beloved.
The virgen fayre, that hath the flowre bestowed,
which more then life to gard it her behoved,
loseth her prayse & is no more desired,
of those that late unto her love aspired.