When Phœbus first did Daphne love (John Dowland)

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  • (Posted 2009-03-25)  CPDL #19110:     
Editor: David Fraser (submitted 2009-03-25).   Score information: A4, 2 pages, 99 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: SATB plus lute tablature (6-course, tenor G tuning)
  • (Posted 2008-05-07)  CPDL #16836:         
Editor: Brian Russell (submitted 2008-05-07).   Score information: A4, 2 pages, 17 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: NoteWorthy Composer file may be viewed and printed with NoteWorthy Composer Viewer.

General Information

Title: When Phœbus first did Daphne love
Composer: John Dowland

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

Language: English
Instruments: Lute

First published: 1603 in The Third and Last Booke of Songs or Aires, no. 6

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

When Phoebus first did Daphne love,
and no means might her favour move,
he crav'd the cause. The cause, quoth she,
is, I have vow'd virginity.
Then in a rage he sware, and said,
Past fifteen none but one should live a maid.

If maidens then shall chance be sped
ere they can scarcely dress their head,
yet pardon them, for they be loath
to make good Phoebus break his oath.
And better 'twere a child were born,
than that a god should be foresworn.

By this they get sweet mother's name,
and are not barren which were blame,
besides by this procure they can
the world a child, the prince a man.
Now Stoick tell me if in this,
that anything be done a-miss.