What if a day (Richard Allison)
- Editor: Christopher Shaw (submitted 2022-05-14). Score information: A4, 5 pages, 85 kB Copyright: CC BY SA
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Title: What if a day
Composer: Richard Allison
Lyricist: Thomas Campion
Number of voices: 5vv Voicing: SSATB
Genre: Secular, Madrigal
Instruments: A cappella
First published: 1606 in An Howres Recreation in Musicke, no. 17 & 18
Original text and translations
What if a day, or a month, or a year
Crown thy desire with a thousand sweet contentings;
Cannot the chance of a night or an hour
Cross thy delight with as many sad tormentings?
Fortune, honour, beauty, youth,
Are but blossoms dying;
Wanton pleasures, doting love,
Are but shadows flying.
All our joys are but toys,
Idle thoughts deceiving.
None have pow'r of an hour
In their lives' bereaving.
Earth's but a point to the world; and a man
Is but a point to the earth's compared censure.
Shall then a point of a point be so vain
As to triumph in a silly point's adventure?
All is hazard that we have,
There is nothing biding;
Days of pleasure are like streams
Through fair meadows gliding.
Weal and woe, time doth go,
Time is never turning.
Secret fates guide our states
Both in mirth and mourning.