Shall I sue, shall I seek for grace (John Dowland)

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  • (Posted 2017-03-03)  CPDL #43403:         
Editor: James Gibb (submitted 2017-03-03).   Score information: A4, 3 pages, 67 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Reformatting of #16808.
  • (Posted 2008-05-06)  CPDL #16808:         
Editor: Brian Russell (submitted 2008-05-06).   Score information: A4, 3 pages, 25 kB   Copyright: CPDL
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  • (Posted 2006-06-13)  CPDL #11876:        (Finale 2006)
Editor: Daniel Harmer (submitted 2006-06-13).   Score information: Letter, 3 pages, 76 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes:
  • (Posted 2000-07-07)  CPDL #01091:        (Finale 1998)
Editor: Suzi Nassen Stefl (submitted 2000-07-07).   Score information: Letter, 2 pages, 44 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: transcribed 7/21/99.

General Information

Title: Shall I sue, shall I seek for grace
Composer: John Dowland

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SecularMadrigal

Language: English
Instruments: A cappella or with (optional) Lute

First published: 1600 in The Second Booke of Songs or Ayres, no. 19
    2nd published: 1900 in Ausgewählte Madrigale und mehrstimmige Gesänge , Book I, no. 4

External websites:

Original text and translations

English.png English text

Shall I sue, shall I seek for grace?
Shall I pray shall I prove?
Shall I strive to a heav'nly joy,
With an earthly love?

Shall I think that a bleeding heart
Or a wounded eye,
Or a sigh can ascend the clouds,
To attain so high?

Silly wretch, forsake these dreams
Of a vain desire,
O bethink what high regard
Holy hopes do require.

Favour is as fair as things are,
Treasure is not bought,
Favour is not won with words,
Nor the wish of a thought.

Justice gives each man his own,
Though my love be just,
Yet will not she pity my grief,
Therefore die I must.

Silly heart then yield to die
Perish in despair,
Witness yet how fain I die,
When I die for the fair.