John Dowland Poems

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John Dowland
John Dowland (1563 buried February 20, 1626) was an English composer, singer, and lutenist. He is best known today for his melancholy songs such as "Come, heavy sleep" (the basis for Benjamin Britten's Nocturnal), "Come again", "Flow my tears", "I saw my Lady weepe" and "In darkness let me dwell", but his instrumental music has undergone a major revival, and has been a source of repertoire for classical guitarists during the twentieth century. Very little is known of Dowland's early life, but it is generally thought he was born in London. Irish historian W. H. Grattan Flood claimed that he was born in Dublin, but no corroborating evidence has ever been found.[1] Dowland went to Paris in 1580 where he was in service to the ambassador to the French court. He became a Roman Catholic at this time, which he claimed led to his not being offered a post at Elizabeth I's Protestant court. However, his conversion was not publicized, and being Catholic did not prevent some other important musicians from having a court career in England. He worked instead for many years at the court of Christian IV of Denmark. He returned to England in 1606 and in 1612 secured a post as one of James I's lutenists. Interestingly there are no compositions dating from the moment of his royal appointment until his death in London in 1626. While the date of his burial is recorded, the exact date of his death is not known.[2] Most of Dowland's music is for his own instrument, the lute. It includes several books of solo lute works, lute songs (for one voice and lute), part-songs with lute accompaniment, and several pieces for viol consort with lute. The poet Richard Barnfield wrote that Dowland's "heavenly touch upon the lute doth ravish human sense."

non sum qualis eram bonae sub regno cynarae
Last night, ah, yesternight, betwixt her lips and mine
There fell thy shadow, Cynara! thy breat... [read poem]
weep you no more, sad fountains
Weep you no more, sad fountains;
What need you flow so fast?
Look how the snowy mounta... [read poem]
vit{ae} summa brevis spem nos vetet incohare longam
They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate;
I think the... [read poem]
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