Length: 7.5 minutes
Instrumentation: high voice and piano
I. Orpheus with his lute
Orpheus with his lute made trees
And the mountaintops that freeze
Bow themselves when he did sing;
To his music plants and flowers
Ever sprung; as sun and showers
There had made a lasting spring.
Ev’rything that heard him play,
E’en the billows of the sea,
Hung their heads and then lay by.
In sweet music is such art,
Killing care and grief of heart
Fall asleep, or hearing, die.
II. Take, o take those lips away
Take, o take those lips away
That so sweetly were forsworn;
And those eyes, the break of day,
Lights that do mislead the morn:
But my kisses bring again
Seals of love, but sealed in vain!
III. So like a rose
O, how much more does beauty beauteous seem
By that sweet ornament which truth does give!
The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem
For that sweet odor which doth in it live.
The canker blooms have full as deep a dye
As the perfumed tincture of the roses,
Hang on such thorns and play as wantonly
When summer’s breath their masked buds discloses;
But for their virtue only is their show,
They live unwoo’d and unrespected fade,
Die to themselves.
Sweet roses do not so,
Of their sweet deaths are sweetest odors made:
And so of you, beauteous and lovely youth,
When that shall fade, my verse distills your truth.
October 20, 2007: John Warren, tenor; Austin Cook, piano; War Memorial Chapel; Greenville, SC
To purchase: Click to e-mail