Purcell, “The Fairy-Queen” (1692)
This enchanting work is a musical setting of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Come, come, come, let us leave the Town
And in some lonely place,
Where Crouds and Noise were never known,
Resolve to spend our days.
In pleasant Shades upon the Grass
At Night our selves we’ll lay;
Our Days in harmless Sport shall pass,
Thus Time shall slide away.
Fill up the Bowl, then, &c.
1st Fairy, Chorus :
Trip it, trip it in a Ring;
Around this Mortal Dance, and Sing.
We must play at Blind Man’s Bluff.
Turn me round, and stand away,
I’ll catch whom I may.
1st Fairy, Chorus:
About him go, so, so, so,
Pinch the Wretch, from Top to Toe;
Pinch him forty, forty times,
Pinch till he confess his Crimes.
Hold you damn’d tormenting Punk,
I do confess?
What, what, &c.
I’m Drunk, as I live Boys, Drunk.
What art thou, speak?
If you will know it,
I am a scurvy Poet.
Pinch him, pinch him for his Crimes,
His Nonsense, and his Dogrel Rhymes.
Hold! Oh! Oh! Oh!
Confess more, more.
I confess, I’m very poor.
Nay prithee do not pinch me so,
Good dear Devil, let me go;
And as I hope to wear the Bays,
I’ll write a Sonnet in thy Praise.
Drive ’em hence, away, away
Let ’em sleep till break of Day.
Come all ye Songsters of the Sky,
Wake, and Assemble in this Wood;
But no ill-boding Bird be nigh,
None but the Harmless and the Good.
May the God of Wit inspire,
The Sacred Nine to bear a part;
And the Blessed Heavenly Quire,
Shew the utmost of their Art.
While Echo shall in sounds remote,
Repeat each Note,
Each Note, each Note.
Now joyn your Warbling Voices all.
Song and Chorus:
Sing while we trip it on the Green;
But no ill Vapours rise or fall,
Nothing offend our Fairy Queen.
See, even Night her self is here,
To favour your Design;
And all her Peaceful Train is near,
That Men to Sleep incline.
Let Noise and Care,
Doubt and Despair,
Envy and Spight,
(The Fiends delight)
Be ever Banish’d hence,
Let soft Repose,
Her Eye-lids close;
And murmuring Streams,
Bring pleasing Dreams;
Let nothing stay to give offence.
I am come to lock all fast,
Love without me cannot last.
Love, like Counsels of the Wise,
Must be hid from Vulgar Eyes.
‘Tis holy, and we must conceal it,
They profane it, who reveal it.
One charming Night
Gives more delight,
Than a hundred lucky Days.
Night and I improve the tast,
Make the pleasure longer last,
A thousand, thousand several ways.
Hush, no more, be silent all,
Sweet Repose has clos’d her Eyes.
Soft as feather’d Snow does fall!
Softly, softly, steal from hence.
No noise disturb her sleeping sence.
If Love’s a Sweet Passion, why does it torment?
If a Bitter, oh tell me whence comes my content?
Since I suffer with pleasure, why should I complain,
Or grieve at my Fate, when I know ’tis in vain?
Yet so pleasing the Pain, so soft is the Dart,
That at once it both wounds me, and tickles my Heart.
I press her Hand gently, look Languishing down,
And by Passionate Silence I make my Love known.
But oh! I’m Blest when so kind she does prove,
By some willing mistake to discover her Love.
When in striving to hide, she reveals all her Flame,
And our Eyes tell each other, what neither dares Name.
Ye Gentle Spirits of the Air, appear;
Prepare, and joyn your tender Voices here.
Cath, and repeat the Trembling Sounds anew,
Soft as her Sighs and sweet as pearly dew,
Run new Division, and such Measures keep,
As when you lull the God of Love asleep.
Now the Maids and the Men are making of Hay,
We h’ve left the dull Fools, and are stolen away.
Then Mopsa no more
Be Coy as before,
But let us merrily Play,
And kiss the sweet time away.
Why, how now, Sir Clown, what makes you so bold?
I’d have ye to know I’m not made of that mold.
I tell you again,
Maids must never Kiss no Men.
No, no: no Kissing at all;
I’ll not Kiss, till I Kiss you for good and all.
Not Kiss you at all?
No, no, no Kissing at all!
Why no Kissing at all?
I’ll not Kiss, till I Kiss you for good and all.
Should you give me a score,
‘Twould not lessen your store,
The bid me chearfully, chearfully Kiss,
And take, and take, my fill of your Bliss.
I’ll not trust you so far, I know you too well;
Should I give you aninch, you’d soon take an Ell.
The Lordlike you Rule,
And laugh as the Fool,
No, no, &c.
So small a Request,
You must not, you cannot, you shall not deny,
Not will I admit of another Reply.
Nay, what do you mean?
O fie, fie, fie!
When I have often heard young Maids complaining,
That when Men promise most they most deceive,
The I thought none of them worthy of my gaining;
And what they Swore, resolv’d ne’re to believe.
But when so humbly he made his Addresses,
With Looks so soft, and with Language so kind,
I thought it Sin to refuse his Caresses;
Nature o’ercame, and I soon chang’d my Mind.
Should he employ all his wit in deceiving,
Stretch his Invetion, and artfully feign;
I find such Charms, such true Joy in believing,
I’ll have the Pleasure, let him have the Pain.
If he proves Prejur’d, I shall not be Cheated,
He may deceive himself, but never me;
‘Tis what I look for, and shan’t be defeated,
For I’ll be as false and inconstant as he.
A Thousand Thousand ways we’ll find
To Entertain the Hours;
No Two shall e’re be known so kind,
No Life so Blest as ours.
One of the Attendants:
Now the Night is chac’d away,
All salute the rising Sun;
‘Tis that happy, happy Day,
The Birth-Day of King Oberon.
Let the Fifes, and the Clarions, and shrill Trumpets sound,
And the Arch of high Heav’n the Clangor resound.
When a Cruel long Winter has frozen the Earth,
And Nature Imprison’d seeks in vain to be free;
I dart forth my Beams, to give all things a Birth,
Making Spring for the Plants, every Flower, and each Tree.
‘Tis I who give Life, Warmth, and Vigour to all,
Even Love who rules all things in Earth, Air, and Sea;
Would languish, and fade, and to nothing would fall,
The World to its Chaos would return, but for me.
Hail! Great Parent of us all,
Light and Comfort of the Earth;
Before your Shrine the Seasons fall,
Thou who givest all Nature Birth.
Thus the ever Grateful Spring,
Does her yearly Tribute bring;
All your Sweets before him lay,
The round his Altar, Sing and Play.
Here’s the Summer, Sprightly, Gay,
Smiling, Wanton, Fresh and Fair;
Adorn’d with all the Flowers of May,
Whose various Sweets perfume the Air.
See my many Colour’d Fields
And loaded Trees my Will obey;
All the Fruit that Autumn yields,
I offer to the God od Day.
Now Winter comes Slowly, Pale, Meager, and Old,
First trembling with Age, and then quiv’ring with Cold;
Benumb’d with hard Forsts, and with Snow covere’d o’ver,
Prays the Sun to Restore him, and Sings as before.
Thrice happy Lovers, may you be
For ever, ever free,
From that tormenting Devil, Jealousie.
From all that anxious Care and Strife,
That attends a married Life;
Be to one another true,
Kind to her as she to you,
And since the errors of this Night are past,
May he be ever Constant, she for ever Chast.
O let me weep, for ever weep,
My Eyes no more shall welcome Sleep;
I’ll hide me from the sight of Day,
And sigh, and sigh my Soul away.
He’s gone, he’s gone, his loss deplore;
And I shall never see him more.
A Chinese Man:
Thus the gloomy World
At first began to shine,
And from the Power Divine
A Glory round about it hurl’d;
Which made it bright,
And gave it Birth in light.
Then were all Minds as pure,
As those Ethereal Streams;
In Innocence secure,
Not Subject to Extreams.
There was no Room then for empty Fame,
No cause for Pride, Ambition wanted aim.
Thus Happy and Free,
Thus treated are we
With nature’s chiefest Delights.
We nover cloy,
But renew our Joy,
And one Bliss another Invites.
Thus wildly we live,
Thus freely we give,
What Heaven as freely bestows.
We were not made
For Labour and Trade,
Which Fools on each other impose.
Yes, Daphne, in your Looks I find
The Charms by which my Heart’s betray’d;
Then let not your Disdain unbind
The Prisoner that your Eyes have made.
She that in Love makes least Defence,
Wounds ever with the surest Dart;
Beauty may captivate the Sense,
But Kindness only gains the Heart.
Har how all things with one Sound rejoyce,
And the World seems to have one voice.
Hark now the Echoing Air a Triumph Sings,
And all around pleas’d Cupids clap their Wings.
Sure the dull God of Marriage does not hear;
We’ll rouse him with a Charm, Hymen appear!
Our Queen of Night commands thee not to stay, Appear!
See, see, I obey.
My torch has long been out, I hate
On loose dissembled Vows to wait,
Where hardly Love out-lives the Wedding-Night,
False Flames, Love’s Meteors, yield my Torch no Light.
Turn then thine Eyes upon those Glories there,
And catching Flames will on thy Torch appear.
My Torch, indeed, will from such Brightness shine:
Love ne’er had yet such Altars, so divine.
They shall be as happy as they’re fair;
Love shall fill all the Places of Care:
And every time the Sun shall display his Rising Light,
It shall be to them a new Wedding-Day;
And when he sets, a new Nuptial-Night.