songs from “Rosseter’s Book of Ayres”






Posted here nine songs for voice and lute from “Rosseter’s Book of Ayres,” a songbook by Philip Rosseter and Thomas Campion. No one seems to know for certain who wrote the lyrics. It was probably one of the composers, or both.

Philip Rosseter (1568-1623) was an English composer and musician, as well as a theatrical manager. Thomas Campion (1567-1620) was an English composer, poet, and physician.

I love these renditions, which were on an LP I purchased around 1964 in my college’s bookstore. The LP is rare and hard to obtain now. It was on a German label, Arkiv. The company was then devoted to producing recordings of historically accurate performances.

The songs and the lyrics (which are very clear) charm me. Tip for would be listeners: the songs are about wooing (a pastime once very much in fashion).



Complete lyrics are posted here as a Word document.


my sweetest Lesbia



— Roger W. Smith

   February 2018

About Roger W. Smith

Roger W. Smith is a writer and independent scholar based in New York City. His experience includes freelance writing and editing, business writing, book reviewing, and the teaching of writing and literature as an adjunct professor. Mr. Smith's interests include personal essays and opinion pieces; American and world literature; culture, especially books and reading; classical music; current issues that involve social, moral, and philosophical views; and experiences of daily living from a ground level perspective. Besides (1), a personal site, he also hosts websites devoted to (2) the author Theodore Dreiser and (3) to the sociologist and social philosopher Pitirim A. Sorokin.
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