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The First Booke of Songes and Ayres (1600)
Composed by Robert Jones
[21 pieces]

Part 7 - Air XVI. Sweet Philomel in groves and deserts
Go back to ' The First Booke, Part 6 - Airs XIII to XV. '

Under Construction.
This is an unfinished page that I hope to edit sometime in the future.



XVI. SWEET PHILOMEL IN GROVES AND DESERTS

Sweet Philomel in groves and deserts haunting
Oft glads my heart and ears with her sweet chanting.
But then her tunes delight me best
When perched with thorn against her breast, against her breast,
She sings fie, - fie, fie, fie, - fie, fie, fie, fie, fie, as if she suffered wrong;
Till, seeming pleased, sweet, - sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet, -
sweet, - sweet, sweet, sweet, - sweet, sweet, sweet,
- sweet, sweet, sweet, - sweet, - sweet, - concludes her song.

Sweet Jinny sings and talks and sweetly smileth,
And with her wanton mirth my griefs beguileth.
But then methinks she pleaseth best
When my hands move love's request, move love's request,
She sings fie, - fie, fie, fie, - fie, fie, fie, fie, fie, and seeming loth gain says,
Till, better pleased, sweet, - sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet, -
sweet, - sweet, sweet, sweet, - sweet, sweet, sweet,
- sweet, sweet, sweet, - sweet, - sweet, - content bewrays.

Source ; The English School of Lutenist Song-Writers Series 2, volume 4. The first booke of songes and ayres, 1600. Stainer & Bell (1959).


XVI. Sweet Philomel in groves and deserts - Notes, Recordings and Comments

A recording of this song is on the CD;›What Then Is Love? - An Elizabethen›Songbook by Boston Camerata, Conducted by Joel Cohen, on Erato Disques, S. A., Paris, France (3984-23417-2) 1998.

There is a midi file of this song that was made by Mr. Harald Lillmeyer. It is available on his site at; http://kulturserver-bayern.de/home/harald-lillmeyer/Texte/Downloads/Downloads.html

Notes from Edward Doughtie's 'Lyrics From Elizabethan Airs , 1596-1622';

Cf. a song from John Marston's The Dutch Courtesan (1605), sig. B2v, here from the copy with the music in Add. Ms. 24665, [Giles Earle's Songbook (c. 1615-1626)] fols. 58v-59:

The darke is my delight,
soe tis the Nightingalls.
My musik's in the night,
soe is the Nightingalls.
My bodie is but little
soe is the Nightingalls.
I love to sleepe against the prickle,
soe is the Nightingalls.

...
This is a beautiful recording and even David Brown in his negative comments in The New Grove Dictionary has admitted the ?merits of this song. [? - Let me reread that to find if the 2000? edition is different from the 1980 edition.]

"In general Jones avoided particlarized expression, except of the most obvious kind, such as the bird noises in Sweet Philomell." - David Brown seems to say Jones missed the "hightened expresion" of the age and was unable to write like Dowland and produce depressing dirges to incite suicide.

perhaps English reserve and intelligence over passion in this first book "- to reader quote -? put? music to words?' so perhaps Jones was held back and shackeled by poets like William Shakespeare who thought music should make one happy ('why hear you music sadly -). Shakespeare and Jones attitude to music was more to humor and intelligent wit [x'Farewell dear? love'x] than to depressing dirges.


that there was only one song of Jones'. I was a little disappointed that this was the song that I had already made a midi file of, tracked and was just about to sing. Anyway the CD also has some great Campion on it and I was happy to hear this beautiful recording of the fantastic song.

"Sweet Jinny sings and talks and sweetly smileth,
And with her wanton mirth my griefs beguileth."
I was going to put a case forward to say the words were written by Thomas Campian. These words are remanicent of Campian because Sutton says "" and 'beguileth' seems to me to be one of Campian's favorite words.

Unfortunately I read Philomel's story in Metamorphoses and it makes me less enthusiastic about the song. I will do a summery of that story which brings to mind the story of the movie "Fried Green Tomatoes."
Oct. 28 & 29, 2000
After reading, yesterday, the story of Philomel in Ovid's Metamorphoses the word sweet is not the first word that comes to my mind. Philomela was the sister of Procne. Both were daughters of the King of Athens. Procne was married to Tereus and they had a son. Tereus lusted after Philomela, "dragged to the depths of an ancient forest" and raped her. When she struggled and "clawed at her arms and beat them against her breast" he cut out her tongue. When Procne heard what happened and "the wrong she [her sister] had suffered" she got together with her sister and stabbed her son. Philomela helped in pulling his limbs off and they cooked him and feed him to Tereus. When they told him that he had just eaten his son Tereus drew his sword and ran after them. Both sisters turned into birds. "One of them flew off to the woods, the other under the eaves of the roof." Tereus also turned into a bird.

August 4, 2004
William Shakespeare was probably the one most responsible for the greater popularity of this tale, in this age, because his play 'Titus Andronicus' was based on it. 'Titus Andronicus' was most certainly one of Shakespeare's earliest plays. Although this play gets a lot of negative criticism I sometimes think that it is through this violent play that Shakespeare first became known. - P. T. C.


Philomel is the nightingale and a very popular bird to write about.

see 'III. O my thoughts do beat me' from Jones's 'The Second Booke of Songs and Ayres' 1601. 'Phiomel did ever chose for singing'

Another poem in Jones's Madrigal book is 10. Shrill-sounding bird, call up the drowsy morn. This poem sounds ---- maybe they are both by Campian?

Also see Robert Jones's madrigal book #7. Sing merry birds, your cheerful notes. It has the line "Line 2. progne, or Procne, the Nightingail [gale?]' repeated at the end of the first verse several times.


Here are some other poems about the nightingale;

Philomela by William Smith
From Chloris (1596)
To the most excellent and leaned shepherd, Colin Clout

"Feed, silly sheep, although your keeper pineth"

Feed, silly sheep, although your keeper pineth
Yet like to Tantalus doth see his food.
Skip you and leap, no bright Apollo shineth,
Whilst I bewail my sorrows in yon wood
Where woeful Philomela doth record,
And sings with notes of sad and dire lament
The tragedy wrought by her sister's lord;
I'll bear a part in her black discontent.
That pipe which erst was wont to make you glee,
Upon these downs whereon you careless graze,
Shall to her mournful music tuned be,
Let not my plaints, poor lambkins, you amaze;
There underneath that dark and dusky bower
Whole showers of tears to Chloris I will pour.


The Passionate Pilgrim #20
"As it fell upon a day" by Richard Barnfield. from Poems: In Divers Humors, added to The Encomion of Lady Pecunia (1598). - (Narrative Poems Edited by Jonathan Crewe)

William Shakespeare (1564-1616). The Oxford Shakespeare: Poems. 1914. Sonnets to Sundry Notes of Music,
VI. "As it fell upon a day" [by Richard Barnfield]

AS it fell upon a day
In the merry month of May,
Sitting in a pleasant shade
Which a grove of myrtles made,
Beasts did leap, and birds did sing, 5
Trees did grow, and plants did spring;
Every thing did banish moan,
Save the nightingale alone:
She, poor bird, as all forlorn,
Lean'd her breast up-till a thorn, 10
And there sung the dolefull'st ditty,
That to hear it was great pity:
'Fie, fie, fie!' now would she cry;
'Tereu, Tereu!' by and by;
That to hear her so complain, 15
Scarce I could from tears refrain;
For her griefs, so lively shown,
Made me think upon mine own.
Ah! thought I, thou mourn'st in vain,
None takes pity on thy pain: 20
Senseless trees they cannot hear thee,
Ruthless beasts they will not cheer thee:
King Pandion he is dead,
All thy friends are lapp'd in lead,
All thy fellow birds do sing 25
Careless of thy sorrowing.
Even so, poor bird, like thee,
None alive will pity me.
Whilst as fickle Fortune smil'd,
Thou and I were both beguil'd. 30
Every one that flatters thee
Is no friend in misery.
Words are easy, like the wind;
Faithful friends are hard to find:
Every man will be thy friend 35
Whilst thou hast wherewith to spend;
But if store of crowns be scant,
No man will supply thy want.
If that one be prodigal,
Bountiful they will him call, 40
And with such-like flattering,
'Pity but he were a king.'
If he be addict to vice,
Quickly him they will entice;
If to women he be bent, 45
They have him at commandement:
But if Fortune once do frown,
Then farewell his great renown;
They that fawn'd on him before
Use his company no more. 50
He that is thy friend indeed,
He will help thee in thy need:
If thou sorrow, he will weep;
If thou wake, he cannot sleep:
Thus of every grief in heart 55
He with thee does bear a part.
These are certain signs to know
Faithful friend from flattering foe.

&& http://www.bartleby.com/br/70.html AUTHOR: Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616.


so -There is perhaps a 50% chance that the lyric to 'Sweet Philomel in groves and deserts,' were written by either John Marston, Thomas Campian, Richard Barnfield, William Smith or William Shakespeare. -------------
To The First Booke, Part 8 - XVII to XVIII
All materials are copyright © Patrick Thomas Connolly, 2002

Page Bibliography

Edward Doughtie's 'Lyrics From Elizabethan Airs , 1596-1622' Cambridge, Mass. Harvard University Press, 1970.

The English School of Lutenist Song-Writers Series 2, volume 4. The first booke of songes and ayres, 1600. Stainer & Bell (1959).

The Peilcan Shakespeare Narrative Poems Edited by Jonathan Crewe (1999) - published by the Penguin Group

The CD 'What Then Is Love? - An Elizabethen›Songbook' by Boston Camerata, Conducted by Joel Cohen, on Erato Disques, S. A., Paris, France (3984-23417-2) 1998.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616). The Oxford Shakespeare: Poems. 1914. Sonnets to Sundry Notes of Music, VI. "As it fell upon a day" [ by Richard Barnfield] http://www.bartleby.com/br/70.html AUTHOR: Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. [This poem is actually by Richard Barnfield]

M. P. Tilley, A Dictionary of the Proverbs in England in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (Ann Arbor, 1950)

A site created by Harald Lillmeyer that can be found at; http://kulturserver-bayern.de/home/harald-lillmeyer
Look under 'Downloads'.


Updated August 4, 2004, this page was written & compiled by Patrick Connolly.
All materials are copyright © Patrick Thomas Connolly, 2002, 2003 & 2004.