Like to the damask rose

December 11 2014

Elgar, 1892, from Seven Lieder, published 1907. Poem by Francis Quarles (1592-1644) called Hos ego versiculos; also attributed to Simon Wastell (1560-1635) with the name The flesh profiteth nothing. August 4 2013, Dutch Music Barn, (, Jacobine van Laar soprano, Marisa Thornton-Wood piano.

The piano clangs rather at the start (David Owen Norris is also manic here), but nicely enough sung.

2 Responses to “Like to the damask rose”

  1. davidderrick Says:

    “LIKE to the damaske rose you see,
    Or like the blossome on the tree,
    Or like the daintie flower of May,
    Or like the Morning to the day,

    Or like the Sunne, or like the shade,
    Or like the Gourd which Jonas had;
    Even such is man whose thred is spun,
    Drawn out and cut, and so is done.

    The Rose withers, the blossome blasteth,
    The flowre fades, the morning hasteth:
    The Sunne sets, the shadow flies,
    The Gourd consumes, and man he dies.

    Like to the blaze of fond delight;
    Or like a morning cleare and bright;
    Or like a frost, or like a showre;
    Or like the pride of Babel’s Tower;

    Or like the houre that guides the time;
    Or like to beauty in her prime;
    Even such is man, whose glory lends
    His life a blaze or two, and ends.

    Delights vanish; the morne o’ercasteth,
    The frost breaks, the shower hasteth;
    The Tower falls, the hower spends;
    The beauty fades, and man’s life ends.”

  2. davidderrick Says:

    It was risky to publish these as Lieder – the only time he used the word – at a time when Elgar’s reputation was so high in Germany. Perhaps nobody there saw these pieces.

    They are charming, but would have been easy targets.

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