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Thomas Campion
 
 

Thomas Campion, born Feb. 12, 1567, London - died March 1, 1620

English poet, composer, musical and literary theorist, physician, and one of the outstanding songwriters of the brilliant English lutenist school of the late 16th and early 17th centuries. His lyric poetry reflects his musical abilities in its subtle mastery of rhythmic and melodic structure.

 

Thomas Campion
  After attending the University of Cambridge (1581–84), Campion studied law in London, but he was never called to the bar. Little is known of him until 1606, by which time he had received a degree in medicine from the University of Caen, France. He practiced medicine from 1606 until his death.
Campion’s first publication was five sets of verses appearing anonymously in the pirated 1591 edition of Philip Sidney’s Astrophel and Stella. In 1595 his Poemata (Latin epigrams) appeared, followed in 1601 by A Booke of Ayres (written with Philip Rosseter), of which much of the musical accompaniment and verses were Campion’s. He wrote a masque in 1607 and three more in 1613, in which year his Two Bookes of Ayres probably appeared. The Third and Fourth Booke of Ayres came out in 1617, probably followed by a treatise (undated) on counterpoint.
Campion’s lyric poetry and songs for lute accompaniment are undoubtedly his works of most lasting interest. Though his theories on music are slight, he thought naturally in the modern key system, with major and minor modes, rather than in the old modal system. Campion stated his theories on rhyme in Observations in the Art of English Poesie (1602). In this work he attacked the use of rhymed, accentual metres, insisting instead that timing and sound duration are the fundamental element in verse structure. Campion asserted that in English verse the larger units of line and stanza provide the temporal stability within which feet and syllables may be varied.
 
 
With the exception of his classic lyric Rose-cheekt Lawra, Come, Campion usually did not put his advocacy of quantitative, unrhymed verse into practice. His originality as a lyric poet lies rather in his treatment of the conventional Elizabethan subject matter. Rather than using visual imagery to describe static pictures, he expresses the delights of the natural world in terms of sound, music, movement, or change. This approach and Campion’s flowing but irregular verbal rhythms give freshness to hackneyed subjects and seem also to suggest an immediate personal experience of even the commonest feelings. The Selected Songs, edited by W.H. Auden, was published in 1972.

Encyclopædia Britannica
 
 
A Booke of Ayres
 
I.

My sweetest Lesbia, let vs liue and loue,
And though the sager sort our deedes reproue,
Let vs not way them : heau'ns great lampes doe diue
Into their west, and straight againe reuiue,
But soone as once set is our little light,
Then must we sleepe one euer-during night.

If all would lead their liues in loue like mee,
Then bloudie swords and armour should not be,
No drum nor trumpet peaceful sleepes should moue,
Vnles alar'me came from the campe of loue :
But fooles do liue, and wast their little light,
And seeke with paine their euer-during night.

When timely death my life and fortune ends,
Let not my hearse be vext with mourning friends,
But let all louers rich in triumph come,
And with sweet pastimes grace my happie tombe;
And Lesbia close vp thou my little light,
And crown with loue my euer-during night.

  IV.

Followe thy faire sunne, vnhappy shadowe,
Though thou be blacke as night,
And she made all of light,
Yet follow thy faire sun, vnhappie shadowe.
Follow her whose light thy light depriueth,
Though here thou liu'st disgrac't,
And she in heauen is plac't,
Yet follow her whose light the world reuiueth.

Follow those pure beames whose beautie burneth,
That so haue scorched thee,
As thou still blacke must bee,
Til her kind beames thy black to brightnes turneth.

Follow her while yet her glorie shineth :
There comes a luckles night,
That will dim all her light ;
And this the black vnhappie shade deuineth.

Follow still since so thy fates ordained ;
The Sunne must haue his shade,
Till both at once doe fade,
The Sun still proud, the shadow still disdained.

 
 
 
     
 
Thomas Campion

"A Booke of Ayres"
     
 
 
 
Thomas Campion - My sweetest Lesbia
 
 
 
 
 
 
Shall I Come Sweet Love To Thee by Thomas Campion
 
Renaissance Duo- Larisa Kholodnaya and Victor Kabanov
 
 
 
 
 
 
Campion: Shall I Come, Sweet Love, to Thee
 
 
 
 
 
 
To Music Bent - lute song by Thomas Campion
 
Lute song by Thomas Campion (also written Campian) performed by David W Solomons (alto) and Bob Glover (lute)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Thomas Campion - When to her lute Corina sings
 
Judit Andrejszki-voice
Caius Hera-renaissance lute
 
 
 
 
 
 
Campion - I Care Not for these Ladies
 
Steven Rickards
Dorothy Linell
 
 
 
 
 
 
Never Weather-beaten Sail - Thomas Campion
 
A performance of Thomas Campion's sacred partsong "Never weather-beaten sail", sung by the Merbecke Choir of Southwark Cathedral on 1 December 2012.

Never weather-beaten sail more willing bent to shore.
Never tired pilgrim's limbs affected slumber more,
Than my wearied sprite now longs to fly out of my troubled breast:
O come quickly, sweetest Lord, and take my soul to rest.
Ever blooming are the joys of Heaven's high Paradise.
Cold age deafs not there our ears nor vapour dims our eyes:
Glory there the sun outshines whose beams the blessed only see:
O come quickly, glorious Lord, and raise my sprite to thee!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
     
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