Go, lovely Rose -
medium voice and piano
Tell her that wastes her time and me,
That now she knows,
When I resemble her to thee,
How sweet and fair she seems to be.
Tell her that’s young,
And shuns to have her graces spied,
That hadst thou sprung
In deserts where no men abide,
Thou must have uncommended died.
Small is the worth
Of beauty from the light retired:
Bid her come forth,
Suffer herself to be desired,
And not blush so to be admired.
Then die—that she
The common fate of all things rare
May read in thee;
How small a part of time they share
That are so wondrous sweet and fair!
pages, circa 3' 05" ]
Educated at Eton and King's College Cambridge and elected to Parliament at
age 16, Edmund Waller (1606-1687) was an orator, lyric poet whose collected
Poems were published in 1645 and member of the Royal Society, who had
to go into exile during the 1640s for attempting to moderate the civil
strife of that time between Charles II and Cromwell. He returned to
Parliament in 1652 and was returned to royal favor at the Restoration. His
work gained critical favor with poets, Alexander Pope and John Dryden.
text speaks lyrically of the fragility and ultimate mortality of beauty, as
time passes to sweep up all into its embrace. The rose and the loved one are
not the only beauties of "small" worth to which Waller testifies, for the
ardor of the life pressing upon us all is to engage with it, for reason that
it is passing. How "small a part of time" all these things share. A fine and
lyrical way of urging "carpe diem."
setting is an AABA form, without exception wholly diatonic and yet somewhat
complex for the chord structures and gentle dissonances carried in the
interior voice leading. The lyricism and shortened range of the vocal line
suggest a view to ardor in which sense, civility and control overwhelm
passion with moderation.
The score is available as a free PDF download, though any major
commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior
arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this
Go, lovely Rose