Music and Texts of Gary Bachlund


Three Jonson Ballads - (2011)    

Ben Jonson

for medium voice and guitar


i.   The faiery beame upon you


The faiery beame upon you,
The starres to glister on you,
    A Moone of light,
    In the Noone of night,
Till the Fire-Drake hath o're-gone you.

The Wheele of Fortune guide you,
The Boy with the Bow beside you,
    Runne aye in the way
    Till the Bird of day,
And the luckyer lot betide you.


ii.   The Hourglass


Do but consider this small dust
Here running in the glass,
    By atoms moved;
Could you believe that this
    The body was
        Of one that loved?
And in his mistress' flame, playing like a fly,
Turned to cinders by her eye?
Yes; and in death, as life, unblessed,
    To have't expressed,
Even ashes of lovers find no rest.


iii.   So breaks the sun


So breaks the sun earth's rugged chains,
Wherein rude winter bound her veins;
So grows both stream and source of price,
That lately fettered were with ice.
So naked trees get crisped heads,
And colored coats the roughest meads,
And all get vigor, youth, and spright,
That are but looked on by his light.

[ 3 pages, circa 4' 00" ]

Ben Jonson


Three short ballads for voice and guitar, each of one page lengrh.



The gentle wish for all good things as a bedtime prayer of sorts comes from Jonson's masque, The Gypsies Metamorphosed first performed in 1621.



The Hourglass comes from Underwoods, published in 1640, and speaks to the darker passage of time and love.



An antidote for this set of short ballads to the darker sentiments above comes this from Love Freed from Ignorance and Folly (1611).




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 guitar-vocal score.


Three Jonson Ballads