Lanier’s elegant setting of the Thomas Carew poem, “No more shall meads be deck’s with flow’rs.” The song was also known as “Love’s Constancy,” and Carew published the work as “The Protestation: a Sonnet” in his masque of 1634.
Voices of Music is recording musical settings of the great poets of the 17th century, from Shakespeare to Dryden. To support his important work, please consider a donation so we can continue to make these video and audio recordings available worldwide.
Several versions of the song exist, we have reconstructed, and performed here for the first time, a hypothetical lost original which keeps to the ground bass pattern throughout. The alternation between D Major and D minor in the ground bass lends just a hint of Vanitas to the song, which is constructed as a list of impossible events that would have to happen before the lover renounces his love–the setting is a perfect marriage of music and poetry.
4K Ultra high definition video from the Voices of Music Great Poets concert, January, 2015. Anna Dennis, soprano; Hanneke van Proosdij, harpsichord; Elisabeth Reed, viola da gamba, and David Tayler, baroque guitar.
No more shall Meads be deck’d with flowers,
Nor sweetness dwell in Rosie bowers;
Nor greenest Buds on branches spring,
Nor warbling birds delight to sing,
Nor April violets paint the Grove,
When once I leave my Caelia’s love.
The Fish shall in the Ocean burn,
And Fountains sweet shall bitter turn;
The Humble vale no floods shall know,
When floods shall highest hills oreflow:
Black Lethe shall Oblivion leave,
Before my Caelia I deceive.
Love shall his bow and shafts lay by,
And Venus’ Doves want wings to fly:
The Sun refuse to show his Light,
And Day shall then be turned to Night:
And in that Night no Star appear,
When e’er I leave my Caelia dear.
Love shall no more inhabit Earth,
Nor Lovers more shall love for Worth;
Nor Joy above in Heaven dwell,
Nor Pain torment poor Souls in Hell:
Grim Death no more shall horrid prove,
When e’er I leave bright Caelia’s love.