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English Lute Songs. Book 2


Compiled by Michael Pilkington
Voice & Piano (No lute tablature)

The two books contain some 100 songs chosen from the definitive collections of The English Lutenists begun by Edmund Fellowes, revised by Thurston Dart and added to by later scholars. They include many favourites and many lesser-known songs by popular composers such as Dowland, Campion and Pilkington (no known ancestor of the compiler) as well as some unjustly forgotten such as Corkine, Attey and Ferrabosco. Nearly all are for middle-range voice, with lute parts transcribed in staff notation. The books have an appropriate preface and a commentary on the words, which often throw a penetrating light on Elizabethan and Jacobean life.

Ref: B617 ISMN: 9790220206184 Categories: , ,


This anthology of English Lute Songs is based on the 558 songs published by Stainer & Bell since 1920 in their series The English School of Lutenist Song Writers, later to become The English Lute Song. Tablature has been omitted to save space: a good lutenist should be able to play from staff notation, and a keyboard player cannot use tablature. The majority of these songs were intended for use in the home, to be performed by whatever vices or instruments were available. This suggests  that it is false piety to insist that they should be performed with lute today. If only instrument available is a piano, a guitar, or electronic organ, the songs can still give pleasure, and this was why they wee written. In many of the songs, a cellist can play the bass line originally intended for viol.

Many of the poems were first re-published in the nineteenth century and immediately proved popular, long before the music was made available. They became even more popular when their original melodies were harmonised for piano by arrangers such as Frederick Keel in his two books of Elizabethan Love Songs. When the original accompaniments were restored by E. H. Fellowes and his successors it became clear that in a period of some twenty years after 1598, a group of English Poets and musicians had produced a body of high class work that, in John Dowland, England had a song-writer worthy of the company of Duparc and Hugo Wolf in the nineteenth century.


Awake sweet love
Clear or cloudy
Come again: sweet love
Come away, come sweet love
Daphne was not so chaste
Far from triumphing Court
Farewell unkind farewell
Fie on this feigning
Fine knacks for ladies
Flow my tears
Flow not so fast ye fountains
I saw my lady weep
If my complaints could passions move
In darkness let me dwell
Lady if you so spite me
Now, o now I needs must part
Shall I sue?
Sleep, wayward thoughts
Sorrow, sorrow, stay
Sweet stay awhile
Time stands still
To ask for all thy love
Toss not my soul
Weep you no more, sad fountains
What if I never speed?
When Phoebus first did Daphne love

Fie, what a coil is here!
Go to bed, sweet muse
My father fain would have me take a man
My love hath her true love betrayed
What if I seek for love of thee?

Absence, hear thou my protestation
I saw my lady weeping
It was a lover and his lass
O grief! e’en on the bud

Change thy mind since she doth change

Down a down, thus Phyllis sung
Now let her change
Rest sweet nymphs

Dido was the Carthage Queen

If I hope I pine
If she forsake me
Kind in unkindness
Shall I come if I swim?
Sweet, come again
Though far from joy
What then is love but mourning
When Laura smiles

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