Formerly Houston
Harpsichord Society

Emma Kirkby -- Song Texts


Emma Kirkby, soprano

Lars Ulrik Mortensen, harpsichord

Aria d’Amore


Nice, che fa?

Recìt: Nice che fa? che pensa?

Rispondi alato Dio,

or che solo son io da lei lontano,

so, che dir me potresti

che non l'agita vano

desio di rivedermi, e che sospira

dove il suo piè raggira;

che con dolce favella

vorebbe la mia bella

darmi fede maggior di mia costanza;

che soave speranza

d'esser mia la conforta,

e quasi ascolto

che ragiona così, ma non è molto.

Aria: Se pensate che mi moro,

allor sì che dir potrei,

Nice mia, non pensa poco.

E contento nel martoro

forte allora morirei,

tutto affanni e tutto foco.

Recìt: Ah! per maggior mio duolo

lungi da gli occhi suoi

misero afflitto, e sola

mi conduce a morir la pena ria:

e moro quando meno

la bell' anima mia

pensa che in un baleno

son da fiero dolor condotto a morte.

Dunque se son gia corte

l'ore del viver mio,

vanne bendato Dio

al caro ben intorno:

digli: muore chi t'ama,

e morrendo ancor brama

spirar l'ultimo fiato al tuo ritorno.


Aria: Verrà, sì verra chi adoro si

se così gli parlerai,

a dar pace al duolo mio.

Ma so ben ch'il mio tesoro

Lacrimar poi revedrai

se ridir mi sentirà;

io ti lascio, io moro, addio.

Recit: What is Nice doing? What is she thinking?

Answer me, winged god,

now that I am alone and far from her,

I know you could tell me

that she is troubled

by the desire to see me again,

that she sighs at every step,

that with sweet speech

my beautiful one would like

to give me greater credit for my constancy:

that the sweet hope

of being mine gives her comfort,

and I almost hear

that she thinks thus, but faintly ...

Aria: If you think that I am dying

then, yes, I could say it thus:

my Nice thinks little.

And content with martyrdom

I should die then with fortitude,

all suffering, all fire.

Ah! for my greater grief,

far from her eyes,

in dire misery,

only cruel pain leads me to death:

and I die the more

because my lovely one

knows not that

grief has struck me dead.

and so - since my time

now is short,

go, blind god,

back to my dear:

tell her: he who loves you is dying

and as he dies, he asks

to breathe his last at your return.


Aria: She will come, yes, my beloved will come,

(if you speak to her thus)

to give me peace in my suffering

But I know well that you will see

my treasure weeping

if she hears me say:

I am leaving, I am dying, adieu.

Orpheus with his lute

Orpheus with his lute made trees

And the Mountain tops that freeze,

Bow Themselves when he did Sing.

Orpheus with his lute...

To his Music, Plants and Flow'rs

Ever rose, as Sun and Showers

There had made a lasting Spring.

To his Music...

Every thing that heard him Play,

Ev'n the Billows of the Sea,

Hung their heads, and then lay By.

Every thing that heard him Play...

In sweet Music is such art,

Killing Care and Grief of heart,

Fall asleep, or hearing die.

In sweet Music...

Sweet smile

Sweet smile, the daughter of the Queen of love,

Expressing all thy mother’s powerful art:

With which she wants to temper angry Jove,

When all the gods he threats with thund'ring dart.

Sweet is thy virtue as thy self sweet art,

For when on me thou shinest late in sadness:

A melting pleasance ran through every part,

And me revived with heart robbing gladness.

Whilst rapt with joy, resembling heavenly madness,

My soul was ravish'd quite as in a trance:

And feeling thence no more her sorrows sadness,

Fed on the fullness of that cheerful glance.

More sweet than Nectar or Ambrosial meat,

Seem'd every bit, which thenceforth I did eat.

Sweet smile, the daughter of the Queen of love,

Expressing all thy mother’s powerful art,

Sweet is thy virtue as thy self sweet art


Like as a huntsman

Like a huntsman after weary chase,

seeing the game from him escape away,

sits down to rest him in some shadie place,

with panting Hounds beguiled of their prey:

so after long pursute and vaine assay,

when I all wearie had the chace forsook,

the gentle Deere returned the selfsame way,

thinking to quench her thirst at the next brooke:

There she beholding me with milder looke,

sought not to flie, but fearless still did bide,

till I in hand her yet halfe trembling tooke,

and with her owne good will her firmely tyde.

Strange thing me seemd to see a beast so wild,

so goodly wonne, with her owne will beguild.



Bel Mirar

Bel mirar la desiata

Primavera ritornata!

Già le Grazie fan vezzose

Dalla buccia uscir le Rose

Bel mirar....

Mira il placido Sereno

Ammolir l'ondoso Seno,

Nuotar l'Anatra ciarliera,

e la Gru gir passaggiera,

Nè su i rai del Sol nel Cielo

Stender Nubi il fosco velo.

Splender veggono i Cultori

Su le terre i lor Lavori.

S'apre il Suolo al Frutto ch'esce,

Su l'Olivo il Germe cresce.

Splender veggono....

Già di Bromio il Tralcio scarco

Si prepara al nuovo Incarco

Del divin, che infonde Umore,

Forza al petto, e gioia al core.

Già di Bromio...

Pe' Germogli e per le Fronde,

Rigoglioso si diffonde,

Lussureggia dapertutto,

E a spuntar fioreggia il frutto.

Pe' Germogli...

How sweet the sight

of longed for Spring’s return!

The Graces charm the roses

to unfurl their buds.

How sweet ...

See how the clear blue sky

has calmed the rippling water,

how the chattering duck now swims

and the crane circles in swift flight;

dark clouds no longer veil

the sun’s rays in the sky.

Farmers see the sparkling sheen

of their labors on the land.

The earth now opens to the springing corn,

upon the olive tree the buds are swelling.

Farmers ...

Now Bacchus’ unladen shoots

prepare for their new assignment

on behalf of the god who brings good cheer,

courage to the breast and joy to the heart.

Now Bacchus’...

In blossom and on bough (the spring)

expands with exuberance,

luxuriant growth is everywhere,

and crops are putting forth their first green shoots.

In blossom ...


Lysander I pursue

Lysander I pursue in vain

Cruel Lysander thus to fly me;

Belinda never must obtain,

Who is so great will still deny me;

But am I not the God of Love?

Bring my trusty arms,

Weak beauty must successless prove;

This dart is stronger stronger charms;

Ah! feeble arms and hurtless dart,

Nothing Belinda can prevail

Alas what hopes to wound a heart,

Arm'd with a double coat of mail;

She that could noble conquests boast,

Now falls a victim to disdain and shame;

Belinda is forever lost;

Mad that I lov'd and not suppress'd my flame;

See, now it rises to the sky and turns a blazing star,

The frightened earth looks pale and cries,

It threatens universal war;

Two armies already join battle above,

The God of War fights the God of Love;

Stand firm my battalions, the tyrant shall yield;

My reserve of wing'd archers will carry the field,

They fly; Smite flank and rear;

So now will I storm yon castle i'th'air,

The chariot of the sun in my rage overturning;

Consume the whole world, since Belinda's a-burning.

Draw out the minutes

Draw out the minutes twice as long, swift Night,

and run in debt to day;

Loves Enemy, thou soft-pac'd robber of Delight,

how thou dost steal away.

Clorinda, bid Time stop his full career,

whisper a gentle Charm into his Ear;

tell him, 'tis you that's here.

Sure nothing's Charm-proof 'gainst that Tongue, those Eyes, That grateful Meen of yours;

one look from you will Father Time surprise,

He'll lose his Minutes, Hours.

And well for him; 'tis Time improv'd, to be

blest with a glimpse of that Divinity,

all will adore that see.


If music be the food of love

If music be the food of love,

Sing on, till I am fill'd with joy;

For then my list'ning soul you move,

To pleasures that can never cloy;

Your eyes, your mean, your tongue declare,

That you are music everywhere.

Pleasures invade both eye and ear,

So fierce the transports are, they wound,

And all my senses feasted are;

Tho' yet the treat is only sound;

Sure I must perish by your charm,

Unless you save me in your arms.


The self-banished

It is not that I love you less

Than when before your feet I lay;

But to prevent the sad increase

Of hopeless love, I keep away:

In vain alas, for everything

Which I have known belong to you

Your form does to my fancy bring,

And makes my old wounds bleed anew.


The world was hush'd

The world was hush'd, and nature lay

lull'd in a soft repose;

As I in tears reflecting lay,

on Cinthia's faithless Vows.

The God of Love all gay appear'd;

to heal my wounded heart;

new pangs of Joy my Soul endear'd,

and pleasure charm'd each part.

"Fond man," said he, "here end thy woe;

till they my pow'r and Justice know;

the Cruel Sex will all doe so."


Musick for a while

Musick for a while,

shall all your Cares beguile;

wond'ring how your Pains were eas'd,

and disdaining to be pleas'd

till Alecto free the Dead,

from their Eternal Band;

till the Snakes drop from her Head;

and the Whip from out her Hand;

Musick for a while...

From Rosie bowers

From Rosie bowers where sleeps the god of love

Hither ye little waiting cupids fly;

Teach me in soft melodious songs to move

With tender passion my heart's darling joy:

Ah! let the soul of music tune my voice

To win dear Strephon who my soul enjoys.

Or if more influencing is

To be brisk and airy,

With a step and a bound

And a frisk from the ground

I will trip like any fairy;

As once on Ida dancing,

Were three celestial bodies,

With an air and a face

And a shape and a grace

Let me charm like beauty's goddess.

Ah! 'tis in vain, 'tis all in vain,

Death and despair must end the fatal pain;

Cold despair disguised like snow and rain

Falls on my breast, bleak winds in tempests blow,

My veins all shiver and my fingers glow,

My pulse beats a dead march for lost repose

And to a solid lump of ice my poor fond heart is froze.

Or say ye powers, my peace to crown,

Shall I thaw myself or drown

Amongst the foaming billows,

Increasing all with tears I shed,

On beds of ooze and crystal pillows

Lay down my love-sick head?

No, no, I'll straight run mad,

That soon my heart will warm,

When once the sense is fled,

Love has no power to charm:

Wild through the woods I'll fly,

Robes, locks shall thus be tore;

A thousand deaths I'll die

Ere thus in vain adore.


Copyright 1996-9 by Houston Early Music 
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