Monday, June 18, 2012

Shakespeare's lutenist

Here's a simple performance of a song written in 1616 which showcases the beauty of the female voice wonderfully well.

It's by Robert Johnson, who composed the original music for Shakespeare's plays (this song was written for a play by Ben Jonson). The lyrics (it's a love song) run as follows:
Have you seen but a white lily grow
Before rude hands have touched it?
Have you marked but the fall of snow
Before the earth hath smutched it?
Have you felt the wool of beaver,
Or swan's down ever?
Or have smelt o' the bud o' the brier,
Or the nard in the fire?
Or have tasted the bag of the bee?
O so white, O so soft, O so sweet is she!
O so white, O so soft, O so sweet is she!


  1. I actually don't like it :) Too Oprah-atic for my tastes...

    However...I totally know what you mean and I have a story...

    Back in 7th grade one of the girls in class sang an old English ballad very simply no voice gymnastics or voice training. Just a young innocent female voice singing.

    Now that meant something and was very moving.