...but also of sorrow.
Perhaps one of my more esoteric interests is the music of John Dowland (1563 - 1626), an English composer probably most famed for his lute music, brought back into mainstream (relative!) by the revival of the instrument some decades ago. Along with that returned the countertenor (loosely speaking, the male alto), championed in the 20th century by the legendary Alfred Deller.
But this journal entry isn't entirely about me boring you with this, nor to see Dowland go triple platinum this Christmas; I want to share the achingly melancholic, yet delicious, words to one of his songs. In fact, so many of his songs were about pain, death and affliction that a phrase was coined - Semper Dowland, semper dolens - capturing his obsession with such dark subjects:
I saw my lady weep,
And Sorrow proud to be advanced so,
In those fair eyes where all perfections keep,
Her face was full of woe;
But such a woe (believe me) as wins more hearts,
Than Mirth can do with her enticing parts.
Sorrow was there made fair,
And Passion wise, tears a delightful thing,
Silence beyond all speech a wisdom rare,
She made her sighs to sing,
And all things with so sweet a sadness move,
As made my heart at once both grieve and love.
O fairer than aught else,
The world can show, leave off in time to grieve,
Enough, enough, your joyful looks excels,
Tears kills the heart.
O strive not to be excellent in woe,
Which only breeds your beauty's overthrow.
Emo, perhaps; but especially when it's sung by haunting voice, accompanied by a (somewhat sparse, but appropriately so) lute, I really can't get enough of it. ^_^
Listening to: Dowland - In Darkness Let me Dwell