This lute piece by John Dowland was the first Elizabethan song I recorded (for Hidden Gold). The lute part here was played by Dave Lambert, and the recorder quarter was played by Master Arden of Icomb (aka Paul Butler).
It was also the first lute piece I learned and played publicly (in a simplified arrangement, for King’s & Queen’s Bardic Champions in 2016).
I have sung it in concert as well, and am working on being able to play and sing it with the full lute arrangement from Dowland.
Can she excuse my wrongs? (Music by John Dowland, lyrics Anonymous)
Can she excuse my wrongs with Virtue’s cloak?
Shall I call her good when she proves unkind?
Are those clear fires which vanish into smoke?
Must I praise the leaves where no fruit I find?
No, no, where shadows do for bodies stand
Thou may’st be abus’d if thy sight be dimmed
Cold love is like to words written on sand
Or to bubbles which on the water swim
Wilt thou be thus abused still
Seeing that she will right thee never?
If thou cans’t not o’ercome her will
Thy love will be thus fruitless ever (2x)
Was I so base, that I might not aspire
Unto those high joys which she holds from me?
As they are high, so high is my desire
If she this deny, what can granted be?
If she will yield to that which Reason is
It is Reason’s will that Love should be just
Dear, make me happy still by granting this
Or cut off delays if that I die must
Better a thousand times to die
Than for to live thus still tormented
Dear, but remember it was I
Who for thy sake did die contented (2x)