Clear or cloudy

This lute song by John Dowland was my first round performance at Queen & Crown’s Bardic Champions in February 2020, where I was selected as Queen’s Champion.

Clear or cloudy

Music by John Dowland, lyrics Anonymous
(song #21 from The Second Booke of Songes or Ayres, 1600)

Clear or cloudy, sweet as April show’ring,
Smooth or frowning, so is her face to me.
Pleas’d or smiling, like mild May all flow’ring,
When skies blue silk, and meadows carpets be,
Her speeches notes of that nightbird that singeth,
Who thought all sweet, yet jarring notes out ringeth.

Her grace like June, when earth and trees be trimmed
In best attire of complete beauty’s height.
Her love again like Summer’s days bedimmed
With little clouds of doubtful constant faith.
Her trust, her doubt, like rain and heat in skies
Gently thund’ring, she lightning to mine eyes.

Sweet summer Spring, that breathed life and growing
In weeds as into healing herbs and flow’rs,
And sees of service divers sorts in sowing,
Some haply seeming, and some being, yours,
Rain on your herbs and flow’rs that truly serve,
And let your weeds lack dew, and duly starve.


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