Songs

O sweet woods

by John Dowland

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Text

O sweet woods
English source: Sir Philip Sidney

O sweet woods! the delight of solitariness!
O how much do I love your solitariness!

From Fame's desire, from Love’s delight retired,
In these sad groves an hermit’s life I lead:
And those false pleasures, which I once admired,
With sad remembrance of my fall, I dread.
To birds, to trees, to earth, impart I this;
For she less secret, and as senseless is.
O sweet woods! the delight of solitariness!
O how much do I love your solitariness!

Experience which repentance only brings,
Doth bid me, now, my heart from Love estrange!
Love is disdained when it doth look at Kings;
And Love low placèd base and apt to change.
There Power doth take from him his liberty,
Here Want of Worth makes him in cradle die.
O sweet woods! the delight of solitariness!
O how much do I love your solitariness!

You men that give false worship unto Love,
And seek that which you never shall obtain;
The endless work of Sisyphus you prove,
Whose end is this, to know you strive in vain.
Hope and Desire, which now your idols be,
You needs must lose, and feel Despair with me.
O sweet woods! the delight of solitariness!
O how much do I love your solitariness!

You woods, in you the fairest Nymphs have walked:
Nymphs at whose sights all hearts did yield to love.
You woods, in whom dear lovers oft have talked,
How do you now a place of mourning prove?
Wanstead! my Mistress saith this is the doom.
Thou art love’s child-bed, nursery, and tomb.
O sweet woods! the delight of solitariness!
O how much do I love your solitariness!

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