Haunting Dowland 16. century poem with music written by Solvi Eriksen Kvam
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Previous peak charts position in subgenre #111
John Dowland / Solvi Eriksen Kvam
November 19, 2010
Story behind the song
Dowland's obsessive melancholy thus appears from the outset and is never far away. Sleep and death are sought to provide a longed-for release from earthly cares, and although this was very much an affectation of the time it was one which clearly excited an acutely personal response in him. Death, of course, has a sexual connotation too--but even when this is absent or heavily overlaid, his treatment of the idea frequently has an erotic intensity.
Unquiet thoughts, your civil slaughter stint,
And wrap your wrongs within a pensive heart:
And you: my tongue that makes my mouth a mint,
And stamps my thoughts to coin them words by art,
Be still: for if you ever do the like
I'll cut the string that makes the hammer strike.
But what can stay my thoughts they may not start,
Or put my tongue in durance for to die?
When as these eyes, the keys of mouth and heart,
Open the lock where all my love doth lie;
I'll seal them up within their lids for ever:
So thought's, and words, and looks shall die together.
How shall I gaze on my mistress' eyes?
My thoughts must have some vent: else heart will break.
My tongue would rust as in my mouth it lies,
If eyes and thoughts were free, and that not speak.
Speak then, and tell the passions of desire;
Which turns mine eyes to floods, my thoughts to fire
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