This is one of the most famous of John Dowland's compositions. It was very popular in Elizabethan England, in the late 1500s. Many musicians created variations on the song - from voice and lute duets, as in this present work, to full ensemble scores. The later was a consort of five to seven musicians playing different instruments. Think orchestral - at least the Renaissance version of an orchestra.

If the instruments were of different types, then it was known as a broken consort (ie strings, winds, keyboard, etc.) If the instruments were the same, such the viola da gamba (treble, alto, tenor, bass), then it was simple known as a (name-of-instrument) consort.

Lacrime (or Flow My Teares)

By John Dowland
(pronounced Lack-ra-my)

Flow my teares fall from your springs,
Exilde for ever: let mee morne: wher nights black bird hir sad infamy sings,
Ther let me live forlorne.

Downe vaine lights shine you no more,
No night is dark enough for those that in dispaire their last fortuns deplore,
Light but shame disclose.

Never may my woes, my woes be relieved,
Since pittie is fled:
and teares, and sighes, and grones,
my weary dayes,
of all joyes have deprived.

From the highest spire of contentment,
My fortune is throwne,
and feare, and griefe, and paine,
for my deserts,
are my hopes, since hope is gone.

Harke you shadowes that in darknesse dwell,
Learne to condemne light,
Happie, happie, they that in hell feele not the worlds despite.


(Original spelling from published manuscript)

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