Fancies (2012) op. 117

Opus number: op. 117

Title: Fancies, a cycle of five songs for Tenor and Piano

“Oft have I sigh’d for him”

“Turn back you wanton flyer”

“Come, O come, my life’s delight”

“The cypress curtain of the night”

“Beauty, since you so much desire”

Instrumentation: Tenor and piano

Text: Thomas Campion

Texts:  click here

Fancies, op. 117

Texts by Thomas Campion (1567-1620)


Oft have I sigh’d

Oft have I sigh’d for him that hears me not;

Who absent hath both love and me forgot.

O yet I languish still through his delay:

Days seem as years when wished friends break their day.

Had he but loved as common lovers use,

His faithless stay some kindness would excuse :

O yet I languish still, still constant mourn

For him that can break vows but not return.


Turn back, you wanton flyer

Turn back you wanton flyer,

And answer my desire

With mutual greeting,

Yet bend a little nearer,

True beauty still shines clearer

In closer meeting,

Hearts with hearts delighted

Should strive to be united,

Either other’s arms with arms enchaining,

Hearts with a thought, rosy lips

With a kiss still entertaining.


What harvest half so sweet is

As still so reap the kisses

Grown ripe in sowing,

And straight to be receiver,

Of that which thou art giver,

Rich in bestowing.

There’s no strict observing,

Of times, or seasons changing,

There is ever one fresh spring abiding,

Then what we sow with our lips

Let us reap love’s gains dividing.


Come, O come, my life’s delight

Come, O come, my life’s delight!

Let me not in languor pine:

Love loves no delay, thy sight

The more enjoyed, the more divine.

O come, and take from me

The pain of being deprived of thee.


Thou all sweetness dost enclose,

Like a little world of bliss:

Beauty guards thy looks: the rose

In them pure and eternal is.

Come then! and make thy flight

As swift to me as heavenly light!


The cypress curtain of the night

The cypress curtain of the night is spread,

And over all a silent dew is cast.

The weaker cares are conquered.

But I alone with hideous grief aghast

In spite of sleep’s charms a watch to keep

Over mine eyes to banish careless sleep.


Yet oft my trembling eyes through faintness close:

And then the map of Hell before me stands,

Which ghosts do see and I am one of those

Ordains to pine in sorrow’s endless bands,

Since from my wretched soul all hopes are reft,

And now no cause of life to me is left.


Grief , seize my soul for that will endure

When my crazed body is consumed and gone:

Bear it to thy black den, there keep it sure,

Where thou ten thousand souls dost tire upon:

Yet all do not afford such food as thee

All this poor one, the worser part of me.


Beauty, since you so much desire

Beauty, since you so much desire

To know the place of Cupid’s fire,

About you somewhere doth it rest,

Yet never harbor’d in your breast,

Nor gout-like in your heel or toe;

What fool would seek Love’s flame so low?

But a little higher, but a little higher,

But a little hight, but a little higher,

There, there, there,  oh there lies Cupid’s fire.


Think not, when Cupid must you scorn,

Men judge that you of Ice were born ;

For though you cast love at your heel,

His fury yet sometime you feel:

And whereabouts if you would know,

I tell you still not in your toe:

But a little higher, but a little higher,

But a little higher, but a little higher,

There, there, there, oh there lies Cupid’s fire.


Written for: Thomas Gregg

Date written: 2012

Length: eleven minutes

Premiere performance: September 17, 2012, Thomas Gregg, tenor, Larry Bell, pianist, David Friend Concert Hall, Berklee College of Music

Program notes: My friend Thomas Gregg first introduced me to the poetry of Thomas Campion in the fall of 2011. Tom had sung my Shakespeare Sonnets (the first performance for tenor voice) and he had recently heard my Revels, a song cycle based on the poems of Ben Jonson. Therefore, it seemed natural to continue working with Elizabethan texts. Campion was a distinguished composer as well as a writer of lyrics for his own songs. The fact that many of these poems were designed to be sung only encouraged me to see if I could write music to these lyrics in my own way. The title Fancies was a word that my composition teacher, Vincent Persichetti, would say, “Always leave room in your music for fancy.”