Poems: Songs by Thomas Campion

Campion was a practicing physician and was among the finest song-writers of the elizabethan-Jacobean era.  He was both a poet and a composer, who in later years was known primarily as a music theorist.   The first poem is a song loosely based on a Horatian ode.  The second is a translation from Catullus.  I have provided links to Lumiarium.com for recordings.

The man of life vpright,
Whose guiltlesse hart is free
From all dishonest deedes,
Or thought of vanitie,
The man whose silent dayes,
In harmeles ioys are spent,
Whom hopes cannot delude,
Nor sorrow discontent ;That man needs neither towers
Nor armour for defence,
Nor secret vautes to flie
From thunders violence.

Hee onely can behold
With vnafrighted eyes
The horrours of the deepe
And terrours of the Skies.

Thus, scorning all the cares
That fate, or fortune brings,
He makes the heau'n his booke,
His wisedome heeu'nly things,

Good thoughts his onely friendes,
His wealth a well-spent age,
The earth his sober Inne
And quiet Pilgrimage.



My sweetest Lesbia, let vs liue and loue,
And though the sager sort our deedes reproue,
Let vs not way them : heau'ns great lampes doe diue
Into their west, and straight againe reuiue,
But soone as once set is our little light,
Then must we sleepe one euer-during night.
If all would lead their liues in loue like mee,
Then bloudie swords and armour should not be,
No drum nor trumpet peaceful sleepes should moue,
Vnles alar'me came from the campe of loue :
But fooles do liue, and wast their little light,
And seeke with paine their euer-during night.

When timely death my life and fortune ends,
Let not my hearse be vext with mourning friends,
But let all louers rich in triumph come,
And with sweet pastimes grace my happie tombe;
And Lesbia close vp thou my little light,
And crown with loue my euer-during night.



Neuer weather-beaten Saile more willing bent to shore,
Neuer tyred Pilgrims limbs affected slumber more,
Than my wearied spright now longs to flye out of my troubled
brest :
O come quickly, sweetest Lord, and take my soule to rest.
Euer-blooming are the ioys of Heau'ns high paradice,
Cold age deafes not there our eares, nor vapour dims our eyes :
Glory there the Sun outshines, whose beames the blessed
onely see ;
O come quickly, glorious Lord, and raise my spright to thee.



Avatar photo

Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming is president of the Fleming Foundation. He is the author of six books, including The Morality of Everyday Life and The Politics of Human Nature, as well as many articles and columns for newspapers, magazines,and learned journals. He holds a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a B.A. in Greek from the College of Charleston. He served as editor of Chronicles: a Magazine of American Culture from 1984 to 2015 and president of The Rockford Institute from 1997-2014. In a previous life he taught classics at several colleges and served as a school headmaster in South Carolina