Tuesday, August 27, 2013

John Renbourn singing John Donne's "Song"

On his debut album, John Renbourn (later of Pentangle) recorded a version of John Donne's "Song" (the first line of which is "Go and catch a falling star"). Renbourn changed the last line to "False, ere I count one, two three.." Courtesy of Bartleby.com.

GO and catch a falling star,
  Get with child a mandrake root,
Tell me where all past years are,
  Or who cleft the Devil's foot;
Teach me to hear mermaids singing,         5
Or to keep off envy's stinging,
        And find
        What wind
Serves to advance an honest mind.
If thou be'st born to strange sights,  10
  Things invisible to see,
Ride ten thousand days and nights
  Till Age snow white hairs on thee;
Thou, when thou return'st, wilt tell me
All strange wonders that befell thee,  15
        And swear
        No where
Lives a woman true and fair.
If thou find'st one, let me know;
  Such a pilgrimage were sweet.  20
Yet do not; I would not go,
  Though at next door we might meet.
Though she were true when you met her,
And last till you write your letter,
        Yet she  25
        Will be
False, ere I come, to two or three.

JOHN DONNE (1573-1631). from The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. 

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