Flow my tears

"Flow my tears" is a lute song (specifically, an "ayre") by the accomplished lutenist and composer John Dowland. "Flow my tears" is Dowland's most famous ayre, [Greer] and became his signature song, literally as well as metaphorically: he would occasionally sign his name "Jo. Dolandi de Lachrimae". Like others of Dowland's lute songs, "Flow my tears"' form and style are based on a dance, in this case the pavan. It was first published in "The Second Booke of Songs or Ayres of 2, 4. and 5. parts" (London, 1600). The song begins with a falling tear motif, starting on an A and descending to an E by step on the text "Flow my tears". This may have been borrowed from an Orlande de Lassus motet or Luca Marenzio madrigal, in addition to other borrowings in the piece. [Holman] Anthony Boden calls the song "probably the most widely known English song of the early 17th century." [Boden, pg. 322]

There have been many instrumental versions of this song, most entitled "Lachrimae" (or "Lachrymae", literally "tears"). In this case the instrumental version was written first, as "Lachrimae pavane" in 1596, and lyrics were later added. [Greer] It is believed that the text was written specifically for the music, and may have been written by Dowland himself. [Caldwell, pg. 429, note] "Lachrimae" exists in over 100 manuscripts and printings in different arrangements for ensemble and solo. [Holman] The "Lachrimae"s tend to be much more abstract than other music based on dance forms of the time, and do not completely follow the structure of the standard pavan in terms of length of phrases; they are also more contrapuntal. [Holman]

Instrumental versions by Dowland include "Lachrimae" for lute, "Galliard to Lachrimae" for lute and "Lachrimae antiquae" (1604) for consort. Dowland also published "Lachrimae, or Seaven Teares" (London, 1604), a collection of consort music which included a cycle of seven "Lachrimae" pavans based on the falling tear motif. Thomas Morley set the "Lachrimae Pauin" for the six instruments of a 'broken consort' in his "First Booke of Consort Lessons" (London, 1599).

More composers have written pieces based on both the "Lachrimae" and "Flow my tears", including Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck [Roberts] and Thomas Tomkins, [Boden, pg. 323] while John Danyel's "Eyes, look no more" pays clear homage to the piece, [Scott] as does John Bennet's "Weep, O Mine Eyes". [Brown] In the 20th century, American composer and conductor Victoria Bond wrote "Old New Borrowed Blues (Variations on Flow my Tears)". [Bonaventura]

Lachrimae became one of the favorite improvisational themes of the 16th and 17th Century. With no recordings, most is lost in letter.


:Flow, my tears, fall from your springs!:Exiled for ever, let me mourn;:Where night's black bird her sad infamy sings,:There let me live forlorn. :Down vain lights, shine you no more!:No nights are dark enough for those:That in despair their lost fortunes deplore.:Light doth but shame disclose. :Never may my woes be relieved,:Since pity is fled;:And tears and sighs and groans my weary days:Of all joys have deprived. :From the highest spire of contentment:My fortune is thrown;:And fear and grief and pain for my deserts:Are my hopes, since hope is gone. :Hark! you shadows that in darkness dwell,:Learn to contemn light:Happy, happy they that in hell:Feel not the world's despite.


*Boden, Anthony. "Thomas Tomkins: The Last Elizabethan". Ashgate Publishing Limited, Aldershot, England, 2005. ISBN 0-7546-5118-5
*Sam di Bonaventura, Barbara Jepson, and Adrienne Fried Block. "Victoria Bond", "Grove Music Online", ed. L. Macy (accessed October 28 2006), [http://www.grovemusic.com/ grovemusic.com] (subscription access).
*David Brown. "John Bennet (i)", "Grove Music Online", ed. L. Macy (accessed November 5 2006), [http://www.grovemusic.com/ grovemusic.com] (subscription access).
*David Greer. "Air (2)", "Grove Music Online", ed. L. Macy (accessed October 28 2006), [http://www.grovemusic.com/ grovemusic.com] (subscription access).
*Christopher Hogwood. Preface to "Dowland: Keyboard music". Edition HH, Bicester, England, 2005. Accessed December 16 2007. [http://www.editionhh.co.uk/hh74pref.htm HH website] .
*Peter Holman with Paul O'Dette. "John Dowland", "Grove Music Online", ed. L. Macy (accessed October 28 2006), [http://www.grovemusic.com/ grovemusic.com] (subscription access).
*Timothy Roberts. "For the home keyboardist", review of Hogwood, "Dowland: Keyboard music". Early Music, May 2006, p. 311-313. [http://em.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/34/2/311.pdf Oxford journals] .
*David Scott and David Greer. "John Danyel", "Grove Music Online", ed. L. Macy (accessed October 28 2006), [http://www.grovemusic.com/ grovemusic.com] (subscription access).
*"The Oxford History of English Music: Volume 1: From the Beginnings to c.1715" ed. John Caldwell. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1991. ISBN 0-19-816129-8.


External links

* [http://www.vimeo.com/694793 Video of "Flow my tears" by John Dowland performed by Valeria Mignaco, soprano & Alfonso Marin, lute]
* [http://artsongcentral.com/2007/dowland-flow-my-tears/ Sheet music for "Flow my tears"]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said — infobox Book | name = Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said title orig = translator = image caption = Cover of first edition (hardcover) author = Philip K. Dick illustrator = cover artist = country = USA language = English series = genre = Science… …   Wikipedia

  • Tears Of Magdalena — Жанры симфо метал, блэк метал Годы с 2005 по настоящее время Состав …   Википедия

  • Flow — (fl[=o]), v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Flowed} (fl[=o]d); p. pr. & vb. n. {Flowing}.] [AS. fl[=o]wan; akin to D. vloeijen, OHG. flawen to wash, Icel. fl[=o]a to deluge, Gr. plw ein to float, sail, and prob. ultimately to E. float, fleet. [root]80. Cf.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Tears of wine — The phenomenon called tears of wine is manifested as a ring of clear liquid, near the top of a glass of wine, from which droplets form and flow back into the wine. It is most readily observed in a wine which has a high alcohol content. It is also …   Wikipedia

  • flow — flow1 [ flou ] noun *** 1. ) count or uncount the continuous movement of a liquid in one direction: drugs that improve the blood flow around the body flow of: Leaves in the ditch were blocking the flow of water. a ) the continuous movement of a… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • flow — I UK [fləʊ] / US [floʊ] noun Word forms flow : singular flow plural flows *** 1) a) [countable/uncountable] the continuous movement of a liquid in one direction drugs that improve blood flow around the body flow of: Leaves in the ditch were… …   English dictionary

  • flow — 01. We couldn t swim in the river because it was [flowing] too fast. 02. Press on the vein to slow the [flow] of blood from the wound. 03. Traffic is once again [flowing] smoothly now that the accident has been cleared away. 04. It is impossible… …   Grammatical examples in English

  • No More Tears (song) — This article is about the Ozzy Osbourne song. For other songs with the same title, see No More Tears (disambiguation). No More Tears Single by Ozzy Osbourne …   Wikipedia

  • Everything Will Flow — «Everything Will Flow» …   Википедия

  • Laminar Flow (album) — Infobox Album | Name = Laminar Flow Type = Album Artist = Roy Orbison Released = 1979 Recorded = Genre = Rock Length = 34:20 Label = Asylum Producer = Clayton Ivey, Terry Woodford Reviews = *Allmusic Rating|2|5… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.