William Jackson (of Exeter)
(1730 - 1803)

My days have been so wondrous free
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Originally published as a song with accompaniments for violins, Jackson's air was redrafted as a three-part glee by Joseph Corfe.
Lyrics: Thomas Parnell (adapted Jackson)

My days have been so wondrous free,
The little birds that fly,
With careless ease from tree to tree,
Were not so blest as I.
Ask gliding waters if a tear
Of mine increased their stream,
Or ask the passing gales if e'er
I lent a sigh to them.

But now my former days retire,
And I'm by beauty caught;
The tender chains of soft desire
Are fixed upon my thought.
An eager hope within my breast
Does ev'ry doubt control;
And lovely Nancy stands confessed,
The fav'rite of my soul.

But if she treats me with disdain
And slights my well-meant love,
Or looks with pleasure on my pain,
A pain she won't remove:
Farewell ye birds and lonely pines,
Adieu to groans and sighs;
I'll leave my passion to the winds;
Love unreturned soon dies.