William Benson Earle
(1740 - 1796)

Earle : Sweet were once the joys I tasted : illustration

Sweet were once the joys I tasted
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Earle was an aristocrat and philanthropist who lived much of his life in the Close, Salisbury. He was a keen amateur musician who wrote several well-crafted glees.

The current item, harmonized and arranged as a glee by Earle, is based upon a song composed by one Davidson Russell.
Lyrics: Anon

Sweet were once the joys I tasted,
All was jollity and love;
Time, methought, too humbly hasted
Which on pleasure's wings did move.
Chloe's heart was all my treasure,
Never was a richer swain;
Chloe doubled every pleasure,
Chloe banished every pain.

But the envious gods repining,
So much bliss on earth to see,
All their bitterest curses joining
Dashed my cup with jealousy.
Now, where erst my pipe resounded,
Steals the sigh and heartfelt groan;
Love by doubts and fears surrounded,
I'll dispute a tottering throne.

Fool, that ever art pursuing,
What concealed is always best;
Jealousy, love's child amd ruin,
Leave, O leave my tortured breast.
With the slave thy power confessing,
Thou to Venus mildly deal;
They who shun or slight thy blessing
Should alone thy torments feel.