William Jackson (of Exeter)
(1730 - 1803)

Jackson (of Exeter) : Thou fairest proof of beauty's power : illustration

Thou fairest proof of beauty's power
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Elegy VI from Jackson's Elegies, Op. 3, 1762.

In his frontispiece, Jackson specified performance in the following terms: "I would just observe, that the following pieces will lose their effect, when the parts are doubled. The manner of performance that I would recommend, is by three voices singing moderately soft, and accompanied with any bass instrument that may have the effect of an accompaniment only; for nothing hurts a piece so much, as making a part principal, or even equal with others, when it was intended to be subservient. The equality of strength among the voices should also be observed; if one voice of the three be strong, and the others weak, it is necessary to soften it down, that the balance may not be destroyed; for it should always be remembered, that as no principal part was intended, there must be none produced".
Lyrics: Matthew Prior

Thou fairest proof of beauty's pow'r,
Dear idol of my panting heart,
Nature points this my fatal hour!
And I have lived, and we must part.

Whilst now I take my last adieu,
Heave thou no sigh nor shed a tear,
Lest yet my half-closed eye may view
On earth an object worth its care.

From jealousy's tormenting strife
For ever be thy bosom freed;
That nothing may disturb thy life,
Content I hasten to the dead.

Yet when some better fated youth
Shall thee to am'rous parley move,
Reflect one moment on his truth,
When dying thus persists to love.