Benjamin Cooke
(1734 - 1793)

Cooke : To you fair ladies now in town : illustration

To you fair ladies now in town
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From Cooke's collection Op. 5, edited and issued posthumously by his son, Robert Cooke. 1795. The unattributed text was anthologised frequently, first appearing in 1729, when Senesino was at the height of his fame.
Lyrics: Anon

To you fair ladies now in town
We countrymen do write,
And do invite you to come down
To taste of our delight.
The weather's fine, the fields are gay,
And 'tis the merry month of May.

The country now's in all its pride,
New-drest in lovely green;
The earth with various colours dyed
Displays a lovely scene.
A thousand pretty flow'rs appear,
To deck your bosom and your hair.

The cuckoo's pick'd up all the dirt,
The trees are all in bloom;
If rural music can divert,
Each bush affords a tune.
The turtle's heard in ev'ry grove,
And milkmaids sing their songs of love.

We'll shew you all our cowslip meads,
Our pleasant woods and springs,
And lead you to the tuneful shades
Where Philomena sings:
Sweet Philomel, whose warbling throat
Excels your Senesino's note.