William Jackson (of Exeter)
(1730 - 1803)

Jackson (of Exeter) : Whilst from our looks : illustration

Whilst from our looks
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Elegy II 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

Whilst from our looks, fair nymph, you guess
The secret passions of our mind;
My heavy eyes, you say, confess
A heart to love and grief inclin'd.

There needs, alas, but little art,
To have this fatal secret known;
With the same ease you threw the dart,
'Tis certain you can shew the wound.

How can I see you, and not love,
While you as op'ning east are fair?
While cold as northern blasts you prove,
How can I love, and not despair?

The wretch in double fetters bound
Your potent mercy may release:
Soon, if my love but once were crown'd,
Fair Isabel, my grief would cease.