Thomas Arne
(1710 - 1778)

Arne : Sylvia, wilt thou waste thy prime : illustration

Sylvia, wilt thou waste thy prime
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A song probably written for performance in the London pleasure Gardens. Published in Clio and Euterpe, or British Harmony, 1762.
Lyrics: Torquato Tasso (trans. Wm. Ayre)

Sylvia, wilt thou waste thy prime,
Stranger to the joys of love?
Thou hast youth, and that's the time
Ev'ry minute to improve.
Round thee wilt thou never hear
Little wanton girls and boys,
Sweetly sounding in thy ear
Infant prate and mother's joys.

Only view that little dove,
Softly cooing to its mate;
As a further proof of love,
See her for his kisses wait.
Hark! that charming nightingale,
As it flies from spray to spray,
Sweetly tune an am'rous tale,
"I love, I love", it strives to say.

Could I to thy soul reveal
But the least, the thousandth part,
Of those pleasures lovers feel,
In a mutual change of heart.
Then repenting, would'st thou say:
"Virgins' fears from hence remove;
All the time is thrown away
That we cannot spend in love".