Richard Alison
(fl.1586 - 1606)

O heavy heart
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This work, Alison : O heavy heart : scoreid 148327, as published by notAmos Performing Editions, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. All relevant attributions should state its URL as Permissions beyond the scope of this licence may be available at
Published in An Howres Recreation in Musicke, London, 1606, and (according to the frontispiece) "framed for the delight of gentlemen and others which are well affected to that quality; all for the most part with two trebles necessary for such as teach in private families".
Lyrics: Anon

O heavy heart, whose charms are hid,
Thy help is hurt, thy hap is hard,
If thou should'st break, as God forbid,
Then should desert want his reward:
Hope well to have, hate not sweet thought,
Foul cruel storms fair calms have brought;
After sharp show'rs the sun shines fair,
Hope comes likewise after despair.

In hope, a king doth go to war;
In hope, a lover lives full long;
In hope, a merchant sails full far;
In hope, just men do suffer wrong;
In hope, the ploughman sows his seed;
Thus hope helps thousands at their need:
Then faint not heart, among the rest,
Whatever chance, hope thou the best.

Though wit bids will to blow retreat,
Will cannot work as wit would wish;
When that the roach doth taste the bait,
Too late to warn the hungry fish;
When cities burn on fiery flame,
Great rivers scarce may quench the same;
If will and fancy be agreed,
Too late for wit to bid take heed.

But yet it seems a foolish drift,
To follow will and leave the wit;
The wanton horse that runs too swift
May well be stay'd upon the bit;
But check a horse amid his race,
And out of doubt you mar his pace.
Though wit and reason doth men teach
Never to climb above their reach.

I can no more but hope, good heart,
For though the worst doth chance to fall,
I know a while shall ease thy smart
And turn to sweet thy sugar'd gall;
When thy good will and painful suit
Hath shak'd the tree and wants the fruit,
Then keep thou patience well in store,
That sovereign salve shall heal thy sore.