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Come Sleep! - a new SATB choral setting

Come Sleep! O Sleep, the certain knot of peace

Just published is this original choral setting, based on a traditional Norwegian lullaby, Vuggetrall, harmonised by Maurice Skones in 1957. Nigel Edmund-Jones has arranged the words of Sir Philip Sydney's famous Sonnet 39 to the tune. The arrangement may be sung unaccompanied (with the addition of the second, lower bass part provided in the score) or with a keyboard accompaniment. Direct link to the product page here.

The new words for the arrangement are taken from the Astrophil and Stella sonnet sequence, no. 39 by Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586)

Come Sleep! O Sleep, the certain knot of peace,

The baiting-place of wit, the balm of woe,

The poor man's wealth, the prisoner's release,

Th' indifferent judge between the high and low.

With shield of proof shield me from out the prease

Of those fierce darts despair at me doth throw:

O make in me those civil wars to cease;

I will good tribute pay, if thou do so.

Take thou of me smooth pillows, sweetest bed,

A chamber deaf to noise and blind to light,

A rosy garland and a weary head:

And if these things, as being thine by right,

Move not thy heavy grace, thou shalt in me,

Livelier than elsewhere, Stella's image see.

YouTube reading of the sonnet (without music):

Analysis of Sonnet 39 by Dr Oliver Tearle:

'Astrophil and Stella is one of Elizabethan poetry’s finest and brightest gems. In 108 sonnets and a handful of songs, Sir Philip Sidney produced the first sustained sonnet sequence in English (though not, contrary to popular belief, the very first) ... This idea of trying to strike a bargain with sleep will strike a chord with anyone who has endured a sleepless night because of an affair of the heart. It doesn’t matter if you have the perfect conditions for sleep: sometimes sleep just won’t come, when you are what the poets used to call ‘heartsick’ over something or someone....

The only recording of the tune that we could find at the time of publication is played on a ukelele ('arrangement after V. Bobri'):

As for all our Fullscore Publishing single editions, downloading the sheet music is free from this link!


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