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This original choral setting is 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 only words in the original lullaby are 'Bya bya liten gutt, bya, bya bane'. 


The arrangement may be sung unaccompanied (with the addition of the second, lower bass part provided in the score) or with a keyboard accompaniment doubling some bass phrases and with the addition of a few lower harmony notes. The tenor part splits in only one bar (and may also be sung by a baritone). 


Also available soon: a new arrangement of Come Sleep! for solo voice and piano from Fullscore Publishing.


Words: 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): (opens in new window)


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....


Source: (opens in new window)


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


Sheet music cover painting: A Young Gardener by Orest Adamovich Kiprensky


Harmony source: 
Skones, Maurice, Five Norwegian folk songs, arranged for mixed voices (1957).

Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers. 2364
(free and open access by the Graduate School at ScholarWorks at University of Montana)





Come Sleep! - new SATB arrangement

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  • 7 pages (9 inc. covers).

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