> The Young Tradition > Songs > What if a Day

Whait If a Day, Or a Month, Or a Yeare?

[Thomas Campion, arr. Dolly Collins]

Thomas Campion’s art song was printed in 1606 in Richard Alison’s An Howres Recreation in Musicke. The Young Tradition sang the first half of it under the shortened title What If a Day in 1968 on their last LP, Galleries. Heather Wood noted:

The arrangement for this art song is by Dolly Collins, who should surely be recognised as an excellent English composer, although she is best known to the folk scene as Shirley’s sister.


The Young Tradition sing What If a Day

What if a day, or a month, or a yeare
Crown thy delights with a thousand sweet contentings?
Cannot a chance of a night or an howre
Crosse thy desires with as many sad tormentings?

Fortune, honor, beauty, youth
Are but blossoms dying;
Wanton pleasure, doating love,
Are but shadowes flying.
All our joyes are but toyes,
Idle thoughts deceiving;
None have power of an howre
In their lives bereaving.

Earthes but a point to the world, and a man
Is but a point to the worlds compared centure:
Shall then a point of a point be so vaine
As to triumph in a seely points adventure?

All is hassard that we have,
There is nothing biding;
Dayes of pleasure are like streames
Through faire meadowes gliding.
Weale and woe, time doth goe,
Time is ever turning:
Secret fates guide our states,
Both in mirth and mourning