Dowland – If my complaints could passions move

Song Information

Title: If my complaints could passions move

Music: John Dowland (1563-1626)

Text: possibly John Dowland (1563-1626)

Sheet Music

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Audio Files


  • The accompaniment can be heard on Guitar thanks to Jon Sayles


Song Text

If my complaints could passions move,
Or make Love see wherein I suffer wrong:
My passions were enough to prove,
That my despairs had governed me too long.
O Love, I live and die in thee,
Thy grief in my deep sighs still speaks:
Thy wounds do freshly bleed in me,
My heart for thy unkindness breaks:
Yet thou dost hope when I despair,
And when I hope, thou mak’st me hope in vain.
Thou say’s thou canst my harms repair,
Yet for redress, thou let’st me still complain.

Can Love be rich, and yet I want?
Is Love my judge, and yet am I condemned?
Thou plenty hast, yet me dost scant:
Thou made a god, and yet thy pow’r contemned.
That I do live, it is thy pow’r:
That I desire it is thy worth:
If Love doth make men’s lives too sour,
Let me not love, nor live henceforth.
Die shall my hopes, but not my faith,
That you that of my fall may hearers be
May here despair, which truly saith,
I was more true to Love than Love to me.