Sheet music Back to Ensemble Menu

Come Again (Ayre)

(John Dowland)

This is a goodbye song by the sixteenth century English musician and composer John Dowland (1562 - 1626). He held a position with the English ambassador in Paris, was invited at the royal courts in Wolfenbüttel and Cassel, travelled through Italy, served as a lutenist at the court of Christian IV of Denmark and finally took a position as a lutenist at the English court.

The universities of Oxford and Cambridge granted him bachelorships in music.

Although Dowland composed lots of lute pieces, he is better known for his songs. Many of these songs or "ayres" have two versions, one for solo voice and lute and one for a four voice ensemble, where the first voice has the melody and the remaining voices provide the harmonies of the lute accompaniment.

His greatest song compositions are characterised by a lute part that is often more than an accompaniment, it is possible to perform these pieces as a lute solo.

Dowlands music was steeped in Elizabethan melancholy. Titles like Sorrow sorrow stay, In darkness let me dwell and Flow my teares clearly show this. The same applies to lute pieces like Semper Dowland semper dolens (Always Dowland, always sad), Lachrymae or seven teares (a collection of seven pavanes) and the Melancholy Galliard.

The song starts like this (followed by many more stanzas):

Come again: Sweet love doth now invite.
Thy graces that refrain,
To do me due delight.
To see, to hear, to touch, to kiss, to die,
With thee again in sweetest sympathy!

"Come Again" tells you "please return!" We would enjoy it if do come again with respect to this home page. We arranged the piece for two guitars and added a few stylistic correct variations.