Thomas Campion



The Works of Thomas Campion, ed. Walter R. Davis (London, 1969)

Diem (1919)

Nelly Diem, Beiträge zur Geschichte der Schottischen Musik im XVII. Jahrhundert (Zurich & Leipzig, 1919).


Lyrics from English Airs 1596-1622, ed. Edward Doughtie (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1970).


Campion's Works, ed. Percival Vivian (Oxford, 1909; reprinted 1967).


Principal Manuscripts

The only known example of Thomas Campion's handwriting is the signature on his deposition in 1615 relating to the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury (CmT 250). Otherwise the only other manuscript which might possibly have been handled by him is his lengthy Latin poem on the Gunpowder Plot (CmT 247), a work not published until 1987. It seems unlikely that any part of it is in Campion's own hand, but it may well have been prepared for him for what was originally intended to be a formal presentation copy.

In addition to one other notable early manuscript, a scribal copy of some of the songs in The Lord Hay's Masque among the Cecil Papers at Hatfield house (CmT 248), Campion's songs are to be found in a variety of seventeenth-century miscellanies and manuscript songbooks. Many of the manuscript texts probably derive ultimately from printed sources, but a number of the songs clearly enjoyed independent circulation in manuscript. Campion himself revised and reset his lyrics at different times: in ‘To the Reader’ before his Fourth Booke of Ayres (1617?), for instance, he refers to songs which have been ‘reformed, eyther in Words or Notes’ (Davis, p. 168). Early versions of his lyrics sometimes appeared, ‘cloathed in Musicke by others’, in the songbooks of Jones, Dowland, Ferrabosco, et al. Some manuscripts, on the other hand, incorporate performers' ornamentation, which might indicate a later date of transcription.

The St Andrew Psalter

A group of manuscripts mentioned frequently in the entries is the so-called St Andrew Psalter. This consists of two almost identical sets of five manuscript part books of David Peebles's settings of the Psalms and Canticles, and other works, compiled between 1562 and c.1592 by Thomas Wode, Vicar of St Andrews. The first set is relevant because it contains settings of lyrics, including a number by Campion, added in other hands in the early seventeenth century. The first set comprises: (i) Tenor (Edinburgh University Library, MS La. III. 483 (Tenor)); (ii) Treble or Cantus (Edinburgh University Library, MS La. III. 483 (Treble)); (iii) Counter-Tenor or Altus (British Library, Add. MS 33933); (iv) Bass (Edinburgh University Library, MS La. III. 483 (Bassus)); (v) Quintus, or supplementary volume, dated 1569 (Trinity College, Dublin, MS 412). Of the duplicate set, which contains no seventeenth-century additions, Nos (i) and (iii) are currently untraced. Nos. (ii) and (iv) are in Edinburgh University Library (MSS Dk. 5. 14-15), and No. (v), dated 1586, is at Georgetown University.

The Canon

The canon of Campion's songs is far from certain. For present purposes the canon accepted is based on Davis, with the addition of one song, “Tarry sweete love”, which is cited in Campion's Observations in the Art of English Poesie (1602) (see CmT 88). For some music (largely in manuscript sources) for dances which may belong to entertainments by Campion, see Four Hundred Songs and Dances from the Stuart Masque, ed. Andrew J. Sabol (Providence, Rhode Island, 1978), passim (esp. Nos. 60, 73-5, 79, 98, 105, 109, 113-14, 125, 126, 136-8, 168, 191, 237-8, 258-60, 277-81, 392, 412-13).

A few eighteenth-century copies of certain of Campion's lyrics, not given entries below, are found in the British Library. Settings of “And would you see my Mistris face?” and “My love hath vowd hee will forsake me” occur in a manuscript of John Stafford Smith, 1785-9 (Add. MS 34608). Ferrabosco's setting of “Young and simple though I am” occurs in a Welsh collection of Lewis Morris, c.1720-31 (Add. MS 14934, f. 192v). Francis Pilkington's setting of “Now let her change and spare not” occurs in an anonymous music book (Add. MS 29291, ff. 6v-7r); and a setting of “If Love loves truth, then women do not love” occurs in a music collection of E.T.W. Horne, c.1760s (Add. MS 29386, f. 85r)

Peter Beal