I Pass All My Hours
(The Phoenix)

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Lesley Nelson-Burns


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These words are attributed to King Charles II, and were set to a tune written by Pelham Humfrey (1647-1674), who is noted in Playford's Choice Songs as "the Master of the Children of his Chapel." It is printed under the title The Phoenix in Jackson's English Melodies.*

It also appeared in several broadsides. The text appears in Westiminster Drollery 1 (1671) under the title The First Song in the Ball at Court. It appears in Evans, Old Ballads, Historical and Narrative (1784 edn.) as The Pleasures of Love. It is also in Baring-Gould's English Minstrelsie 3 (1895) under the same title as here.**

I pass all my hours in a shady old grove,
But I love not the day when I see not my love:
I survey ev'ry walk now my Phyllis is gone,
And sigh when I think we were there all alone;
O then 'tis, O then that I think there's no Hell
Like loving too well.


But each shade and each conscious bo'wr when I find,
Where I once had been happy and she had been kind,
When I see the print left of her foot in the green,
And imagine the pleasures may yet come again;
O then 'tis, O then that no joy's above
The pleasures of love.


Whilst alone to myself I repeat all her charms,
She I love may be lock'd in another man's arms;
She may laugh at my cares and so fla se she may be,
To say the kind things she before said to me,
O then 'tis, O then that I think here's no Hell
Like loving too well.


But when I consider the truth of her heart
Such an innocent passion, so kind without art,
I do fear I have wrong'd her and so she may be
So full of true love to be jealous of me.
O then 'tis, O then I think no joy's above
The pleasure of love.


Related Links
From *One Hundred Songs of England
See Bibliography for full information.
and **Steve Roud's Broadside Index.