Thomas Campion (sometimes Campian) (1567 1620) was an
English composer, poet, and physician. He wrote over a
hundred lute songs, masques for dancing, and an
authoritative technical treatise on music.
Campion was born in London, the son of John Campion, a
clerk of the Court of Chancery, and Lucy (née Searle
daughter of Laurence Searle, one of the queen's
serjeants-at-arms). Upon the death of Campion's father
in 1576, his mother married Augustine Steward, dying
soon afterwards. His step-father assumed charge of the
boy and sent him, in 1581, to study at Peterhouse,
Cambridge as a "gentleman pensioner"; he left the
university after four years without taking a degree. He
later entered Gray's Inn to study law in 1586. However,
he left in 1595 without having been called to the bar.
On 10 February 1605, he received his medical degree
from the University of Caen.
The body of his works is considerable, the earliest
known being a group of five anonymous poems included in
the "Songs of Divers Noblemen and Gentlemen," appended
to Newman's edition of Sir Philip Sidney's Astrophel
and Stella, which appeared in 1591. In 1595, Poemata, a
collection of Latin panegyrics, elegies and epigrams
was published, winning him a considerable reputation.
This was followed, in 1601, by a songbook, A Booke of
Ayres, with words by himself and music composed by
himself and Philip Rosseter. The following year he
published his Observations in the Art of English
Poesie, "against the vulgar and unartificial custom of
riming," in favour of rhymeless verse on the model of
classical quantitative verse. Campion's theories on
poetry were demolished by Samuel Daniel in "Defence of
Rarely are his rhythms uniform, while they frequently
shift from line to line. His range was very great both
in feeling and expression, and whether he attempts an
elaborate epithalamium or a simple country ditty, the
result is always full of unstudied freshness and
tuneful charm. In some of his sacred pieces, he is
particularly successful, combining real poetry with
genuine religious fervour. Some of Campion's works
could also be quite ribald such as "Beauty, since you
so much desire".
Although this piece was originally written for Chorus &
Orchestra, I created this arrangement for Woodwind
Quartet (Flute, Oboe, Bb Clarinet & Bassoon).