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Thomas Weelkes

(1576 - 1623 / England)

Biography of Thomas Weelkes

Thomas Weelkes poet

Believed to be the son of a clergyman Weelkes was born on the 25th October 1576, at Elstead, Surry.
He was educated in New College, Oxford, and in 1598 became the organist of Winchester College. It was here that he composed some of his greatest madrigals, which appeared in two volumes published in 1598 and 1600.
He graduated from New College in 1602 and was appointed organist and master chorist at Chichester Cathedral, until he was eventually dismissed for drunkenness and profanity of language.


Nearly 100 of his madrigals survive today, many still in use in christian services, including Hosanna to the son of David.

Upon his death on the 3rd November 1623, Joseph Kerman declared:- "A society that can allow a talent of this kind to go to waste while poets best forgotten flourish can hardly be considered a healthy one from a musical point of view."

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Cease Sorrows Now

Cease sorrows now,
for you have done the deed,
lo care hath now consum'd
my carcase quite,
no hope is left
nor help can stand instead,
for doleful death
doth cut off pleasure quite,
yet whilst I hear
the knolling of the bell,
before I die,
I'll sing my faint farewell,
farewell.

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