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Can she excuse my wrongs?

1597; The First Booke of Songs or Ayres
author of text
probably by Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex

The gloriously passionate Can she excuse my wrongs?, a hit in its day, is another galliard, but it overcomes a potential limitation of the dance-form song—that the tune can become a metrical straitjacket—by quickening the rhythm as the song progresses. The words seem to be by the Earl of Essex, framed as a love song, but expressing his tempestuous relationship with the Queen, and the accompaniment of the last strain incorporates a popular song, Shall I go walk the woods so wild?, alluding to the Earl wandering the woods of his estate at Wanstead during an exile from Court. In fact the tune was only publicly named The Earl of Essex’s Galliard after both the Earl (executed for a madcap coup attempt in 1600) and the Queen herself had died.

from notes by Christopher Goodwin © 2018


Dowland: Awake, sweet love
Dowland: First Booke of Songs or Ayres
Studio Master: SIGCD553Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Dowland: The Art of Melancholy
Studio Master: CDA68007Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
The Passinge mesures
Studio Master: CDA68249Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available


Track 7 on CDA68007 [2'23]
Track 2 on CDA68249 [2'04]
Track 1 on CDH55241 [3'01]
Track 5 on SIGCD553 [2'49] Download only

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