Weep You No More, Sad Fountains

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Weep You No More, Sad Fountains
Anonymous
Background
• This poem may have originated as a
ballad performed by lutenists in 17th
century British courts.
• John Dowland, a popular composer in
King James’ court, is often credited as
the composer of this song.
• Since this was composed around
Queen Elizabeth’s death, many
believe the song mourns her passing
because “she lies sleeping” but also
expresses hope for the future as “the
sun rise[s] smiling.”
• The reference to the fountains reveals
an aristocratic awareness as only
wealthy individuals had access to
water for ornamental purposes. Many
felt the spray of the fountain
resembled weeping—hence the title.
Structure
• The song is an Elizabethan ballad with
variations in format.
• Stress is placed on the first syllable,
followed by two unstressed syllables.
• The primary meter of the song is dactylic
and trochaic with variances in the
number of feet in each line.
• Because the meter moves from stressed
to unstressed syllables, it is called falling
meter. This adds to the somber tone of
the poem.
• The single word (“sleeping”) that ends
both stanzas is stressed by its solitude
and the falling meter.
• Rhyme is used throughout the poem to
add musicality to the soothing song.
• Kate Winslet sang this song in Sense
and Sensibility, and Sting recorded the
song on his album Songs from the
Labyrinth.
Weep You No More, Sad Fountains
Weep you no more, sad fountains;
Sleep is a reconciling,
What need you flow so fast?
A rest that peace begets.
Look how the snowy mountains
Doth not the sun rise smiling
Heaven’s sun doth gently waste.
When fair at even he sets?
But my sun’s heavenly eyes
Rest you then, rest, sad eyes,
View not your weeping,
Melt not in weeping
That now lie sleeping
While she lies sleeping
Softly, now softly lies
Softly, now softly lies
Sleeping.
Sleeping.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMvZGJGqj8M
Through imperatives, the speaker implores the personified fountains to stop
crying. Since fountains were owned by the wealthy, the speaker addresses an
aristocratic audience.
“Heaven’s sun” is
the center of the
universe inferring
that an important
person has died.
God does not
recognize the
despair. Also,
the use of “my”
shows the
importance of
this death to
speaker.
Refrain contains
caesura to
highlight the
“soft” “sleep.
Weep you no more, sad fountains;
What need you flow so fast?
Look how the snowy mountains
Heaven’s sun doth gently waste.
But my sun’s heavenly eyes
View not your weeping,
That now lie sleeping
Softly, now softly lies
Sleeping.
Sleeping, which is repeated twice,
infers death, so the death of
someone (Queen Elizabeth?) has
made the mourning excessive.
Line references
abundance of
tears.
The metaphors (“snowy
mountains” and
“Heaven’s sun” show
how snow melts slowly;
thus, they may mourn
for years, but regardless,
the crying must stop.
Metaphor suggests that we
accept death as “a rest.”
Rhetorical
question shows
that life
continues
despite losses.
Lines comfort
those mourning.
Monochromatic
words combined
with caesura show
solicitude.
Allusion to the Bible, Psalm 4:8—”I will both lay
me down in peace, and sleep: for you, Lord, only
make me dwell in safety” (Bilblos, 2004).
These two lines equate sleep
Sleep is a reconciling,
with death and the
acceptance of death
A rest that peace begets.
(“reconciling”).
Doth not the sun rise smiling
When fair at even he sets?
Rest you then, rest, sad eyes,
Melt not in weeping
Use of “she” alludes to the death
While she lies sleeping of a female, perhaps Queen
Elizabeth.
Softly, now softly lies
Sleeping.
Tone
The tone of the song is
soothing as it sounds like a
lullaby meant to comfort a
child. Though a sad
subject, the message
implores the mourner to
cease crying for the
deceased is now in a
peaceful place.
Works Cited
http://www.cieliterature.com/2014/03/31/weep-you-no-more-sadfountains/
http://hubpages.com/hub/Weep-You-No-More-Sad-Fountains-Reviewof-the-Elizabethan-Poem
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