Back in the eccentric old days of the 1980s and 90s, Chris and I used to host madrigal-singing parties with other consenting adults and our teenaged children would join in. There was an Elizabethan madrigal by John Wilbye that we particularly liked. The music was composed in 1598, and the lyrics went like this:
Adieu, adieu, sweet Amaryllis,We had to keep practising, because it sounded terrible if we got it wrong. Once we had a flowering amaryllis which we put on the floor in the centre of our singing circle for inspiration.
For since to part your will is.
O heavy tiding!
Here is for me no biding.
Yet once again, ere that I part with you,
Amaryllis, Amaryllis, sweet adieu!
Madrigals like this one were written to be sung by only a handful of people, but here's a recording of a whole American youth choir taking it more seriously than we ever did.
What's reminded me of Adieu, sweet Amaryllis is that we presently have an amaryllis bulb in the house that bloomed magnificently over Christmas (I bought it in bud at Loblaw's) and has since decided to re-bloom. I never knew amaryllis bulbs were capable of that, but just as I was about to throw it away last month I noticed that it seemed to be sending up a new shoot, so I kept it in the kitchen for observation, and sure enough, that shoot grew, and grew ... till it was 60cm tall. Three new flower buds are just about to open.