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When I Do Count the Clock that Tells the Time

for unaccompanied mixed choir

Year:  2023   ·  Duration:  4m 45s
Instrumentation:  SAATBB unaccompanied

Year:  2023
Duration:  4m 45s
Instrumentation  SAATBB unaccompanied

David Hamilton

Composer:   David Hamilton


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When I Do Count the Clock that Tells the Time was written for John Rosser and Viva Voce (Auckland) for a concert with a 'summer' theme. Having already set the well-known "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day" I looked for another sonnet that referenced summer, even if only in passing.

When I Do Count the Clock that Tells the Time

When I do count the clock that tells the time,
And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;
When I behold the violet past prime,
And sable curls all silver’d o’er with white;
When lofty trees I see barren of leaves,
Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,
And summer’s green all girded up in sheaves,
Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard;

Then of thy beauty do I question make,
That thou among the wastes of time must go,
Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake,
And die as fast as they see others grow;
And nothing ‘gainst Time’s scythe can make defence
Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence.

— William Shakespeare (Sonnet 12)