Flow My Tears, John Dowland, 1600
Photograph by Julian Abrams
3 minutes 35 seconds, every 10 minutes, single channel sound installation
Flow, my tears, fall from your springs!
Exiled forever, let me mourn;
Where night's black bird her sad infamy sings,
There let me live forlorn.
Down vain lights, shine you no more!
No nights are dark enough for those
That in despair their lost fortunes deplore.
Light doth but shame disclose.
Never may my woes be relieved,
Since pity is fled;
And tears and sighs and groans my weary days
Of all joys have deprived.
From the highest spire of contentment
My fortune is thrown;
And fear and grief and pain for my deserts
Are my hopes, since hope is gone.
Hark! You shadows that in darkness dwell,
learn to condemn light
happy, happy they that in hell
fell not the world's despite
The flow of the thousands of people who cross London Bridge every working day is mirrored in the flow of the water beneath the bridge. The lyrics of this beautiful song resonate with the dark underside of the bridge and reflect its darker mood. The River Thames can embody people’s darker emotions and it is a notorious place for people to disappear. As the voice is projected out across the water it rebounds off the architecture and appears to return invisibly from the middle of the Thames. The work also rhymes with the instrumental Lachrimae to which it is intimately related and brings the song cycle around full circle.
Note: The Thames Path under the north side of London Bridge is accessible via steps from Upper Thames Street/Lower Thames Street or from King William Street, London Bridge.