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An aubade is a poem regarding lovers needing to part with the coming of dawn. The form has some dramatic elements, since the poem is often a dialogue between the lovers, one saying that dawn is near and they must part, and the other answering no. There is often a refrain, in which an outsider, such as the the watchman, warns the lovers of the approaching dawn.

Aubades were in the repertory of troubadours in Europe in the Middle Ages. The love poetry of the 16th century dealt mostly with unsatisfied love, so the aubade (with its implication of loving activity) was not a major genre in Elizabethan lyric. But, as you would expect, Shakespeare made good use of the aubade:

Night shadows flee
Farewell sweet dream,
Goodbye soft kisses, melting in my heart.
Now we must part,
Emptiness surrounds me like a mist –
Stealing the warmth from my soul.

Night shadows fade,
I say goodbye
To all my dreams of love and happiness;
One last caress...
Now that I’m alone,
Now the night has flown.

Night folds her wings
And calls the dawn;
When sleep of dreamers wakens with the day,
I find you gone.
Now that I’m alone, now the night has flown.

Farewell sweet dream.
William Shakespeare.

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