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O Mistress Mine -- 12 Songs for countertenor and piano on texts from plays by William Shakespeare

Word count: 1121

Song Cycle by Juliana Hall

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1. Lawn as white as driven snow [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE

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Lawn as white as driven snow;
Cyprus black as e'er was crow;
Gloves as sweet as damask roses;
Masks for faces and for noses;
Bugle bracelet, necklace amber,
Perfume for a lady's chamber;
Golden quoifs and stomachers,
For my lads to give their dears:
Pins and poking-sticks of steel,
What maids lack from head to heel:
Come buy of me, come; come buy, come buy;
Buy lads, or else your lasses cry: 
Come buy.


Text as set by Blitzstein (courtesy of Kyle Degraff):
Lawn as white as driven snow,
White as snow, driven snow;
Cyprus black as e'er was crow,
Black as e’er was crow:
Come buy of me, come, buy.

Gloves as sweet as damask roses,
Sweet as damask roses,
Masks for faces and for noses,
And for noses;
Come lads, buy of me, come, buy.

Diddle, diddle, diddle, diddle.
Diddle, diddle, diddle, diddle.

Bugle bracelet, necklace amber,
Bracelet, necklace amber;
Perfume for a lady's chamber,
For a lady’s chamber;
Come buy of me, come, buy.

Golden quoifs and stomachers,
For my lads to give their dears;
Pins and poking-sticks of steel,
What maids lack from head to heel.

Come, lads, buy, lads;
Come, lads, buy, lads;
Buy, or else your lasses cry.
Come, buy, buy, buy, buy.

Submitted by Emily Ezust

2. O happy fair! [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

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O happy fair!
Your eyes are lode-stars and your tongue's sweet air
More tuneable to lark than shepherd’s ear,
When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear.



Submitted by David Sims

3. If love make me forsworn [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

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If love make me forsworn, how shall I swear to love?
Ah, never faith could hold, if not to beauty vow'd!
Though to myself forsworn, to thee I'll faithful prove;
Those thoughts to me were oaks, to thee like osiers bow'd.
Study his bias leaves, and makes his book thine eyes,
Where all those pleasures live that art would comprehend.
If knowledge be the mark, to know thee shall suffice;
Well learned is that tongue that well can thee commend;
All ignorant that soul that sees thee without wonder;
Which is to me some praise, that I thy parts admire.
Thy eye Jove's lightning bears, thy voice his dreadful thunder,
Which, not to anger bent, is music and sweet fire.
Celestial as thou art, O pardon, love, this wrong,
That sings heaven's praise with such an earthly tongue.


Submitted by David Sims

4. Who is Silvia? [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): DUT FIN FRE GER SPA

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) (L. A. J. Burgersdijk)
  • FIN Finnish (Suomi) (Erkki Pullinen) , "Kuka on Silvia?", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "À Silvia", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • SPA Spanish (Español) (Juan Henríquez Concepción) , "¿Quién es Silvia?", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Who is Silvia? what is she?
That all our Swaines commend her?
Holy, faire, and wise is she.
The heavens such grace did lend her,
That she might admired be.

Is she kinde as she is faire?
For beauty lives with kindnesse:
Love doth to her eyes repaire,
To helpe him of his blindnesse:
And being help'd, inhabits there.

Then to Silvia, let us sing,
That Silvia is excelling;
She excels each mortall thing
Upon the dull earth dwelling.
To her let us Garlands bring.


Confirmed with Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies. Published according to the True Originall Copies. London. Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed. Blount. 1623 (Facsimile from the First Folio Edition, London: Chatto and Windus, Piccadilly. 1876), page 33 of the Comedies.


Submitted by Emily Ezust and Peter Rastl

5. O, mistress mine [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FIN FRE GER GER GER GER IRI ITA NOR

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FIN Finnish (Suomi) (Paavo Cajander)
  • FRE French (Français) (François-Victor Hugo)
  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (David Paley) , "O Fräulein meins! Woher du wanderst", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • IRI Irish (Gaelic) [singable] (Gabriel Rosenstock) , copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Paolo Montanari) , "O mia signora", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


O mistress mine, where are you roaming?
O stay and hear, your true love's coming 
That can sing both high and low.

[Trip]1 no [further]2, pretty sweeting;
[Journeys]3 end in lovers' meeting,
Ev'ry wise man's son doth know.

What is love? 'Tis not hereafter;
Present mirth hath present laughter;
What's to come is still unsure:

[In]4 delay there lies no plenty;
Then [come kiss]5 me, sweet and twenty;
Youth's a stuff will not endure.


View original text (without footnotes)
1 Korngold: "O trip"
2 [sic] ; and Hall: "farther"
3 Korngold: "For journeyes"
4 Korngold: "And in"
5 Korngold: "come and kiss"

Submitted by Emily Ezust

6. If music be the food of love [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE

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If music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
That strain again! it had a dying fall:
O, it came o'er my ear like the sweet sound,
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odour! Enough; no more:
[ ... ]

Note: quoted in a text by Heveningham.

Submitted by Emily Ezust

7. Take, o take those lips away [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): DUT DUT FIN FRE FRE FRE FRE GER GER GER GER GER POL

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Take, o take those lips away,
That so sweetly [were]1 forsworn;
And those eyes, the break of day,
Lights [that]2 do mislead the morn:
But my kisses bring again;
Seals of love, [but]3 seal'd in vain, sealed in vain.

[ ... ]

View original text (without footnotes)
Note: quoted by John Fletcher, in Bloody Brother, 1639 and by William Shakespeare, in Measure for Measure, Act IV, scene 1, c1604 (just one stanza)
1 Bishop: "are"
2 Bishop: "which"
3 Bishop: "tho'"

Submitted by Emily Ezust

8. Tell me where is Fancy bred [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): DUT FRE ITA

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Tell me where is Fancy bred,
Or in the heart, or in the head?
How begot, how nourishèd?
Reply, reply.

It is engender'd in the eyes,
With gazing fed; and Fancy dies
In the cradle where it lies.
Let us all ring Fancy's knell:
I'll begin it, - Ding, dong, bell.


Submitted by Emily Ezust

9. Come away, come away, death [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): DUT DUT FIN FRE GER GER GER GER GER GER GER GER GER GER ITA NOR NOR SWE

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) (Jan Jonk) , "Kom toch gauw, kom toch gauw, dood", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FIN Finnish (Suomi) (Paavo Cajander)
  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (David Paley) , "Komm herbei, komm herbei, Tod", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Paolo Montanari) , "Vieni, o morte", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • NOR Norwegian (Bokmål) (Marianne Beate Kielland) , "Kom hit, kom nå hit, død", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


[Come away, come away, death]1,
  And in sad cypress let me be laid;
Fly away, fly away, breath;
  I am slain by a fair cruel maid.
My shroud of white, stuck all with yew,
  [O prepare it!]2
My part of death, no one so true
  Did share it.

Not a flower, not a flower sweet,
  On my black coffin let there be [strown]3;
Not a friend, not a friend greet
  My poor corpse, where my bones shall be [thrown]4:
[A thousand, [thousand]5 sighs to save,]6
  Lay me, O where
[Sad]5 true lover never find my grave,
  [To weep there!]7


View original text (without footnotes)
1 Fortner: "Death, come away, come away"
2 Dring: "Come prepare it"
3 Leguerney: "thrown"; Wilkinson: "strewn"
4 Leguerney: "strown"
5 omitted by Korngold
6 omitted by Argento.
7 Amram: "did share it." [mistake?]

Submitted by Emily Ezust

10. This is a very scurvy tune to sing [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE GER

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Stephano              
[I shall no more to sea, to sea,
Here shall I die ashore --]1
This is a very scurvy tune to sing at a man's
funeral: well, here's my comfort.]2

(Drinks)

(Sings)

 The master, the swabber,  the boatswain, and I,
 The gunner and his mate
 Loved Mall, Meg, and Marian, and Margery,
 But none of us cared for Kate;
 For she had a tongue with a tang,
 Would cry to a sailor, 'Go hang!'
 She loved not the savour of tar nor of pitch,
 Yet a tailor might scratch her where'er she did itch:
 Then to sea, boys, and let her go hang!
 [This is a scurvy tune too: but here's my comfort.]2


View original text (without footnotes)
1 Omitted by Bachlund and Hall.
2 Omitted by Bachlund.

Submitted by Emily Ezust

11. Blow, blow, thou winter wind [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FIN FRE FRE GER GER GER ITA ITA SWE

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FIN Finnish (Suomi) (Paavo Cajander)
  • FRE French (Français) (François Pierre Guillaume Guizot)
  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (David Paley) , "Stürm, stürm du Winterwind!", copyright © 2012, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Soffia, soffia vento invernale", copyright © 2007, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Paolo Montanari) , "Soffia, soffia, vento d'inverno", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Blow, blow thou winter wind,
Thou art not so unkind
As [man's]1 ingratitude;
Thy tooth is not so keen
[Because]2 thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude.
[ Heigh ho! sing heigh ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then, heigh ho! the holly!
This life is most jolly.]3

Freeze, freeze thou [bitter]4 sky,
[Thou dost]5 not bite so [nigh]6
As benefits forgot:
Though thou the waters warp,
Thy sting is not so sharp
As [friend]7 remember'd not.
[ Heigh ho! sing heigh ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then, heigh ho! the holly!
This life is most jolly.]3


View original text (without footnotes)
Note: In Steele's score, "Heigh" is spelled "Hey"
1 Arne: "men's"
2 Parry: "Although"
3 not set by Arne.
4 Fortner: "winter"
5 Clearfield, Holman: "That does"
6 Korngold: "high"
7 Clearfield: "a friend"; Steele: "friends"

Submitted by Ted Perry

12. Fear no more the heat o' th' sun [ sung text verified 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FIN FRE GER GER GER ITA SPA

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FIN Finnish (Suomi) (Paavo Cajander)
  • FRE French (Français) (François-Victor Hugo) , no title
  • ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • SPA Spanish (Español) (José Miguel Llata) , "Canto fúnebre para fídula", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission [an adaptation]


GUIDERIUS
Fear no more the heat o' the sun,
Nor the furious winter's rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages:
Golden lads and girls all must,
[As chimney-sweepers,]1 come to dust.

ARVIRAGUS
Fear no more the frown o' the great;
Thou art past the tyrant's stroke;
Care no more to clothe and eat;
To thee the reed is as the oak:
The sceptre, learning, physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.

GUIDERIUS
Fear no more the lightning flash,

ARVIRAGUS
Nor the all-dreaded thunder-stone;

GUIDERIUS
Fear not slander, censure rash;

ARVIRAGUS
Thou hast finish'd joy and moan:

GUIDERIUS, ARVIRAGUS
[All]2 lovers young, all lovers must
Consign to thee, and come to dust.

GUIDERIUS
No exorciser harm thee!

ARVIRAGUS
Nor no witchcraft charm thee!

GUIDERIUS
Ghost unlaid forbear thee!

ARVIRAGUS
Nothing ill come near thee!

GUIDERIUS, ARVIRAGUS
Quiet consummation have;
And renowned be thy grave!


View original text (without footnotes)
1 Pierson: "Follow thee, and"
2 ommitted by Pierson.

Submitted by Ted Perry

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