3 Songs from Shakespeare

Song Cycle by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872 - 1958)

Word count: 256

1. Take, O take [sung text not yet checked]

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.

Hide, o hide those hills of snow
that thy frozen bosom wears,
On whose tops the pinks that grow
are yet of those that April wears;
But first set my poor heart free,
Bound in those icy chains by thee.

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

  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) (L. A. J. Burgersdijk)
  • FIN Finnish (Suomi) (Paavo Cajander)
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , copyright © 2011, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Sarah L. Weller) , "Nimm, so nimm doch Deine Lippen fort", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • POL Polish (Polski) (Jan Kasprowicz) , "Śpiew Pacholęcia", Warsaw, first published 1907

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'"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. When icicles hang by the wall [sung text checked 1 time]

When icicles hang by the wall
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,
And Tom bears logs into the hall,
And milk comes frozen home in pail;
When blood is nipt and ways be foul,
Then nightly sings the staring owl:
Tu-who! 
Tu-whit! Tu-who! -- A merry note!
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

When all aloud the wind doth blow,
And coughing drowns the parson's saw,
And birds sit brooding in the snow,
And Marian's nose looks red and raw;
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl
Then nightly sings the staring owl:
Tu-who! 
Tu-whit! Tu-who! -- A merry note!
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

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

Researcher for this text: Clive Robinson

3. Orpheus with his Lute [sung text checked 1 time]

Orpheus with his lute made trees,
And the mountain-tops that freeze,
Bow themselves, when he did sing:	

To his music, plants and flowers
Ever [sprung]1; as sun and showers
There had made a lasting spring.

Everything that heard him play,
Even the billows of the sea,
Hung their heads, and then lay by.

In sweet music is such art:
Killing care and grief of heart
Fall asleep, or, hearing, die.

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View original text (without footnotes)
Quoted in Shakespeare's Henry VIII, Act III scene 1
1 Greene: "rose"; Blitzstein: "sprang"

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry