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Six Songs of William Shakespeare

Word count: 513

Song Cycle by Steven R. Gerber (b. 1948)

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1. Song [ sung text checked 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 [Administrator]

2. Oh mistress mine [ sung text checked 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 [Administrator]

3. Tell me where is fancy bred [ sung text checked 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 [Administrator]

4. Song4 [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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

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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.


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

Submitted by Ted Perry

5. Under the greenwood tree [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): DUT FIN FRE GER GER GER

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

  • DUT Dutch (Nederlands) (Mark de Vries) , "Onder het loofdak", copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FIN Finnish (Suomi) (Paavo Cajander)
  • FRE French (Français) (François Pierre Guillaume Guizot)
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Julia Hamann) , "Unterm Baum im Maienwald", copyright © 2007, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


Under the greenwood tree
Who loves to lie with me,
And [turn]1 [his]2 merry note
Unto the sweet bird's throat,
Come hither, come hither, come hither:
Here shall he see
No enemy
But winter and rough weather.

Who doth ambition shun,
And loves to live i' the sun,
Seeking the food he eats,
And pleas'd with what he gets,
Come hither, come hither, come hither:
Here shall he see
No enemy
But winter and rough weather.

[ ... ]

View original text (without footnotes)
1 Quilter: "tune"
2 Korngold: "the"

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

6. Blow, blow thou winter wind [ sung text checked 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

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