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Four Shakespeare Songs (Third Set)

Word count: 456

Song Cycle by Roger Quilter (1877 - 1953)

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1. Who is Silvia? [ sung text checked 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 [Administrator] and Peter Rastl [Guest Editor]

2. When daffodils begin to peer [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): FRE GER

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When daffodils begin to peer -
   With heigh! The doxy over the dale -
Why, then comes the sweet o' the year;
   For the red blood reigns in the winter's pale.

The white sheet bleaching on the hedge -
   With heigh! The sweet birds, O how they sing!
Doth set my pugging tooth on edge;
   For a quart of ale is a dish for a king.

The lark, that tirra-lirra chants,
   With heigh! with heigh! The thrush and the jay,
Are summer songs for me and my aunts,
   While we lie tumbling in the hay.

[ ... ]

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1 Not set by Quilter.

Submitted by Ted Perry

3. How should I your true love know [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English after the English

Translation(s): FRE GER GER GER GER ITA POL

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Based on

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


How should I your true love know
From another one?
By his cockle hat and staff,
And his sandal shoon.

He is dead and gone, lady,
He is dead and gone;
At his head a grass green turf,
At his heels a stone.

White his shroud as the mountain snow,
Larded with sweet [flowers]1;
Which bewept to the grave did go
With true-love [showers]2.

[ ... ]

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Note: this is often referred to as the Walsingham Ballad, and is quoted in Shakespeare's Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5

Dante Gabriel Rossetti's poem An old song ended refers to this song.

1 White: "flow'rs"
2 White: "show'rs"

Submitted by Ted Perry

4. Sigh no more, ladies [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): DUT DUT FIN FIN FRE FRE FRE ITA

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Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,
Men were deceivers ever;
[ One foot in sea and one on shore;
To one thing constant never. ]1
Then sigh not so,
But let them go,
And be you blithe and bonny;
Converting all your sounds of woe
Into Hey nonny, nonny.

Sing no more ditties, sing no more,
Of dumps so dull and heavy;
[ The fraud of men was ever so
Since summer first was leavy. ]1
Then sigh not so,
But let them go,
And be you blithe and bonny;
Converting all your sounds of woe
Into Hey nonny, nonny.


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1 Lines reversed in version set by Fisher

Submitted by Ted Perry

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