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Duet of Sonnets

Set by John Philip William Dankworth (1927 - 2010), "Duet of Sonnets", 1964, copyright © 1964 [voice, instrumental ensemble (jazz ensemble)], in Shakespeare & All That Jazz; text follows Sonnet 23, then Sonnet 24, and then both simultaneously [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Note: this setting is made up of several separate texts.

As an unperfect actor on the stage,
Who with his fear is put beside his part,
Or some fierce thing replete with too much rage,
Whose strength's abundance weakens his own heart;
So I, for fear of trust, forget to say
The perfect ceremony of love's rite,
And in mine own love's strength seem to decay,
O'ercharg'd with burthen of mine own love's might.
O! let my looks be then the eloquence
And dumb presagers of my speaking breast,
Who plead for love, and look for recompense,
More than that tongue that more hath more express'd.
  O! learn to read what silent love hath writ:
  To hear with eyes belongs to love's fine wit.

Authorship


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


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

Mine eye hath play'd the painter and hath steel'd,
Thy beauty's form in table of my heart;
My body is the frame wherein 'tis held,
And perspective it is best painter's art.
For through the painter must you see his skill,
To find where your true image pictur'd lies,
Which in my bosom's shop is hanging still,
That hath his windows glazed with thine eyes.
Now see what good turns eyes for eyes have done:
Mine eyes have drawn thy shape, and thine for me
Are windows to my breast, where-through the sun
Delights to peep, to gaze therein on thee;
  Yet eyes this cunning want to grace their art,
  They draw but what they see, know not the heart.

Authorship


See other settings of this text.

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


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]