When most I wink, then do mine eyes best...
When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see,
For all the day they view things unrespected;
But when I sleep, in dreams they look on thee,
And darkly bright, are bright in dark directed.
Then thou, whose shadow shadows doth make bright,
How would thy shadow's form form happy show
To the clear [day]1 with thy much clearer light,
When to unseeing eyes thy shade shines so?
How would, I say, mine eyes be blessed made
By looking on thee in the living day,
When in dead night thy fair imperfect shade
Through heavy sleep on sightless eyes doth stay?
All days are nights to see till I see thee,
And nights bright days when dreams do show thee me.
Translation(s): CAT FRE FRE ITA
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1 Britten: "days"
Submitted by Ted Perry
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by Edward Applebaum (b. 1937), "When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see", 1975, published 1982 [soprano, alto, baritone, SSSAAABarBarBar chorus, and chamber orchestra], from Cantata Concertante: "When dreams do show thee me", no. 2 [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]
- by David Bowerman (b. 1936), "When most I wink" [voice and piano], confirmed with a CD booklet [ sung text checked 1 time]
- by Frank Bridge (1879 - 1941), "When most I wink" [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]
- by (Edward) Benjamin Britten (1913 - 1976), "When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see", op. 60 no. 8, from Nocturne for tenor solo, seven obligato instruments and string orchestra, no. 8 [ sung text checked 1 time]
- by Lex van Delden (1919 - 1988), "When most I wink", op. 72 (Drie sonnetten van Shakespeare) no. 1 (1961) [contralto and piano] [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]
- by Richard Simpson (1820 - 1876), "Sonnet XLIII", 1865 [medium voice and piano] [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]
- by Claudio Spies , "When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see", 1976-7, first performed 1978 [satb quartet and piano], from Five Sonnet-Settings, no. 4 [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]
Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:
Other available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):
- CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "Quan més parpellejo, millor hi veuen els meus ulls", copyright © 2016, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
- FRE French (Français) (François-Victor Hugo) , no title, appears in Sonnets de Shakespeare, no. 43, first published 1857
- ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Più io li tengo chiusi, più i miei occhi son chiari", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:01:49
Line count: 14
Word count: 122
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Più io li tengo chiusi, più i miei occhi son chiari
Language: Italian (Italiano) after the English
Più io li tengo chiusi, più i miei occhi son chiari,
perché di giorno cose da niente osservano;
Ma quando dormo, sei tu che in sogno appari,
e, illuminati nel buio, la scura tenebra vincono.
E allora tu, ombra che ogni ombra rischiara,
quale ombra saresti, d'aspetto divino,
nel chiaro giorno con la tua luce più chiara,
se la tua ombra splende ai ciechi perfino?
Quanto, io dico, faresti la mia vista beata
se contemplasse te nella piena luce del giorno,
Se già nella morta notte la tua bella ombra incompleta
fa presa su occhi ciechi chiusi in pesante sonno?
I giorni notte si fanno fino a che non ti scorgo,
Le notti, giorni splendenti non appena ti sogno.
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- Translation from English to Italian (Italiano) copyright © 2013 by Ferdinando Albeggiani, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.
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- a text in English by William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616), no title, appears in Sonnets, no. 43 CAT FRE FRE
- This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Edward Applebaum, David Bowerman, Frank Bridge, Benjamin Britten, Lex van Delden, Richard Simpson, Claudio Spies. Go to the text.
Text added to the website: 2013-05-13 00:00:00.
Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:05:11
Line count: 14
Word count: 119