Ophelia Songs

Song Cycle by Stanley Grill (b. 1953)

Word count: 263

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

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

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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. Ophelia is singing.

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


Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

2. He is dead and gone [sung text checked 1 time]

He is dead and gone, lady,
He is dead and gone;
At his head a grass green turf,
At his heels a stone.1

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These words are sung by Ophelia in Shakespeare's play Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5, but they are probably not by Shakespeare.

1 Rihm adds (using some words that are spoken in the Hamlet play): "Oho! Oho! Nay, but ... mark"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. White his shroud [sung text checked 1 time]

White his shroud as the mountain snow,
[Larded]1 with sweet [flowers]2;
Which bewept to the [grave did go]3
With true-love [showers]4.

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These words are sung by Ophelia in Shakespeare's play Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5, but they are probably not by Shakespeare.

1 Castelnuovo-Tedesco: "Larded all"
2 White: "flow'rs"
3 Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Grill: "ground did not go"
4 White: "show'rs"

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Malcolm Wren [Guest Editor]

4. Tomorrow is Saint Valentine's day [sung text checked 1 time]

  [To-morrow is]1 Saint Valentine's day,
  All in the morning [betime]2,
  And I a maid at your window,
  To be your Valentine.
  Then up he rose, and donn'd his clothes,
  And dupp'd the chamber-door;
  Let in the maid, that out a maid
  Never departed more.

[Indeed, without an oath, I'll make an end on't!]3
  By Gis and by Saint Charity,
  Alack, and fie for shame!
  Young men will do't, if they come to't;
  By cock, they are to blame.
  Quoth she, before you tumbled me,
  You promised me to wed.

  [So]4 would I ha' done, by yonder sun,
  An thou hadst not come to my bed.

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These words are sung by Ophelia in Shakespeare's play Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5, but they are probably not by Shakespeare.

1 Quilter: "Good morrow, 'tis "
2 Quilter: "time"
3 omitted by Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Grill
4 Castelnuovo-Tedesco: "He answers,/ So"

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Malcolm Wren [Guest Editor]

5. The bore him bare faced on the bier [sung text checked 1 time]

They bore him barefaced on the bier;
Hey non nonny, nonny, hey nonny;
And in his grave rain'd many a tear:--
[Fare you well, my dove!]1

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View original text (without footnotes)

These words are sung by Ophelia in Shakespeare's play Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5, but they are probably not by Shakespeare.

1 omitted by Castelnuovo-Tedesco.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

6. And will he not come again [sung text checked 1 time]

And will he not come again?
And will he not come again?
No, no, he is dead:
Go to thy death-bed:
He never will come again.
His beard was as white as snow,
All flaxen was his poll:
He is gone, [he is gone,]1
And we [cast away moan]2:
God [ha']3 mercy on his soul!
[And of all Christian souls, I pray God. God be wi' ye.]4

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

View original text (without footnotes)

These words are sung by Ophelia in Shakespeare's play Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5, but they are probably not by Shakespeare.

1 omitted by White.
2 Castelnuovo-Tedesco: "moan as we're cast away"
3 Castelnuovo-Tedesco: "have"
4 omitted by White; Castelnuovo-Tedesco; Grill: "And on the souls of all good Christians, I pray God. God be with you."

Research team for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator] , Malcolm Wren [Guest Editor]