Ophelia's Song

Set by Maude Valérie White (1855 - 1937), "Ophelia's Song", published 1882 [ voice and piano ], London: Boosey & Co.  [sung text checked 1 time]

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


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


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]


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

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]


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: "And on the souls of all good Christians, I pray God. God be with you."

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]