Willow song
Language: Middle English 
The poore soule sate sighinge by a Sickamore tree, 
Singe willo, willo, willo 
wth his hand in his bosom & his heade vpon his knee 
o willo willo willo willo 
O willo willo willo willo, 
shalbe my gareland 
Singe all a greene willo, 
willo, willo willo, 
Aye me the greene willo must be my gareland.
 
He sight in his singinge and made a greate moane; 
Singe willo, willo, willo 
I am deade to all pleasure, my trewe loue she is gone,
o willo willo willo willo 
O willo willo willo willo 
shalbe my gareland

The mute bird sate by him, was made tame by his moanes,
Singe willo, willo, willo 
The trewe teares fell from him would haue melted the stones, 
o willo willo willo willo 
O willo willo willo willo 
shalbe my gareland 
Singe all a greene willo, 
willo, willo willo, 
Aye me the greene willo must be my gareland.

Com all you forsaken & mourne you wth mee 
Singe willo, willo, willo 
Who speakes of a false loue, mynes falser then thee 
o willo willo willo willo 
O willo willo willo willo 
shalbe my gareland 
Let Loue no more boast her, in pallas nor bower 
Singe willo, willo, willo 
it budds but it blasteth, ere it be a flower 
o willo willo willo willo 
O willo willo willo willo 
shalbe my gareland 
Singe all a greene willo, 
willo, willo willo, 
Aye me the greene willo must be my gareland.

Thowe faire & more false, I dye wth thy wounde
Singe willo, willo, willo 
thowe hast lost the truest louer that goes vpõ the ground 
o willo willo willo willo 
O willo willo willo willo 
shalbe my gareland 
Let no body chyde her, her scornes1 I approue, 
Singe willo, willo, willo 
Shee was borne to be false, and I to dye for Loue 
o willo willo willo willo 
O willo willo willo willo 
shalbe my gareland 
Singe all a greene willo, 
willo, willo willo, 
Aye me the greene willo must be my gareland.

Take this for my farewell and latest adewe, 
Singe willo, willo, willo 
write this on my Tombe that in loue I was trewe 
o willo willo willo willo 
O willo willo willo willo 
shalbe my gareland 
Singe all a greene willo, 
willo, willo willo, 
Aye me the greene willo must be my gareland.

View original text (without footnotes)

Confirmed with British Museum, Add. Ms. 15117, fol. 18. Cited John P. Cutts A Reconsideration of the "Willow Song", Journal of the American Musicological Society, Vol. 10, No. 1, University of California Press on behalf of the American Musicological Society, Spring 1957, pp. 14-24.

1 may be "stormes" as the letters in the manuscript are unclear

Authorship

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

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Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

  • Also set in English, adapted by William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616) , appears in The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice, Act IV scene 3 [an adaptation] ; composed by Joseph W. Baber, Granville Ransome Bantock, Sir, Mary Grant Carmichael, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Wolfgang Fortner, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, Sir, Betty Roe, Arthur Sullivan, Sir, Ralph Vaughan Williams.
  • Also set in English, [adaptation] ; composed by Percy Aldridge Grainger.
  • Also set in English, [adaptation] ; composed by Peter Warlock.
  • Also set in English, [adaptation] ; composed by Edmund Horace Fellowes.
  • Also set in German (Deutsch), a translation by Anonymous/Unidentified Artist ; composed by Carl Loewe.
  • Also set in German (Deutsch), a translation by Anonymous/Unidentified Artist [an adaptation] ; composed by Wilhelm Petersen.
  • Also set in German (Deutsch), a translation by Anonymous/Unidentified Artist [an adaptation] ; composed by Johann Rudolf Zumsteeg.
  • Also set in German (Deutsch), a translation by Anonymous/Unidentified Artist ; composed by Wolfgang Fortner.
  • Also set in German (Deutsch), a translation possibly by Johann Michael Vogl (1768 - 1840); composed by Johann Michael Vogl.
  • Also set in German (Deutsch), a translation by Karl Georg Mantey ; composed by Wolfgang Fortner.
  • Also set in German (Deutsch), a translation by Anonymous/Unidentified Artist ; composed by Hermann Wichmann.
  • Also set in Russian (Русский), a translation by Boris Leonidovich Pasternak (1890 - 1960) ; composed by Georgiy Vasil'yevich Sviridov.

Researcher for this text: Garrett Medlock [Guest Editor]

This text was added to the website: 2018-12-18
Line count: 63
Word count: 387