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.
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1 Britten: "days"
- by William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616), no title, appears in Sonnets, no. 43 [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
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]
- 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", 1901 [ voice and piano ] [sung text checked 1 time]
- 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]
- by Bernard van Dieren (1887 - 1936), "Sonnet XLIII", 1916 [ baritone and orchestra ], from Diaphony (Diafonia), no. 4 [sung text not yet checked]
- by Richard Simpson (1820 - 1876), "Sonnet XLIII", 1865 [ medium voice and piano ] [sung text not yet checked]
- 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]
Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:
- Also set in French (Français), a translation by François Pierre Guillaume Guizot (1787 - 1874) ; composed by Henri-Pierre Poupard, as Henri Sauguet.
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
Researcher for this text: Ted Perry
This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 14
Word count: 122