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If music be the food of love, play on; Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting, The appetite may sicken, and so die. That strain again! it had a dying fall: O, it came o'er my ear like the sweet sound, That breathes upon a bank of violets, Stealing and giving odour! Enough; no more: 'Tis not so sweet now as it was before. O spirit of love! how quick and fresh art thou, That, notwithstanding thy capacity Receiveth as the sea, nought enters there, Of what validity and pitch soe'er, But falls into abatement and low price, Even in a minute: so full of shapes is fancy That it alone is high fantastical.
J. Hall sets lines 1-7
About the headline (FAQ)Note: quoted in a text by Heveningham.
- by William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616), no title, appears in Twelfth Night: or, What You Will, Act I, Scene 1, Orsino's lines, first published 1601 [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 John Linton Gardner (1917 - 2011), "If music be the food of love, play on", op. 66 no. 4, published 1964 [ women's chorus, piano duet, and optional percussion ], from A Shakespeare Sequence, no. 4, London : Oxford University Press [sung text not yet checked]
- by Juliana Hall (b. 1958), "If music be the food of love", 2015, first performed 2016, lines 1-7 [ counter-tenor and piano ], from O Mistress Mine -- 12 Songs for countertenor and piano on texts from plays by William Shakespeare, no. 6 [sung text checked 1 time]
- by Lee Hoiby (1926 - 2011), "If music be the food of love", 2004 [ voice and piano ], from Sonnets and Soliloquies, no. 1 [sung text not yet checked]
- by Jean-Jacques Werner (b. 1935), "If Music be the food of Love, play on", 2001 [ voice and piano ] [sung text not yet checked]
Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):
- FRE French (Français) (François-Victor Hugo)
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website: 2009-02-11
Line count: 15
Word count: 114