Tuesday, November 15, 2016

“Come away, death”


Come away, come away, death,
And in sad cypress let me be laid.
Fly away, fly away, breath;
I am slain by a fair cruel maid.
My shroud of white, stuck all with yew,
O, prepare it!
My part of death, no one so true
Did share it.

Not a flower, not a flower sweet,
On my black coffin let there be strown.
Not a friend, not a friend greet
My poor corpse, where my bones shall be thrown.
A thousand thousand sighs to save,
Lay me, O, where
Sad true lover never find my grave,
To weep there!

— William Shakespeare, from Twelfth Night, II:4

I have long felt a connection with this text, and it moves me so much that I try to keep it shut away.  (Like this one.) But a few days ago, in a Shakespeare-themed choral concert, I performed in a most poignant setting by Erik Nielsen, and it still haunts me, words and music. I wish I could forget it.

Andrew Wyeth, American, 1917-2009. April Wind. Tempera on Masonite. Wadsworth Atheneum, 1957.628.




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