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Twelfth Night

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

ORSINO
O, fellow, come, the song we had last night.—
Mark it, Cesario, it is old and plain;
The spinsters and the knitters in the sun
And the free maids that weave their thread with bones
45Do use to chant it. It is silly sooth,
And dallies with the innocence of love,
Like the old age.
ORSINO
My friend, sing us the song you sang last night.—Listen to it carefully, Cesario, it’s a simple old song. Spinners and knitters used to sing it while they sewed, and maidens used to sing it over their weaving. It tells the simple truth about innocent love, as it was in the good old days.
FOOL
   Are you ready, sir?
FOOL
Are you ready, sir?
ORSINO
Ay; prithee, sing.
ORSINO
Yes. Please, sing.
Music
Music plays.
FOOL
(sings)
50    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,
55    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.
60    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,
65    To weep there!
FOOL
(he sings)
  Come on, let me die now
   And put my body in a dark coffin.
   I feel my breath leaving me.
   I’ve been killed by a beautiful girl.
   Prepare my shroud of white,
   Adorned with sprigs of yew-tree.
   I’m the most faithful person
   Who ever lived or died.
   Don’t scatter sweet flowers
   On my black coffin.
   Don’t let my friends
   See my poor corpse.
   I don’t want to hear sad sighs,
   So bury me where no sad lovers
   can find my grave to weep over it!
ORSINO
(giving money) There’s for thy pains.
ORSINO
(giving the FOOL money) Here’s some money for your trouble.