If music is the food of love, play on.
Fill me with such excess, that gorged on it,
My craving turns to sickness, and thus dies.
That song again! Its cadence fell away.
O, it came past my ear like the sweet sound,
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing in, giving fragrance! [pause for music]
Enough. No more.
It’s not so sweet now as it was before.
O spirit of love! So keen and ravenous,
That, even though your vast capacity
Lets in as much as seas, what enters there
Despite its value and the height it gains
Will sink into low price and worthlessness,
In but a minute! So rich in forms is love
That it alone incites such fantasy.
CURIO (a gentleman serving the Duke)
Lord, do you wish to hunt?
But Curio, I do, the noblest one.
O, when my eyes first saw Olivia,
It seemed she cleansed the air of all infection!
That instant I was turned into a hart,
And my desires, like cruel and vicious hounds,
Have chased me since.
Come in! What news from her?
VALENTINE (a gentleman serving the Duke)
If you please lord, I’d rather not intrude;
Her handmaid, though, has brought back this reply:
The elements themselves above will not,
Till seven summers pass, behold her face,
But like a cloistered nun, she’ll wear a veil
And wash her chamber once a day with tears,
Preserving in eye-burning brine the love
Of her dead brother, which she wants kept fresh
And lasting in her cheerless memory.
O, if her heart’s so tender in construction
That she could owe such love to just one brother,
Think how she’ll love, when Cupid’s golden dart
Kills off the flock of all desires that live
In her but one; when liver, brain and heart,
These sovereign thrones, and all her sweet perfection
Are filled and ruled by just a single king!
Lead me away now to sweet beds of flowers.
Love-thoughts lie rich when canopied with bowers.