The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0384.  Tuesday, 25 March 1997.

From:           Gabriel Wasserman <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Monday, 24 Mar 1997 16:25:35 -0500
Subject: 8.0381  Shall I die?  [No, thou shalt not!]
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0381  Shall I die?  [No, thou shalt not!]

> >Could anyone send me a copy of  the text of *Shall I Die?*   I know it's in the Oxford Shakespeare, but I don't have a copy of that.  I want to set it to music, which I am also doing to Jonson's *To the memory of my beloved, Mr. William Shakespeare, and what he hath left us*, which I am doing a Romantic Period-type setting of.<<

Sorry, I already found it.  It's on the internet at

     A song

Shall I die?  Shall I fly
Lovers' baits and deceits,
sorrow breeding?
Shall I tend?  Shall I send?
Shall I sue, and not rue
my proceeding?
In all duty her beauty
Binds me her servant for ever.
If she scorn, I mourn,
I retire to despair, joining never.

Yet I must vent my lust
And explain inward pain
by my love conceiving.
If she smiles, she exiles
All my moan; if she frown,
all my hopes deceiving
Suspicious doubt, O keep out,
For thou art my tormentor.
Fie away, pack away;
I will love, for hope bids me venture.

'Twere abuse to accuse
My fair love, ere I prove
her affection.
Therefore try!  Her reply
Gives thee joy or annoy,
or affliction.
Yet howe'er, I will bear
Her pleasure with patience, for beauty
Sure will not seem to blot
Her deserts, wronging him doth her duty.

In a dream it did seem
But alas, dreams do pass
as do shadows
I did walk, I did talk
With my love, with my dove,
through fair meadows.
Still we passed till at last
We sat to repose us for pleasure.
Being set, lips met,
Arms twined, and did bind my heart's treasure.

Gentle wind sport did find
Wantonly to make fly
her gold tresses.
As they shook I did look,
But her fair did impair
all my senses.
As amazed, I gazed
On more than a mortal complexion.
You that love can prove
Such force in beauty's inflection.

Next her hair, forehead fair,
Smooth and high; neat doth lie,
without wrinkle,
Her fair brows; under those,
Star-like eyes win love's prize
when they twinkle.
In her cheeks who seeks
Shall find there displayed beauty's banner;
O admiring desiring
Breeds, as I look still upon her.

Thin lips red, fancy's fed
With all sweets when he meets,
and is granted
There to trade, and is made
Happy, sure, to endure
still undaunted.
Pretty chin doth win
Of all their culled commendations;
Fairest neck, no speck;
All her parts merit high admirations.

Pretty bare, past compare,
Parts those plots which besots
still asunder.
It is meet naught but sweet
Should come near that so rare
'tis a wonder.
No mis-shape, no scape
Inferior to nature's perfection;
No blot, no spot:
She's beauty's queen in election.

Whilst I dreamt, I, exempt
>From all care, seemed to share
pleasure's plenty;
But awake, care take
For I find to my mind
pleasures scanty.
Therefore I will try
To compass my heart's chief contenting.
To delay, some say,
In such a case causeth repenting.

                        -William Shakespeare

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