Gary Taylor, John Jowett, Terri Bourus, and Gabriel Egan (eds), The New Oxford Shakespeare: Modern Critical Edition

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1.1Sc. 1

Editor’s Note[Music.] Enter Orsino Duke of Illyria, Curio, and other lords
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orsino If music be the food of love, play on,

2Give me excess of it that, surfeiting,

3The appetite may sicken and so die.

Editor’s Note4That strain again, it had a dying fall.

Editor’s Note5O, it came o'er my ear like the sweet sound

6That breathes upon a bank of violets,

7Stealing and giving odour. Enough, no more,

[Music ceases]

8'Tis not so sweet now as it was before.

Editor’s Note9O spirit of love, how quick and fresh art thou

10That, notwithstanding thy capacity

Editor’s Note11Receiveth as the sea, naught enters there,

Editor’s Note12Of what validity and pitch so e'er,

Editor’s Note13But falls into abatement and low price

pg 1830Editor’s Note14Even in a minute! So full of shapes is fancy

Editor’s Note15That it alone is high fantastical.

Editor’s Note16

curio Will you go hunt, my lord?

orsino What, Curio?

curio The hart.


orsino Why so I do, the noblest that I have.

Editor’s Note18O, when mine eyes did see Olivia first

Editor’s Note19Methought she purged the air of pestilence;

Editor’s Note20That instant was I turned into a hart,

Editor’s Note21And my desires, like fell and cruel hounds,

22E'er since pursue me.

Enter Valentine

How now, what news from her?


valentine So please my lord, I might not be admitted,

24But from her handmaid do return this answer:

Editor’s Note25The element itself till seven years' heat

Editor’s Note26Shall not behold her face at ample view,

Editor’s Note27But like a cloistress she will veilèd walk

28And water once a day her chamber round

Editor’s Note29With eye-offending brine––all this to season

Editor’s Note30A brother's dead love, which she would keep fresh

Editor’s Note31And lasting in her sad remembrance.

Editor’s Note32

orsino O, she that hath a heart of that fine frame

33To pay this debt of love but to a brother,

Editor’s Note34How will she love when the rich golden shaft

Editor’s Note35Hath killed the flock of all affections else

Editor’s Note36That live in her––when liver, brain, and heart,

Editor’s Note37These sovereign thrones, are all supplied, and filled

Editor’s Note38Her sweet perfectïons with one self king!

39Away before me to sweet beds of flowers:

40Love-thoughts lie rich when canopied with bowers.


Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
1.1.0 Illyria Greek and Roman name for the Eastern Adriatic coast: probably not suggesting a real country to most of Shakespeare's first audiences
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1.1.0 Music Although there is no stage direction for music in the original text, most productions begin with music (prompting Orsino's first line) which continues until Orsino commands 'Enough, no more' at 1.1.7.
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1.1.0 other lords Non-speaking parts, the number of lords present is unspecified (a 'permissive' direction).
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1.1.4 fall cadence
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1.1.5 sound (of a breeze)
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1.1.9 quick keen
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1.1.9 fresh eager, hungry
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1.1.11 as the sea as limitless as the sea
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1.1.12 what … so e'er whatever, however great
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1.1.12 validity value
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1.1.12 pitch height, excellence
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1.1.13 abatement depreciation
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1.1.14 shapes imagined forms
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1.1.14 fancy love
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1.1.15 alone is high fantastical is uniquely imaginative
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1.1.16 go hunt Some productions depict Orsino as a man of action, energetic and youthful (Curio and/or Orsino might be costumed for a hunt); in others, Orsino is an older figure, quiet and retiring. Often seemingly driven to despair, he has appeared intoxicated by alcohol or drugs in the opening scene of some modern productions.
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1.1.18 see Olivia first (perhaps gazing upon a portrait of Olivia)
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1.1.19 pestilence Plague and other illnesses were thought to be caused by bad air.
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1.1.20–2 That instant … pursue me This alludes to the classical legend of Actaeon, turned into a stag ('hart') and hunted by his own hounds for having seen Diana naked.
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1.1.21 fell savage
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1.1.25 element sky
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1.1.25 till seven years' heat until after seven hot summers
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1.1.26 ample full
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1.1.27 cloistress nun (of an enclosed order)
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1.1.29 eye-offending brine stinging tears
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1.1.29 season preserve (as if in brine)
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1.1.30 brother's dead love the love of a dead brother
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1.1.31 remembrance (the verse-line requires four syllables: 'rememberance')
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1.1.32 of that fine frame so exquisitely made
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1.1.34 shaft (Cupid's arrow, causing love)
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1.1.35 affections emotions
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1.1.36 liver, brain … heart These organs were thought to be the seats of the passions, judgement, and sentiment.
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1.1.37–8 filled … perfectïons her sweet perfections are filled
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1.1.38 one self one and the same
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