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The Willow Song
Words by William Shakespeare.
Dedicated to Madame Sainton-Dolby.
Published by Metzler & Co., 1866.

Music cover

The Willow Song, sung by Desdemona in Othello, is one of a set of five 'Shakespeare Songs' which Sullivan composed during 1863 and 1864. The others are Orpheus with his Lute, O Mistress Mine, Rosalind and Sigh No More, Ladies.Sullivan sold these songs to the publisher for five guineas each but it did not take him long to discover this was a mistake and that if he were paid for songs on a royalty basis, he could increase his income from them substantially.

Madame Sainton-Dolby was a celebrated contralto.


Karaoke File


Desdemona by Lord Leighton
Desdemona by Lord Leighton

A poor soul sat sighing by a sycamore tree,
Sing all the green willow,
Her hand on her bosom, her head on her knee,
Sing willow, willow, willow.

The fresh streams ran by her and murmur'd her moans,
Her salt tears ran from her and soften'd the stones,
Sing willow, willow, willow.

Sing all a green willow must be in my garland,
Sing willow, willow, willow.

The fresh streams ran by her and murmur'd her moans,
Her salt tears ran from her and soften'd the stones,
Sing willow, willow, willow.

Sing all a green willow must be in my garland,
Sing willow, willow, willow.

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