She was in love, and he she loved proved madAnd the song itself makes its chorus its own "fantastic garland": "Sing all a green willow must be my garland."
And did forsake her: she had a song of 'willow;'
An old thing 'twas, but it express'd her fortune,
And she died singing it: that song to-night
Will not go from my mind.
There is a willow grows aslant a brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;
There with fantastic garlands did she come
Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold maids do dead men's fingers call them:
There, on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds
Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke;
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide;
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up:
Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes;
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element: but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull'd the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.
Thursday, April 5, 2018
On a tree by a river....
For a long time, I've thought of Othello as a rewriting of Hamlet; it's possibly the next play Shakespeare wrote, and has the same relation to Hamlet as Macbeth does to Antony and Cleopatra, the same symphony of echoes. How then could I have missed till now that the willow song has to be about the death of Ophelia?