‘If music be the food of love’ is one of the most of popular songs by the English composer Henry Purcell (1659 (?) – 1695) and probably the most famous version of the song has been performed by Dame Carolyn Emma Kirkby.
The lyrics of ‘If music…’, by Colonel Henry Heveningham (1651-1700) are very similar to a fragment of the text from Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’ and some people who are not very familiar with maestro Shakespeare’s works may connect him with the lyrics, but they would be mistaken, as only the opening verse of the song is the same as the original Shakespearean text.
One thing is certain, the text by Shakespeare was written nearly a century earlier and there is no doubt that Shakespeare had not only influenced Heveningham but also many, many other artists from various disciplines.
If music be the food of love,
Sing on till I am fill’d with joy;
For then my list’ning soul you move
To pleasures that can never cloy.
Your eyes, your mien, your tongue declare
That you are music ev’rywhere.
Pleasures invade both eye and ear,
So fierce the transports are, they wound,
And all my senses feasted are,
Tho’ yet the treat is only sound,
Sure I must perish by your charms,
Unless you save me in your arms.
In 2009, I attempted to translate into English the famous Polish poem – ‘Talk to me more’ (‘Mów do mnie jeszcze’), by the Polish poet, and novelist, Kazimierz – Przerwa Tetmayer (1865-1940).
Actually, I had forgot about this literary piece of work, but I recalled it through a conversation with a friend who completely surprised me when he confessed that he likes reading and was familiar with literary work of this poet. As far as I remember I have always liked the aforementioned poem, so let us enjoy a few words just about ‘Talk to me more.’
The poem is very short and the lyric subject is a man who meets a woman he loves in a quiet place where there are no bystanders: ’people don’t hear us.’ Probably they don’t know each other very well, as that kind of conversation he had missed for years. He actually begs her to talk to him more and more and this is emphasized by several repetitions of the expression: ‘talk to me more.’ He reveals to her his true feelings when he confesses that her words ‘recall sweet shivering’ in his heart and they give him pleasure and ‘strangely sway’ him.
‘Talk to me more… I missed
that conversation for years…
Each of your words
recalls sweet shivering in my heart –
Talk to me more…
Talk to me more… people don’t hear us,
your words move me strangely and sway me,
I caress myself with each of your words like with a flower,
Talk to me more…’