Willow, Willow (Desdemona’s Song)

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Willow on the river in early autumn

Willow, Willow (Desdemona’s Song)

Sheet Music by Special Requests only

Performed by Ashley Marie Macdonald; Music by Michael Mikulin

The willow tree has always been associated with sadness, so it’s appropriate that the character of Desdemona sings a song about the willow, perhaps as a premonition of her impending doom. 

Verse 1
The poor soul sat sighing by a sycamore tree,
Sing all a green willow;
Her hand on her bosom, her head on her knee,
Sing willow, willow, willow

Verse 2
The fresh streams ran by her, and mumur’d
her moans

Her salt tears fell from her, & soften’d the stones;

Chorus
Sing all a green willow must be my garland.
Let nobody blame him; his scorn I approve,
I call’d my love false love; but what said he then? If I If I If I court moe [more] women,
you’ll couch with moe [more] men. {PAUSE}

Coda
Sing willow, willow, willow {my add.}
Sing willow, willow, willow
Sing willow, willow, willow
Sing willow, willow, willow.

(4.3. 42-63)

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18 comments

  1. Wow! What a great rendition of this classic song! It perfectly captures the macabre beauty of the narrative from the play

  2. This song was beautiful! I enjoy listening to it whil’st I read “Othello”! If I had a donation to make, it would be to this sight! Thank you so much for sharing this on your website!

  3. Weeping willow is always my favorite.
    Shakespeare used rightly the willow in tragedy.
    The song is as beautiful as possible.

  4. Do we,the people of the Bards time,he,have cause to lament?Even a caues to sleep in beds a’ water with skiens of willows and such-don’t go there.Did the audience of the Globe sing and buy the broadsides of this pavane?Indeed,and it needs be sung anew!”Let us sing a new song”said David.We can sing it with this worthy here’sotto voce’Like cures like!The Powder of Sympathy!

  5. This song captures such beauty and love. It is moving. Shakespeare was a wonder with a pen. I have enjoyed this song as I studied more about his songs and poems.

  6. My favorite rendition of this song is the late Miriam Makeba’s recording. Such a treasure and she really does this song justice.

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