Verse > Anthologies > Robert Bridges, ed. > The Spirit of Man: An Anthology
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Robert Bridges, ed. (1844–1930).  The Spirit of Man: An Anthology.  1916.
 
The opening lines of Twelfth-Night

William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
 
IF 1 music be the food of love, play on;
Give me excess of it; that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
That strain again! it had a dying fall:
O, it came o’er my ear like the sweet south        5
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odour. Enough; no more:
’Tis not so sweet now as it was before.
O spirit of love, how quick and fresh art thou,
That, notwithstanding thy capacity        10
Receiveth as the sea, nought enters there,
Of what validity and pitch soe’er,
But falls into abatement and low price,
Even in a minute: so full of shapes is fancy,
That it alone is high fantastical.        15
 
Note 1. Shakespeare. The opening lines of ‘Twelfth-Night’. South is Pope’s happy conjecture for sound. [back]
 
 
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