Live With Me

Live With Me  - (1997)       

Christopher Marlowe and Sir Walter Raleigh (last verse), quoted by William Shakespeare

for low or medium voice and piano


Live with me, and be my love, 
And we will all the pleasures prove 
That hills and valleys, dales and fields, 
And all the craggy mountains yields. 

There will we sit upon the rocks, 
And see the shepherds feed their flocks, 
By shallow rivers, by whose falls 
Melodious birds sing madrigals. 

There will I make thee a bed of roses, 
With a thousand fragrant posies, 
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle 
Embroider’d all with leaves of myrtle. 

A belt of straw and ivy buds, 
With coral clasps and amber studs; 
And if these pleasures may thee move, 
Then live with me and be my love. 


If that the world and love were young, 
And truth in every shepherd’s tongue, 
These pretty pleasures might me move, 
To live with thee and be thy love. 

Sonnets to Sundry Notes of Music, V. 

Emily Ezust informed me that "Shakespeare was quoting a poem of Marlowe's, with one verse tacked on at the end from Sir Walter Raleigh's poem of response, and as such is best attributed as: Christopher Marlowe and Sir Walter Raleigh (last verse), quoted by William Shakespeare in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act 3, Scene 1." Artists have often quoted others, and composers especially so in the use of melodies as cantus firmus, as in themes for variations, or in parodies of other works. Therefore the authorship of this lovely text might be "mixed," but the text and its sentiments are wonderful, nonetheless.

The song setting is one of lyricism, with rubati suggested -- even encouraged -- in order to shape the music to the performers' understanding of this sweet text. A chorale-like accompaniment underpins the long melodic lines of the voice.

A center section dwells on the subdominant for a while, wandering from region to imagine in music finding that "shelter wherein to make a bed of roses." A running obbligato is the counterpoint to the voice in the contrasting section of the setting.



The score for Live With Me is available as a free PDF download, though any major commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this piano-vocal score.


Live With Me