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Off By Heart - Shakespeare

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Twelfth Night

Orsino: "If music be the food of love, play on" (Act 1 Scene 1)

There are many ways that you could perform this speech; the Speech Text and Performance Notes explore some different approaches.

Speech Text and Performance Notes (220KB)

Twelfth Night is a play about love and marriage. Duke Orsino rules the kingdom of Illyria and loves the Countess Olivia. However, she is in mourning for her dead brother and doesn't want anything to do with him. Orsino is a very dramatic person who does not take rejection well.

Watch a performance of the speech and an interview with the actor below or choose another from the set speech list.

If music be the food of love, play on - video

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Twelfth Night: Act 1 Scene 1
(Orsino)

If 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 sound
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,
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.

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