Thrice toss these oaken ashes
Music: Peter Hill, Words: Thomas Campion
Performance time approx: 2m 30s
Range S: d' – f'' (solo: d' – a'') / A: a – b' / T: A – d' / B: G – c'
Price code: C
Here’s a spell for love from Shakespeare’s contemporary Thomas Campion, set to music with a swooping ear-worm of a melody. The words of the first two verses are repeated a number of times, from quiet opening incantation to a stronger-sounding harmonised version, and on to a canon which is first whispered and then sung. All the stops are out in the final verse. It’s make or break!
You need a soprano soloist to set the scene and to close the piece. The lowest tenor notes are doubled by basses, and the high end of the bass range is doubled by tenors.
Thrice toss these oaken ashes in the air,
Thrice sit thou mute in this enchanted chair,
Then thrice three times tie up this true love’s knot,
And murmur soft “She will, or she will not.”
Go burn these pois’nous weeds in yon blue fire,
These screech-owl’s feathers and this prickling briar,
This cypress gathered at a dead man’s grave,
That all my fears and cares an end may have.
Then come, you fairies! dance with me a round;
Melt her hard heart with your melodious sound.
In vain are all the charms I can devise:
She hath an art to break them with her eyes.