William Shakespeare

(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616 / Warwickshire)

Dirge - Poem by William Shakespeare

COME away, come away, death,
   And in sad cypres let me be laid;
Fly away, fly away, breath;
   I am slain by a fair cruel maid.
My shroud of white, stuck all with yew,
   O prepare it!
My part of death, no one so true
   Did share it.

Not a flower, not a flower sweet,
   On my black coffin let there be strown;
Not a friend, not a friend greet
   My poor corse, where my bones shall be thrown:
A thousand thousand sighs to save,
   Lay me, O, where
Sad true lover never find my grave
   To weep there!


Comments about Dirge by William Shakespeare

  • Fabrizio Frosini Fabrizio Frosini (1/13/2016 10:51:00 AM)

    The meaning of the word 'dirge' is a musical term which refers to a funeral song, a slow, mounrful musical composition. In this poem the lyrical self calls for death.
    In the second stanza the lyrical self addresses his friends and his lovers and prohibits them to feel sorry for him. He does not want flowers to be thrown to his coffin, nor he wants his lover to cry over his grave.
    shakespeare-etc.org (Report) Reply

    28 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Terry Craddock Terry Craddock (12/15/2015 7:00:00 AM)

    I was going to write a comment about how I would like to be buried in a beautiful scenic happy place, then I remembered I wrote a poem long ago with opening sentiments of a similar nature, so wrote nothing of present desires. But the past added new dimensions of meaning in memory so I will add of poem below for anyone interested.

    If not please ignore :) My poem slants off into differing directions from Shakespeare, not sure if I like my own youthful ending, it was another me.

    Shed No Tears

    Don’t look for me by the graveyard stone
    that stands forlornly all alone,
    Don’t look here for that which remains
    among this field of windswept grain.
    Beside a timeless ancient oak
    towering silently high above
    the soft dark earth that gives it strength.

    Standing securely against
    these chilling gales and monsoon rains.
    Sheltering that unimportant part
    you mourn for here that still survives.
    Do not weep my love
    it’s an illusion I am not here.


    For I am there by your fireside
    when you’re all alone and wonder why.
    I am there on those miss you nights
    when you lie awake so long so softly cry.
    In the child’s laughter
    the tender caring smile.

    In the open and gentle act
    that holds out a hand
    asking no thanks or pay me back.
    I am there in the love and time
    given to those in need,
    with desperate troubled minds.


    My love for you still lights a glow
    that leads you on to strive alone.
    To try to ease those fallen souls.
    Shattered wastewood of our time.

    Where personal gain, possessions, power - -
    are the dominant themes,
    holding the spotlight
    in an unbalanced hour.
    The false and useless social goals
    of a hedonistic, me first society,
    that you now strive to change alone.


    So shed no tears for me my love
    for where you find a few that care,
    my spirit lives,
    finding comfort there.

    My only sorrow was leaving you,
    yet for true love our time apart
    is but, for a short measure in the dark.

    While time will
    soon restore the bridge,
    so do not cry, don’t despair.
    Remember me my love
    and I am there.


    Copyright © Terence George Craddock
    Written in October 1983. (Report) Reply

  • Gajanan Mishra Gajanan Mishra (10/4/2014 8:40:00 AM)

    true lover never find grave. thanks. (Report) Reply

  • Brian Jani Brian Jani (4/26/2014 4:42:00 AM)

    Awesome I like this poem, check mine out (Report) Reply

  • Krishnakumar Chandrasekar Nair Krishnakumar Chandrasekar Nair (10/14/2013 3:57:00 AM)

    And so Death gently took my hand
    And as lovers we walked the unlit lane
    To rest in a warm burrow below my native land
    Far from life's madness till I'm ready to be born again (Report) Reply

    Jashvini Ragunathan (7/8/2016 10:18:00 AM)

    hello, nice one :)

    Jashvini Ragunathan (7/8/2016 10:18:00 AM)

    Hello, awesome one tho :)

  • Charles Mccarthy (3/6/2005 8:28:00 PM)

    Death is a door
    Death is a forest gate, bramble to bluff (Siloam)
    It is a way thru
    – not a way out
    It is but the way thru
    to continue what we have begun

    Death is a hope
    Death is a future
    It draws us deeper into the self’s whole
    It allows us to penetrate the wall of fear

    In death their witness lights:
    Jesus, Ghandi, Biko, King
    Thru death their work becomes known:
    Day, Merton, Hammerskjold, Romero
    After death their message expands:
    Lennon, Chavez, Foucauld
    In spite of death their songs are sung:
    Paz, Shakers
    Seeds sown! Life given!
    Tales told! Songs sung!
    To life (to come) .

    Charles McCarthy,1/19/03
    (inspired by Dominick Argento’s “Dirge”,
    words by William Shakespeare
    performed by Jason Oby and Robert Avalon) (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: flower, sad, friend, death



Poem Submitted: Saturday, January 4, 2003

Poem Edited: Monday, March 24, 2014


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