Saturday 8 November 2014

Gord Lightfoot's Re-Write of the Hamlet Soliloquy

POST #55
ORIGINAL POEM:  Hamlet's Soliloquy, Act iii, Shakespeare's "Hamlet, Prince of Denmark", 1600.
ORIGINAL SONG: "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald", 1976 by Gordon Lightfoot, used primarily for music and meter.
PARODY COMPOSED: Giorgio Coniglio, 2014.

KEYWORDS: classics, poetry, pastiche, goldenoldy

See an earlier collaboration of G. Lightfoot and W. Shakespeare in a post of Nov 22 on this blog. 

Now suppose Lightfoot sang Hamlet's most famous soliloquy........... 

Ken Branagh as Hamlet ponders man's fate


(to the tune of "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald")

The question is …… Whether ‘tis nobler to suffer,
 Fate’s arrows and stings so outrageous
 Or to be, and take arms against troubling seas,
 And oppose them with action courageous?

To die, not to be; it's just sleep, possibly
- An escape from heart-aches flesh is heir to -
All quiet past that portal, where no longer mortal
- consummation we offer a prayer to.

To die, to sleep, perchance to dream; there’s the rub;
For death’s dreams may provoke dissolution;
And the puzzling dread of that something when you’re dead
Discolours our strong resolution.  

With dagger that’s naked we’d easily make it
To that land whence no traveller’s recovered.
But that puzzles our wills, rather bear our known ills
Than fly off to others undiscovered. 

Explaining persistence of troubled existence,
For Time’s whips and scorns, who would bear’em? 
The haughty, oppressors, and rejecting lovers -
The wrongs and the spurns they don’t spare’em.

And who would bear "fardels" - whatever those are -  
With a life grimy, sweaty and weary, 
Hauling tons of iron ore to the desolate shore
Of that low-lying lake some deem eerie? 

Yet there’s puzzling dread of that thing when you’re dead 
And the pale cast of thought which can sicken,
Enterprise of great moment and pith turns awry          
And thus conscience makes all of us chicken. 

The question lives on …… When the chips are all down,
To bear outrageous fate so much drearier?
Or to be, and take arms against troubling seas,
|And oppose them with action superior?|X2

The Fitzgerald in Nov '75, just prior to the shipwreck

Performing Notes: 

The chord pattern is the same for all verses.
Gsus2=0230;  Asus(4)=2200

INTRO: |Gsus2/D/ Asus| x2

The [Asus]question is …… [Em]Whether ‘tis nobler to suffer,
Fate’s [G]arrows and [D]stings so out[A]rageous
Or to [A]be, and take arms against [Em]troubling seas,
And op[G]pose them with [D]action cou[A]rageous?
To [Asus]die, not to be; it's just [Em]sleep, possibly
An es[G]cape from heart-[D]-aches flesh is [A] heir to -
All [A]quiet past that portal, where [Em] no longer mortal
- consum[G]mation we [D]offer a [A]prayer to.

et cetera..

Compare with Lightfoot's original.......

The [Asus] legend lives on from the [Em] Chippewa on down
Of the [G] big lake they [D] call Gitche [A] Gumee [Asus]
The [A] lake, it is said, never [Em] gives up her dead
When the [G] skies of No[D]vember turn [A] gloomy. [Asus]

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