Wednesday, October 19, 2011

For the rain, it raineth every day

It occurred to me that we haven't spent a Wednesday with the Bard in a while. And I'd have to be a ninny not to have noticed the cold rain lashing against the windows today in my little corner of New Jersey. Every time it rains, (no - it does not rain "Pennies from Heaven") I think of one of my favorite of Shakespeare's songs, "The Rain It Raineth Every Day", from Twelfth Night. I especially love the version sung by Sir Ben Kingsley at the end of the excellent movie version starring Imogen Stubbs as Viola/Cesario and Helena Bonham Carter as Olivia, which is why I've included it here.

When that I was and a little tiny boy
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
A foolish thing was but a toy,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came to man's estate,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
'Gainst knaves and thieves men shut their gate,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came, alas, to wive,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
By swaggering could I never thrive,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came unto my beds,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
With toss-pots still 'had drunken heads,
For the rain it raineth every day.

A great while ago the world began,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
But that's all one, our play is done,
And we'll strive to please you every day.


Discussion: The song is written using rhymed couplets in iambic tetrameter (four iambs per line: taDUM taDUM taDUM taDUM) interspersed with "With hey, ho, the wind and the rain" and "For the rain it raineth every day", which is changed at the end to be a more finite conclusion.

Like other poems or soliloquies from the plays, this song tracks the "ages of man" from little boy through adulthood to old age. It is performed by Feste, the "fool" in Twelfth Night. I will remind you that during Twelfth Night festivities, it's a topsy-turvy world (reference to Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame would not be entirely amiss here) where the lowest man might be king - and the fool might in fact be the wise man.






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