A Movie Log

A blog formerly known as Bookishness

By Charles Matthews

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Poem of the Day: William Shakespeare

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 rainn, 
With toss-pots still had drunken heads, 
     For the rain it raineth every day. 

A great while ago the world begun, 
     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. 
--William Shakespeare

It's just a little lyric, casually tossed off, I suspect, and maybe just tacked on to the end of Twelfth Night to give the cast something to dance to. It doesn't even make a whole lot of sense if you're trying to follow the logic of the verses. But on the other hand it's perfect, the only fitting coda to this great melancholy comedy. 

In the 1996 Tevor Nunn film of the play, the clown, Feste, is played by, of all people, Ben Kingsley -- not the most antic of actors. But then Feste is the soberest and wisest of Shakespeare's clowns. 



This is Trevor Peacock's Feste from a 1980 BBC TV version: 



And last, but ... well, least: Tommy Steele's Feste from a 1969 BBC version. This clip includes a bit of Alec Guinness's Malvolio, but not Ralph Richardson's Sir Toby Belch. The whole thing is on YouTube.