This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.



Saturday, 6 September 2014

Saturday Rave: chimney sweepers by William Shakespeare.

Verse can be immensely satisfying, savourable, and delicious. Even better, it can (unlike chocolate, which has similar properties) be  cherished forever.

Shakespeare's plays are traditionally defined as either comedies, tragedies or histories - but Cymbeline, ever generous, manages to be a bit of all of these. 

It has a ridiculous plot, but, as it's always clear where the Happy Ending must lie, the fact that things get a bit unlikely doesn't matter all that much.
 
Cymbeline is most famous for a funeral song that's sung over the corpse of a young man (who, as it happens, is neither a corpse nor a young man: she's called Imogen).


Herbert Gustave Schmalz: this is Imogen dressed as a man.

But, hey, what does it matter how odd the circumstances are? It's shatteringly lovely, anyway.

Here's the first verse.

Fear no more the heat o' the sun,
Nor the furious winter's rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages:
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.
 

Golden lads and girls all must/As chimney sweepers, come to dust.

And if anyone else can come up with a couplet as sad and at the same time as clever and funny as that then I'd love to hear it.

Word To Use Today: chimney. This word comes from the Greek kaminos, which means fireplace or oven.

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