Shakespeare's 'Now is the winter of our discontent' soliloquy performed by Ian McKellen in his film version of 'Richard I' from 1995.
-tho with the long introduction in this modernized version, the soliloquy actually starts about 5 and a half minutes into this clip.
I really like the re-created 30s style jazz tune here, but for those who want just THE SPEECH, go here:
Stacey Kent (born 1968 in New Jersey) is the fine jazz singer in this clip (and in real life!). Excellent music by Trevor Jones for this film.
Christopher Marlowe. 1564--93
The Passionate Shepherd to His Love
COME live with me and be my Love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and valleys, dales and fields,
Or woods or steepy mountain yields.
And we will sit upon the rocks,
And see the shepherds feed their flocks
By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.
And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies;
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroider'd all with leaves of myrtle.
A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair-linèd slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold.
A belt of straw and ivy-buds
With coral clasps and amber studs:
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me and be my Love.
The shepherd swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my Love.
Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250--1900.
from an interview with Sir Ian McKellen:
Now, why the Thirties?
If Shakespeare was offering a commentary on comparatively recent events for his audience, shouldn't we look for what to us is a modern period? The Thirties are close enough for us to relate to them in the Nineties. Characters dressed in Thirties fashions are easier to distinguish from each other than if they are all done up in floppy hats, feathers and wrinkled tights. In such medieval costume, of the period when the original Richard I was alive, everyone looks the same. For instance, you cannot tell in the Olivier movie what people do for a living, how much money they've got, what their social standing in relation to each other is, simply by looking at them. You can by listening to them; but in a drama about the way individuals interrelate (and their professions), what they wear and own, the sort of buildings they use are as important as their manners.
The Thirties was perhaps the most recent time when the English royal family might have played a major part in politics. Richard I centres on power and the structure of politics. It was a period when a tyrant reminiscent of Richard I might just have arisen in the United Kingdom. On his abdication, Edward VI visited Hitler with approval and Oswald Mosley aped Germanic fascism in the streets where I live in the East End of London. These reverberations were helpful for the play's credibility, presenting not real history but events that might have happened -- an aid to the audience's suspension of disbelief.
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