What Shakespearean play was quoted from at the end of the Beatles "I am the Walrus"?
#121809. Asked by 29CoveRoad. (Jun 08 11 9:37 PM)
The dramatic reading in the mix towards the end of the song is a few lines of Shakespeare's King Lear (Act IV, Scene VI), which were added to the song direct from an AM radio receiving the broadcast of the play on the BBC Third Programme. As it happens, Lear IV.6. is the only scene in all of Shakespeare (out of more than a thousand) that features both English homonyms for "Beatle." Lennon said in a 29 September 1974 radio interview with disc jockey Dennis Elsas that he "didn't even know it was Lear" until someone brought it up to him much later. The bulk of the audible dialogue, heard in the fade, is the death scene of the character Oswald (including the words, "O untimely Death! Death!"). Two other lines from the play are at the beginning of the third chorus, 2:25 into the song. |
Come on, sir; here's the place: stand still. And dizzy 'tis, to cast one's eyes so low!
The crows and choughs that wing the midway air
Show scarce so gross as beetles: half way down
Hangs one that gathers samphire, dreadful trade!
Methinks he seems no bigger than his head:
The fishermen, that walk upon the beach,
Appear like mice; and yond tall anchoring bark,
Diminish'd to her cock; her cock, a buoy
Almost too small for sight: the murmuring surge,
That on the unnumber'd idle pebbles chafes,
Cannot be heard so high. I'll look no more;
Lest my brain turn, and the deficient sight
Topple down headlong.
And the creature run from the cur? There thou
mightst behold the great image of authority: a
dog's obeyed in office.
Thou rascal beadle, hold thy bloody hand!
Why dost thou lash that whore? Strip thine own back;
Thou hotly lust'st to use her in that kind
For which thou whipp'st her. The usurer hangs
Through tatter'd clothes small vices do appear;
Robes and furr'd gowns hide all. Plate sin with gold,
And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks:
Arm it in rags, a pigmy's straw does pierce it.
None does offend, none, I say, none; I'll able 'em:
Take that of me, my friend, who have the power
To seal the accuser's lips. Get thee glass eyes;
And like a scurvy politician, seem
To see the things thou dost not. Now, now, now, now:
Pull off my boots: harder, harder: so.
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