Shakespeare's 'Hamlet' told in about four minutes.
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words Adam McNaughton, music Traditional
September 09, 2008
Story behind the song
I found this recording on a couple of compilation CDs of Scottish music. I loved it and after a few test runs adding some music behind it, we came up with this educational version by Adam McNaughton and translated from Scots by Dan Maher.
words by Adam McNaughton, music traditional (tune 'The Mason's Apron')
There was this king sitting in his garden all alane
When his brother in his ear poured a wee bit of henbane.
He stole his brother's crown and his money and his widow.
But the dead king walked and got his son and said "Hey listen, kiddo!
"I've been killed, and it's your duty then to take revenge on Claudius.
Kill him quick and clean and show the nation what a fraud he is."
The boy said "Right, I'll do it. But I'll have to play it crafty.
So no one will suspect me, I'll kid on that I'm a dafty."
Then with all except Horatio, cuz he counts him as a friend,
Hamlet, that's the boy, puts on he's round the bend.
But because he was not ready for obligatory killing,
He tried to make the king think he was tuppence off a shilling.
Got a rise out of Polonius, treats poor Ophelia vile,
Told Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Denmark's a bloody jail.
Then a troupe of travelling actors, like Seven Eighty-four,
Arrived to do a special one night gig in Elsinore.
Hamlet! Hamlet! Loved his mommy!
Hamlet! Hamlet! Acting barmy!
Hamlet! Hamlet! Hesitatin',
Wonders if the ghost's a cheat
And that is why he's waitin'.
Then Hamlet wrote a scene for the players to enact
While Horatio and he watched to see if Claudius cracked.
The play was called "The Mousetrap" (not the one that's running now),
And sure enough, the king walked out before the final bow.
So Hamlet's got the proof that Claudius gave his dad the dose.
The only problem being, now, that Claudius knows he knows.
So while Hamlet tells his mother her new husband's not a fit one,
Uncle Claude puts out a contract with the English king as hit man.
And when Hamlet killed Polonius, the concealed corpus delecti,
Was the king's excuse to send him for an English hempen necktie.
With Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to make sure he got there,
Hamlet jumped the boat and put the finger on that pair.
Meanwhile Leartes heard his dad had been stabbed through the arras.
He came running back to Elsinore, toot-sweet, hotfoot from Paris.
And Ophelia, with her dad killed by the man she wished to marry,
After saying it with flowers, she committed hari-cari.
Hamlet! Hamlet! Nae messin'!
Hamlet! Hamlet! Learned his lesson!
Hamlet! Hamlet! Yorick's crust
Convinced him that men, good or bad,
At last must come to dust.
Then Leartes lost his cool and was demanding retribution.
The king said "Keep your head, and I'll provide you a solution."
He arranged a sword fight for the interested parties,
With a blunted sword for Hamlet, and a sharpened sword for Leartes.
To make things double sure, the old "belt and braces" line,
He fixed a poison sword tip, and a poison cup of wine.
The poison sword got Hamlet, but Leartes went and muffed it,
'Cause he got stabbed himself, and he confessed before he snuffed it.
Then Hamlet's mommy drank the wine, and as her face turned blue,
Hamlet said "I think the king's a baddie through and through."
"Incestuous, murderous, damned Dane," he said to be precise,
And made up for hesitating once by killing Claudius twice,
For he stabbed him with the sword and forced the wine between his lips.
He cried "The rest is silence," and cashed in all his chips.
They fired a volley over him that shook the topmost rafter.
And Fortinbras, knee-deep in Danes, lived happily ever after.
Hamlet! Hamlet! Oh so gory!
Hamlet! Hamlet! End of story!
Hamlet! Hamlet! I'm away!
If you think this is boring,
You should read the bloody play.
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