Peter Hammill - The Play's The Thing (chords)

Transcription by Dagmar Klein 22-Apr-1998

Just revising for my oral exams in English Literature - and which song could be more appropriate? :)


                     f#min f#min/e    
How could he know so much?
D                      bmin4 bmin
How could he bear such knowledge?
f#min/a              A               G
How could he dare to write it in the plays?
                         f#min f#min/e    
What is it Shakespeare'd say 
D                 bmin 
If he came back today?
f#min/a                     c#min  f#min
Surely he'd recognise these mortal coils.

How do we carry on?
No-one knows where they fit in.
No-one knows who they are and where they've been.
What does the writer mean?
How do we play this scene?
What didn't SHakespeare know that we do now?

D           c#min
Stiffen the sinews
     D             c#min   
Wear hard-favour'd rage
    D         c#min
All history's drama
    D          c#min
The world is a stage
(Here, pH improvises on the verse chords or loses it completely :)
There is a history in all men's lives/ figuring the nature of times
deceas'd/ the which observed, a man may prophesy/ with a near aim, of the
main chance of things/ as yet not come to life, which in their seeds/ and
weak beginnings lie intreasured./ Such things become the hatch and brood
og time.

Oh but the show goes on
On through the seven ages
That of the world must mirror man's, in fact.
Here comes the seventh act
See how the mirror's cracked
Here comes sans everything for humankind.

To capture the conscience
Of nations and kings
All history's drama
The play's the thing...

Most of the song is based on tunes rather than chords, but these should come easily once you know which key you're in.. :)

As you may be aware, the blank-verse bit is from Shakespeare directly, but check out Henry V (act 3, scene 1), As You Like It (Jaques' monologue in Act 3, I believe) and Hamlet (all over the place) for more "inspirations". This song is a rag-bag of Shakespeare!!!

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