"Oh The Dreadful Wind and Rain"

Hurricane Irene is lumbering her way up the South Carolina coast at the moment, which means I’m keeping an eye on weather conditions. I don’t believe the effects on me will be too severe because I’m so far inland, but it’s possible we could see some heavy rain and gusty winds here later tonight. As a consequence of the weather, however, I keep thinking of this grisly little murder ballad with the oft-repeated chorus, “Oh the dreadful wind and rain.” I’ve heard Scottish, Irish, and American versions and variants. It’s an eerie tale of ill-fated love, jealousy, homicide, cannibalism, and the supernatural. Here’s an outstanding a capella version by singers Paul and Kim Caudell:

On a somewhat lighter note, I’m also thinking of Feste’s closing song from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night:

When that I was and a little tiny boy,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
A foolish thing was but a toy,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came to man’s estate,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
‘Gainst knaves and thieves men shut their gate,
For the rain, it raineth every day.

But when I came, alas! to wive,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
By swaggering could I never thrive,
For the rain, it raineth every day.

But when I came unto my beds,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
With toss-pots still had drunken heads,
For the rain, it raineth every day.

A great while ago the world begun,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
But that’s all one, our play is done,
And we’ll strive to please you every day.

Because The Bard left us only the lyrics for this song and not a melody, it’s been set to any number of tunes in any number of productions of the play. Here’s a cut from the 1996 film version of Twelfth Night directed by Trevor Nunn, with Ben Kingsley as Feste. I also like the Celtic flavor of the closing music composed by Shaun Davey:

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