Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The rightness of dancing, and the wrongness of forcing it

I heard the interpretation of the tune by Copeland on Radio 3 today, announced as Lord of the Dance. As I prepared to cringe I was pleasantly surprised to hear the following words of Simple Gifts instead of the trite and childish hymn lyrics:

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain'd,
To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.
Simple Gifts was written by Elder Joseph while he was at the Shaker community in Alfred, Maine in 1848.

It reminded me of the sentiment in Yeats's poem The Fiddler of Dooney:

...When we come at the end of time,
To Peter sitting in state,
He will smile on the three old spirits,
But call me first through the gate;

For the good are always the merry,
Save by an evil chance,
And the merry love the fiddle
And the merry love to dance:

And when the folk there spy me,
They will all come up to me,
With ‘Here is the fiddler of Dooney!’
And dance like a wave of the sea.
"Lord of the Dance is a hymn with words written by English songwriter Sydney Carter in 1967" I've just learned from Wikipedia. Yup, I guessed the date within a year; it reeks of post-Vat 2 sandalism! And don't get me started on Michael Flatley's narcissistic cancan.

1 comment:

Left-footer said...

In Poland, the tune is used for a popular sea-chanty.