Yesterday on This, the Book of Faces, I posted some of lyrics to the chorus to “Waterfalls” because it was stuck in my head. Of course, those troubadours-of-the-soul, T-Boz, Left Eye and Chilli sang this hit song in ’95, detailing the woes of drug dealing other scourges of the inner city. The whole point of the song is to “stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to” and, even though I prefer a Post-Structuralist approach to TLC, I still have no clue what that means. I’m quietly hoping it is something wholesome and family-friendly, as most of of the popular hip-hop and rap music of the nineties was.
Shortly after posting the lyrics, my very good friend JT posted an inspired comment, full of snark: “Did you do a remix of that for evensong or something?” Frankly, that was all I needed, as my mind immediately raced with the thought of what if Myles Coverdale — the translator of the Psalter used in the Books of Common Prayer until this dark age of modernity — wrote the lyrics to “Waterfalls”? What if it were set to Anglican Chant and used in Choral Evensong, sung by slightly bored boy choristers in starchy ruffs? The potential, my friends, the potential boggled my mind.
Within minutes I had come up with this:
Lo, shalt thou chase not after the falls of water *
Neither shalt thou turn aside from thy rivers and thy lakes.
In thy stubbornness, thou said unto them:
“My own way shall I have; I shall have my own way”; *
Confounded be all who quicken unto their own path.
Which lead to me taking requests to Anglicize certain awful songs in the style of Coverdale . . . And, lo, did they pour in, even like unto water upon the parched Earth . . . Seriously, I can go on with this all day. I blame it on The Anglican Breviary and the Thursday morning Rite I Mass. And the fact that I have no life. Oh, yes, that, too.
Here’s my first attempt. I’d like to think you can tell which song is being Coverdale’d here:
How doth she sit solitary, a maid from the village, *
When the chariots of the LORD of hosts flew unto her.
Also unto a young man of the city *
Desiring to go anywhere, even unto Tyre and Sidon.
And even the singers, compassed about with smoke *
following an odour of unpleasantness from their whoredom.
It doth go on and on *
Verily, even unto the end of the ages.
Strangers and aliens, indeed, are they upon thy way; *
Darkness searcheth unto darkness in the night of their hearts.
The People of the light of the street, *
Living unto their wanton needs, they lie in wait.
Whilst I go about, unawares in satisfying the desires of the flesh, *
In futile hope of the games of chance.
And the winnings of iniquity doth come unto the just and the unjust, *
While others cry out for justice, “Hath it all been in vain?”
It doth go on and on *
Verily, unto the end of the ages.
Believe ye, and hold fast *
Yea, hold ye fast unto the heart,
The People of the light of the street!
And here is the exclamation of joy from Tag Team’s 1993 magnum opus, “Whoomp! (There It Is)” that belongs somewhere in the the next Prayer Book’s version of the Sanctus:
Huzzah, it is! Huzzah, it is! *
Huzzah, shakah, lakah, Saboath!
What are some of your other favorite songs that could be adapted Tudor verse?
Happy Friday, everybody!