Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Wordsworth as Hip Hop

Much like what was done with Swift's "A Modest Proposal," someone has decided to "upgrade" Wordsworth's 200-year-old "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" by producing a "rap" version in hopes that it will appeal to those young people who won't bother to read the original.

The modern re-working manages to stay true to the original sentiment but with some slight variation of the lyrics.

As well as making the works of Wordsworth relevant to a new, younger audience, it also shows how modern-day rap and its clever use of wordplay is a distant relative of poetic rhyming verse.

The video was shot on the banks of Lake Ullswater which provided the original inspiration for the poem, as well as around Ullswater Steamers, the grounds and gardens of the luxury Sharrow Bay Hotel, and Grasmere where Wordsworth made his home.

A spokesman for Cumbria Tourism, which was behind the innovative approach to the poem, said: “Wordsworth’s Daffodils poem has remained unchanged for 200 years and to keep it alive for another two centuries, we wanted to engage the You Tube generation who want modern music and amusing video footage on the web.”

“Hopefully this will give them a reason to connect with a poem published in 1807 as well as with the works of Wordsworth and the stunning landscape of The Lake District that inspired him.”
This one doesn't work for me nearly as well as the Swift update but I suppose that it is rather clever considering the audience that the group is trying to attract. Here's hoping that this doesn't become the only way to keep such great writing alive for future generations.


  1. Pathetic! But nothing shocks me anymore. I just pray Puff Daddy doesn't hear of this and plan a visit to the Lake District with his 'entourage' :)

  2. Ok, the song wasn't horrible and it actually had a good beat, but what was with the squirrel?

  3. It's all a little strange to me, Nick, because hip hop "music" doesn't do a thing for me. I sort of understand the motivation for doing this kind of thing but I don't think that it will really be effective in the sense of turning young people on to good literature. I would be shocked it that were to happen as the result of a campaign like this one.

  4. Stefanie, that squirrel is just weird. :-)

    It's almost as if the producers of this bit weren't sure which age group to appeal to first...really young kids or those a little older who are into that kind of music. I suppose they were covering all the bases by including that squirrel.