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"What Do the Simple Folk Do?" is a song featured in the 1967 film Camelot with music written by Frederick Loewe and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner. In the song, Mordred (David Hemmings) is determined to bring down the fellowship of the Round Table by stirring up trouble. All this takes its toll on King Arthur (Richard Harris)'s disposition, and Guinevere (Vanessa Redgrave) tries to cheer him up despite her conflicted emotions.

Lyrics

Guinevere:
What do the simple folk do
To help them escape when they're blue?
The shepherd who is ailing, the milkmaid who is glum
The cobbler who is wailing from nailing his thumb
When they're beset and besieged
The folk not noblessly obliged
However do they manage to shed their weary lot?
Oh, what do simple folk do we do not?

Arthur:
I have been informed by those who know them well
They find relief in quite a clever way
When they're sorely pressed, they whistle for a spell
And whistling seems to brighten up their day
And that's what simple folk do
So they say

Guinevere:
They whistle?

Arthur:
So they say

Guinevere:
What else do the simple folk do
To pluck up the heart and get through?
The wee folk and the grown folk
Who wander to and fro
Have ways known to their own folk
We throne folk don't know
When all the doldrums begin
What keeps each of them in his skin?
What ancient native custom provides the needed glow?
Oh, what do simple folk do?
Do you know?

Arthur:
Once, upon the road, I came upon a lad
Singing in a voice three times his size
When I asked him why, he told me he was sad
And singing always made his spirits rise
And that's what simple folk do
I surmise

Guinevere:
They sing?

Arthur:
I surmise

Guinevere/Arthur:
Arise, my love, arise, my love
Apollo's lighting the skies, my love
The meadows shine with columbine
And daffodils blossom away
Hear Venus call to one and all
And taste delight while you may
The world is bright and all is right
And life is merry and gay

Guinevere:
What else do the simple folk do?
They must have a system or two
They obviously outshine us at turning tears to mirth
And tricks a royal highness is minus from birth
What, then, I wonder, do they
To chase all the goblins away?
They have some tribal sorcery you haven't mentioned yet
Oh, what do simple folk do to forget?

Arthur:
Often, I am told, they dance a fiery dance
And whirl till they're completely uncontrolled
Soon the mind is blank and oh, they're in a trance
A violent trance astounding to behold
And that's what simple folk do
So I'm told

Guinevere:
What else do the simple folk do
To help them escape when they're blue?

Arthur:
They sit around and wonder what royal folk would do
And that's what simple folk do

Guinevere:
Oh, no, really?

Arthur:
I have it on the best authority

Guinevere/Arthur:
Yes, that's what simple folk do


v - e - d
King arthur logo.png
Media
Films: Camelot (Soundtrack/Video) • ExcaliburQuest for CamelotKing Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Shorts: Knighty Knight BugsAnimaniacs (Sir Yaksalot) • Bugs Bunny in King Arthur's Court

Characters
KayleyGarrettAydenDevon and CornwallBladebeakRuberLady JulianaSir LionelKing ArthurMerlinThe GriffinRuber's minionsRock OgreKing Arthur's KnightsBladebeak's wifeGuinevereLancelot
Locations
CamelotEnglandJuliana's HomeThe Forbidden ForestDragon CountryRock Ogre's Cave
Weapons/Objects
ExcaliburThe Magic Stone
Songs
I Wonder What the King is Doing TonightThe Simple Joys of MaidenhoodCamelotC'est MoiThe Lusty Month of MayTake Me to the FairHow to Handle a WomanIf Ever I Would Leave YouWhat Do the Simple Folk Do?I Loved You Once in SilenceFollow MeGuinevereFinale Ultimo
See also
Quest for Camelot
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