I love it, despite the fact it doesn't even really seem to have a tune, and melody was always one of The Beatles' greatest strengths.
Lennon's lyrical loop-the-loop lunacy allied to that incessant two-note pulse is wonderfully mesmerising... in the MMT film segment of course, John wore that 19th Century asylum inmate's tight skull cap (I always thought that made him look like an egg, hence the word imagery) - a nod to the marvellous insanity over which he is presiding: the Shepard tone finale is in itself enough to drive you mad.
That such an original and mischievous slice of brilliant nonsense should be their first recording in the wake of Brian's shocking death is a testament to their resilience and their genius. As for that random radio scanning at the close, tuning into the BBC Third Programme broadcast of King Lear and the gasped line "Oh! Untimely death" so prominent in the fade out mix....coincidence?
The first excerpt (ll. 219–222) moves in and out of the text, containing fragments of lines only. It begins where the disguised Edgar talks to his estranged and maliciously blinded father the Earl of Gloucester (timings given:
Gloucester: (2:25) Now, good sir, wh-- (Lennon appears to change the channel away from the station here)
Edgar: (2:28) -- poor man, made tame by fortune -- (2:34) good pity --
In the play Edgar then kills Oswald, Goneril's steward. During the fade of the song the second main extract (ll. 249–262), this time of continuous text, is heard (timings given:
Oswald: (3:52) Slave, thou hast slain me. Villain, take my purse.
If ever thou wilt thrive,(4:02) bury my body,
And give the (4:05) letters which thou find'st about me
To (4:08) Edmund, Earl of Gloucester; (4:10)seek him out
Upon the English party. O, (4:14) untimely Death!
Edgar: (4:23) I know thee well: a (4:25) serviceable villain;
As duteous to the (4:27) vices of thy mistress
As badness would desire.
Gloucester: What, is he dead?
Edgar: (4:31) Sit you down father, rest you