April 23, 2016

"Why, what is pomp, rule, reign, but earth and dust?"

"And, live we how we can, yet die we must."

ADDED: Shakespeare died 400 years ago today, as noted above, but so did Cervantes.

28 comments:

Phil 3:14 said...

"Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools"

Now that some serious pessimism.

traditionalguy said...

In the end God always wins the War against mortality. But most kings do enjoy themselves.

Quaestor said...

"A good sherris sack hath a two-fold
operation in it. It ascends me into the brain;
dries me there all the foolish and dull and curdy
vapours which environ it;
makes it apprehensive, quick, forgetive,
full of nimble fiery and delectable shapes,
which, delivered o'er to the voice, the tongue,
which is the birth, becomes excellent wit.
The second property of your excellent sherris is,
the warming of the blood; which, before cold and settled,
left the liver white and pale, which is the badge of pusillanimity
and cowardice; but the sherris warms it and makes
it course from the inwards to the parts extreme:
it illumineth the face, which as a beacon gives
warning to all the rest of this little kingdom,
man, to arm; and then the vital commoners and
inland petty spirits muster me all to their captain,
the heart, who, great and puffed up with this
retinue, doth any deed of courage; and this valour
comes of sherris. So that skill in the weapon is
nothing without sack, for that sets it a-work; and
learning a mere hoard of gold kept by a devil, till
sack commences it and sets it in act and use."

That's a Johnny Cash song pre-written, awaiting that driving rhythm guitar and the reverb effect. Too bad he's dead.

(Sorry about the formatting. Blogger is pentameter unfriendly.)

Witt's End said...

Actually, it's the 400th anniversary of an interesting literary coincidence; both Cervantes (born 1547) and Shakespeare (born 1564) died on this date in 1616. It's often overlooked that the two greatest figures in Spanish and English literature, respectively, were so nearly contemporaneous.

YoungHegelian said...

And, of course, the anti-patriotic assholes at BBC World fail to mention that it's also St George's Day, the national day of England, showing yet again the wisdom of Orwell's quotation that "the leftists of his own day would be less ashamed of stealing money from a church poor box than of standing to attention when "God Save the King" was played."

But, leave it to the Anglophile liberals at NPR to mention it right before they start into their piece on Shakespeare.

jelink said...

"In the end God always wins the War against mortality. But most kings do enjoy themselves."
**********

Mel Brooks certainly drove that point home.

Kate said...

Shakespeare and Prince will be remembered for their artistry, industry and achievements. Kings -- at least via Shakespeare's Histories -- are noted for who ruled Burgundy or held the Aquitaine. I believe the quote refers to the *lack of achievement in the things most kings pursue. As a complex irony it's a great quote; as a direct commentary on Prince, not so much.

Owen said...

Witt's End: "...Cervantes (born 1547) and Shakespeare (born 1564) died on this date in 1616..." In fact the "same date" was not, because Spain had moved to the newfangled Gregorian calendar while England was still using the Julian. So the nominal same date of April 23 was really 11 days offset. Big hat tip to Paul A. Cantor, Professor of English at U of Virginia, whose "Against Chivalry: The Achievement of Cervantes and Shakespeare" appears in the May 2 issue of The Weekly Standard.

William said...

Both Cervantes and Cortes fought in the Battle of Lepanto. In that battle, some Spanish captain got his hand maimed by a grenade. The good captain amputated his own hand, bandaged it, and then rejoined the battle. Spaniards were some tough hombres in those days. I bet Cervantes could kick Shakespeare's ass from here to sunset. A proper comparison of the work of these two men should take cognizance of that fact.

William said...

In a fair fight, do you think Dylan could take Prince?

Kansas City said...

Fascinating story about how Shakespeare's work was almost lost. If accurate, remarkable.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/2016/04/22/shakespeare_died_a_nobody_with_his_works_nearly_lost_380950.html

Lem said...

"By remarkable coincidence, Jefferson and Adams died on the same day, Independence Day in 1826, the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence." - Google

tim in vermont said...

What I think is funny is that the only known lost play is Love's Labor Found, or so I have read.

Michael K said...

Few Harvard senior English majors could tell you anything about Shakespeare but I'm sure they are up to date on Prince,

tim in vermont said...

The older one gets, the more the endings where everybody dies make sense.

Michael said...

Wonder if JayZ's birthday will be remembered in 200 years. Or Kanye's. Or the legions of the mediocre who have polluted our spectacular western culture.

Dr Weevil said...

Some Kings are still well-known even if Shakespeare didn't mention them. As it happens, today is also the 1000th anniversary of the death of Æthelred the Unready. If you don't get around to commemorating it for a few days or weeks, don't worry: he'll understand.

traditionalguy said...

Seventeen years after Lepanto those tough Spaniards lost 130 ships and their Army to a girl Queen's Navy ninety-six years after Columbus had found them the stash of Aztec and Inca gold and silver big enough to buy the rest of Europe.

William said...

Here's the least astounding coincidence I know. Both Ronald Coleman and Adolf Hitler were wounded in the same battle on the same day in WWI. Such are the vagaries of fate. If an artillery shell had gone off a little to the left we would have been spared WWll. On the other hand, if another artillery shell had gone off a little to the right we would never have been able to see Ronald Coleman's fine performance in Random Harvest. These strange coincidences really give you something to ponder........Ronald Coleman had a much more distinguished and impressive mustache than Adolf Hitler. You would think that a guy interested in world domination would take the trouble to grow a better mustache. It was Chaplinesque and did nothing to add to the gravitas of his appearance.......For my money, the dictator who really looked like a dictator was Benito Mussolini. I like what Hitler did with the black leather uniforms, but for sheer brute brutishness you can't beat Mussolini.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

tim in vermont,

I think it's "Love's Labours Won," not "found." Understandable mistake, though: "Lost and __________" returns two results :-)

There's an Edmund Crispin mystery centering around the discovery (and, naturally, eventual loss) of the manuscript.

Anglelyne said...

God, that cringe-inducingly sophomoric piece that you linked. Who knew that Cervantes was so totally in line with contemporary progressive pieties? Probably wrote Don Quixote in a fit of regret about othering those guys at Lepanto.

n.n said...

Nihilistic! It's no wonder that civilization is reset periodically.

Quaestor said...

Some Kings are still well-known even if Shakespeare didn't mention them. As it happens, today is also the 1000th anniversary of the death of Æthelred the Unready.

Is that date adjusted for Julian/Gregorian calendar interval? (Just being my pedantic self as usual. Ain't too many blogs as brainy as this one.) If not the 1000th anniversary passed on the 17th.

By the way, thumbs up on the ligature! Well done.

Scott said...

"Good friend, for Jesus' sake forebear
To dig the dust enclosed here
Blessed be the man who spares these stones
But cursed be the man who moves my bones"

Shakespeare's gravestone....honestly I remember it because it was mentioned in an old Arthur Clarke story...

Quaestor said...

Here's the least astounding coincidence I know. Both Ronald Coleman and Adolf Hitler were wounded in the same battle on the same day in WWI.

More info, please. Hitler was wounded twice, once in October 1916 during the Battle of the Somme (leg wound from artillery) and again two years later by mustard gas.

Quaestor said...

Good friend, for Jesus' sake forebear
To dig the dust enclosed here.


Fine little couplet that. Interesting that in Jacobean times here and hair must have either near or exact rhymes. Also one must pronounce enclosed as enclose-ed to sustain the meter.

(typo fixed)

Quaestor said...

...must be near or exact rhymes.

Damn! Very tired. Got tee-boned today by a three-hundred pound woman who was texting while driving. Blogging from my hospital bed. Out tomorrow, so don't worry your pretty little head, Professor.

Robert Cook said...

"Wonder if JayZ's birthday will be remembered in 200 years. Or Kanye's. Or the legions of the mediocre who have polluted our spectacular western culture."

Why would you even wonder? Without question, the birthdays of these two men--and of most of our popular entertainers in the various arts--will not be remembered in 200 years time.