Tag Archives: William Shakespeare

Border’s books

by Terry Border.

“It is distressing for visitors to see mounds of human ash.”

A display called “The End?” looks at the way some admirers seek total communion, even in death. The curators quote a letter from the director of Jane Austen’s House Museum, who in 2008 implored Janeites not to direct their heirs to scatter their ashes on the grounds.

“It is distressing for visitors,” she noted, “to see mounds of human ash.”

But the Folger itself is a mausoleum. As the show notes, the ashes of Henry Clay Folger and Emily Folger, the library’s founders, are interred in the nearby reading room behind a plaque paying tribute to “the glory of William Shakespeare and the greater glory of God.”

“With that kind of idolatry, your first instinct may be to snicker,” Ms. Barchas said. “But then you have to stop and think seriously about what it is that you yourself love about literature.”

–Jennifer Schuessler, ‘Will and Jane’: Two Literary Superheroes, United in Pop Culture

400 Years of the Bard

Two soliloquys:

She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
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
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

—Macbeth, Macbeth V.v.18-28

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Then, the whining school-boy with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then, a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden, and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then, the justice,
In fair round belly, with a good capon lined,
With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws, and modern instances,
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

—Jaques, As You Like It, II.vii.140-167

Chides of March

One-star review of Julius Caesar:

what I got out of that was listen to women more often and you don’t end up having a ton of guys stab you to death.