Tag Archives: William Shakespeare

The Roanoke Times features “Friends, Americans, Countrymen.”

I’m happy to share here that The Roanoke Times published “Friends, Americans, Countrymen — Lend Me Your Fears.”  If you follow this blog, you’ll recall that this was my satirical piece aimed at Donald Trump (riffing on Marc Antony’s speech in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar).

You can read it online right here.

 

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“For there is none of you so mean and base/ That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.”

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o’erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O’erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill’d with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call’d fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’

—  from William Shakespeare’s Henry V

 

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Photo credit: I, Jonathan Zander / CC BY-SA (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)

“Here is himself, marr’d, as you see, with traitors.”

If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.
You all do know this mantle: I remember
The first time ever Caesar put it on;
‘Twas on a summer’s evening, in his tent,
That day he overcame the Nervii:
Look, in this place ran Cassius’ dagger through:
See what a rent the envious Casca made:
Through this the well-beloved Brutus stabb’d;
And as he pluck’d his cursed steel away,
Mark how the blood of Caesar follow’d it,
As rushing out of doors, to be resolved
If Brutus so unkindly knock’d, or no;
For Brutus, as you know, was Caesar’s angel:
Judge, O you gods, how dearly Caesar loved him!
This was the most unkindest cut of all;
For when the noble Caesar saw him stab,
Ingratitude, more strong than traitors’ arms,
Quite vanquish’d him: then burst his mighty heart;
And, in his mantle muffling up his face,
Even at the base of Pompey’s statua,
Which all the while ran blood, great Caesar fell.
O, what a fall was there, my countrymen!
Then I, and you, and all of us fell down,
Whilst bloody treason flourish’d over us.
O, now you weep; and, I perceive, you feel
The dint of pity: these are gracious drops.
Kind souls, what, weep you when you but behold
Our Caesar’s vesture wounded? Look you here,
Here is himself, marr’d, as you see, with traitors.

—  Marc Antony, in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar

 

Roman male portrait bust, so-called Marcus Antonius. Fine-grained yellowish marble. Flavian age (69—96 A.D.). Rome, Vatican Museums, Chiaramonti Museum.

Roman male portrait bust of Marcus Antonius. Fine-grained yellowish marble. Flavian age (69—96 A.D.).

“Friends, Americans, countrymen — lend me your fears.”

Friends, Americans, countrymen — lend me your fears.
I come to divide the nation, not lead it.
The evil that I tweet will live after me;
the truth will be twisted by nationalist drones.
So let it be with America.
My critics say I am dangerous
— is that so grievous a fault?

America, you have enabled me.
Obama; Bush; Bush, Sr.;
and Clinton were honorable men,
Despite their various differences,
all honorable men.
But I’ll make America chaos,
subservient only to me.

My critics say I am dangerous,
and my critics are honorable men.
But did they entertain at great rallies,
where hatred made your heart full?
Is it this that seems dangerous?
When all are are divided, no Union is left;
Nations should be made of sterner stuff.

Oh America, thou art ruled by brutish beasts!
For you have lost your reason!—Bear with me;
My prescription bottle is in my pocket,
And I must pause to tweak.

~ Trumpus Antonius

(c) Eric Robert Nolan 2020

 

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Photo credit: By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America – Donald Trump, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49611649

“The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.”

The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
An evil soul producing holy witness
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart.
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!

— from William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice

 

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“Denmark’s a prison.” “Then is the world one.”

Hamlet:  Then is doomsday near! But your news is not true. Let me question more in particular. What have you, my good friends, deserved at the hands of Fortune that she sends you to prison hither?

Rosencrantz:  Prison, my lord?

Hamlet:  Denmark’s a prison.

Rosencrantz:  Then is the world one.

Hamlet:  A goodly one; in which there are many confines, wards, and dungeons, Denmark being one o’ th’ worst.

Rosencrantz:  We think not so, my lord.

Hamlet:  Why, then ’tis none to you; for there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so. To me it is a prison.

Rosencrantz:  Why, then your ambition makes it one. ‘Tis too narrow for your mind.

Hamlet: O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams.

Rosencrantz:  Which dreams indeed are ambition; for the very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.

Hamlet:  A dream itself is but a shadow.

Rosencrantz:  Truly, and I hold ambition of so airy and light a quality that it is but a shadow’s shadow.

Hamlet:  Then are our beggars bodies, and our monarchs and outstretch’d heroes the beggars’ shadows.

 

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“All the world’s a stage …”

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;
And 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 good capon lin’d,
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 slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well sav’d, 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.

— from William Shakespeare’s As You Like It

 

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“Double, double toil and trouble;/ Fire burn and cauldron bubble.”

Round about the cauldron go:
In the poisoned entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights has thirty-one
Sweated venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg and owlet’s wing.
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
Witch’s mummy, maw and gulf
Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark,
Root of hemlock digg’d i’ the dark,
Liver of blaspheming Jew;
Gall of goat; and slips of yew
Sliver’d in the moon’s eclipse;
Nose of Turk, and Tartar’s lips;
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-deliver’d by a drab,
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,
For the ingredients of our cauldron.

Double, double toil and trouble,
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Cool it with a baboon’s blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.

—  “Song of the Witches,” from William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Act IV, Scene 1

 

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Eric Robert Nolan reads William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 30

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time’s waste:
Then can I drown an eye, unus’d to flow,
For precious friends hid in death’s dateless night,
And weep afresh love’s long since cancell’d woe,
And moan th’ expense of many a vanish’d sight;
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o’er
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restor’d, and sorrows end.

 

“I cried to dream again.”

Be not afeard; the isle is full of noises,
Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again: and then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open and show riches
Ready to drop upon me that, when I waked,
I cried to dream again.

 

—  Caliban, in William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Act III, Scene II

 

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Photo credit: fir0002 flagstaffotos [at] gmail.com Canon 20D + Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html)%5D