Monday, April 23, 2012

My Kingdom

Notice that this is the first post in days that has had a title. That's because when Blogger ruined their fucking interface the place to enter a title is so "streamlined" I don't even see it. Which is amazing since most of the screen is now just this light gray expanse of unusable nothingness. If they're going to make the platform all one color and iconed to the hilt and completely counterintuitive and klunky I might as well switch to Wordpress which has been like that for ever and everyone wants me to move there because it's apparently more versatile. This is where loyalty gets you. Awesome.


But that's not what we're here to talk about today. Today we speak of Master Shakespeare because it's his birth and his death day. Sort of. They weren't big on record keeping way back then so he was born either today or a few days ago or maybe even last week. Today, however, is the day we celebrate the fact that he was born and (allegedly) wrote all these fantastic things. I don't know that there's anything I can tell you that you don't already know about the man but let's share some fun stuff.

A friend posted the Shakespearean Insult Kit this morning. My current favorite insult to come of it is, "thou cockered, tickled-brain lewdster!" I mean, lewdster. How brilliant is that?

The super fantastic elastic Reduced Shakespeare Company has pared down the plot of each of Shakespeare's plays into a tweet. Perhaps the best one is, "Hamlet avenges his father, and it only takes four hours" Four hours if you're lucky, gentlemen. Lord, how is this one the most performed one of all the plays? No, really, how?!

Oh, and you know, someone who writes this blog once also wrote a play about the guy. Anyone want me to bring that to a town near you? You know who to call to negotiate price.

Go on, google "dog in a shakespeare collar" and, among the cone of shame pics, you'll find some full on hilarity. I believe Brother Will would approve.

I think I'll end on two of my favorite passages of the plays I've studied. First, Cordelia from King Lear:

Good my lord,
You have begot me, bred me, loved me:
I return those duties back as are right fit,
Obey you, love you, and most honour you.
Why have my sisters husbands, if they say
They love you all? Haply when I shall wed,
That lord whose hand must take my plight shall carry
Half my love with him, half my care and duty.
Sure, I shall never marry like my sisters,
To love my father all. 

Last, the third prologue (not the first, everyone loves the first) from Henry V:

Thus with imagined wing our swift scene flies
In motion of no less celerity
Than that of thought. Suppose that you have seen
The well-appointed king at Hampton pier
Embark his royalty; and his brave fleet
With silken streamers the young Phoebus fanning:
Play with your fancies, and in them behold
Upon the hempen tackle ship-boys climbing;
Hear the shrill whistle which doth order give
To sounds confused; behold the threaden sails,
Borne with the invisible and creeping wind,
Draw the huge bottoms through the furrow'd sea,
Breasting the lofty surge: O, do but think
You stand upon the ravage and behold
A city on the inconstant billows dancing;
For so appears this fleet majestical,
Holding due course to Harfleur. Follow, follow:
Grapple your minds to sternage of this navy,
And leave your England, as dead midnight still,
Guarded with grandsires, babies and old women,
Either past or not arrived to pith and puissance;
For who is he, whose chin is but enrich'd
With one appearing hair, that will not follow
These cull'd and choice-drawn cavaliers to France?
Work, work your thoughts, and therein see a siege;
Behold the ordnance on their carriages,
With fatal mouths gaping on girded Harfleur.
Suppose the ambassador from the French comes back;
Tells Harry that the king doth offer him
Katharine his daughter, and with her, to dowry,
Some petty and unprofitable dukedoms.
The offer likes not: and the nimble gunner
With linstock now the devilish cannon touches,

Alarum, and chambers go off
And down goes all before them. Still be kind,
And eke out our performance with your mind.

It's the "petty and unprofitable dukedoms" that gets me every time. Also "celerity" at the beginning. It's like celery but cooler. What's your favorite?


  1. I can hear your voice in my head, even now, as I read the Henry V, especially the "Follow, follow" and "celerity." That IS a good monologue... maybe I should try to engage my rusty brain and memorise it. God, we all look so g-dd--mned young!! What show is the photo of you in the black veil from? I like it!

  2. I don't have a favorite passage because I'm just not good at remembering that kind of stuff. But my favorite Shakespeare play was always Macbeth. It was so bloody and gruesome. The worst of all of his plays was Romeo and Juliet. Gag me with a royal silver spoon.

    The first time I ever noticed Chris was when he was in Much Ado About Nothing.

  3. you know...based on that first picture of you, you'd look amazing bald :-)