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Subject: Reading through Shakespeare: Richard II Act 2 scene 1 rss

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Jack Smith
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I thought it would be fun to discuss what I find a source of inspiration and wisdom. What makes the hairs on the back on my head tingle and pleased I am alive. Sometimes these sorts of words can even make me feel a sense of wonder and awe. The sort of things others find inspirational in the bible (I want to keep this in RSP after all) I find from other sources.

This is a quote from the words said by John of Gaunt when he knew he was dying, memoaning the fact that his rightful heirs had been denied the throne of England by the current regent , Richard II, and his feeling of loss for the country he loved.


This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,--
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.

The actual text of the speech is a lot longer than that but I decided to start off small.

EDIT: I would also welcome any parts of the bible or other religious texts which have a similar potential impact on the reader. I know Psalms has several good examples but any will be fine.
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Not Shakespeare, but I have ever loved this first verse of a poem:

Once more the storm is howling, and half hid
Under this cradle-hood and coverlid
My child sleeps on. There is no obstacle
But Gregory's wood and one bare hill
Whereby the haystack- and roof-levelling wind,
Bred on the Atlantic, can be stayed;
And for an hour I have walked and prayed
Because of the great gloom that is in my mind.
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Jack Smith
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she2 wrote:
Not Shakespeare, but I have ever loved this first verse of a poem:

Once more the storm is howling, and half hid
Under this cradle-hood and coverlid
My child sleeps on. There is no obstacle
But Gregory's wood and one bare hill
Whereby the haystack- and roof-levelling wind,
Bred on the Atlantic, can be stayed;
And for an hour I have walked and prayed
Because of the great gloom that is in my mind.


I really like that. So much loneliness. I love the way simple words conjure up so many thoughts and complex concepts. I wish I had the skill to do that.
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Halfinger wrote:
she2 wrote:
Not Shakespeare, but I have ever loved this first verse of a poem:

Once more the storm is howling, and half hid
Under this cradle-hood and coverlid
My child sleeps on. There is no obstacle
But Gregory's wood and one bare hill
Whereby the haystack- and roof-levelling wind,
Bred on the Atlantic, can be stayed;
And for an hour I have walked and prayed
Because of the great gloom that is in my mind.


I really like that. So much loneliness. I love the way simple words conjure up so many thoughts and complex concepts. I wish I had the skill to do that.


Irish poets. I'd imagine there are quite a few lonely hills out there. I quite love Shakespeare too, but I couldn't think of a good verse.

It's also about the trepidation of having children and feeling this overwhelming desire to protect them.
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Jack Smith
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she2 wrote:
Halfinger wrote:
she2 wrote:
Not Shakespeare, but I have ever loved this first verse of a poem:

Once more the storm is howling, and half hid
Under this cradle-hood and coverlid
My child sleeps on. There is no obstacle
But Gregory's wood and one bare hill
Whereby the haystack- and roof-levelling wind,
Bred on the Atlantic, can be stayed;
And for an hour I have walked and prayed
Because of the great gloom that is in my mind.


I really like that. So much loneliness. I love the way simple words conjure up so many thoughts and complex concepts. I wish I had the skill to do that.


Irish poets. I'd imagine there is quite a few lonely hills out there. I quite love Shakespeare too, but I couldn't think of a good verse.


I find Shakespeare remarkably insightful. In fact I find it very hard to believe it was all written by the same person, it can vary in quality so much. However other authors and poets have a similar impact, I just feel he was the first to reach that level of quality.

The bit I like is 'this little world' which recognises England as being nothing compared to the vastness of what is around us. Insignificant in it's size and importance. That reflects how I feel today about humanity and the universe. So much known yet so much to know. Yet we are protected on this tiny world within a sliver of air feeling a sense of wonder of what is around us. Protected, safe yet delicate and vulnerable.

As humans we all need a source of inspiration and fulfilment, which some call spirituality. I am an atheist so do not believe there is an outside agency responsible for that. I felt it would be useful to show that I have the same feelings but perhaps not from the same source or from the same beliefs.

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Stuart
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I have to admit I never really "got" Shakespeare until the last few years. Where we live now, a local group does live showings of a couple Shakespeare plays every summer, and I always try to attend at least one of them(not usually both, as my wife still has not "gotten" him yet, and one is all she can take - seeing Desdemona murdered by Othello didn't help, either), as I feel it has made all the difference to me to see them acted out by real players. A a consequence, I am finding more and more about his work that I appreciate all the time.

I got my word of the year from Romeo & Juliet the other day - prolixity - so that's all I'll say for now...
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I loved finding out about original pronunciation in Shakespeare. His street cred returned with that for me. I could understand why people would pay to stand to see plays like that.
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Josiah Fiscus
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Halfinger wrote:
In fact I find it very hard to believe it was all written by the same person, it can vary in quality so much.


Is this the part where I cite all the questions of authorship in the works of Shakespeare like you do for the Bible?
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Lynette
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Some of my favorite Shakespeare:

Though I hate the ending of this play, Tis a true Tragedy.
Still I love this speech.

William Shakespeare
The Merchant of Venice
Act 4, Scene 1


The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven,
Upon the place beneath.
It is twice blessed.
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
It is mightiest in the mightiest,
It becomes the throned monarch better than his crown.
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
An attribute to awe and majesty.
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings.
But mercy is above this sceptred sway,
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself.
And earthly power dost the become likest God's,
Where mercy seasons justice.
Therefore Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That in the course of justice we all must see salvation,
We all do pray for mercy
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render the deeds of mercy.
I have spoke thus much to mittgate the justice of thy plea,
Which if thou dost follow,
This strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentance gainst the merchant there.


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Chad Ellis
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Meerkat wrote:
The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven,
Upon the place beneath.
It is twice blessed.
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
It is mightiest in the mightiest,
It becomes the throned monarch better than his crown.
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
An attribute to awe and majesty.
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings.
But mercy is above this sceptred sway,
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself.
And earthly power dost the become likest God's,
Where mercy seasons justice.
Therefore Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That in the course of justice we all must see salvation,
We all do pray for mercy
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render the deeds of mercy.
I have spoke thus much to mittgate the justice of thy plea,
Which if thou dost follow,
This strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentance gainst the merchant there.


I think this is Shakespeare at his most subversive. The noble Christian gives a beautiful speech about mercy and how it should be given when least deserved, while all along she is setting him up for utter ruin and humiliation.
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Chad Ellis
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happyjosiah wrote:
Halfinger wrote:
In fact I find it very hard to believe it was all written by the same person, it can vary in quality so much.


Is this the part where I cite all the questions of authorship in the works of Shakespeare like you do for the Bible?


Heretic!!! BURN him!!!
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I like the modern translations better.
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Josiah Fiscus
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quozl wrote:
I like the modern translations better.


Heretic!!! BURN him!!!
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Shakespeare rocks, generally, speaking, though I continue to find Romeo and Juliet inexplicable emotionally. And, of course, getting through the archaic English can be a slog.

One of the joys of my adult life has been forcing myself to learn to appreciate poetry more than I did as a young 'un. (Admittedly, a low bar.) It worked -- some poetry, at least, is now a source of joy for me.

One that sticks with me, in that it jumps to mind Every. Single. Spring. and on many other occasions, too, is Frost's "Nothing Gold Can Stay":

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leafs a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Part of my family's homeschooling regime is poetry memorization and recitation.

Ones we've picked over the past year (and all, I think, like) include Shelley's "Ozymandias", Collins' "Flames" (I also adore "Litany" -- here's a link to a video of him reading it along with a touch of explanation), Dickinson's "Because I could not stop for Death", Shakespeare's Sonnet 116 and Blake's "The Tyger".

(Suggestions for poems to add to the list are more than welcome!)
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quozl wrote:
I like the modern translations better.


The Cliffs translations are transcendent.
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Chad Ellis
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I wish I could remember the book, but someone once wrote a series of poems that summarized great works of literature. Beowulf, for example, begins with:

Monster Grendel's tastes are planish.
Breakfast? Just a couple Danish.

I can only remember bits and pieces but I'm pretty sure he did some good ones on Shakespeare. Then, of course, there's the Reduced Shakespeare Company.
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happyjosiah wrote:
Halfinger wrote:
In fact I find it very hard to believe it was all written by the same person, it can vary in quality so much.


Is this the part where I cite all the questions of authorship in the works of Shakespeare like you do for the Bible?


I think its fairly well accepted now that there was not "one" Shakespeare.

The ultimate poetry of that is that source does not matter at all and it is simply a collection of works.

 
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corross wrote:
Suggestions for poems to add to the list are more than welcome!


For no other reason than I like them:

"The Ballad of Wandering Angus"

"Hymn to Cynthia"

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Jack Smith
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happyjosiah wrote:
Halfinger wrote:
In fact I find it very hard to believe it was all written by the same person, it can vary in quality so much.


Is this the part where I cite all the questions of authorship in the works of Shakespeare like you do for the Bible?


Sure

There's so many candidates for different parts of Shakespeare. Those that take that seriously get very upset about it. Personally I like to enjoy it just as it is.

I think at school we all get the impression that the text is dense and needs countless hours of reading and discussion to grasp. There can be some snobbery attached to it too. In reality the plays were like the soap operas of today. Lots of plotting and murdering and what not, made to appeal to everyone. Once I got the hang of the English it is like listening to anything modern and quite often far superior.
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Jack Smith
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corross wrote:
Shakespeare rocks, generally, speaking, though I continue to find Romeo and Juliet inexplicable emotionally. And, of course, getting through the archaic English can be a slog.

One of the joys of my adult life has been forcing myself to learn to appreciate poetry more than I did as a young 'un. (Admittedly, a low bar.) It worked -- some poetry, at least, is now a source of joy for me.

One that sticks with me, in that it jumps to mind Every. Single. Spring. and on many other occasions, too, is Frost's "Nothing Gold Can Stay":

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leafs a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Part of my family's homeschooling regime is poetry memorization and recitation.

Ones we've picked over the past year (and all, I think, like) include Shelley's "Ozymandias", Collins' "Flames" (I also adore "Litany" -- here's a link to a video of him reading it along with a touch of explanation), Dickinson's "Because I could not stop for Death", Shakespeare's Sonnet 116 and Blake's "The Tyger".

(Suggestions for poems to add to the list are more than welcome!)


Romeo and Juliet leaves me cold. In my limited observations schools seem to promote that one to appeal to that generation, but it fails miserably I think and ends up putting them off.

I did Merchant of Venice and King Lear which I really enjoyed.

Also all poetry or prose is welcome from any source. My knowledge in this area is very limited.
 
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Romeo & Juliet is a terrible play for young people. You can only really appreciate it when you understand the context in which it was written and performed and where you have a sufficient understanding of language to get some of the more subtle humor and satire.

It's like Measure for Measure, which is a great play to study in a college or graduate seminar but awful as a play.

Young people should just watch Shakespeare in Love, which is much more accessible and actually gives them a better understanding of the original play than any high school or junior high school class would be likely to.
 
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
Romeo & Juliet is a terrible play for young people. You can only really appreciate it when you understand the context in which it was written and performed and where you have a sufficient understanding of language to get some of the more subtle humor and satire.

It's like Measure for Measure, which is a great play to study in a college or graduate seminar but awful as a play.

Young people should just watch Shakespeare in Love, which is much more accessible and actually gives them a better understanding of the original play than any high school or junior high school class would be likely to.


HERETIC!!!
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
Romeo & Juliet is a terrible play for young people. You can only really appreciate it when you understand the context in which it was written and performed and where you have a sufficient understanding of language to get some of the more subtle humor and satire.


I saw a version where they really emphasised how young Romeo and Juliet were, even playing it for laughs at times (in the balcony scene).

It worked quite well, and really underscored the tragedy very well.
 
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Romeo & Juliet is just a amateurish reboot of Pyramus and Thisbe. Shakespeare was just the J.J. Abrams of his time.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyramus_and_Thisbe
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TheChin! wrote:
Romeo & Juliet is just a amateurish reboot of Pyramus and Thisbe. Shakespeare was just the J.J. Abrams of his time.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyramus_and_Thisbe


I remember that random polar bear in Love's labours lost.
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