Sunday, July 13, 2014

Shakespeare Challenge: Three Quotes

3. Quote [1]


Love’s feeling is more soft and sensible
Than are the tender horns of cockl’d snails;
Love’s tongue proves dainty Bacchus gross in taste:
For valour, is not Love a Hercules,
Still climbing trees in the Hesperides?
Subtle as Sphinx; as sweet and musical
As bright Apollo’s lute, strung with his hair:
And when Love speaks, the voice of all the gods
Makes heaven drowsy with the harmony.
Never durst poet touch a pen to write
Until his ink were temper’d with Love’s sighs;
O, then his lines would ravish savage ears
And plant in tyrants mild humility.
From women’s eyes this doctrine I derive:
They sparkle still the right Promethean fire;
They are the books, the arts, the academes,
That show, contain and nourish all the world:
Else none at all in ought proves excellent.

(Berowne, Love’s Labour’s Lost)

This whole monologue is gorgeous, and David Tennant’s delivery of this speech in the 2008 Royal Shakespeare Company's production made me feel as though I was watching a young Shakespeare stand before me.

3. Quote [2]


Come, let’s away to prison.
We two alone will sing like birds i’ th’ cage.
When thou dost ask me blessing, I’ll kneel down
And ask of thee forgiveness. So we’ll live,
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues
Talk of court news, and we’ll talk with them too—
Who loses and who wins, who’s in, who’s out—
And take upon ’s the mystery of things
As if we were God’s spies. And we’ll wear out
In a walled prison packs and sects of great ones
That ebb and flow by the moon.

(Lear to his daughter Cordelia in King Lear)

The description of my blog features a quote from this speech. Almost nothing is more heartbreaking than the end of King Lear. All too late, Lear wants to reconnect with his one loving daughter and enjoy life.

3. Quote [3]


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, The Tempest)

Choosing favorite quotes from Shakespeare is ridiculously difficult. Shakespeare contains so many modern phrases and beautiful passages. So for my third choice, I’ll go with Caliban’s speech. That Caliban, “this thing of darkness,” has the most beautiful little monologue in The Tempest is still remarkable to me.

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