Monday, July 11, 2011

With Friends Like These, Who Needs Enemas?

Shakespeare, "Hamlet"
HAMLET - ...What's the news?

ROSENCRANTZ - None, my lord, but that the world's grown honest.

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?

GUILDENSTERN - 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' the 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 nut shell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams.

GUILDENSTERN - 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 outstretched heroes the beggars' shadows. Shall we to the court? for, by my fay, I cannot reason.

ROSENCRANTZ GUILDENSTERN - We'll wait upon you.HAMLET - No such matter: I will not sort you with the rest of my servants, for, to speak to you like an honest man, I am most dreadfully attended. But, in the beaten way of friendship, what make you at Elsinore?

ROSENCRANTZ - To visit you, my lord; no other occasion.

HAMLET - Beggar that I am, I am even poor in thanks; but I thank you: and sure, dear friends, my thanks are too dear a halfpenny. Were you not sent for? Is it your own inclining? Is it a free visitation? Come, deal justly with me: come, come; nay, speak.

GUILDENSTERN - What should we say, my lord?

HAMLET - Why, any thing, but to the purpose. You were sent for; and there is a kind of confession in your looks which your modesties have not craft enough to colour: I know the good king and queen have sent for you.

ROSENCRANTZ - To what end, my lord?

HAMLET - That you must teach me. But let me conjure you, by the rights of our fellowship, by the consonancy of our youth, by the obligation of our ever-preserved love, and by what more dear a better proposer could charge you withal, be even and direct with me, whether you were sent for, or no?

ROSENCRANTZ - [Aside to GUILDENSTERN] What say you?

HAMLET - [Aside] Nay, then, I have an eye of you.--If you love me, hold not off.

GUILDENSTERN - My lord, we were sent for...


  1. Shakespeare, "Julius Caesar"

    ANTONY - Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones; So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus Hath told you Caesar was ambitious: If it were so, it was a grievous fault, And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it. Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest-- For Brutus is an honourable man; So are they all, all honourable men-- Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral. He was my friend, faithful and just to me: But Brutus says he was ambitious;
    And Brutus is an honourable man. He hath brought many captives home to Rome Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill: Did this in Caesar seem ambitious? When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept: Ambition should be made of sterner stuff: Yet Brutus says he was ambitious; And Brutus is an honourable man. You all did see that on the Lupercal I thrice presented him a kingly crown, Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition? Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
    And, sure, he is an honourable man. I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke, But here I am to speak what I do know. You all did love him once, not without cause: What cause withholds you then, to mourn for him? O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts, And men have lost their reason. Bear with me; My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar, And I must pause till it come back to me.

    First Citizen - Methinks there is much reason in his sayings.

    Second Citizen - If thou consider rightly of the matter, Caesar has had great wrong.

    Third Citizen - Has he, masters? I fear there will a worse come in his place.

    Fourth Citizen - Mark'd ye his words? He would not take the crown; Therefore 'tis certain he was not ambitious.

    First Citizen - If it be found so, some will dear abide it.

    Second Citizen - Poor soul! his eyes are red as fire with weeping.

    Third Citizen - There's not a nobler man in Rome than Antony.

    Fourth Citizen - Now mark him, he begins again to speak.

  2. ...and Brutus is an honorable man. lol.

  3. Fidus Achates you quite likely know, the phrase is often used ironically now. One example being: Was that Mulligan cad with him? His fidus Achates! (Ulysses. Joyce.) continue with the quote: That Mulligan is a contaminated bloody doubledyed ruffian by all accounts. His name stinks all over Dublin.
    But with the help of God and His blessed mother I’ll make it my business to write a letter one of those days to his mother or his aunt or whatever she is that will open her eye as wide as a gate. I’ll tickle his catastrophe, believe you me.

    ...The text in bold is from Henry IV, part 2 and spoken by falstaff - another case in point. :)

  4. "Obedience,/Bane of all genius, virtue, freedom, truth,/Makes slaves of men" - Percy Bysshe Shelley

    ...but unlike Achates, I'm more of a fustilarian (ala Thersites). ;)

    For is not Thersites the exact opposite of Achates/Falstaff and bane of Ajax?

    "for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."

  5. ...Indeed. Russians believed he was good.

    Thersites was venerated by Marxist literature in Soviet times. (Wiki) ;)

  6. You should expect no less from a son of Agree-us... ;)