Posts Tagged ‘Shakespeare’


All the world is a cage

And all the men and women merely shut in:

They have their grand stands and low stools

To sit or wax wroth in righteous ire

upon principles they never practise.


One man in his time is many things

So well he notes the moment.

All seven ages he plays with

One string : gimme gimme gimme.

Infants may cry for loose ends

While the man for loose change

All the world is a cage

Where we ourselves do

serve the gaoler: how sad

We never think what is free

Nor stake claim as freeborn?


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To work or not to work that’s a big one:

What if work were to dull this blade of steel

Fit for nothing else than for slagheap?

Oh work is a big question of life and death;

If by avoiding do we escape the slur Oh no!

To live on others is to damn us-

Better a cart horse than sow in her swill,

Before our maker

and our fellowmen we stand

Broken but with souls as bright as ever!

To sleep after hard labor

A blessing indeed:

Work so we may leave death to do his own

benny, (not Jack Benny)


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Aint it dandy if our misspent youth

Writ for no other reason than the crack cocaine,

Has work’d its magic over loathsome days

Into an undeniable bestseller?

Hopped up with coke in our clogged veins

Not even truth may be found in our blood-

But we have sign’d deal for seven digit

This much truth even the coke will admit .

But did truth come anywhere near our lives

Not for all the stuff we mainlined we say!

Truth be said for the world that imagines

What it reads for its crudities as real!

Who is hopped up but the prosaic world

To swallow this drivel coke has penned:

In a manner of speaking coke killed us

And used us to make this whole stuff up 


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Ac III, sc-ii (lines 1-24)

Spam! Spam! Delete them all!
Out! Out!
You cowardly poltroons stop
And think what you cut and paste does no good!
Your sulphurous and beguiling offer
Clog my inbox! And a spam filter –seems what
Stops you on tracks ! And almighty Jove here
Comes an offer- for spam filter no less!
Strike at that cretin’s profoundity to think
Faster than my finger can.
Spam, spam Delete them all!
I tax you not Larry, nor do I page you.
But google at my horrible pleasure,
A poor infirm weak and harried old man
To be weaned out of this habit, I must
Smash this vile thing- keyboard the mouse and all.
If you see me leer you shall guess why.

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King Lear is one of Shakespeare’s plays to which I have taken to with avidity as and when I had found time. On checking its background I read that English theatre- goers at first preferred a tragicomedy version than the original. This was an adaptation by Nahum Tate which first appeared in 1681, some seventy-five years after Shakespeare’s original text, and is believed to have replaced it on the English stage in whole or in part until 1838. Unlike Shakespeare’s tragedy, Tate’s play has a happy ending, with Lear regaining his throne, Cordelia marrying Edgar, and Edgar joyfully declaring that “truth and virtue shall at last succeed..”
Edmund Keane had previously acted Tate’s Lear but “stimulated by Hazlitt’s remonstrances and Charles Lamb’s essays,” became the first to restore the tragic ending, though much of Tate remained in the earlier acts. “The London audience,” Kean told his wife, “have no notion of what I can do till they see me over the dead body of Cordelia.” Kean knew in his bones the audience would believe it in the way he played it. The fate of King Lear lay in the way he essayed it. Is Life tragedy or comedy?
Edmund Keane (17 March 1789 – 15 May 1833) in his time was considered the greatest Shakespearen actor ever despite other thespians like David Garrick and William Charles Macready.
Over a scandal his wife left him in 1825 and the adverse news report in the Times aroused against him such bitter feeling, that he was booed and pelted with fruit when he re-appeared at Drury Lane, as nearly to compel him to retire permanently into private life. Later he was received with favor by which time he was merely a shadow of his former glory. His last appearance on the stage was at Covent Garden, on 25 March 1833, when he played Othello to the Iago of his son, Charles Kean, who was also an accomplished actor. At the words “Villain, be sure,” in scene 3 of act iii, he suddenly broke down, and crying in a faltering voice “O God, I am dying. Speak to them, Charles,” fell insensible into his son’s arms. He died at Richmond, Surrey where he had spent his last years as manager of the local theatre, and is commemorated in the Parish Church where there is a floor plaque marking his grave and a wall plaque. He is buried in the parish church of All Saints, in the village of Catherington, Hampshire. His last words were alleged to be “dying is easy; comedy is hard.”

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What is Art ? It is the mirror to life.
Primitive art thus has certain characteristics that mirror the culture of the artist. In May or June 1907, Picasso experienced a “revelation” while viewing African art at the ethnographic museum at Palais du Trocadéro. Picasso’s discovery of African art influenced the style of his painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (begun in May 1907 and reworked in July of that year.) In the early 20th century African artifacts were being brought back to Paris museums in consequence of the expansion of the French empire into Africa. The press was abuzz with exaggerated stories of cannibalism and exotic tales about the African kingdom of Dahomey. It was in this climate of African interest that Picasso would look towards African artifacts as inspiration for some of his work and it makes no difference that he was an outsider reinventing artistic impulses of his life and the times into art. It is recognizable and and the life of a nameless primitive artist is interpreted according to canons of art. Whereas in the hands of Joseph Conrad the African interest would focus altogether on the mistreatment of Africans in the Belgian Congo. Heart of Darkness is a literary work of exceptional quality that can transcend the narrow boundaries of time and place to be equally at home in another time and place. Francis Coppola set it in Vietnam with equal success and called it Apocalypse now.
Art as the mirror of life. This is what Art can achieve. It gives life thousand faces and the mirror is telling the truth each time. Only that the beholder need to remember the emphasis is laid in each case differently. Truth is absolute and only God can define what it is. So let us not assume to know what it is.
When Patriarch Jacob wrestled with angel or saw a ladder reaching heavewards we need to accept Truth is set in a certain form that does not vitiate the narrative or the underlying veracity. Does it touch some familiar chord in you? If you have in your life wrestled with good impulses with all the might and sought a blessing from the Highest the story of Jacob cannot remain alien to you. It does not mean if you succeeded or not. The Scriptures holds up the mirror to your life so as to elicit certain feelings in you. When you respond to it in a positive manner the Word has achieved its purpose.
According to Moslem tradition Prophet Mohammad was carried at night by a fabled beast Al-Buraq to the presence of Angel Gabriel. We need to remember that truth is sometimes stranger than fiction simply because we have no way of knowing Truth in its perfection. Art as I said earlier gives Truth a human tongue. It is thus we get the best out of the Word. For that matter how is that we have the Hand of Fatima in many versions ranging from Egyptian, Hebrew and Christian traditions? It is life given a certain symbol naming it as good omen or charm and so on. It is to be treated as such and not make undue fuss over it. Instead some silly fellows want to impose their own nonsense as truth. They pose as the Watch and Ward staff for God. Among Jews and Moslems alike there are those who want to make worshippers think in the way they think. What makes them think they know the truth? Wahhabism would try hard to make Islam ‘pure’ but would require plenty of money to stuff down the throats to make it digestable! In sacred and secular art also you find such misguided fellows. Shakespeare had been bowdlerized by some and yet Shakespeare lives on preeminent above such ignoble souls.
For me art must serve life. When we see Truth in its perfection words of human artifice shall fail since we ourselves shall be part of that Absolute quality.

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