Thursday, July 8, 2010

Poetry Friday: Twelfth Night

About this time a few summers ago, my husband and I were in as small English village called Moreton-on-the-Marsh in the Cotswolds. They had survived a terrible flood a few weeks before. Stores on the main street held water several feet deep. By the time we were there, most places had cleaned out the mess, dumped it in rubbish bins and were making a new start.

One night as we strolled past a large rubbish bin in front of a school, I spotted books. Yes, of course I looked. I couldn't help myself. I did more than look. I didn't crawl in, mind you, but I did explore the rubbish. They were throwing away copies of Shakespeare. Old copies of Shakespeare.

I came home with several souvenirs. My 1895 copy of Twelfth Night has a pencil inscription in the front: Ida Broughton, IV th Form.

Later a friend who spent several years at school in London told me this: In America 100 years is old. In England 100 miles is a long way.

True, of course. Witness my century old copy of Shakespeare. But it's still pretty special to me.

So for Poetry Friday, here are some memorable lines from Twelfth Night.

I am a great eater of beef, and I believe that does harm to my wit.
Twelfth Night, 1. 3

Make me a willow cabin at your gate,
And call upon my soul within the house;
Write loyal cantons of contemned love
And sing them loud even in the dead of night;
Halloo your name to the reverberate hills
And make the babbling gossip of the air
Cry out 'Olivia!' O, You should not rest
Between the elements of air and earth,
But you should pity me!
Twelfth Night, 1. 5

You are now sailed into the north of my lady's opinion; where you will hang like an icicle on a Dutchman's beard.
Twelfth Night, 3. 2

If this were played upon a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction.
Twelfth Night, 3. 4

More Poetry Friday at Carol's Corner.

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