Sunday, February 27, 2005

Dude, You're Quoting Shakespeare?

...I got an e-mail from a co-worker laced with literary quotations that reminded me of this book I'd just finished called, "The Story of English" by Robert McCrum, Robert MacNeil and Cran William written as an companion for a BBC documentary which went on to become a UK Best Seller ; the documentary aired in the states later on PBS and was followed by the book itself. Here's an excerpt from the section that illustrates just how influential William Shakespeare's writing was and still is...

  • If you cannot understand my argument, and declare 'It's Greek to me', you are quoting Shakespeare;
  • If you claim to be more sinned against than sinning, you are quoting Shakespeare;
  • If you recall your salad days, you are quoting Shakespeare;
  • If you act more in sorrow than in anger, if your wish is father to the thought, if your lost property has vanished into thin air, you are quoting Shakespeare;
  • If you have ever refused to budge an inch or suffered from green-eyed jealousy, if you have played fast and loose,
  • If you have been tongue-tied, a tower of strength, hoodwinked or in a pickle, if you have knitted your brows, made virtue of necessity, insisted on fair play, slept not one wink, stood on ceremony... laughed yourself into stitches, had short shrift, cold comfort or too much of a good thing, if you have seen better days or lived in a fool's paradise - why, be that as it may, the more fool of you, for it is a foregone conclusion that you are (as good luck would have it) quoting Shakespeare
  • ....if you think it is high time and that it is early days and clear out bag and baggage and that that is the long and short of it ...and that the truth will out even if it involves your own flesh and blood, if you lie low till the crack of doom because you suspect foul play, without rhyme or reason, then - to give the devil his due - if the truth were known (for surely you have a tongue in your head) you are quoting Shakespeare;
  • ... even if you bid me good riddance and send me packing, if you wish I was dead as a door-nail, if you think I am an eyesore, a laughing stock, the devil incarnate, a stony-hearted villian, bloody-minded or a blinking idiot, then - by Jove! O Lord! Tut, tut! for goodness sake! what the dickens! but me no buts - it is all one to me, for you are quoting Shakespeare."

    So, "but me no buts," if you're into word origins and etymology, as am I, this book will do you no wrong (click on the header for a direct link)'s a sweet read. Laters...


Blogger mj said...

shakespeare is for all reasons and all seasons. if twain were water why then sir william would be plasma or hemoglobin itself-he is truly for everyman. 2 faves of mine. . .
"to err is human."
"mine mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun..."
ahh, the sonnets must be given their due. . .

7:11 AM, February 28, 2005  

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