Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Shakespeare's Farewell

The Tempest:  Act IV Scene 1

Prospero:  Be cheerful, sir:
Our revels now are ended.  These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind.  We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

-- WS --

Note: The first mention of The Tempest is in the royal Account Books of the Revels Office: On Hallowmass night, November 1st 1611, a play called the "Tempest" was performed before that most cultured of kings, James 1.

line 8, inherit--occupy
line 10, rack--cloud

If and when I decide to end blogging, this will be my last post.


  1. Fred, you make me feel guilty about neglecting Shakespeare. I really should return to reading his plays. With a paraphrased tip of the hat to Macbeth, I will say this: Perhaps tomorrow. Then there should be time for such words.

    1. R.T.,

      "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:"
      -- Ecclesiastes --

      And indeed there will be time
      For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
      Rubbing its back upon the window panes; 25
      There will be time, there will be time
      To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
      There will be time to murder and create,
      And time for all the works and days of hands
      That lift and drop a question on your plate; 30
      Time for you and time for me,
      And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
      And for a hundred visions and revisions,
      Before the taking of a toast and tea.
      --T.S. Eliot --

  2. Postscript: And your favorite(s) among Shakespeare, Fred?

    1. R.T.,

      That's a hard one. The Tempest would be one of my favorites among the plays.

      A favorite sonnet would have to be:

      "That time of year thou mayst in me behold
      When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
      Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
      Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang."

      Sonnet LXXIII

    2. Fred, your favorites -- like mine -- tend to underscore our lateness in life; when I was so much younger, I believed _Hamlet_ and _A Midsummer Night's Dream_ were Shakespeare's perfect plays, but now I think more and more about _King Lear_ and _The Tempest_. I also still admire the straightforward power of _Macbeth_, but I remain ambivalent about _Othello_, especially since that latter has been coopted and modernized in the last half century by ideologues in the theater.

  3. R.T.,

    Hamlet and Midsummer Night's Dream were two which I considered along with the Tempest.

  4. Tempest was the best: ripe with the gathered wisdom of years of living... that last speech shows S really did know everything... i surely hope you don't quit blogging, although i'd understand if you did: it must be a recurring pain in the neck... i'll keep on commenting until, one, i can't remember anything at all, or, two, if RT quits i probably will also: not very many posters out there i feel comfortable with...

  5. Mudpuddle,

    I have no plans now to retire. But, the years are piling up on me, and I may be a volunteer in the military fashion, if you know what I mean--I may find myself involuntarily volunteering to retire..

    1. one just never knows, that's for sure... just one foot in front of the other...

    2. Mudpuddle,

      Yep, a journey of a thousand li . . .