In the Humble Opinion of LittleBill, Socialist, Atheist, and Humanist
Close, But a Hand Rolled Cigarette

I’m a little more mentally challenged than I thought, but at least I got my quotation from Hamlet, Act IV, Scene IV in fairly good shape. But my dear son, Ranney, did me the favor of looking up the entire quotation and emailing it to me.

For those of you who have not read Hamlet, this soliloquy is the turning point in the play, when he berates himself for not having avenged the murder of his father and the seduction of his mother and decides, at last, to act.

The story he tells is of his chance meeting with a courageous army, led by their inspirational ruler, who are on their way to give their lives for a tiny piece of land, motivated by a point of honor.

Keep in mind that many of the words are Old English. Just try to understand them in context. Sorry I don’t have the notes to explain them.

It is a truly noble soliloquy, beautifully written, and with eternal meaning.

How all occasions do inform against me
And spur my dull revenge! What is a man,
If his chief good and market of his time
Be but to sleep and feed? a beast, no more.
Sure he that made us with such large discourse,
Looking before and after, gave us not
That capability and godlike reason To fust in us unus'd.
Now, whether it be Bestial oblivion, or some craven scruple
Of thinking too precisely on the event,-
A thought which, quarter'd, hath but one part wisdom
And ever three parts coward,-I do not know
Why yet I live to say 'This thing's to do;'
Sith I have cause, and will, and strength, and means
To do't. Examples, gross as earth, exhort me:
Witness this army, of such mass and charge,
Led by a delicate and tender prince;
Whose spirit, with divine ambition puff'd,
Makes mouths at the invisible event;
Exposing what is mortal and unsure
To all that fortune, death, and danger dare,
Even for an egg-shell. Rightly to be great
Is not to stir without great argument,
But greatly to find quarrel in a straw
When honour's at the stake. How stand I, then,
That have a father kill'd, a mother stain'd,
Excitements of my reason and my blood,
And let all sleep? while, to my shame, I see
The imminent death of twenty thousand men
That, for a fantasy and trick of fame,
Go to their graves like beds; fight for a plot
Whereon the numbers cannot try the cause,
Which is not tomb enough and continent
To hide the slain?-O, from this time forth,
My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!


an average patriot said...

Wow little bill!
You're getting to be something. I remember reading that in College and it is beautiful but I think my mind is slowing down or something because it is still beautiful but I can't understand it.