I believe it was Shakespeare that coined the phrase, “The ides of March.” It’s weird that March 15th is known for one thing: the day they stabbed Julius Caesar in the back. Imagine being so famous that the day you were killed is known throughout all of history. We don’t even know the day of the year Jesus died, for Pete’s sake! (I mean, we know it was on a Friday but no one is being told to watch out for April 7th.)
I don’t know why they did it. I’m sure he was being a jerk, and I’m always happy to support the assassination of public figures, but I doubt the stabbers were all that righteous. Anyways, no one watches, let alone reads, Shakespeare anymore, but I have a favorite passage of his. It comes from Henry V, Act III, Scene I and here’s a clip from a movie version of the play.
Note: I’ve never watched the entire movie but I say this right before I get into the swimming pool everyday. What a guy I am, eh?
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o’erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O’erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill’d with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call’d fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’Henry V, Act III, Scene I
Note again: I only say this part: “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; Or close the wall up with our English dead.”
Also, I say, “Or they’ll fill this hole with our English dead” because apparently I think I’m a better scribe than the Bard.
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