Shakespeare’s Birthday

Shakespeare’s Birthday – We thought to celebrate it with the great Lord Buckley‘s “hip semantic” rendition of Mark Antony’s funeral oration for Caesar from the immortal Julius Caesar 

Julius Caesar, Act 3, Scene 2, lines 74-108)

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answer’d it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest–
For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honourable men–
Come I to speak in Caesar’s funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.

You all did see that on the Lupercal
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And, sure, he is an honourable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once, not without cause:
What cause withholds you then, to mourn for him?
O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,

And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,
And I must pause till it come back to me.We’ll let His Lordship himself memorably introduce it (with a little bit of “hip” background):

“Milords, Miladies of the Royal Court, I should like to salute William Shakespeare.
In this language he’s called “Willie the Shake”. You know why they called him “Willie the Shake”? Because he shook everybody.They give him a nickel’s worth of ink and five cents worth of paper, he sat down, wrote up such a breeze, brrt, that’s all there was, Jack,
there was no more. That’s all she wrote! Ever’body got off!
Got so many studs arguin’ about findin’ about who he was they blew his right name. Understand what I mean?
Here’s a stud that’s so powerful and so great they dig him up every six months, say,
“Yeah, dat’s him, put him back. He’s alright.” – Too hard a stud.
An’ you remember when Mark was swingin’ wid Cleo on da Nile, cruisin’ under that crazy moon, wit dis wild crazy Cleo. Wheeeew. Hmmmmmm. Hello friends.
And Caesar got all goofed up and swung in dere to Rome and got into that hassle and they sliced him all down. You’re……
Naturally the Roman Senate was jumpin’ slightly all over the place, so Mark had to cool it. So he fell in on ’em, he says:

Hipsters, flipsters, and finger-poppin’ daddiesknock me your lobes.I came here to lay Caesar out, not to hip you to him. The bad jazz that a cat blows wails long after he’s cut out. The groovy, the groovy is often stashed with their framesSo don’t put Caesar down.

To swing, or not to swing, that is the hang-up!

The swinging Brutus hath laid a story on you that Caesar was hungry for power. If it were so, it was a sad drag, and sadly hath the Caesar cat answered it. Here with a pass from Brutus and the other brass. For Brutus is a worthy stud. Yea, so are they all worthy studs, though their stallions never sleep. I came to wail at Ceasar’s wake. He was my buddy, and he leveled with me. Yet Brutus digs that he has eyes for power, and Brutus is a solid cat. It is true he hath returned with many freaks in chains and brought them home to Rome. Yea, the looty was booty. And hipped the treasury well. Dost thou dig that this was Caesar’s groove for the putsch? When the cats with the empty kicks hath copped out, yea, Caesar hath copped out, too and cried up a storm. To be a world-grabber a stiffer riff must be blown. Without bread a stud can’t even rule an anthill. Yet Brutus was swinging for the moon. And, yea, Brutus is a worthy stud. And all you cats were gassed on the Lupercal when he came on like a king freak. Three times I lay the wig on him and thrice did he put it down. Was this the move of a greedy hipster? Yet, Brutus said he dug the lick. And, yes, a hipper cat has never blown. Some claim that Brutus’ story was a gag. But I dug the story was solid. I came here to blow. Now stay cool while I blow. You all dug him once Because you were hipped that he was solid. How can you now come on so square now that he’s tapped out of this world?  City Hall is flipped and swung to a drunken zoo. And all of you cats are goofed to wig city. Dig me hard. My ticker is in the coffin there with Caesar, And, yea, I must stay cool til it flippeth back to me.”

Shakespeare’s Birthday celebrations in his home-town Stratford-upon-Avon weren’t able to take place last year, (or the year before), due to the pandemic, but there’ll be live events this year (at least, it is hoped) – See here for full details

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