“Oh pardon me thou bleeding piece of earth,
that I am meek and gentle with these butchers
thou art the ruins of the noblest man that ever lived in the tide of times
woe to the hand that shed this costly blood!
Over thy wounds now do I prophesy
which like dumb mouths do ope their ruby lips
to beg the voice and utterance of
thy my tongue”
That is all I can remember of Antony’s speech over the murdered body of Julius Caesar in William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar. Those seven lines stayed with me since high school freshman(?) English. Only misremembered one pronoun! Yet I don’t think Mr. “balding” Spalding would be impressed, since I didn’t know the rest.
Alas, the most famous lines come later in the speech:
“A curse shall light upon the limbs of men;
Domestic fury and fierce civil strife
Shall cumber all the parts of Italy;
Blood and destruction shall be so in use
And dreadful objects so familiar
That mothers shall but smile when they behold
Their infants quarter’d with the hands of war;
All pity choked with custom of fell deeds:
And Caesar’s spirit, ranging for revenge,
With Ate by his side come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice
Cry ‘Havoc,’ and let slip the dogs of war;
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.”
Wow, that’s gross. Now I feel like reading Shakespeare again. Or, maybe I’ll just celebrate the Ides of March with a nice glass of wine instead.
The image is James Purefoy as Mark Antony in the underrated HBO series Rome.