The girls today in society go for classical poetry
So to win their hearts one must quote with ease
Aeschylus and Euripides
One must know Homer and believe me, beau
Sophocles, also Sappho-ho
Unless you know Shelley and Keats and Pope
Dainty Debbies will call you a dope
Brush up on your Shakespeare’s
Start quoting him now
Brush up on your Shakespeare
And the women you will wow.
I read the other day that some uncultured and ignorant poltroons somewhere want to kill the language of Shakespeare and modernize what he wrote – mainly so dumb-bunnies like the formulators of this outrage can understand the words of the Bard. Well, as far as I am concerned, if you don't understand Shakespeare's lingo you have no right to be exposed to it. Stick with your comic books. “I don't wanna read something in that old English,” whined a student once. I pointed out that Shakespeare is not old English, even Chaucer is deemed 'early modern English', so Shakespeare, relatively, is about 10 minutes ago. Is it challenging? Sure it is. Anything of worth is challenging, but the reward is so wonderful. When I was about 12 or 13 an intellectual snob aunt gave my philistinic cousin and I tickets to the film of Richard III with Olivier. We were not so very enchanted with her generosity. But we went. And at first the lines bemused and even offended us. But when we got to the guts of the story all our antagonism faded away and we, in fact, didn't even notice the archaic nature of the verbiage. We found it wonderful and exciting. And I actually became a bit hooked on Shakespeare from that moment on. The call to update the 'poetry' of Shakespeare is insulting and moronic and is, sadly, yet a further reflection of the numbing-down of society – especially the society of the young who are no longer expected to master cursive writing among other neologisms. Point being that Shakespeare is not very difficult. If read in context, and especially if 'seen' in context – and the plays are plays and really should be seen to be appreciated, either in film or on stage. Go and catch Kenneth Branagh in Henry V and immerse yourself in the violence and magnificence that punctuated English history. The story just wouldn't work if put into the language of today, dude. So I say, rail against such intellectual travesties that would defile our heritage and our wisdom. Let the Bard be. We don't need to further suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.