Monday, March 29
Many Say that the Evil That Men Do Lives After Them
Karin and I walked to a car boot sale and got talking about someone we know. As we entered the car park, where the sale was being held, I said, "The evil that men do lives after them. The good is oft interred with their bones."
I know, I know, a little pretentious but it seemed to fit what we were talking about - and I was once a bit of a Shakespearean actor. Okay, the last bit is a fib. The only time I've actually been on stage was during my school days. I remember my last role well as I was the Gay Youth. This was at a time when 'gay' only meant being carefree and happy! My friend played the part of the Sombre Youth - deep stuff. We were massive hits - all right, second fib.
There wasn't much to interest me at the sale but I bought a paperback, titled The Shakespeare Secret, for 20p. As it was likened to the Da Vinci Code on the cover I thought it might be an easy holiday read.
As I opened the book I saw that on a page prior to the first chapter was the same quote I had said to Karin - see below. This was another reason why I bought the book, the synchronicity bell sounded.
When I got home I absentmindedly opened the book and there on page 436 was the very same quote again.
So I guess there must be something relevant for me in these words. Though I'm not sure what. In fact I feel that sometimes it's the bad that is interred, rather than the good.
It's still mentioned, for instance, how Jimmy Savile (remember him!) raised millions - up to $56 million - for charity and was knighted by the Queen; but let's hope it's never forgotten that he was also a rampant paedophile who molested hundreds of children. This only came to light after his death.
The Shakespeare quote is from Julius Caesar, I remember the speech as I had to learn it for English Literature exams when at school.
What I didn't know was that Julius Caesar was performed at the Winter Garden Theatre in New York in 1864. Mark Antony was played by John Wilkes Booth and his brother, Edwin Booth, played Brutus, and their brother Junius Brutus Booth Jr was Cassius. The coincidence about this is that a few months later John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln, supposedly with the cry, "Sic semper tyrannis" (thus always to tyrants). This was also attributed to Brutus at Caesar's assassination.
William Oxberry wrote similar words to Shakespeare: "Because it is a truth and a melancholy truth that the good things which men do are often buried in the ground while their evil deeds are stripped naked, and exposed to the world."
Personally, when I look back on the lives of people close to me who have died all I remember is the good. Some things no doubt are best forgotten.