Coriolan Overture

Rereading Coriolanus. Fine rousing stuff when Coriolanus tells the mob to stuff it:

You common cry of Curs, whose breath I hate,
As reeke a’th’ rotten Fennes: whose Loues I prize,
As the dead Carkasses of vnburied men,
That do corrupt my Ayre: I banish you,
And heere remaine with your vncertaintie.
Let euery feeble Rumor shake your hearts:
Your Enemies, with nodding of their Plumes
Fan you into dispaire: Haue the power still
To banish your Defenders, till at length
Your ignorance (which findes not till it feeles,
Making but reseruation of your selues,
Still your owne Foes) deliuer you
As most abated Captiues, to some Nation
That wonne you without blowes, despising
For you the City. Thus I turne my backe;
There is a world elsewhere.

It’s how I feel about the USA: but Shakespeare exposes Coriolanus as another Nothing, another Cur. Shakespeare was just too smart to believe that a man is not a creature of society and cannot pretend to be more than Nothing if he goes over to the Volscians…and tries to keep a name which celebrates the destruction of their city.

Socrates willingly went to his death saying, Athens gave me life therefore it may take it. Socrates and Shakespeare, unlike me or the Hotel Mensch, Nabokov, were homebodies: Shakespeare’s Rosalinde laughs at Jaques for spending his money on travel.

Every man wants to stand alone
But at Dusk he travels Home
The Wayward, Homeward fly
When the sun goes out the Sky

(with more apologies to Emily Dickinson)

Illustration: “Figure Dynamic Study for Where Dat Burp”, Edward G. Nilges 15 Aug 2010, pencil and Microsoft Paint


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