Sunday, October 29, 2006

Accidental treasure

It was a quick minute stop at the library book sale table. I make a habit of scanning the piles for treasures before I head to the racks inside, and this week my habit paid off. I had no time to spare, but I saw a beautiful burgundy leather binding with the name Shakespeare on it. A quick check of the wallet confirmed that I had two dollar bills, so I stuffed them in the cash box and moved through my library list of to-dos.

Days later, I finally cleaned out my library bag and found this new friend waiting for me:

Its binding is a bit fragile, but the writing has been a pleasure. From his thoughts on Lear:

"We wish that we could pass this play over, and say nothing about it. All that we can say must fall far short of the subject; or even of what we ourselves conceive of it. To attempt to give a description of the play itself or of its effect upon the mind, is mere impertinence: yet we must say something. It is then the best of all Shakespear's plays, for it is the one in which he is most earnest. He was here fairly caught in the web of his own imagination. The passion which he has taken as his subject is that which strikes its root deepest into the human heart; of which the bond is the hardest to be unloosed; and the cancelling and tearing to pieces of which gives the greatest revulsion to the frame. This depth of nature, this force of passion, this tug and war of the elements of our being, this firm faith in filial piety, and the giddy anarchy and whirling tumult of the thoughts at finding this prop failing it, the contrast between the fixed, immoveable basis of natural affection, and the rapid, irregular starts of imagination, suddenly wrenched from all its accustomed holds and resting-places in the soul, this is what Shakespear has given, and what nobody else but he could give."

It was not a treasure I sought; I am happy, nonetheless, to have found it.

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