Archive for King Lear

Prison and Academia

Posted in Education, Literature with tags , , on February 7, 2015 by telescoper

I looked for this quotation last week when I heard a reference to it on Radio 3 in connection with some incidental music written by Dmitry Shostakovich for a film of King Lear. Reading the full text it struck me that academic life has many of the advantages of being in prison…

No, no, no, no! Come, let’s away to prison:
We two alone will sing like birds i’ the cage:
When thou dost ask me blessing, I’ll kneel down,
And ask of thee forgiveness: so we’ll live,
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues
Talk of court news; and we’ll talk with them too,
Who loses and who wins; who’s in, who’s out;
And take upon’s the mystery of things,
As if we were God’s spies: and we’ll wear out,
In a wall’d prison, packs and sects of great ones,
That ebb and flow by the moon.

(King Lear, Act V Scene 3)