sits down to compose a letter these days. Instead, they talk, text, or Tweet,
so we've prepared a time-saver for those hipsters, geeks, and Twitteristas who
haven't the time to reduce the classics to Twitter's required 140 characters,
counting spaces. We've prefaced them with the originals, in the event you may
want to save them in your ditty bag.
We begin with Hamlet's iconic soliloquy,
followed by our own Tweetment.
THE REAL THING:
poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow
of infinite jest, of most excellent
fancy: he hath
borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how
in my imagination it is! my gorge rims at
it. Here hung those lips that I
have kissed I know
not how oft. Where be your gibes now? your
your songs? your flashes of merriment,
that were wont to set the table on
a roar? Not one
now, to mock your own grinning? quite chap-fallen?
Now get you to my lady's
chamber, and tell her, let
her paint an inch thick, to this favour she must
make her laugh at that.
Knew Yo, Ho: miss your
Lokt lips plenty & frolikt then
Now stinky dead dude disgusting
This skull, so what? Tmw we all die LOL
what about Lincoln's Gettysburg Address? If he could have, would he have Tweeted
THE REAL THING
Four score and seven years ago our fathers
brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated
to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged
in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived,
and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met here on a great battlefield of that
war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it as a final resting place for those
who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting
and proper that we should do this.
But in a larger sense we can not dedicate
- we can not consecrate - we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living
and dead, who struggled, here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to
add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here,
but can never forget what they did here.
It is for us, the living, rather
to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they have, thus far, so nobly
carried on. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining
before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause
for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly
resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have
a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people,
for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
States formed 87 yrs back
Decided all men same
Big fight anyway
dead both sides, not for nothing
of, by, for, everyone
what would the world be reading today had Elizabeth Barrett's famed love sonnet
been Tweeted to Robert Browning?
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee
to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of
For the ends
of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with
a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I
seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better
The sonnet has 613 characters, including spaces. Tweeting
Mr. Browning would have meant Barrett's cutting her work down to this:
Lve u? Lts see
soul far out
candles righteous dudes
saints r out
There's no doubt that texting and Twittering save time and energy,
but they sure suck the life out of literature.
August 19, 2012 column
"A Balloon In Cactus" Columns