Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Great Aunt Catherine Debates #3 : The Rest is Words, Words, Words

Last one in a series.

When I was at my aunt's funeral service and the priest mentioned William Shakespeare, I had no idea what he was going to say next.  There's so much to choose from!

And with that, here's my question. You're attending the service of a family member. Let's say that you weren't terribly close to this person, not something where you're going to be overwhelmingly distraught.  More one of those "obligations we all have to do" sorts of things.  As a niece or a nephew or what have you, you're asked to say a few words.  You want to bring some Shakespeare into it.

What do you bring?

The grief speech from King John is pretty powerful ("Grief fills the room up of my absent child, Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me,...") but it's also not terribly general purpose.  It's pretty clearly a parent-child thing.

I'm a fan of sonnet 104 ("To me, fair Friend, you never can be old, For as you were when first your eye I eyed
Such seems your beauty still."
) At least that opening passage. I think it's a pretty wonderful picture to paint, especially if you're talking about someone who's lived a long life and left many memories.

What else you got?  I'd stay away from most of the Hamlet stuff, it's just gotten so cliched.  Well, except one that I've come to cherish as my own personal meditation over those we've lost.

Rest in Peace, Aunt Catherine.  Flights of Angels sing thee to thy rest.


Fretful Porpentine said...

I think I'd go with the obvious: "We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep." But then, I'm none too bothered by cliches at funerals.

altchartjthom said...

"Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o'er-wrought heart and bids it break." Again, it's obvious. But it's a good one and sometimes people tend not to speak their feelings, especially concerning the loss of a loved one.

JM said...

Great relevant quote from Macbeth.

But since we're being sticky about context and such things :-) it's

"Whispers" the "o'er-fraught" Heart and bids it break.

catkins said...

Well, as far as sonnets go, I like this one for memorials:

Sonnet 60

Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore,
So do our minutes hasten to their end,
Each changing place with that which goes before,
In sequent toil all forwards do contend.
Nativity once in the main of light,
Crawls to maturity, wherewith being crown’d,
Crooked eclipses gainst his glory fight,
And time that gave, doth now his gift confound.
Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth,
And delves the parallels in beauties brow,
Feeds on the rarities of natures truth,
And nothing stands but for his scythe to mow.
And yet to times in hope, my verse shall stand
Praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand.


Bill said...

"Fear no more the heat o’ the sun,
Nor the furious winter’s rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages;
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust."

Cymbeline 4.2.

There's more, but I'd probably leave it there.