Turning Into LearFriday, January 11, 2008
M. William Shak-speare : His True Chronicle Historic of the life of and death of King Lear and his three Daughters. With the unfortunate life of Edgar, sonne and heire to the Earle of Gloster, and his sullen and assumed humor of Tom of Bedlam...
The title page of the first Quarto edition of King Lear
The melancholia that affects some of us during January, exacerbated perhaps by the unending deluge of rain must have been palpable to my friend Mark Budgen who last night sent me an email titled Of self-anointed monarchs . We had been earlier discussing the mayoralty race in Vancouver:
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:
All the above makes me think that we don't really need to look at ourselves in the mirror to notice the march of time. All I have to do is gaze upon Christopher Gaze's Richard III as I saw him in 1984, as I saw him in 1998 and as the lean but certainly graying man that is my friend now. They say that the internet is eternal and I found out, a week back, to my chagrin that the non payment (through my confusion) of $8.40 to the keepers of my domain name resulted in instant oblivion. A plug was pulled by them somewhere and the electrons that were me dissipated into the ether.
I am now convinced that a "more" eternal possibility (a good friendship) is the calming voice of Christopher Gaze who in November, 2007 told me, "I am going to be Lear in the next year." Could it be that my own mirror of passing time will cloud if I can no longer look or imagine Christopher Gaze's voice? I believe so.
But then Harold Bloom (both a favourite of Christopher Gaze and of mine) writes in How To Read and Why:
We read not only because we cannot know enough people, but because friendship is so vulnerable, so likely to diminish or dissapear, overcome by space, time, imperfect sympathies, and all the sorrows of familial and passional life.