So farewell to the little good you bear me. Farewell! a long farewell, to all my greatness!This is the state of man: to-day he puts forthThe tender leaves of hopes; to-morrow blossoms,And bears his blushing honours thick upon him;The third day comes a frost, a killing frost,And, when he thinks, good easy man, full surelyHis greatness is a-ripening, nips his root,And then he falls, as I do. I have venturd,Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders,This many summers in a sea of glory,But far beyond my depth. My high-blown prideAt length broke under me, and now has left me,Weary and old with service, to the mercyOf a rude stream that must for ever hide me. Vain pomp and glory of this world, I hate ye!I feel my heart new opend. O, how wretchedIs that poor man that hangs on princes favours!There is, betwixt that smile we would aspire to,That sweet aspect of princes, and their ruin,More pangs and fears than wars or women have;And when he falls, he falls like Lucifer,Never to hope again.
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Source Notes: Source: WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, Henry VIII, act III, scene ii, lines 35072. Cardinal Wolsey is speaking about his friendship with Henry VIII.
Born ca. 1564 and died ca. 1616 during the Renaissance period (1450-1599). One of the greatest writers of all time, Shakespeare, the peerless poet of the Sonnets and the creator of such dramatic masterpieces as Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and King Lear, is a playwright of paradigmatic originality. In his discussion of the Western literary canon, critic Harold Bloom declared: "Shakespeare and Dante are the center of the Canon because they excel all other Western writer in cognitive acuity, linguistic energy, and power of invention." However, one could go a step further and suggest that Shakespeare defines the Western canon because he transcends it. If Shakespeare, as Ben Jonson declared, "was not of an age, but for all time," the great dramatist, one could argue, spoke to the ultimate concerns of humankind, regardless of period or cultural tradition.