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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: August ::
Shakespeare Monuments, Again
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1957  Tuesday, 7 August 2001

From:           Nancy Charlton <
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Date:           Monday, 06 Aug 2001 12:37:35 -0700
Subject:        Shakespeare Monuments, Again

This is long past the time this thread was current, but I'd like to add
to the collection of Shakespeare monuments.

Yesterday I had to go to the downtown Multnomah County library, and
since it was the most beautiful day all summer I walked all around the
building and read the inscriptions.  On the sides of the building are
inscribed names of authors, and benches with the names of novelists,
none any more contemporary than Mark Twain since the building was built
c. 1900. I was pretty sure there was a Shakespeare inscription of some
kind but didn't find it until I came to the last corner in my circuit.
There it was: the Shakespeare Fountain. A niche in the wall with a
working drinking fountain, and on the arch, part of the "Sweet are the
uses of adversity" speech from As You Like It:

Tongues in trees,
Books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones,
And good in every thing.

Written like this, and center-justified, I didn't recognize it at first,
and confess to thinking it was Wordsworth!

Directly back of the fountain, high up on the wall of the building
itself is this speech.  I can't recall what it's from, can't find it in
Bartleby.  Shakespeare?  John Bunyan?  Forgive me, but I'm not young
enough to know everything :-)  In all caps, but U's for U's and not V's;
I think the medium was cast concrete rather than sandstone:

Come, go with us
We'll guide thee to our
house, and show thee the
rich treasures we have
got, which, with ourselves
are all at thy dispose.

Portland, the Rose City, has two Rose Gardens. One is the basketball
stadium, Paul Allen's vanity piece, which he insisted on calling the
Rose Garden even though everybody knows the _real_ Rose Garden is in
Washington Park.  Within these two acres or so of roses is the
Shakespeare Garden, well planted with rosemary, sweet eglantine,
cowslip's bells etc., though I'm not sure about hensbane.

This area of the park also has an amphitheatre where twelve years ago I
saw one of the profoundest dramatic performances of my whole life.  This
was the Lincoln Mystery cycle, touring Oregon that year. The troupe had
reduced the plays to a workable two hours.  By choosing the Cain-Abel
theme and showing its variations, it solidified a built-in dramatic
tension that easily transferred to Jesus-Satan. By the time of the
crucifixion it was almost unbearable.  I met the player who played
Jesus, and he told me that the roles were so intense that he and the
Satan player had to trade roles each performance.

Right at the opportune moment in the story of Creation, the full moon
came up back of the stage. This wasn't the best, though; it seems that
earlier in the week at Eugene Heaven had obliged with thunder and
lightning at an opportune speech of Satan!

Satan, incidentally, was inherently a comic figure, as he is in much of
Paradise Lost. In fact, I thought of PL more often than I did of
Shakespeare during this performance.  Offhand, I don't know that he had
any direct debts to any of the miracle or mystery plays.  The closest I
saw, at least in this performance, was in the low comedy scenes.
However, that might have been a choice of the director.

Now that I've indulged this free association, what has it to do with
monuments?  Well, "not marble..."

Off to work,
Nancy Charlton

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