The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 21.0014 Monday, 11 January 2010
Date: Friday, 8 Jan 2010 01:48:14 -0700
Subject: Obituary: Jacob Goldberg
I am David Goldberg, son of Jacob Goldberg, who was a member of this
list for many years. I am sorry to inform you of the death of my father
last week, at age 98. Despite his age, his ailment came upon him
suddenly and his departure was a great surprise. He was active and
cogent to the end.
He was mostly self-educated in Shakespeare and so he was thrilled to be
accepted to this scholarly group. His love of Shakespeare came from his
love of words, music, meaning, and philosophy. Many times he forwarded
to my brother and me interesting and sometimes heated discussions so we
could share his joy. He could recite long passages and deliver apt
quotations for many occasions. His appreciation of Shakespeare was
lifelong and helped to mold his outlook in many ways, not least of which
concerned matters of life and death, in particular, his own. At his
great age, he accepted what must come whenever it must come.
Although his enthusiasm for Shakespeare did not quite rub off on me -
ay, there's NOT the rub - he did make an indelible mark when he took my
brother and me to see the 1953 movie version of Julius Caesar, with
Marlon Brando as Marc Antony. Brando's startling delivery of the words
"Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears" will forever ring in
mine. I recommend this moment to you to pass along to the innocent in
the hope of capturing their ears too.
I would not presume to search for a catchy Shakespeare quote for this
moment, but may I instead offer you lyrics which likely would not exist
had not Shakespeare set the scene long before. These are from Gilbert &
Sullivan's opera, The Yeomen of the Guard; Fairfax is wrongly condemned
to death for dealings with the devil; he ruminates in Shakespearean
character with a twist of Gilbert, on life and death:
Is life a boon?
If so, it must befall
That Death, whene'er he call,
Must call too soon.
Though fourscore years he give,
Yet one would pray to live
What kind of plaint have I,
Who perish in July?
I might have had to die
Perchance in June!
I might have had to die,
Perchance in June!
Is life a thorn?
Then count it not a whit!
Nay, count it not a whit!
Man is well done with it;
Soon as he's born
He should all means essay
To put the plague away;
And I, war-worn,
Poor captured fugitive,
My life most gladly give -
I might have had to live
I might have had to live,
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