Austerity

May 28, 2012

THOSE WHO TAKE THE MEAT FROM THE TABLE
Teach contentment.
Those for whom the contribution is destined
Demand sacrifice.
Those who eat their fill speak to the hungry
Of wonderful times to come.
Those who lead the country into the abyss
Call ruling too difficult
For ordinary men.

- Bertolt Brecht, “From A German War Primer”

 

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Sorry won’t help now

December 2, 2010

British actor Alan Bates (1934 – 2003) recites “Invictus” (“Unconquered”) by William Ernest Henley in a 1997 tv ad for Union Bank of Switzerland (but don’t let that dodgy pedigree put you off).
Suggested background music: Anything by Blood Axis

 

Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
    For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
    I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
    My head is bloody, but unbow’d.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
    Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
    I am the captain of my soul.

- William Ernest Henley

 

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Previously:

Madam Life’s a piece in bloom
Death goes dogging everywhere:
She’s the tenant of the room,
He’s the ruffian on the stair.

You shall see her as a friend,
You shall bilk him once or twice;
But he’ll trap you in the end,
And he’ll stick you for her price.

With his kneebones at your chest,
And his knuckles in your throat,
You would reason – plead – protest!
Clutching at her petticoat;

But she’s heard it all before,
Well she knows you’ve had your fun,
Gingerly she gains the door,
And your little job is done.

- William Ernest Henley, 1849 – 1903

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