I've Made a Terrible Mistake

More

I just took a trip to my favorite bookstore, where I did something truly terrible. I went to cop Thomas Jefferson's Notes on The State of Virginia, next on my appointed book-list. Instead I somehow came out with Notes, Theresa Urbainczysk's Slave Revolts in Antiquity, Chandra Manning's What This Cruel War Was Over, and most grievously, a copy of King Lear.


This was my first mistake.

My second mistake was deciding to check out a few pages of King Lear and see with the fuss was all about. Therein, I was confronted with this drool-worthy passage...

Meantime we shall express our darker purpose. 
Give me the map there. Know that we have divided 
In three our kingdom: and 'tis our fast intent 
To shake all cares and business from our age; 
Conferring them on younger strengths, while we 
Unburthen'd crawl toward death. Our son of Cornwall, 
And you, our no less loving son of Albany, 
We have this hour a constant will to publish 
Our daughters' several dowers, that future strife 
May be prevented now. The princes, France and Burgundy, 
Great rivals in our youngest daughter's love, 
Long in our court have made their amorous sojourn, 
And here are to be answer'd. Tell me, my daughters,-- 
Since now we will divest us both of rule, 
Interest of territory, cares of state,-- 
Which of you shall we say doth love us most? 
That we our largest bounty may extend 
Where nature doth with merit challenge. 
Goneril, Our eldest-born, speak first.

To shake all cares and business from our age/Conferring them on younger strengths, while we/ Unburthen'd crawl toward death

I'm a poetry addict, and that right there is crack. Jefferson will have to wait. Wow.

On a side-note, I think it might have been better for me to enroll in college at 35, instead of 17. I was fast in some ways, but incredibly slow in others.
Jump to comments
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle. More

Born in 1975, the product of two beautiful parents. Raised in West Baltimore -- not quite The Wire, but sometimes ill all the same. Studied at the Mecca for some years in the mid-'90s. Emerged with a purpose, if not a degree. Slowly migrated up the East Coast with a baby and my beloved, until I reached the shores of Harlem. Wrote some stuff along the way.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Why Do Men Assume They're So Great?

Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, authors of this month's Atlantic cover story, sit down with Hanna Rosin to discuss the power of confidence and how self doubt holds women back. 


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more

Video

Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.

Video

What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

From This Author

Just In