Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Line that Shakespeare Would Have Envied

Here is an interesting theatrical character study of 'Cardinal Richelieu', from the 1839 play Richelieu: Or the Conspiracy by English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton.

John Hassall — The Conspiracy — ca 1900

Famous lines that the Cardinal intones in Act II, scene II:

True, This!—
Beneath the rule of men entirely great,
The pen is mightier than the sword. Behold
The arch-enchanters wand! — itself a nothing! —
But taking sorcery from the master-hand
To paralyse the Cæsars, and to strike
The loud earth breathless! — Take away the sword —
States can be saved without it!

In 1870, literary critic Edward Sherman Gould wrote that Bulwer "had the good fortune to do, what few men can hope to do: he wrote a line that is likely to live for ages."

4 comments:

Eric said...

Interesting. Not in the least because what I most associate Bulwer-Lytton with is "It was a dark and stormy night" and the contest that bears his name. He's so tied to bad writing that I never knew he had good quotes as well, much less such a famous line.

Sim said...

And... Briliant painting art!!
Thank you!

joe bloke said...

that is a brilliant picture. straight up, that's made my day, that has.

Tony said...

Poor Bulwer-Lytton. Literary history has not been kind, but he was actually better than his reputation.