In Praise of Big Will


If you cannot understand my argument, and declare 'It’s Greek to
me', you are quoting Shakespeare; if you claim to be more sinned against
than sinning, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you recall your salad
days, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you act more in sorrow than in
anger; if your wish is father to the thought; if your lost property has
vanished into thin air, you are quoting Shakespeare.

If you have ever
refused to budge an inch or suffered from green-eyed jealousy, if you
have played fast and loose, if you have been tongue-tied, a tower of
strength, hoodwinked or in a pickle, if you have knitted your brows,
made a virtue of necessity, insisted on fair play, slept not one wink,
stood on ceremony, danced attendance (on your lord and master), laughed
yourself into stitches, had short shrift, cold comfort or too much of a
good thing, if you have seen better days or lived in a fool’s paradise –
why, be that as it may, the more fool you, for it is a foregone
conclusion that you are (as good luck would have it) quoting

If you think it is early days and clear out bag and
baggage, if you think it is high time and that that is the long and
short of it, if you believe that the game is up and that truth will out
even if it involves your own flesh and blood, if you lie low till the
crack of doom because you suspect foul play, if you have your teeth set
on edge (at one fell swoop) without rhyme or reason, then – to give the
devil his due – if the truth were known (for surely you have a tongue in
your head) you are quoting Shakespeare.

Even if you bid me good
riddance and send me packing, if you wish I was dead as a door-nail, if
you think I am an eyesore, a laughing stock, the devil incarnate, a
stony-hearted villain, bloody-minded or a blinking idiot, then –  by
Jove! O Lord! Tut tut! For goodness’ sake! What the dickens! But me no
buts! – it is all one to me, for
you are quoting Shakespeare.



2 thoughts on “In Praise of Big Will

  1. I should mention that this was written by Bernard Levin, and quoted by Daniel Hannan in his Telegraph blog (which is very good).

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