I’ve basically ignored this blog for a long time because of exams and such. Overall, though, I can’t believe that this is really my last week in Cambridge!
Just came back from the boating dinner, and now I’m looking forward to garden parties and the St. John’s 500 anniversary May Ball as well as the Pembroke May Ball. Can’t wait for all the fun!
Came across a very interesting article:
For an American, lower-middle-class girl, the terms ‘bedders’ and ‘townies’ came as a slight shock to me. More than Formal Hall, black gowns (robes), and buildings dating back to King Cnut, these two terms and the people they refer to reflect the antiquated traditions of Cambridge.
On Friday, some of the American students and I went on the Cambridge Ghost Tour.
The good: No one jumped out at me. I would have probably peed my pants and punched someone otherwise.
The bad: There weren’t as many ghosts as I had hoped, though we got to hear al ot of great stories about the history of the town.
Sir Ian McKellen came and spoke at the Cambridge Union Society yesterday. He talked about his career as an openly gay actor and his experiences working as a gay-rights activist. At the end of his talk, he answered questions and then gave a stunning Shakespearean speech.
Here is the speech, spoken by Sir Thomas More to a congregation that wants to remove the “strangers” that have come to England:
Grant them removed, and grant that this your noise
Hath chid down all the majesty of England;
Imagine that you see the wretched strangers,
Their babies at their backs and their poor luggage,
Plodding tooth ports and costs for transportation,
And that you sit as kings in your desires,
Authority quite silent by your brawl,
And you in ruff of your opinions clothed;
What had you got? I’ll tell you: you had taught
How insolence and strong hand should prevail,
How order should be quelled; and by this pattern
Not one of you should live an aged man,
For other ruffians, as their fancies wrought,
With self same hand, self reasons, and self right,
Would shark on you, and men like ravenous fishes
Would feed on one another. […]
You’ll put down strangers,
Kill them, cut their throats, possess their houses,
And lead the majesty of law in line,
To slip him like a hound.
Say now the king (As he is clement, if th’ offender mourn)
Should so much come to short of your great trespass
As but to banish you, whether would you go?
What country, by the nature of your error,
Should give you harbor? go you to France or Flanders,
To any German province, to Spain or Portugal,
Nay, any where that not adheres to England,—
Why, you must needs be strangers: would you be pleased
To find a nation of such barbarous temper,
That, breaking out in hideous violence,
Would not afford you an abode on earth,
Whet their detested knives against your throats,
Spurn you like dogs, and like as if that God
Owed not nor made not you, nor that the claimants
Were not all appropriate to your comforts,
But chartered unto them, what would you think
To be thus used? this is the strangers case;
And this your mountanish inhumanity.