Seth Brown | The Pun Also Rises: 'Friends, Romans, Countrymen'


Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your eyes.

I come to praise Shakespeare, not to bury him.

The truths that men write live after them;

The specific context is buried alongside them.

So let it be with Julius Caesar. The ignoble Breitbart

Hath told you Julius Caesar was too seditious.

If 'twere read so, 'twas a comprehension fault,

And grievously hath Delta and Bank of America answered it.

Here, under shouts of Fox News and the rest—

For Fox News is an inciting force;

And all their viewers, easily incitable men—

Come I to speak in Shakespeare's defense.

He wrote good plays, rich with meaning to me.

But Breitbart says it was seditious,

Yet Breitbart is not for literary news.

It hath brought many falsehoods home to roost,

Whose rumors did their greedy coffers fill.

Did this play, Julius Caesar, seem ambitious?

When you cheer Caesar's death, Shakespeare hath wept.

Cognition should be made of sterner stuff.

Yes Breitbart says the death shown was delicious,

But Breitbart has no literary fans.

You all did see each night in Central Park:

If thrice a leader was in blood brought down,

Then thrice a nation failed. Was this sedition?

Yes Breitbart says it was seditious,

But know they have no literary fans.

I speak not to disprove what Breitbart wrote,

But here I am to speak what I do know:

You all loved Shakespeare once, not without cause.

(Even when Caesar seemed Obama's clone)

The judgment of the play falls on the beasts

Who murder a man and Democracy.

My heart is with the troupes performing Shakespeare

And I must hope more can be made to see.

Seth Brown is an award-winning humor columnist, the author of "From God To Verse", and thinks the fault, dear Berkshires, is not in our stars, but in our politics. His website is


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