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An honorable man

“Friends, Europeans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Europe, not to praise it.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Europe. The noble Johnson
Hath told you Europe was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Europe answer'd it.
Here, under leave of Johnson and the rest--
For Johnson is an honorable man;
So are they all, all honorable men--
Come I to speak in Europe’s funeral.
It was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Johnson says it was ambitious;
And Johnson is an honorable man.
It hath brought many captives home to Rome
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Europe seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Europe hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Johnson says it was ambitious;
And Johnson is an honorable man.
You all did see that on the Lupercal
I thrice presented it a kingly crown,
Which it did thrice refuse: was this ambition?
Yet Johnson says Europe was ambitious;
And, sure, he is an honorable man.
I speak not to disprove what Johnson spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love Europe once, not without cause:
What cause withholds you then, to mourn for it?
O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Europe,
And I must pause till it come back to me.

- Julius Caesar, Act 3, Scene 2: The Forum (With apologies to William Shakespeare.)

 

LONDON: June 28, 2016. In 1814, hanging plus posthumous beheading replaced hanging, drawing and quartering in Britain as a punishment for treason.

The behavior of self-serving politicians before, during and after Britain's Referendum on June 23 prompts speculation as to what would have happened to Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Nigel Farage et al in earlier times.

While the Divine Right of Kings has been replaced by the imperfection of 'Modern Democracy', some of Britain's electorate - not to mention politicians - might be forgiven for wanting an historical response to the plots of devious men.

- Simon Keeble is the editorial director of HU Digital Media.

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