Friday, November 09, 2012

Obama to his young supporters: Haply I think on thee...

Thanking his young supporters after his reelection victory, Obama reproduced the spirit of a Shakespeare sonnet. Those sonnets are mainly an arduous outpouring of love to a young man spoken by an "old" poet of 40-plus years -- an almost maternal love, as the great Shakespearean C.L. Barber characterized it.

After suggesting to his assembled staff that they all had far more direction and focus and skills than he did as a twenty-something community organizer, Obama, with more than enough pauses and "uhs" to sink him in a debate, came to this peroration:

Your journey is just beginning, and whatever good we do over the next four years will pale in comparison to what you guys end up accomplishing for years and years. And that's been my source of hope. That's why, over the last four years, when people ask me about how I put up with this or that and the frustrations of Washington, I just think about you. I think about what you guys are going to do, and that's the source of my hope, source of my strength and my inspiration. And I know you guys won't disappoint me because I've already seen who you guys are. You're all remarkable people, and you've lifted me up.
Compare the incomparable lift after the break in Sonnet 29:
When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;

Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings. 
Obama's lucky. He's a "king" with that remember'd wealth.

Related: The presidential campaign in story and song

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