Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Aimless Reading: The S's, Part 19.25 (William Shakespeare)

Henry the Eighth
Shakespeare, William
Henry the Eighth

Read it, forgot it, etc.

In high school I had a European history teacher named Mr. Carolyn. Mr. Carolyn was fond of mnemonic devices, which he would invent in order to help us remember information on tests. For instance, when he taught us the order of the British nobility, the device we used was "Do Men Ever Visit Boston," which translated into Duke, Marquis, Earl, Viscount, Baron.

I am pretty sure he taught us a mnemonic for the chronological order of the fates of the wives of Henry VIII. I don't remember the device, but I do remember the order: divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. I think the mnemonic also included the the names of each wife. I can only remember a few and I can't remember the order they came in. Or perhaps intend of came I should say, 'went.'

Mr. Carolyn could also draw scale maps of the entire globe from memory. And he chain-smoked in class. His classroom was on the third floor. Iron-mesh grates covered the windows. After he lit a cigarette, he would goes to the window and balance the match in on of the grates. After stubbing out his cigarette, he would do the same with the butt. By the end of the day, the whole grate would be filled with matches and butts.

He would give quizzes almost daily. After the quiz, he would handed out the graded quizzes from the day before. He would stack them in order by grade, with the highest on the top and the lowest on the bottom. He would then pass them out, announcing the grade each boy had received on the quiz.

One of his other abilities involved sending a piece of paper through the air so that it landed face-up on a students desk. As he wandered around, he would call out, "Smith, A" and float Smith's paper onto his desk from several feet away. Then he would say, well, that's it for the As and move on down until he got to the Fs. I usually fell into the C-F range.

Nonetheless I found him highly entertaining as a teacher.

from Henry the Eighth

'Tis ten to one this play can never please 
All that are here: some come to take their ease, 
And sleep an act or two; but those, we fear, 
We have frighted with our trumpets; so, 'tis clear, 
They'll say 'tis naught: others, to hear the city 
Abused extremely, and to cry 'That's witty!' 
Which we have not done neither: that, I fear, 
All the expected good we're like to hear 
For this play at this time, is only in 
The merciful construction of good women; 
For such a one we show'd 'em: if they smile, 
And say 'twill do, I know, within a while 
All the best men are ours; for 'tis ill hap, 
If they hold when their ladies bid 'em clap.

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