Shakespeare WAS a Poet
I was wrong. I admit it. Today in Sunday School Homeroom I told Jim and Wilburn that 'Far From The Madding Crowd' was a phrase which Thomas Hardy borrowed from an English Poet which I believed was either Shakespeare or Ben Jonson.
It drove me nuts all through church, because I knew the poem, but couldn't think of the next line or even the name. The same thing happened to me while watching Lost and seeing Charlie's tattoo. It read 'Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed.' I grew more insane through the episode, trying to figure out the song– which I knew in my gut–and the next line. I call these my 'Perth Amboy' moments, after this scene from James Thurber's hysterical More Alarms At Night
"Listen," I said. "Name some towns in New Jersey quick!" It must have been around three in the morning. Father got up, keeping the bed between him and me, and started to pull his trousers on. "Don't bother about dressing," I said. "Just name some towns in New Jersey." While he hastily pulled on his clothes--I remember he left his socks off and put his shoes on his bare feet--father began to name, in a shaky voice, various New Jersey cities. I can still see him reaching for his coat without taking his eyes off me. "Newark," he said, "Jersey City, Atlantic City, Elizabeth, Paterson, Passaic, Trenton, Jersey City, Trenton, Paterson--" "It has two names," I snapped. "Elizabeth and Paterson," he said.
Thankfully, Mr. Gore's Invention has saved me from destroying myself and those around me.
A good lunch, quick car trip home and dash to my basement office and trusty Google later I find that the poem was Thomas Gray's Elegy Written In A Country Churchyard. Neither Shakespeare, nor Ben Jonson, but I was at least correct about the poem part. And I did remember the rest of the stanza.
Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learn'd to stray;
Along the cool sequester'd vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.
Tim of course insists that 'Shakespeare' is the copout Trivial Pursuit answer, but I really did think it was his.
P.S. Strawberry Fields Forever: Misunderstanding all you see