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When Politicians Turn to Shakespeare

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Rep. Jared Polis borrowed from the Bard a few weeks ago when expressing disdain for his colleagues’ descriptions of the cuts in the 2011 spending agreement as “historic.”

In a Jan. 15, 2009, speech given after Hillary Rodham Clinton’s farewell to the Senate, Byrd quoted Juliet: “Mr. President, as I think about Senator Clinton’s leaving the Senate to become Secretary of State, I am reminded of the words of the great English bard William Shakespeare, who wrote that ‘parting is such sweet sorrow.’”

Byrd also liked to quote Shakespeare on the arrival of the spring equinox. 

“William Shakespeare observed that, ‘There is no ancient gentlemen but gardeners ... They hold up Adam’s profession,’” Byrd said in a 2000 speech. “There is indeed a kinship among gardeners, whether serious gardeners whose gardens are their lifelong avocation, or the duffer with a few beds who buys plants at the local hardware store each spring.”

For obvious reasons, Byrd left out the other two ancient vocations referenced by the clowns in Hamlet — “ditchers, and grave-makers.”

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