This is an adaptation of Hamlet's famous soliloquy from Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2 where he praises mankind for his many noble qualities. Here I have reversed the meaning, playing on the irony that reality is at odds with the optimism of the Elizabethans. Sadly, despite popular belief to the contrary, Shakespeare did not see through to the rotten core of humanity.
Personally I am disgusted with my fellow humans. I see incompetence, corruption, small mindedness, willful ignorance, cowardice, selfishness and greed on a daily basis at every level of society. Even this year, when the north-west passage will take commercial shipping for the first time, we have large scale vacillation and disinterest in global warming from governments the world over. There is talk, but that is merely hot air. What do people care if the Snow Leopard, the Tiger and the Polar Bear die out? Who's winning the footy? Who cares if the coral reefs die? The global recession, THAT'S the real worry! Yeah, well your gonna be pissed off when New York, London, Denmark and Holland are under water! Of course that's a thousand years off, so it's not our concern...
I have of late, for reasons I shall explain, lost all my mirth,
Forgone all custom of optimism; and indeed, it goes so heavily in my prognosis
That this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a doomed promontory;
This most excellent canopy, the air, look you,
Once a brave o'erhanging firmament, a majestical roof fretted with golden fire,
Why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours.
What a piece of work is man!
How devoid of reason!
How limited in faculties!
In taste and wisdom, ignorant and infantile!
In action how like a bully!
In apprehension, how like a slug!
The beauty of the world! The paragon of animals!
And yet to him what are they compared to hard cash?
Most humans delight not me; wrecking the planet for their short term gain,
And then smiling, as though 'twere not their fault.
Warren Mars - June, 2008
Here is the original from Shakespeare, for all you pedants out there.
I have of late, but wherefore I know not,
lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises;
and indeed, it goes so heavily with my disposition
that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory;
this most excellent canopy, the air, look you,
this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire,
why, it appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours.
What a piece of work is man!
How noble in reason!
how infinite in faculties!
in form and moving, how express and admirable!
in action how like an angel!
in apprehension, how like a god!
the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals!
And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust?
Man delights not me; no, nor woman neither,
though by your smiling you seem to say so.