There is something very strange about experiencing ‘The Merchant of Venice’ when you are somehow imaginatively implicated in the character and actions of its villain… What, exactly, are you applauding and smiling at? How are you supposed to view the Jewish daughter who robs her father and bestows the money on her fortune-hunting Christian suitor? Do you join in the raucous laughter of the Christians who mock and spit on the Jew? Or do you secretly condone Shylock’s vindictive, malignant rage?
Where are you, at the end of the harrowing scene in the courtroom, when Portia asks the man she has outmanueuvered and ruined whether he agrees to the terms she has dictated, terms that include the provision that he immediately become a Christian? 'Art thou content, Jew?’ she prods. 'What dost thou say?’
And what do you think the Jew actually feels when he answers, 'I am content’?
I love Romeo and his struggle with the concept of masculinity that his society tries to force on him. I love how sensitive he is. I love how he hides under sycamores while everyone else is shedding blood in the streets of Verona. I love how he spends, like, half of the play crying. And when he’s criticized for that and even called ‘womanish’ he just yells, “Thou canst not speak of what thou dost not feel.” I love him. I love that he cries so much despite the fact that his society tries to dehumanize him just because he’s supposed to act like a Man™. This boy is full of love and dreams and delicacy and innocence and enthusiasm and idealism and it breaks my heart to see how the patriarchy ruins his life.
Life story: It is unknown where St. Patrick was born or what his name originally was. At the age of sixteen he was captured by pirates and sold as a slave in Ireland. Here he worked as a shepherd for six years before escaping back to his home. At this point he converted to Christianity and eventually became a priest. He then returned to Ireland to help establish a Christian presence there. He was eventually made a bishop. According to one legend, he explained the Holy Trinity to the Irish using a shamrock. According to another legend, he expelled all the snakes from Ireland. According to another legend, his ash walking stick became a living tree when it was thrust into the ground.
Symbols: blue clothing (traditional), green clothing (modern), shamrock, snakes, bishop’s miter and staff, saltire and cross pattee (paper or ribbon versions of these last two are traditionally worn on his feast day, although today it is more common to wear green)
Offerings: Irish beer, shamrocks, green candles
By St. Patrick
Dear God, Committed love is a sacred treasure I long to find the one who is mine. I trust you will grant my desires for love - to love of myself , and to find love with my true soul mate.
I trust you will bring this to me gently and sweetly, in a way that is completely right for me and my true love.
I give thanks for your presence, your guidance and your love. And so it is. Amen
May the Strength of God guide us. May the Power of God preserve us. May the Wisdom of God instruct us. May the Hand of God protect us. May the Way of God direct us. May the Shield of God defend us. May the Angels of God guard us. - Against the snares of the evil one.
May Christ be with us! May Christ be before us! May Christ be in us, Christ be over all!
May Thy Grace, Lord, Always be ours, This day, O Lord, and forevermore. Amen.
About St. Patrick
O God, Who didst vouchsafe to send Thy Confessor and Bishop, Blessed Patrick, to preach Thy glory to the nations, grant, through his merits and intercession, that what Thou dost command us to do, we may, by Thy mercy, be enabled to perform. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen
Robespierre on the Cult of the Supreme Being (7 May 1794)
The world has changed, and is bound to change again. What is there in common between that which is and that which was? Civilized nations have taken the place of savages wandering in the desert; fruitful crops have taken the place of the ancient forests that covered the globe. A world has appeared beyond the limits of the world; the inhabitants of the earth have added the seas to their immeasurable domain; man has conquered the lightning and averted the thunderbolts of heaven. Compare the imperfect language of hieroglyphics with the miracles of printing; set the voyage of the Argonauts beside that of La Pérouse; measure the distance between the astronomical observations of the wise men of Asia and the discoveries of Newton, or between the sketch drawn by the hand of Dibutade and the pictures of David… .
All has changed in the physical order; all must change in the moral and political order. One half of the world revolution is already achieved, the other half has yet to be accomplished… .
The French people appear to have outstripped the rest of the human race by two thousand years; one might even be tempted to regard them as a distinct species among the rest. Europe is kneeling to the shadows of the tyrants whom we are punishing.
In Europe a ploughman or an artisan is an animal trained to do the pleasure of a noble; in France the nobles seek to transform themselves into ploughmen and artisans, and cannot even obtain this honour.
Europe cannot conceive of life without kings and nobles; and we cannot conceive of it with them.
Europe is lavishing her blood to rivet the fetters on humanity; and we to break them.
Our sublime neighbours discourse gravely to the universe of the King’s health, amusements and travels; they insist upon informing posterity of the time at which he dined, the moment at which he returned from hunting, the happy soil which had the honour of being trodden by his august feet at each hour of the day, the names of the privileged slaves who appeared in his presence at the rising and the setting sun.
As for us, we shall make known to it the names and virtues of the heroes who died in the fight for liberty; we shall make known to it on what soil the last satellites of tyrants hit the dust; we shall make known to it the hour which sounded the death-knell of the oppressors of the world.
Yes, this delightful land which we inhabit, which Nature favours with her caresses, is made to be the domain of liberty and happiness; this proud and sensitive people is truly born for glory and virtue. O my country, had fate caused me to be born in a foreign and distant land, I should have addressed to heaven my constant prayers for thy prosperity; I should have shed tears of emotion at the story of thy combats and thy virtues; my eager soul would have followed with ardent anxiety every movement of thy glorious Revolution; I should have envied the lot of thy citizens, I should have envied that of thy representatives… . O sublime nation! Receive the sacrifice of all my being; happy is he who is born in thy midst! Still happier he who can die for thy happiness! …
The sole foundation of civil society is morality! … Immorality is the basis of despotism, as virtue is the essence of the Republic… . Study the good of the country and the interests of humanity alone. Every institution, every doctrine which consoles and elevates men’s souls ought to be welcomed; reject all those which tend to degrade and corrupt them. Encourage and exalt all generous sentiments and great moral ideas which men have attempted to extinguish; draw together by the charm of friendship and the bonds of virtue those men whom there have been attempts to divide… .
You who lament a virtuous friend, you love to think that what is finest in him has escaped death! You who weep over the bier of a son or a wife, are you consoled by him who tells you that all that remains of them is base dust? Wretch expiring beneath the assassin’s blow, your last sigh is an appeal to eternal justice! Innocence on the scaffold makes the tyrant turn pale upon his triumphal chariot: would it have this power if the tomb levelled the oppressor with the oppressed? Wretched sophist! By what right dost thou come and wrest the sceptre of reason from innocence to place it in the hands of crime, to encourage vice, to sadden virtue and to degrade humanity? The more richly a man is endowed with sensibility and genius, the more attached he is to the ideas which expand his being and elevate his heart; and the doctrine of men of that stamp becomes that of the universe. Ah! Can such ideas be other than truths? At any rate I cannot conceive how nature can have suggested to men fictions more beneficial than all realities; and if the existence of God, if the immortality of the soul were but dreams, the,y would still be the finest of all the conceptions of human intelligence.
I need hardly say that there is no question here of arraigning any particular philosophical opinions, or of denying that this or that philosopher may be virtuous, whatever his opinions may be, and even in spite of them, by virtue of a fortunate disposition or a superior intelligence. The point is to consider nothing but Atheism, in so far as it is national in character and bound up with a system of conspiracy against the Republic.
Ah! What does it matter to you, legislators, by what varied hypotheses certain philosophers explain the phenomena of nature? You may hand over all these subjects to their everlasting discussions: it is neither as metaphysicians nor as theologians that you have to consider them. In the eyes of the legislator, truth is all that is useful and of practical good to the world… .
Fanatics, hope for nothing from us. To recall men to the pure cult of the Supreme Being is to strike a death-blow at fanaticism. All fictions disappear before the truth, and all follies collapse before Reason. Without compulsion, without persecution, all sects must mingle spontaneously in the universal religion of Nature. We shall counsel you, then, to maintain the principles which you have hitherto displayed. May the liberty of worship be respected, that reason may triumph indeed, but let it not disturb public order or become a means of conspiracy. If counterrevolutionary malignity is shielding itself beneath this pretext, repress it, and, for the rest, rely upon the might of principle and the innate force of things… .
Ambitious priests, do not wait for us to work for the restoration of your dominance; such an enterprise would indeed be beyond our power. It is you who have killed yourselves, and one can no more return to moral life than to physical existence. Besides, what is there in common between the priests and God? Priests are to morality what charlatans are to medicine. How different is the God of nature from the God of the priests! The God of nature knows nothing which resembles Atheism so much as priest-made religions. By dint of distorting the Supreme Being, they have destroyed Him, as much as in them lay; they have made of Him sometimes a ball of fire, sometimes an ox, sometimes a tree, sometimes a man, sometimes a king. The priests have created God in their own image; they have made Him jealous, capricious, greedy, cruel and implacable. They have treated Him as the Mayors of the Palace in olden days treated the descendant of Clovis, in order to reign in his name and put themselves in his place. They have relegated Him to heaven as to a palace, and have only brought Him down to earth in order to demand tithes, riches, honours, pleasure and power for their own profit. The real priest of the Supreme Being is Nature; His temple, the universe; His worship, virtue; His festivals, the joy of a great people gathered together beneath His eyes in order to draw close the sweet bonds of universal brotherhood and offer Him the homage of pure and feeling hearts… .
May they all tend to arouse those generous sentiments which are the chnrm and adornment of human life: enthusiasm for liberty, love of country and respect for law. May the memory of tyrants and traitors be held up to execration at them; may that of heroes of liberty and benefactors of humanity receive the just tribute of public gratitude; may they draw their interest, and their very names, from the immortal events of our Revolution, and even from the things dearest and most sacred to the heart of man; may they be beautified and distinguished by emblems suggesting their special objects. Let us invite nature and all the virtues to our festivals; let them all be celebrated under the auspices of the Supreme Being; let them be consecrated to Him, and let them open and close with a tribute to His power and goodness… . [He went on to propose the following decree:]
Article I. The French people recognizes the existence of the Supreme Being, and the immortality of the soul.
Article II. It recognizes that the best way of worshipping the Supreme Being is to do one’s duties as a man.
Article III. It considers that the most important of these duties are: to detest bad faith and despotism, to punish tyrants and traitors, to assist the unfortunate, to respect the weak, to defend the oppressed, to do all the good one can to one’s neighbour, and to behave with justice towards all men.
Article IV. Festivals shall be instituted to remind men of the Deity, and of the dignity of their state.
Article V. These festivals shall be named after the glorious events of our Revolution, the virtues which are most dear to men, and most useful, and the chief blessings of nature.
Article VI. The French Republic shall celebrate every year the anniversaries of July 14, 1789, August 10, 1792, January 21, 1793, and May 31, 1793.
Article VII. It shall celebrate, on successive decadis, the following festivals: the Supreme Being, and Nature; the human race; the French people; the benefactors of mankind; the martyrs of freedom; liberty and equality; the Republic; the liberty of the world; patriotism; hatred of tyrants and traitors; truth; justice; modesty; glory and immortality; friendship; temperance; courage; good faith; heroism; impartiality; Stoicism; love; conjugal fidelity; fatherly affection; mother-love; filial piety; childhood; youth; manhood; old age; misfortune; agriculture; industry; our ancestors; posterity; happiness.
Article VIII. The Committees of Public Safety and of Education are instructed to present a scheme for the organization of these festivals.
Article IX. The National Convention invites all those whose talents are worthy of serving the cause of mankind to the honour of assisting in the establishment of these festivals by submitting hymns or civic songs, or anything else likely to contribute to their beauty or utility.
Article X. The Committee of Public Safety shall award distinction to such works as appear to it calculated to achieve these objects, and shall reward their authors.
Article XI. Freedom of worship is confirmed, in the terms of the decree of 18th Frimaire.
Article XII. Any meeting of aristocrats, or any that contravenes public order, shall be suppressed.
Article XIII. In the event of troubles caused by or arising out of any form of public worship, all those who excited them by fanatical preaching or counter-revolutionary suggestions, and all those who provoked them by unjust or uncalled-for acts of violence, shall be equally punished, with all the rigour of the law.
Article XIV. A separate report shall be prepared, dealing with the detailed arrangements consequential upon the present decree.
Article XV. There shall be celebrated, upon the 20th Prairial next, a national festival in honour of the Supreme Being.
a knave, a rascal, an eater of broken meats; a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three suited, hundred pound, filthy, worse stalking knave; a lily-livered, action-taking, glass-gazing, superserviceable, finical rogue; a one-trunk-inheriting slave, and art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar, and son and heir of a mongrel bitch: one whom I will beat into a clamorous whining if thou deniest the least syllable of thy addition.