The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Monday and Dupont Circle

Julius Caesar Act One Scene II
By William Shakespeare

It is very much lamented, Brutus,
That you have no such mirrors as will turn
Your hidden worthiness into your eye,
That you might see your shadow. I have heard,
Where many of the best respect in Rome,
Except immortal Caesar, speaking of Brutus
And groaning underneath this age's yoke,
Have wish'd that noble Brutus had his eyes.

Therefore, good Brutus, be prepared to hear:
And since you know you cannot see yourself
So well as by reflection, I, your glass,
Will modestly discover to yourself
That of yourself which you yet know not of.
And be not jealous on me, gentle Brutus:
Were I a common laugher, or did use
To stale with ordinary oaths my love
To every new protester; if you know
That I do fawn on men and hug them hard
And after scandal them, or if you know
That I profess myself in banqueting
To all the rout, then hold me dangerous.

Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
Like a Colossus, and we petty men
Walk under his huge legs and peep about
To find ourselves dishonourable graves.
Men at some time are masters of their fates:
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.
Brutus and Caesar: what should be in that 'Caesar'?
Why should that name be sounded more than yours?
Write them together, yours is as fair a name;
Sound them, it doth become the mouth as well;
Weigh them, it is as heavy; conjure with 'em,
Brutus will start a spirit as soon as Caesar.
Now, in the names of all the gods at once,
Upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed,
That he is grown so great? Age, thou art shamed!
Rome, thou hast lost the breed of noble bloods!
When went there by an age, since the great flood,
But it was famed with more than with one man?
When could they say till now, that talk'd of Rome,
That her wide walls encompass'd but one man?
Now is it Rome indeed and room enough,
When there is in it but one only man.
O, you and I have heard our fathers say,
There was a Brutus once that would have brook'd
The eternal devil to keep his state in Rome
As easily as a king.


We went downtown again on Pi Day after picking up Daniel from a robotics session at school, trying to get the robot ready for a competition in North Carolina in a few weeks. Again it was a rainy day -- my parents called from the Caribbean after seeing footage of the Potomac River flooding in Virginia to make sure their house was all right -- so we didn't want to plan to be outdoors for long periods. We went to the Phillips Collection, which currently has an exhibit of Georgia O'Keeffe abstractions, including some gorgeous watercolors and a few with vague titles that are clearly cousins to her flower paintings -- in some cases abstract paintings are hung beside paintings of flowers or shells with an identical palette and similar forms. There are also nudes of her by Stieglitz, which I always find annoyingly distracting; can't we have a retrospective on O'Keeffe as artist that doesn't also obsess over O'Keeffe as model/muse?

Adam, who has declared himself officially bored and annoyed by all contemporary art without any willingness to learn about it, was mildly unimpressed by the O'Keeffe exhibit, and he was reasonably engaged by Jacob Lawrence's Migration Series, but he was downright disgusted with the Rothko Room (and I must agree with him that Rothko's claims that his paintings distill the human emotion as a whole just make me roll my eyes -- if his colors evoke something for you, great, but don't try to convince me he has great insight into anything other than his own brain). To make the trip worthwhile, we went from the gallery to the Melting Pot, where we had Adam's Bar Mitzvah last year, at which time they gave us a certificate for $75 off a dinner plus free chocolate fondue for Adam in perpetuity, so it was a bargain of a very awesome meal (he and I had the fiesta cheese, California salad, vegetarian entree, and s'mores chocolate fondue, while Paul and Daniel had Swiss cheese, Caesar salad, chicken/seafood, and white/dark chocolate fondue).

Flaming chocolate fondue at the Melting Pot in Dupont Circle.

Steam rising from one of the pots of court bouillon.

My kids contemplating the dessert menu.

Earlier, we visited the Phillips Collection...

...whose most famous painting is probably Renoir's Luncheon of the Boating Party.

The museum is in a very pretty DC neighborhood...

...on the other side of Dupont Circle from the Melting Pot.

Driving home, we saw four deer eating the ornamental plants right across from our home in the central circle -- with snow on the ground for so long, they are very hungry and becoming increasingly more daring about where they will eat. We were happy to learn that the Terrapins received a #4 seed in the NCAA tournament, though why Maryland is being sent to Spokane for its first-round game is a mystery. In the evening we watched When the Moors Ruled In Europe, which is an excellent historical documentary about Muslim contributions to European culture and has gorgeous footage of the Alhambra and the cities of Granada and Cordoba.

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