Robert Byrd and the Bard
The end of an era: the Shakespeare-quoting politician!
In 1994 alone, Senator Byrd quoted every last Shakespeare play on the Senate floor at least once. That’s 37 plays. He could use old favorites as well as the next politician. “Those friends thou hast and their adoption tried, grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel,” Polonius’s old chestnut from “Hamlet,” is how he described his friendship with Bennett Johnston, the Democratic senator from Louisiana. He loved to quote Cleopatra’s “Give me my robe; put on my crown. / I have immortal longings in me.”