Spirits from Vasty Deeps

One of my favorite bits from Shakespeare. This one is from Act 3, Scene 1 of The First Part of King Henry IV:

Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.

Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
But will they come when you do call for them?

The “vasty deep” is so evocative. I see visions of deep dark oceans with strange creatures never seen on earth dwelling there. And spirits that are powerful and perhaps evil.

Anyway, what I like about that bit is that one can proclaim stuff but that does not mean that it becomes real. Much inflated rhetoric can be seen for what it is by recalling Hotspur’s question.

Yes, you can call the spirits from the vasty deep. But that doesn’t mean that they will oblige.

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Protecting Freedom


Yesterday at a meeting where we were discussing India’s development, someone mentioned Justice Louis D. Brandeis. That recalled to my mind something that Justice Brandeis had noted about the dangers of government which I find absolutely applicable in the Indian context.


Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty
when the Government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are
naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded
rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment
by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.


Amen to that. Not just men but women as well.