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Et Tu Brutus!


The brief note comes on the Ides of March (March 15) the day Julius Caesar was assassinated by Brutus in 44 B C. After the assassination, the mob went on a rampage clubbing to death the conspirators. Hearing one was hiding in the market place they had hastened there and found a man and asked him "et tu Brutus". Replying he was, but not a conspirator, but a poet; they had clubbed him to death complaining he wrote bad poetry.

I am not in the class of Chandra Wickremesinghe who writes beautiful poetry under the pseudonyms Demos and Diogenes, and hold a candle to Edward Gunawardene, the former D I G, who is a lover of poetry and sharp as ever and not fallen into invalidism.

The incident referred to by Edward Gunawardene where the Boralugoda Lion was carried wholesale out of the Chamber at the request of the Speaker and the lines of SWRD, wrongly attributed to Tennyson when they were in fact those of Thomas Hood, were well taken.

Thomas Hood (1799-1845) was an English poet, best known for poems such as The Bridge of Sighs and the Song of the Shirt. He wrote regularly to the periodical Punch and wrote humorously on many contemporary issues like men who believe they are giants when in reality they are pecked by hens.

One of the most important issues was grave robbing and selling of corpses to anatomists. On the cruel issue, he wrote in Spondee, a style Hood often used, which consists of two stressed syllables, the lines:

Don't go to weep /upon my grave And think /that there I be They haven't left /an atom there of my /anatomie

Ephrem Fernando

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