Tag Archives: Shakespeare

Culture and Poetry (Part 4)

In my previous post, I included a poem by Shakespeare, Under the Greenwood Tree.  This poem is from the play, As You Like It.

It is a song praising a life in the forest, away from the demands of the sophisticated court. The character, a wealthy member of the court, expresses the sentiment that it is much easier to bear the hardships imposed by nature than the cruelty all too often found in human society. This is a song in praise of a simple life lived in contentment, away from the demands of those in society.

However, this is not necessarily Shakespeare’s conception of happiness.  He was presenting the reality of the day: the Elizabethans were active, ambitious people constantly seeking wealth and power.  This piece represents the hero among us who has decided not to return to the everyday world but remain in the Adventure.  The hero knows that this is not happiness as the winter has “rough weather.”  The poem expresses the concern that the risks of returning to society are too great and a life lived in the adventure would be better than one lived among others in the renaissance culture of Elizabethan society.  Nonetheless, the life lived in the adventure is still harsh and not one of happiness.

What is the lesson learned?  That we must resist the temptation to remain in the adventure too long before attempting the return back to the everyday world.  This requires the virtue of justice.  This virtue is a concern for others around us.  Even though the society that we live in can be full of hardships and disappointments, we must persevere and try to return from our adventure so that our society can benefit from what we have learned along the way.  This virtue is less concerned with making us good people, and more concerned with our relationship with others around us.  Even though others may not understand or appreciate the road that we have taken, we must return to our society if we are to attain happiness and our society is to benefit.

Culture and Poetry (Part 3)

Continuing with how great poetry can help us answer what is the meaning of life, below is a poem by Shakespeare.  It is from his play, As you Like It.

In my next post I will discuss its meaning and how it can help guide us on journeys through life.

Under the Greenwood Tree (Shakespeare, c. 1600)

Under the greenwood tree

Who loves to lie with me,

And turn his merry note

Unto the sweet bird’s throat,

Come hither, come hither, come hither:

Here shall he see

No enemy

But winter and rough weather.


Who doth ambition shun

And loves to live i’ the sun,

Seeking the food he eats,

And pleased with what he gets,

Come hither, come hither, come hither:

Here shall he see

No enemy

But winter and rough weather.

Fate of Today’s Entrepreneur

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Shakespeare knew the world of the entrepreneur very well (he knew of many worlds very well)!

These seven lines speak to the heart of the traits critical to successful entrepreneurship.  The traits implied in these lines include: alertness, preparation, courage, confidence, a desire to identify and capitalize on opportunities at the right time, and an orientation towards making decisions today so that life in the future will not be regretted (or regret living a life in the future that is below expectations).

There is an article that was just published in a major newspaper quoting statistics about the decline in the creation of new businesses.  The many reasons mentioned for the decline are tied to the current economy, aging population, and desire for less risk in an increasingly risky world.

I think that the real reasons for the decline are different and I talk about them in my soon to be published book.  I think that society has a large part to play in the decline.  I don’t think that would-be entrepreneurs are less educated or trained.  I don’t think they are less motivated.  But I do think they are misguided.

I think that society has been sending a signal for some time now that everyone should “live for the moment” and not worry about the future – the government will take care of everything.  Without an orientation towards the future and a desire to locate and capitalize on new opportunities, new enterprises will not be formed.  And perhaps more important, the journey to happiness of these would-be entrepreneurs will cease and the boring world of everyday existence will continue day after day after day.

I do have a solution and some much need encouragement and inspiration.  Stay tuned!