emmet's speech from the dock love

emmet's speech from the dock


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  • You won't believe this: two nights ago a friend was playing me an old LP recording of this speech! (Not Emmet, of course, but the Irish actor Michael MacLiammoir.) It was amazing – such rhetorical craft. The delivery was pretty exquisite too. (The speech is about 15 minutes in the recording.)

    April 17, 2008

  • The most romantic of Irish revolutionaries was Robert Emmet, a Dublin Protestant. His speech from the dock lasted almost as long as his rather pathetic 1803 rebellion, but to much greater effect. As the judge waited to sentence him to death, Emmet spoke the words that secured his place in history:

    Let no man write my epitaph: for as no man who knows my motives dare now vindicate them, let not either prejudice or ignorance asperse them. Let them and me rest in obscurity and peace, and my tomb remain uninscribed, until other times and other men can do justice to my character. When my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then, and not till then, let my epitaph be written.

    April 17, 2008