Well, Brutus, thou art noble; yet, I see
Thy honourable mettle may be wrought
From that it is disposed; therefore it is meet
That noble minds keep ever with their likes;
For who so firm that cannot be seduced?
William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act I, Scene II
How many times have you heard the word “noble” in recent times? Used, I mean. How many times have you used this word or have heard the usage of this word. This is a dying word. Dead, actually; awaiting a post-mortem. The word and its meaning will die; evaporate in nothingness, with you and me.
As an adjective, ‘noble’ means, “Having or showing qualities of high moral character, such as courage, generosity, or honour,” and in Chemistry it means, “Inactive or inert”. And at the same time, chemically, “A metal or an alloy, such as gold, that is highly resistant to oxidation and corrosion.”
Nobility, if you haven’t figured out by now, has a curse of loneliness. Not all gases are inert, not all metals are gold. How long does a ‘noble’ hold high moral character, demonstrate courage, grant generosity, or display honour? How long does the ‘noble’ hold these demonstrable values as the vanguard of the self – acquired or imposed?
A nobleman’s emotions and wishes die with him; buried with him in his magnificent grave. All the kings he served, pay homage, and all maids that he rescued, pine for him. Mind you, pine for him only after his death, posthumously, I think is the word.
A nobleman is as human as you and I are. He hurts and bleeds blood as red as you would. His nobility is for the outside world. He is “resisting” oxidation and corrosion – from the world outside. It is easier for you and me to see the nobility, commend this attribute of the human. From where we stand and where we see, we can’t see the scars and bruises of the acid that couldn’t corrode his nobility.
Stand at a nobleman’s grave; ask a question – were you also a human? Like me? Maybe you were just a little more resilient than me but are as human as me? Did you pine for the same that I pined for? Did you wish to be treated as a human, also? While you resisted the corrosion, did the acid burn you, did the melting metal scar you? Did you bear the pain, but were pained after all? Were you lonely on that pedestal?
What does the grave answer?
Your questions are just as corrosive as the acid. Nobility is such a character, such an attribute, it remains that – noble.
A noble curse.