All The World Is A Stage – How Calmly Does The Olive Branch

How Calmly Does The Olive Branch – By Tennesee Williams
Performed by David Milton Jones


Full text of the  poem

 If we shadows have offended,
 Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumbered here....

While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
If you pardon, we will mend:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to ‘scape the serpent’s tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.

About the poem

‘How calmly is the olive branch’, is a poem within Tennessee Williams play “The Night of the Iguana”. This play, which won acclaim from the drama critics of New York, is the last among his various plays. The play takes place during the 1940s in a hotel in Costa Verde in Mexico. The plot revolves around Reverend Shannon who is haunted by scandal. The Reverend is ostracized by his church as a result of irreverent comments, and eventually finds himself in a job as a tour guide for a group of religious Christian women. He is plagued by sexual confrontations and reaches a point of near breakdown. At the end of the play an elderly poet of minor reputation known as Nonno, recites this poem before he dies.

About the author

Thomas Lanier “Tennessee” Williams  (1911-1983) was an American playwright born in Columbus, Mississippi, of English, Welsh, and Huguenot ancestry. He is considered one of the most important playwrights of 20th century American drama. Tennessee Williams, writing poetry and stories, became famous mainly owing to the plays that he wrote during the 1940s and 50s. Many of his plays have been and still are produced as films. Some of them, like  “A Streetcar Named Desire”, “ The Glass Menagerie”, “The night of the Iguana”  and more, became classics within the American film industry. In contrast to his earlier plays that won success among the public and critics, the later plays, which were mainly associated with the theater of the absurd, failed and were played in marginal theaters outside of Broadway.

About the location

The video above was recorded in Rosh-Pina, a small town in the upper Galilee in the north of Israel. The town is located in an important junction that, in ancient periods, connected Lebanon in the north to Tiberias and the Jordan valley in the south, Damascus and the Golan Heights in the east, and linked Safed (Tzfat) in the west. Running along side the town is the Waddi of the Rosh-Pina stream with magnificent old olive trees growing along the banks. The city was created in 1882 as an agricultural village, due to the relatively fertile land around it. However, owing to it’s location and topographical virtues, there has been a shift and today it serves more as a tourist center.

Olive trees in Rosh-Pina
Olive trees in Rosh-Pina