Open Letter to Dick Cheney (out of “The White Devil”)
Dost thou imagine thou canst slide on blood,
And not be tainted with a shameful fall?
Or, like the black and melancholic yew-tree,
Dost thou think to root thyself in dead men’s graves,
And yet to prosper?—
—John Webster, The White Devil (1612)
“Months before September 11, 2001, that Cheney’s Energy Task Force investigated Iraq’s oil resources: 6.” —Harper’s Index: A Retrospective of the Bush Era (January 2009).
And let’s bear in mind, in connection with Cheney, this passage from the “Republic” of Plato (Jowett’s translation): “Then if any one at all is to have the privilege of lying, the rulers of the State should be the persons; and they, in their dealings either with enemies or with their own citizens, may be allowed to lie for the public good. But nobody else should meddle with anything of the kind…”
N.B.: Cf. the first comment below for a gloss on the “melancholic yew-tree.”