Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Essay. "The Death of John Cavanaugh." William Hazlitt.

One-minute review: Tribute to a superb athlete, the best “Fives-player” who ever existed. It was apparently a game in which the participants struck a ball and it was Cavanaugh’s great skill to know when and to what degree he needed to strike the ball, his ability to ferret out his opponent’s weaknesses in the competition and to take advantage of them that gave Cavanaugh his superiority.


“When a person dies, who does any one thing better than anyone else in the world, which so many others are trying to do well, it leaves a gap in society. It is not likely that anyone will now see the game of Fives played in its perfection for many years to come, for Cavanaugh is dead, and has not left his peer behind him.”

“His eye was certain, his hand fatal, his presence of mind complete. He could do what he pleased, and he always knew exactly what to do. He saw the whole game, and played it; took instant advantage of his adversary’s weakness….”

Comment: Could serve as a model for the eulogy of any person of great skill. RayS.

Great Essays. Ed. Houston Peterson. New York: Washington Square Press, Inc. 1960.

What is an essay? “They are all prefaces. A preface is nothing but a talk with the reader; and they [essays] do nothing else.” Charles Lamb.

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