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Robin Williams as John Keating in Dead Poets Society

Robin Williams passed away today at the age of 63. One of the most beloved comedians and actors of our time, the man was a national treasure. Out of his multitude of memorable movie moments, his “What will your verse be?” speech from Dead Poets Society is among his finest.

We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer: that you are here; that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?

Let’s not focus on how he died, but on the inspiration and joy he left us in life. The powerful play goes on, but Robin’s verse will never be forgotten.

Robin Williams and the Two-Headed Monster muppet on Sesame Street