The #HamAlong Can’t Wait to See You Again

Confession: When I was reading the lyrics to the last few songs of Hamilton to decide on a post title, I teared up. I could hear Philippa Soo’s angel voice in my head, and I am not made of stone.

This section served up a whole bunch of things that broke my heart into tiny pieces, and I guess I might as well just lay them out for y’all so you can be heartbroken too.

Feeling poorly, Kent retired early to bed. Anxious about his guest, Hamilton tiptoed into his room with an extra blanket and draped it over him delicately. “Sleep warm, little judge, and get well,” Hamilton told him. “What should we do if anything should happen to you?”

I don’t know if I’ve told y’all this, but nothing wins my heart like people putting blankets on other people to make sure they aren’t cold.

In the lead-up to the duel, Hamilton’s son James asks his father to look over a speech he’s writing, and this is what Hamilton tells him:

“My dear James,” Hamilton began, “I have prepared for you a thesis on discretion. You may need it. God Bless you. Your affectionate father, A.H.”

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Super weird advice from our guy A. Ham.

And finally, I wrote “heart is stabbed tho for real” in my notes when I got to this bit:

While reading the scene in Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy in which the tenderhearted Uncle Toby picks up a fly and delicately places it outside a window instead of killing it, Burr is said to have remarked, “Had I read Sterne more and Voltaire less, I should have known the world was wide enough for Hamilton and me.”

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The whole scene of Alexander Hamilton’s death is really, really hard to read. You know how Alexander Hamilton could sometimes be the sweetest human man? Well, that’s what he was up to throughout the days of being on his deathbed. I kept wanting to stop reading, except stopping reading wouldn’t have stopped Alexander Hamilton from dying tragically young.

As we reach this the final day of #HamAlong, I want to give an infinitude of props both to Ron Chernow for creating this monumental biography (overpartial to its subject though it is), and particularly to Lin-Manuel Miranda for creating out of it a piece of art that gives stunning immediacy to the story of this long-dead genius and his life at a time in history that we all feel we already knew.

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Thanks for Hamilton, dude. That’s a pretty fucking incredible thing you made.

And now, with thanks once again to the fabulous Alice for hosting, I will just toddle off to weep in a corner over how great Eliza was and how unfair it is that she had to live for fifty years without her beloved husband at her side. SOB.

  • Yes yes to all of it, including weeping for Eliza!

    • Elizaaaaa! She sounds like she was so great. All the Schuyler sisters sound monumentally great, actually. I was crushed when Peggy died.

  • Alley

    I lost it when Hamilton was talking about looking at his children for the last time while he lay dying and seeing them at the foot of his bed and then shutting his eyes and opening them again after they’d left and I CAN’T.

    I was less sad for Burr. Even the stuff about “the world was wide enough” someone had pointed out that the scene is remarking on how the fly is so unimportant and beneath Uncle Toby and Burr was in a way saying how A.Ham was so beneath him. Pretty much I just wanted real Burr to be more LOJ Burr

    • I refuse to accept this interpretation of the “world was wide enough” remark. I choose to believe he was finding a way to say that he wished he hadn’t killed Hamilton. But, yeah, in general, it would have been better if he’d been more like our guy LOJ.

      • Alley

        I will go with the idea that Burr was a dick and couldn’t just come out and SAY he wished he hadn’t killed Hamilton so he made comments like this. Cos I like that a lot better.

        • MumsyNK

          I agree with Alley. He was just being an incredible jerk.

  • Beer Alex

    So, I’m just curious: what exactly does it mean to “host” a readalong? I’m assuming you don’t all actually get together in someone’s home and read the book all at the same time. Is the host just the person who sets the timeline for the endeavor? Or have I completely misunderstood what a readalong even is?

    • Yes! The host is the person who comes up with the idea for the endeavor, sets the timeline, and hosts the links (so that other people in the readalong can find all the posts about it each week). They are also responsible for any social media presence the endeavor has (like if there was a HamAlong hashtag to be followed!), and they go make remarks on the blog posts of all the participants. Alice, our present host, is kiiiinda the queen of readalongs. 🙂

      • Beer Alex

        That sounds like a lot of work, actually! And a lot of fun. I have been trying to read along with the podcast, but I’m a much slower reader than both of you.

  • p.s. Chernow’s book on George Washington is very good too, but Washington wasn’t as lovable as Hamilton nor was Martha as lovable as Eliza! :–) And I agree Burr is tragic also. I think they were both victims of the overwhelming juggernaut of Jefferson and Madison.

  • Stefanie@SoManyBooks

    You made my heart get all melty with your quotes especially that Burr one! I am so sad the Hamalong is over I so much enjoyed reading your posts. Thank you!

    • Aw, thanks so much for saying that! I had a fun time doing it, and I’m glad that came through in the posts. 🙂

  • Jeanne

    After we’d listened to the Hamilton soundtrack several times, I asked my mother, a widow of five years, what she thought about Eliza’s line “I live another fifty years…it’s not enough.” What she said agrees with what you said, that no one is ever really ready to die, but that widows might come closest, wanting to be together again.

  • I can’t even listen to “Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story” without tearing up at the line “I wrote myself back into the narrative.” And “the orphanage”? Forget it, man. I’m out. I’m a hot mess of sadness.

    • Oh my GOD, yes. I can’t even think about that song without my eyes stinging. The line that gets me is “The Lord in His kindness, He gives me what you always wanted, he gives me more time.” That’s where, like, if I’m driving, it would be irresponsible of me not to pull over. So many tears.

  • Sarah Says Read

    Aggghhh, the feels.

    OMG I forgot to thank Chernow and Miranda in my post, but yes this. Even though Chernow could be kind of an obtuse wang when he wrote about the women, and he was clearly a Hamilton fanboy, the book was kind of fabulous. And my god, Miranda – I’m just so happy that he was born and grew up and then made this musical.

  • So sad ); It always gets me.

  • I know! That scene with Kent was so sweet! And the days before he died, when he was lying in the grass with his kids and taking care of orphans. All the feels. Why couldn’t we change something that happened over 200 years ago?!?

  • I love little moments where lyrics from the show are in the biography, so that world is wide enough quote gets me right in the feels.

  • Dang. A biography made you cry? Holy crap.

    I will ditto the other comment about the Washington biography by Chernow. I am discovering that Jefferson was a conniving twit, that he and Hamilton were like dueling siblings over parental attention, and poor Washington just wanted to retire and leave all that shit behind. Also, Chernow REALLY does not like John Adams. His love of Hamilton even comes through in a book devoted to Washington, which I find funny. While there is no cool musical with addictive lyrics to help with the reading of it, it does give a different look at the founding of the nation and key figures in that.