23 April: Talk Like Shakespeare Day – a review and a foretelling

As it is the twenty-third of the what
the other Poet dubbed “the cruelest month”,
this day henceforth shall ever be
renowned as Talke Lyke Shakespeare Daye.

I’ve been digging around in archives and I have uncovered yet another rare find.   A lost manuscript of the Bard.  In the past I have provided you with

A Most Tragikal Hystory of Obama I

and

The Trumping of the Shrew

I hope later today to be able to share something of the new discovery

Two Gentlemen of Corona

Until then, here is something I dug up in my research in far flung libraries. You might not have seen this. It is a long lost epilogue to Richard III, coincidentally unearthed soon after the bones of the king were found under a parking lot and then re-interred in Leicester without the Catholic Mass that Richard would have wanted, for, contrary to his black legend, he was a pretty decent king and quite devout.


The Tragikal History of King Richard III

ACT VI – Epilogue

RICHARD III, deceased, seated by a grave, holding a skull.

ENTER HAMLET Prince of Denmark, deceased, wearing Wayfarers.

HAMLET [singing]:

Brush up thy Marlowe
Start quoting him now
Brush up thy Marlowe
And the women wilt thou wow

But soft!

RICHARD:

Ay me!

HAMLET:

Whom do I see beside this gaping grave?
Why good ol’ Dicken, Blighty’s erstwhile king
unkindly hacked to bits at Bosworth Field!
Let’s draw near to find his sighings out.

RICHARD:

Ay me.

HAMLET [sneaking]:

He speaks!  O speak again chopp’d monarch!

RICHARD:

Now is the summer of our afterlife,
made somewhat gloomy by our funeral rites;
and all the clouds that lour’d upon our lot,
in the deep bosom of fair Leicester gather’d.

HAMLET:

What ho, good Richard, of that name the third
to wear fair England’s crown, too short a time.
Down seem’st thou to me, and desponding.
Thy so black mood resembleth close that garb
of inky sable I did sport as in
the halls of gloomy Elsinor I moped.
Art thou so dull and drear that thou woulds’t steal
to earthy pit, my shtick to plagiarize?
Thou must be truly vex’d to so converse
with bony chops, by grave and dirt and muck.
Tell me quickly: park you here a lot?

RICHARD:

Everyone’s a comic now, I see.
Dost thou permit thyself at my expense
a joke to craft of where my bones did lie?
Give, I pray, the rest of that silence
thou did’st prate on before thine own demise.
If not, begone, shove off, and hie the hence.

HAMLET:

Peace, good King.   I do but jest.
In earthly life I was a pill, and now
in heav’n’s joys jocund choose I to be –
and not to be as earnest as before.
In life I would have liked to be a card,
perhaps a jack o’ hearts or e’en napes,
e’en as that Yorick was, whose skull you swip’d.
Come, explain.  Tell me everything.
Why is royal Dicken in the dumps?

RICHARD:

Less didst thou annoy when in thy ebon
garb thou wert sunk in melancholy deep.
Inky Hamlet I could bear. But deign
I not to suffer Dane transform’d, in shirt
Hawaiian, cracking wise and gamboling.
But nay, stay a bit and tell me true.
Art thou not mooning still over that blond?
That swimming challeng’d girl? What was her name?
Oprah?  Something on those lines?

HAMLET:

Okay okay.  Enough.  Thy point I take.
Cheap shot. Thou art not well dispos’d.
But tell me. What’s the deal?  Get a grip.
Spill it all and list shall I sincere.

RICHARD:

Apology accepted, Prince of Danes.
If thou wilt not take thy face hence at once
I’ll unburden’d be.  You asked for it.
Yes, my tomb and long lost place of rest,
beneath that car park less than august was
for monarch royal, e’en one cast down
in wars of rosy houses, white and red.
Now they’ve found my bones and dug me up.
Alchemy scientific they employ’ed
and rituals forensic they performed
upon my matter osseous, my framework
skeletal, my lineage to spy.

HAMLET [sitting down]:

O wizardry most modern!  Tell me more!

RICHARD [holding the skull]:

Studied they my skull, my wounds and hacks,
my curvéd back did they interrogate
until, at last, my bones, renovate,
encloséd were in wooden casket fair.

HAMLET:

Much trumpeted was this in media massy.

RICHARD:

They bore me thence, a royal tomb to fill
in Martin’s Church at Leicester.

HAMLET:

And so?

RICHARD:

See’st thou not?  Shall I thee explain?
When thou didst breathe in that vale lachrymose
wert thou not a pious Catholic prince?
Surely thou dost sense the sting that thy
bones in clay encloséd are till doom,
in Denmark, once a land of faithful flock.
The Danish realm, as did the Britians’ isle,
slith’ring slid down into mischief sin
of error and schismatical protest.
Their backs they turned on Holy Peter’s smile,
in separation now circumnutate.

HAMLET [aside]:

What a ranting polysyllabic.
Something bad is eating him for sure.

RICHARD:

Woe! More woe! And woe is me!
Thou, Hamlet, royal Dane, must also feel
this piercing sting, e’en in heaven’s bliss!

HAMLET:

Hang on there!  Just a second wait!
Dicken, we’re in heaven, see….

RICHARD:

… yes I know.
Paradoxical I choose to be.
In heaven’s bliss are we and in God’s sight
replenish’ed by vision Beatific.
But this is yearly “Talk Like Shakespeare Day”.
The cleric scribe who put us side by side
must needs a post for blog readers to write.
We are therefore stuck here, players fretting.

HAMLET:

O horrible, O horrible, most horrible.

RICHARD:

Shall I say more? List, list, O list!
In course they put my corse in church bereft
of sacrament, of apostolic line,
of teachings clear which no one can suspect.
In angle of a temple Anglican
my bones now lie, far from the Presence Real
as dear to me in life as nothing else.
Entombed am I, unhousel’d evermore.

HAMLET:

Ay, there’s the rub!  For in that church
there is no Mass, no priest, no bishop true.

[aside]

Now for effect dramatic shall I droop.
Though steep’d in bliss, I’ll put on visage sad.
A pair lugubriously blissful now are we.

RICHARD:

But shall I now reveal my heart’s true wound?
Near so-called cathedra of Leicester were
my bones with some formality interr’d.
But elsewhere Catholic Mass was lifted up
before my exsequies in that lost church.

HAMLET [glancing at his watch and rising]:

Soooo, there you have it, Dick, my buried friend!
All’s well that ends well!

RICHARD:

But wait, there’s more!

HAMLET [aside]:

Who knew…

RICHARD:

Long in the past we shuffled off the coil.
Some centuries of years did pass before
a pope of name Iohanine, large of build,
did bishops call into a solemn meet,
second in the place where Peter’s bones
do faithful Christians come to venerate
upon the hill called Vatican at Rome.
There the Council Father’s would mandate
some several changes to the rites of Mass.
But woe again, and woe! For those few points
were seized upon by certain buggy clerks
who then hijackéd all commands reforming.
Though “nihil innovatur” bishops said,
the buggy clerks changed all the black and red.
An innovated ordo did they scribe
and foisted it on Catholics far and wide.
Confusion and decorum’s loss did reign
and no one did the liturgists restrain
from ravages, in power goggle-eyed.
Art did they in, and the noble shrines
builded in love from forebear’s gold and sweat.
They tore them ‘till they bled.  Everything
upon which they could work their heinous spells
they did amend, annihilating despots.
But, heark ye, friend.  I do digress.  I see
that you do stare and wonder at my rant.
Behind thine eyes can I descry the same
indignation and loss of which I speak.
But soft.  I shall be circumspect.
To make the story short, which could be long
in telling as the tale of Trojan grief,
as wending as the paths of him who yearn’d
to see belovéd Ithaca again,
the wily polytrop and trickster sly,
as lengthy as the yarn which Virgil…

[HAMLET consults his watch and looks toward the nearby pub]

To make the story short, an Ordo new,
wholly Novus did they cobble up.
This is the rite by which they prayed when near
the river Soar they offered holy Mass
my once lost bones to reinter with care,
remembrances and prayers.  This is the rite.
They did not use the book for Mass which you,
which I, knew, when we with our mortal step
trod under sun and stars and breathed in air.
They could have used our own belovéd prayer.
For behold, there came another Pope, of frame
more delicate by far, in name twice blessed,
in lore of God and ritual reknown’d.
This pope freed up again the ancient use.
This pope did liberate our hallowed rites.
Rites Roman he unchained, and op’ed the way
for enrichments organic, mutual.
Reason enough, I say, for Summorum.
But no.  The sense that’s common to us all
did stare directly in their faces wan.
I, who lived in century fifteenth,
got Ordo Novus, not tradition’s Mass!
So sit now I upon this ground to tell
the too sad tales of requia of kings.

[ENTER LEAR]

LEAR:

What ho!  Hail, fellows, and well met.
This Day is called the Feast of Shakespeare,
or something on that line.  We should find a pub.
What’s this I see?  Of somber mien?  Depressed?
What’s up?  What problem could there be in heav’n?
O Richard, of thy name the third, this white head,
which heavy wore a crown, shall hear thee out.

HAMLET [aside]

He had to say it….

RICHARD:

Thanks, Lear. But come, let us go.  Our Danish pal
impatient grows the brews at yon fair pub
completely to explore.  Let us go hence,
and there this “Talk Like Shakespeare Day”
observe with beverage apt. It’s happy hour.
And as we go I’ll tell you, celtic lord, what gives.
You see, and stop me if I’ve told you this before,
they’ve found my bones and dug me up!

HAMLET: [aside]

I should have stuck to Marlow.

RICHARD:

Alchemy scientific they employ’ed
and rituals forensic they performed
upon my matter osseous, my framework
skeletal, my lineage to spy….

LEAR:

Tech spiffy! Tell, pray, everything.

HAMLET:

Richard?  Hey!  Initial rounds on thee.

[EXEUNT OMNES]

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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10 Responses to 23 April: Talk Like Shakespeare Day – a review and a foretelling

  1. Flos Carmeli says:

    The mirth bursteth forth right merrilie in me! Many thanks to thee, dear Fr. Zeee!

    “….in shirt Hawaiian!” bwaaahahahaha!

  2. Unwilling says:

    Besides the fun of it, there is a lot of cool antiquarian allusion in this. I am very impressed. Especially enjoyed the riff on Sancti Gregorii Magni Dialogorum Liber Secundus “Fuit vir vitae venerabilis…”.

  3. Andreas says:

    Recalling an incident in Chambers some years ago between a distinguished senior Military Officer and an unfortunate Senator who objected to be referred to as Ma’am:

    Act IV, Sc. III (extract) A SLIGHT UNINTENDED; A FATE UNDESERVED

    Set: The Chambers of the Roman Senate. A battery of Senators and spectators attending to an interrogation already long underway.

    Dramatis Personae: Senator, Warrior

    Senator: I ordered he to death be flayed. I would now know you, without due pause,
    to tell me why it is delayed, and mind you lest this room in anger flair,
    your words be of Venetian glass most clear.

    Warrior: (Speak now I must, but o’ alas, note I that she of rank would have my head
    upon a petard of wooden plank atop the towering heights where the Thames, seeing my plight,
    would weep in great despair at such grievous loss.

    That I would now in France’s fields rather be a thousand times ennobled by the cries of battle and pursuits of import. Yet here be I, consigned by fate most foul midst marble pillar’d halls to answer those
    who in their flowing robes and cleansed hands know nought of war.

    The tactful truth must now be said, but with much care here do I tread
    lest my shoulders be unburdeoned by a head.)

    Honor’d Ma’am I tell you now some words to soothe your fever’d brow…

    Senator: Your words betray such disrespect said not in manner I expect to hear from those
    beneath my station. Perhaps, thou knowest, ‘tis just my thing, but hark ye now, thy words doth ring
    with base contempt and lacking grace, not fit for those within this hallowed location.

    What now see I upon your face? Why looketh ye thus with such perplexity? Your breast
    bedecked with silver, gold and stars suggests some honor bestowed upon you in days fore this.
    Has bravery not made you more aware?

    For Thou must call me what I am: a Senator
    and not a Ma’am who above thee sits in judgement fair.
    Thou, warrior, whose furrow’d brow betrays your days I know not where.
    But man in green I’ve not been idle. Labored hard have I for title which I beseech thee now to say…
    ….I’d have it not another way.

    Warrior: Dear Lady, it befits you not to boast, for knowing your origins on our coast tells this soul what truths it could. For clearly you misunderstood what ‘tis to glean from a soldier’s words of great esteem.

    To give it more would be such folly, so lady dwell not in melancholy as it furrows your brow.
    Let my words thus cool your blood’s temperament. I know not how,
    but God help me preserve the dignity to express what you deserve to hear from the lips of one who would serve in such troubled times.

    Exeunt Warrior in chains.

  4. Les Buissonets says:

    If lockdowns cause invention quite so rare,
    (For clearly Father Zed has time to spare),
    Then praised be Covid (aka ‘Wuhan Flu’)
    For showing us what Father Zed can do

  5. Mariana2 says:

    Mariana2’s Gold Star of The Day, Nay, Year!

  6. Kathleen10 says:

    As always, blown away by they creativity of this. Well done Fr. Z and all.

  7. Ms. M-S says:

    This is all just wonderful!

  8. Semper Gumby says:

    Excellent, thanks Fr. Z (“Two Gentlemen of Corona”) and Andreas.

    It’s a little known fact that in 1941 a Hollywood screenwriter named Bill Shakespeare wrote the first draft of Casablanca.

    Rick to Ugarte, just before Ugarte is arrested: These violent delights have violent ends.

    Rick to Signor Ferrari as Ferrari tries to buy the Cafe and Sam: You speak an infinite deal of nothing. Me think’st thou art a general offense and every man should beat thee.

    Rick to Elsa at the airport: I am one who loved not wisely but too well. Get thee to a nunnery, or Lisbon.

    As the plane to Lisbon takes off Maj. Strasser arrives at the hangar and pulls out a pistol. Rick: Is this a Luger which I see before me? I’ll beat thee, but I would infect my hands.

    Rick and Capt. Renault walk away into the foggy night. Rick: We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.

  9. Pingback: UPDATE to #TalkLikeShakespeareDay: NEW PLAY! “Two Gentlemen of Corona” | Fr. Z's Blog

  10. jplsr says:

    Thou did’st quote the most horrible line in Hamlet.

    [May rather, I’d hazard in all the writings of the Bard.]

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