“When I saw thine issue, I swore Apollo got'im and none other: Their rose-tainted features clothed in tissue. Some heaven-born goddess said t'be their mother; Rose-cheeked Adonis, with his amber tresses, Fair fire-hot Venus, charming him to love'er;
Chaste Lucretia virgin-like in'er dresses, Proud lust-strung Tarquin seeking still to prove'er; Romeo, Richard—more whose names I know not. Their sugared tongues and power'tractive beauty Say're saints, tho as saints they show not, For thousands vow them t'subjective duty; Thy burn in love thy children. Shakespeare het them. Go, woo thy muse more nymphish brood beget them.
-John Weever, 1599
It was a slow day at the Lancashire theater but for all the expected vagrants in refuge from John Constable. The grounders cast thin shadows on the unhedged earth. A tragicomical plot concerned those two ill-fated lovers Cupid and Psyche, penned by the Earl of Pembroke. None among the spectators were so keenly related as to know the plays true subjects, the children of Lord Langley, who, being siblings cribbed in the same pastoral throes, were fall'n to a most unnatural courtship which the nobles do decry among peasants, whilst silently permitting of their own. Nor had any actors sought to inquire about the minor variations upon the tale by Platonicus, so caught up had they been by their usual sorts of quarrels over their lines number and importance, so only the shrewd Leading Man could glance the distort'd truth from the corner of his eye while cajoling the impetuous performers unto their assigned roles. The two lovers had received for the transgression, in faith, a meager plot in Bath with no honors, and scarcely a letter from their progenitors, who, hardly overcome with bile, felt grateful that the fruits of their lineage were not spoil'd by these foibles of youthful passion, for the son was not the first pluck'd from his mother's vine and the daughter was from the first beset by the absurd trappings of madness that marriage for these two had seemed as distant and uncertain as Judgment itself.
The plot diminished for the clowns jangle with clicking boots and bells clinking atop his jesters crown. All attended vagrants drowned out his mesmer'd speech with jeers, and anon the clown pantomimed his jig against their blunted wit. His pity fool! A shrunked member of the guild of frocked heraldry! Who has taken a break from coquettish seducation to publish his pith for caterwauling! With rotted plants forthwith, this clown's countenance still remained as pleasant as its unmark'd banter did permit, a secret kept for lonely ears as spleenish imagination linger'd to fated footfalls. His thoughts disappear'd again, whereupon he first laid eyes upon the shrewd caricature whose directions were all but fool's gold, in truth, e'en unto this savage matter of fact.
“Ay, you've arrived hence the perscrib'd hour. The stage shan't open herself 'fore the darkmen 'ave taken residence above,” this brusk Leading Man beseeched the young visitor.
“Might she not glean her opening e'en unto those who're beholden to the trappings of her womb?” the young man didst reply.
“E'en so, it thus be incest, a vile depravity most unnaturally laid.”
“Then thus mark me for a kin of lost Gomorrah, if only that I may be deliver'd, and my deliverer open her bosom thusly unto me, that I thrust myself unto her flat intrusion and in so doing find myself cop'd in vigorous display.”
“An aweless shamble thus to mark yourself in such unbecoming vise,” the Leading Man spake.
“Only if you were taken by my very word.”
“A man reports 'gainst himself in jest, all but to discredit the speck of truth that therein thus like a maggot clings to dead flesh, slithers 'neath the supposition.”
“While my impositon only means to speak devotion my profess'd mistress, be this proclivity blesséd or damnéd by reason or madness,” the young man reply'd.
“Yet in doing so do discredit thineself as neither reasonably mad nor damn'd in blessing, but knavishly delight'd in foul speech veiled by clever costume. Your peers may speak blesséd or damnéd enough without your own testimony to tip the balance to belligerence—ay, never mind, then—under what title dost though perform under?”
“Why, only mine own, William Shakespeare, if I couldst picture mineself performing, as in fantastic ambition beset mine very soul.”
“...nay. That is most unsatisfactory. Yes, yes. William is good. Yet this name wants for its suppos'd tactic,” the Leading Man, after some consideration, remark'd. “Being such?”
“As all unpracticed devotees, or lustful youths with only passion as their guide, you'll play the Fool. To act in interludes and at the plot's conclusion, thus easing tensions rais'd by our scaffold. When in our due diligence bring tears to the tenderly dispos'd, your frolicking will act to prophesy pleasures which may yet come. Or, being comedy, where, in sooth, a fool most blithely trouts, though it may seem to you most incestuously matter-of-course, you'll wear a tragic manner to the most disbelieving extent, so that all but the most unlearn'd, foul humor'd wouldst take much delight in your misfortune. Still, there lingers this matter of naming. For truly does the name make the man, be he fool or fatalist, errant rogue or peasant king. Ah Shakeshaft! Yes, Shakeshaft, I do believe it shall be so! Thus rings a true clown's nomenclature. A light ear'd suggestion even to those less deprav'd than thineself—with such clearly discern'd crude wit as to befit your wizened knavery. Shakeshaft, yes, this will be thine upon which the public shall know themselves in you. Truly, by my faith, it is so...only mark me thus. Among the troupe gather'd here under the banner of Lord Chamberlain, they've the eccentric practice of picking mismatch'd names for all the players, as to say, un-alike to outward appearance. Knowing these idle-brains, they will likely deem thee Wilma, or some similar variant thereupon. I advise you grace in resignation to their designation, as though t'were a crest of noble blood, else you shall find yourself wanting for ease in relations. But that is no worry for now. Welcome to our site of musing providence. May you find yourself in common dreams belov'd as only such by them may give their love, most vulnerable to the trappings of your station.”
Thus did the Leading Man attest to some discreet business, and left the newly born player with most haste to be discover'd by Rose and Galinda. Their impressions of this lad, only a few years their senior, were much the same, though hardly compos'd through mutual assemblage. That he was, 'spite the visage of youth, quite ugly for the stage, and had even little room for roles of villany, which are themselves most often cross'd betrayals of sight and substance. Though neither had he the joviality claim'd by all inborn-jesters—whose station was surely assign'd by the scrupulous tick o'er their lot, being of such a sympathetic disposition as to never infer what these two apprentices knew outright, namely how a fool's face is not painted into place with ruddy dyes, but is born by disposition from his very own mum's opening, perhaps being an especially warp'd hollow that can only roughly hew the features into place, and 'stead of brains give their progeny an inherit cockles cowl with credulity in all manner of crude deprecation. Such are they belov'd by crowns of every country—from whence else but slack, unseem'd providence could such a jester hail? Surely, this boy was no such courtier, standing with false trappings of courtly air fidgeting the tie of a manuscript bag heavier than his manner deem'd should lift. He seems no more than a candle waster, beguiled by his own enraptur'd turns of mental manifolds to discover as though t'were unclaim'd land to be 'tis to be or that the sun revolves 'round tumbling earth through the mobile. The only question thus remain'd was the matter of course ought taken, given this.
“What, ho! I see, sweet G'linda, a new presence for our pretty troupe,” did the fair lad Rose say.
“Indeed, my belov'd Rosie, 'tis new, and quite present, by our overseer's grace. What calls yourself, young sire?”
“I dare not claim 't know, though did once mark the matter surely,” the young lad didst reply.
“Thou art so vapid as to have forgotten what thou art call'd? Shouldst we take upon to whistle after you, as one does a hound?” so spake Rose.
“William! As that by which I have been thusly known, but as my surname struts toward the stage 'tis changed as if by alchemy. By first arrival, that 'stead of mine own christening, you'll have me proffer'd to the likeness of a damsel called Wilma.”
“Oh! I didst take him for a Wilma, tender Rosa, being in the face as such might solely find love in a ma's will.”
“Verily, verily. Thus the name takes after, e'en so, a sort of Norman conquest. 'Tis most becoming that this petty emperor reigns as clowns do follow fresh on muse'd footsteps, for a laugh. You have been cast new clown?”
“Ay. But, pray tell, what of old Jabberjaw, who did last hold the post which I've found myself occupied.”
“Why, held his post as such, e'en till the post no more held him, and thus he fell, impaled.”
“'sblood, a fitting end for one of his profession. Impaled by drink, and impish with pale fear imparted dying, frothing words that sounded without reason. But enough of that. Under what auspices have you thus arrived upon our stage? Art thou betrothed?”
“Ay, just so, Sir G'linda, with gemini babes t'claim of it.”
“And yet, while spurring in the eve of youth, do so abandon thy bonnie bride to tramp upon our stage? Has she no ill will of this your choice profession?” Rose ask'd the young man.
“She hadst no cause for concern—an inheritor of plotted land which shall bring in respite from need or want, whilst I do sow the seeds of my untime'd profession.”
“'Tis profess'd, indeed,” Rose spake,“for a fellow full of humors as thine own being so, must quite scuttle as such buggers do, entreated to be tested for occasion as a catamite, then having thus discover'd essence, do offer and receive with equal courtesy.”
“Mad, villain! Art thine eyes so fogged as cannot tell groomsmen from sodomite?”
“Peace, peace, young Wilma. 'Tis jest, no more. Aside, thou must know so oft the arrow most sharply aim'd flies back 'gainst true winds. By fit or fancy, that it goes unsaid does marriage act as guarantor of faith no more than it guarantees fidelity. That the fellow wears his wife as stagéd pate, doth often groom himself for other company.”
“My sweet boy, still full of the bile of fatherhood. I do not wish to feather thy cap with such contrivances. Find it in thineself, young master, to impart forgiveness for mine words,” so spake Rose.
“'Tis no matter. Let us speak no more of it,” replied the young man.
“Aye, as t'were never occur'd.”
The two players thus directed this new clown about the stage, through the galleries, which more resembled stables than suites, and made such spectacles while introducing the lad to the others. Elanore and Caroline practic'd their fencing and briefly unveil'd themselves to exchange pleasntries. Josephine took not his eyes from the juggling spheres he 'twined the air with roguish accuracy. They found Bathsheba, a glowering sprite curl'd on a stack of twine, with no pleasantries to impart for his disdturb'd slumber. Erstwile did Rose and Galinda bicker and boil over which wast most fair, the one claiming visage like Helen, the other Penelope, whose court overflow'd with suitors seeking more prize than gold, that one should be the interminably lovely oracle of Delphi, the other prizéd by Sappho in countless odes, no matter what countenance painted to display. In truth they were just mirrors of manner, given comfortable conceits like statues set to games of courtship, two fey in their mask'd frescoes to stand wrap'd in maidenly accoutrements, withholding assuréd requisitions that tenured prince and hero to the same helpless rapturing. But we return to the underlying musing of the fool, who stands in such regard to open discontent, and ponderings of titled gentlefolk. Who teaches the crass to inspect their own livers for flaws, in faith, by mocking prideless abandon, denies the stoic of modesty and the empiricist of proof, but exceeds them both in virtuous telling truth to indiscriminate temperament, who calls populist alarms in mockery with greater sureness than the idle soothsayer, whose real gift is in indecipherable multiplicity of meaning, always gleaning opposéd speech to singular occurance, after the fact has flown to meaningless roosts. Not only these thoughts held therein by such a view this newcome player, who gave happy countenance on the two jaunty lads, and wouldn't break the issue twain for fear of irretrievable offense unto him less prais'd.
Fernando Stanley, Lord Strang, mis-match'd the sense of his nomen by Scottish fortune—being of stately air and courtly manners erstwhile in his place upon the galley o'erstage, display'd. 'Twas brought by the very same master of the players by whose title they held rank in this town, and supplemented the stage merely as “The Theater.” What it lacked in imaginative upbringing, dids't so compensate with renown. The gentleman spied those grounded sort, beset by drink, in raucous mimicry of the players' likeness. How this script finds footing in the minds of common men. 'Tis a fecked intellect that contents itself to idle these district burroughs. Tho' the Puritan protest this succor'd vocation, what of it? For no pleasing aspect doth 'void their disapproval, and surely our Monarch, finding so much pleasure in players'folk depictions, that overtaketh Corpus Christi and furthermore the Yuletide, could grant pardon and privilege to this marvel'ing subject, such that e'en the most courtly biblical dissenter must hold peace, or, as others found ill-favor'd, lose their seat of audience before the throne. Yes, 'tis no common sort to disseminate a plague of sympathetic captivation, to tarry home with poppycock for passion at their tame'd shrews, to guile how the coronated weep in lapse of life tho they be immovable as stone before parading lock-stepped armies, what surely is Promethean degradation, to bring the fire of sovereignty and in so doing bear the curse of freedom lost, love delay'd, and ever-recurred pains unimaginable to all but those who court greatness. Truly as the stars revolve, this triumphs over tawdry sophists who make claims upturning our God's own universe, who claim morals no more binding than apparent, and eschew faith in blessings, so beyond their own powers to conceive. For what of statecraft or morality does the idle philosopher claim, only join'd by tired voices weakened in their distant years, succumb'd to novelty or rotely mesmer'd by schoolboys so that the texture of the thought becomes a disfigur'd mirror. Tho I cannot change the tide of fate, this Shake-scene can, and, by cultivating the envy of wretch'd Marlowe's dying vents, has secur'd a place as upstart crow, emboldened with a tiger heart, beholding those of basest mind as yet for noble company, a wave which shall wash our entire sovereign England in its wake.
Thus the plot: Egeon, seeking reconciliation of twins lost, affronts the law in Ephesus. All the while native Antipholus is torn by guilted debt, while Dormio, his man, doth discover foreign Antipholus, bearing much the same likeness. Were not the seats situated in eyeshot distance, the likeness would be uncanny. With no toil in accepting the doubled players' posed, here as foreign Dormio and there as the goldsmith Angelo. So coursely hidden, but only in light garment, uneffacable e'en in the quiet role of native servant, the Shake-scene didst make gold of rusted brass.
Dormio: A man may'st break word w'thine, sire as words are but wind broken t' face so nay cans't break behind.
Dormio: Thou wans't breaking? Out, out, hind!
Dormio: Too much! Too much OUT e'en upon thee that would rather, I pray, let me IN.
Dormio: Ay, when fowls no feathers have and fish 'ave not a fin!
'Twas a romp amidst the jeering grounders, chok'd red with convuls'd laughter. Just so, as the two Dormios were bickering o'er the use of an iron crow to pry their path henceforth, didst a cloak'd vagrant stumble unto the stage, sweltering with heat of lust, emptied of essence, with a pocked hand outstretched under frail cloth, fall'n to his knees, reaching as the weary unto Christ's healing touch. Yea, the stage doors gaped of their accord and with some perfunctory reason made, didst the actors banish themselves to their tiring house where they be kept from the public eye. Therein all the disgus'd nobles crowded exeunt, making flight as a scatter of guards took t' stage, none dare touching this collaps'd churl, lips stain'd sorel with maiden's moon blood, buboes as lively fungus grow over rot flesh. Tho the grounders didst not disperse, seeking recompense for the kerfuffle, wherein their pleasure halved and worry doubled, but not more than their driven denouement demands—ere the scene 'came unfurled with mad bawdry, curséd speech, riotous indignation for which new decrees were issu'd so entail'd: that the public theater be a scab on the health and moral fiber, which doth breed disease as sin, sin as disease, to the dis-ease of clergy and nobility alike, disapprov'd. Such was the cause of closure among the abbey plays, the three door spectacles, and fool's errands for an encroachment on simplicity, where pleasure's nursed, and all the players were exile'd to cite their plots for pastoral bounds, with equal loss in pleasure as in purse.
Round the bonfire sat fair Rose, modest Galinda, wry Wilma, and the newest addition to their troupe, a spritely youth design'd as Wyndolin, whose patient family acquiesced to the lad's chose profession. All but the latter held hempen pipes, tempted to ringlets of smoke, vibrant hues intermingl'd with the blazen hearth.
“Tell me such, dear Wilma,” Rose spake, “is't the blood of sacrament truly possess'd of holy salve, Christ's wounds, and bread made flesh by priestly rites? Or nay, 'tis mere superstition, or some geck's ponder'd potch of Scripture?”
“Ay, ay. 'Tis, say'd Her Leading Lady, good, right, goodly ask'd, so maintain'd in its askance to intellectize itself in thine innards,” Galinda reply'd.
“Goodly asked, fair Rose, indeed. Shoulds't plot the pate of many more feck'd than mineself. 'Twas assured in my very youth, by mine own blood and birth, e'en such mine own father fell'd in protest of the disinter of holy rites, that were oft but all to contemp his martyr'd faith in latin mass, et cetera et cetera. Still, then, ponderously enough, didst I then wonder if the wine were as such transform'd by mere words, and bread made body through breath alone, didst not equate to witch's formulae, or the very alchemists so warn'd 'gainst by Chaucer in the Yeoman's Canon?”
“The skepticism be sacrilege, Wilma!” cry'd Galinda.
“Tho in formative ascent, sacrosanct.”
“Surely, as form gives rise to feature, and time sets counter to decay, dost thou speak of this matter. While no priest attends, and in belief that God rests in no place other than churchyard graves?” Rosie banter'd.
“There among the men? Why, God shoulds't then be likened as thineself, who can delight but in the company of men dead to thine passions.”
“Oh! Mon ami! Petit a petit by me, they love like thine words sting! Affront, annoy, then dissipate to dust, leaving neither trace nor trouble for their pleasure.”
“Blashpemy! Thou silly buckthorn shrub! Truly we can find Almighty Providence in the smallest decaying slug to e'en the inner sanctum of our fond Rosie, being such an opening that Her Majesty's Royal Guard might wander a fortnight, never knowing their place?”
The young Wyndolin guffaw'd, then blush'd as a maiden caught like Artemis in her private grove. Wilma looked on and smiled a sly smile as e'er a feline dids't spy a wounded crackle.
“What, then, Master Wyndolin. Bid you speak on the Soverign alchemy found in the sanctum of this player here? How, like a hookman he trulls through the night in search of partner or pilicock?”
“I know not of the magical conceit thus regarded, I fear, pray tell. By the Rood, 'twas profess'd as I am rightly to believe its legacy, being such.”
“Of the blood or flesh?”
“Ha! Why, by mine own understanding, to each their own salvation.”
“Wisely spoken, though perhaps misplace'd in accuracy. Here, here, by this burning bush coil thine insight to a proffer'd use. If there be such use for thy pluck'd gentility among our banded retinue,” spake Wilma.
“Ah, yes, the cow fatted by flattery never flees,” Rose reply'd,“to pluck thine proffer'd band is a pleasure in sight and bushy burn, thus ordain'd.”
“Vagrant! Twisting mine meaning as such. Why if the—”
“The meaning be as any other, 'twere a right criticism, indeed! But, away, away. We shall find our salvation at a nunnery, be it so, if it rights the left-handed factions of this tarred passion. Away, away! We'll stew our members yet 'fore cockles crow!”
The fire crack'd twixt the players, equanimous as the cock fore mischief dawn lifts its moonbeam a silver crackpot, easing the faded steam.
“'Tis no ease, this herb,” the elder player spake.
“Not for mine fear of you.”
“Not you. No. But loss of you, whose name I hold mine own, and suffer loss mine own.”
“Speak not such discourteous flattery, William. It does you no more honor than advantage.”
“What of it! Mine advantage is not mine own to guile. Verily does every stratagem unknot itself in thine presence, and I dumbly...dumb in tongue find no honorable recourse.”
The young player reply'd, “But in mine eyes, 'twere no consenting course for your passion, which spills over as a badly pour'd mug by an unwatchful innkeep. Now leave the matter, I will to bed, and reflect upon how best to bring our mobléd souls to light. Goodnight, sweet poet.”
“Yes, by your grace and love, belov'd muse.”
Alone the elder player shepherd thought, and grieved denial as any other suff'ring pain, to inward heat. The fire crack'd—his fantasy in twain. Bemoaned usage there beside, contemplating death. His hands trembled with such mire, and seem'd to act of their own accord to draw these words in ink:
His woman's face with mine own hand painted Hast thou, the master-mistress of my passion; A womans gentle heart, though yet acquainted With shifting change as false as woman's fashion; An eye more bright than theirs, less false in rolling, Guilding the object whereupon it gazeth; A man in hue, all hues in his controlling Which steals mens eyes and womens souls amazeth. And for a woman wert thou first created,
Till nature, as she wrought thee, fell a-doting, And by addition me of thee defeated By adding one thing to my purpose—nothing. But since she pickt thee out for womans pleasure, Mine be thy love, and thy loves use their treasure. Hidden with the others, the song would for no more self-reveal. The player stared through moonlit branches, recounted bygone melodrama which moved him not to tears, yet still did they persist as pestilence upon his aching jaw, to drop in darkness.
William Shakespeare walked upon the trail unto his family home as his daughters cried, “Papa! Papa!”
His mistress set washed clothes upon a line and watched in musing dereliction as her husband lifted the babes and spun them in screaming circles. They chased around like rabbits through the grove, and he accentéd a wretched crone's voice which always stirred their childish spleens. The sunlight strayed neath thatched clouds. No news had been set forth of his return, though she had stopped praying for such trifling gestures of fidelity.
“Come in! Come in, girls! You'll ruin your dresses! It's unladylike, thou knowest, to frolic around as wild beasts or Bacchic maidens. You'll leave false impressions on thy maidenhood.”
“Aww, mum. We've no sin committed but 'spressing love of father, who, God as creator, loves love of him that us made,” spake Susana, the eldest.
“And by mine part in thine creation, no paltry ordeal, mark you, wish you'd pay me fraction'd respect, being, if none else, present here from birth to baptism and e'en now, while your Godly creator idles in unscrupulous tavern houses with baser fiends of every sort.”
“So to sooner bring their salvation! Right, father? For it is the fiends—”
“Peace, peace! Susana, listen to thine mother, for she too means only to bring your salvation, having carried you in her womb and spending all day and night with none but love. Now, you and your sister go prepare for dinner. We will follow most expediently.”
The two scurried in the cottage house and began as instructed.
“Now, Anne, whose virtue's only surpassed by beauty. Pray tell, what of Stratford?”
“'Tis no suitable veil thine wears't in truant courtship! Ay, virtue! Ay, beauty! Had I only receiv'd by the Creator a husband whose inner talents, whose taste of beauty, excelled not so his outer virtues. Tho the children, suspicious for ten pence, hear rumors still abound at thine every misdeed, whose numbers breach beyond mine mind's containing! Here the traveler's speak of a fool in maiden's garb who lusts without discrimination for a strumpet. There mine own neighbors hear tell of plagues loosing themselves upon your stage, such that mine worry e'er multiplies ten fold of thine fitness while knowing still thine villainy. Yet still with stupid flattery you say 'Pray tell” and “What of” as tho twere normal to stray like a witches cat while thy children forget thy face and I must bear the burden of husband, father, as well as my dispos'd God-given account, ignoring the mutters from those who harken my necessity a sin, tho it is not my sin I commit, but yours. So I say, all's well! The devil take thee!”
The table thus made, and Pater Noster spake, the Shakespeares sat together to dine with meat and ale, the master of the home enjoying wine brought back from his stay along the road. Susana told of her lessons in reading the Bible, while Judith display'd her stitches sown in the seams of her dress. The playwright needed no put on face to speak his pride in their achievements, how they would make proper virtuous brides, like their mother, whom they must love and obey as tho 'twere his own word. For truly, in marriage, man and women are made one flesh, one blood, and the salvation of one entails the salvation of the other, just as Christ's body was not only human form, but also the enliven'd cast of God the Father. Thus the miracles of fish and loaves, poor Lazarus, e'en the resurrection upon the cross. Susana asked if Christ ne'er once did sin, as was so often recounted by their minister. Nay, nay, for if it were thus committed by the embodiment of God himself, twas no sin, but ordain'd law, and no harm inflicted that were not accounted for in the Almighty's unfathomable universal Plan.
The playwright crept in the room beside, holding his childs cold soup and a glass of his very own wine, to meet his son, who was bedridden for weeks with consumption, and had the countenance of a ghost. The boy had lost all liveliness, was razor thin, and didst look famished with insatiable want. Though he only spake Papa, Papa fore the playwright ask'd him hold his tongue, for he needed much resolve to vex his curséd illness, which ought not be wasted in idle sentiment. There was much of the world that the child must experience, and his father spake of London, the untold masses in their ambivalent thrall, how they gathered to see him perform upon the stage, and what cheer and glee they found in his merry-making. His plays, tho trifles of student imitation, had gathered some success in the common grounds and his poems were well-received of noble minds. The work was at an apex, upon which their futures would easily compile as snow falling from a mountaintop. If only he could gather his strength, and see himself risen, the playwright had no doubt that all would be well.
The very next day William Shakespeare returned to his troupe to continue their tour of the countryside, having been exiled by fear of plague and religious excitation. While in Amesbury the Bard received a letter, which did report his only son, Hamnet, had succumbed to his consumption. Yet still he played, the crowd none the wiser to his misery, and with bountied jest scarce forgot a line. Inwardly the burning heat grew tense. For he knew that of this fate, his lineage was doom'd to discontinue, and wonder'd what devil followed him thus that would, at price of his immortal name, cut the fruit of his loin off at its source. He wept, for what seemed a brief eternity, and wished to write his grief but no words form'd. How stately did the boy look there upon his bed, pale as death is pale, entombed in pitiable phlegm. It was no comfort that he had consoled himself with Titus, whose horrid excess of expression seem'd false for his singularity of expression—weeping, weeping e'en still. That he should rather die than face this grief, or bear his wife's unholy writs upon his character, is no fool's logic. But sin begot by sin is no salvation, and rumor's spread of an untimely ban being lifted, by her majesty's grace. By what price is a man's life paid? The playwright ponder'd this question through his tears until the sun arose with the cock's incessant crowing.