David Swartz "RELIGION WITH AN EDGE"
biblicalfictions.com
Poetry for the Curious across the Religious Spectrum
Matarchy's Lament

  

    dramatic monologue

                                          

 

              ))))))))))))) AS UNEARTHED IN THE FOLGER, AD 2001, AND WITH EDITORIAL INSERTIONS BY E. CLARENCE STEDMAN, PH.D., M.L.S.

                                           

                                          

for William Kempe and J. Hopper

 

 

                     "Here we go again, pearls before swine."

 

                                ))))))))))))) UNKNOWN

 

  

          i

 

SHAKSPER again tonight

Would have his fingers in my buns.  Oh truly?

He'll wait a while

Till this lad's split,

 

[Here the first example, how unfortunately in the beginning stanza, of the emphasis of the entire script on scatological materials, so that the verse, even so prettily turned, though perhaps "fetching many a farthing" in court recital, cannot be countenanced by even the commoner, and wit and skill, though of their own weight, are, in the final assessment (no pun intended), obsessive, monotonous.—ECS]

 

Nay, even wait 10 MONTHS.

And all because they call HIM bard?

Me the chap that grants

A proper twitch to fair Ophelia,

 

Virgin Desdemona just last spring.

Come now, WIL, you own

The lot and bugger Satan's Arschloch

At your leisure.

 

[Again, scatology, even if muted by the German equivalent, which here we translate, ever so reluctantly, as "asshole."—ECS]

 

SOME horse dung this—"Ripeness is all"—

When all you'd need is nod.

"Surprise, surprise"—THIS lad asks

For finer usage.

 

[Again, "dung" an attempt to mute the utter thrust of this "lament" toward faeces and associated (no pun intended) primary and secondary anatomy.—ECS]

 

Would rest alone

And wake to 9 percent.  Nay, 10.

"The whim's the thing"—some 7 inches

Up YOUR under eye.

 

[A most unfortunate choice, this last line, attempting to mask the crudity of "anus" with euphemism—ECS]

 

"Bitchness is all" opines

That even MORELY

Had you.

CHRISTOPHER Morely

 

[Read Marlowe.—ECS]

 

For the jaws that chew.

There was a MAN—

The fellows say

That knew him—

 

To think some Friser stabbed his eye!

Your Kit was BORN

Out of the closet—

Take one good look at EDWARD.

 

["Friser" the murderer of the young Marlowe, "EDWARD" the latter's account of the homosexual king.—ECS]

 

NO sonnets to a priss

HE'd cover up

With manly swagger!

Lord Chamberlain himself and some say JAMES'd

 

Have Wil bend—ah Christ,

You stinking UDDER, Du!

SHAKSPER!

Summers in Stratford, with your family.

 

[The inference is that the Bard of Avon was prey to the obsessive sexual needs of his betters in the Court.—ECS]

 

Sweet Susanna was my lot.

And now John senior with his coat of ARMS?

The day you split

                                   for Kit                            

 

["ARMS" a reference to John, the Bard's father, and his obsessive pursuit of societal rank, finally eased by the award of the C. O. A. by the King.—ECS]

 

A grand northeaster?

Your Anne that's Queen

And how

You teased her.

 

[One is led by the preceding stanzas to an unfortunate speculation as to exactly HOW the first daughter of Shakespeare was Matarchy's "lot," in what degree C. Marlowe had had his WAY with the Bard, and in what manner the playwright's wife was "teased," all incited by the scurrilous content of the earlier versifying.—ECS]

 

          ii

 

Just see it this way—

In 7 years

There's hair on these smooth legs,

The voice has deepened.

 

Scant chance

To make a male

For their known Hamlet.

                                           I'm no hired man,                                   

 

["Hired man" referring to the salaried player, who, unlike the SHARER (the Bard's camp), received no percentage of the take.  There is LIKELY no excrementitious nuance intended.—ECS]

                                                                                                 

FAT chance of that.

This lady's bent

For penury

At just past 21.

 

And who WOULD pay the bills

For some castrato?

Old ram that's in the making?

I'll squeeze the bugger's purse

 

["Castrato," "ram," and "bugger" all with their unfortunate associations (no pun i.).—ECS]

 

Before I spread again

For some

Old FOOL

(MY luck that he's my sharer),

 

["Sharer," again, referring to those who have invested in the play, and therefore are in line for, its profits.—ECS]

 

Till nubile Juliet

Has his eye

Some short season down the street.

God, Wil, your brains

 

Would have

You temperate,

Flesh is weak.

I KNOW the man and know his wife,

 

KNEW KNOWN's clay feet,

The short fat cock

And testicles the more like goose eggs

Than to serve his rutting.

 

[Again, the verses take an unfortunate turn, PENIS, TESTES, COPULATION (nefarious at best) which is worthy only of its likely audience, the "groundling."—ECS]

 

The nights you'd sneak out from

Your second best bed

To Bobbie himself Matarchy,

A clap of bowels.

 

[Highly unfortunate, the "clap" (conjures a wealth of dismal associations—no pun i.) and "bowels"; the story of the "second best bed" is well known.—ECS]

 

In May I'm past 14,

Apprentice to a pedophile,

No matter even Judith or your Hamnet

Now deceased.

 

["Hamnet," twin brother of Judith, met a premature end; his relationship to the Bard's play of a similar appellation is well investigated by a number of scholars and critics, including H. Bloom.  We can adjudge from Matarchy's script and countless other sources that the lot OF the apprentice WAS unfortunate, but that in no way, not even in the historian's wildest fancy, was the Bard a "pedophile."—ECS]

 

And when the times were flush,

My room and board and some odd

Several shillings

For my legal work,

 

[As opposed to WHICH additional employment?—this obvious baiting taken up in the following stanza.—ECS]

 

Let alone the nether parts,

My daily enemas

To ease Wil's passage,

Or all the infants in his trachea.

 

[Here the crude reference to "enemas" and "passage" is married to the less obvious reference to oral sexuality in the final conceit.—ECS]

 

     iii

 

Just where lies

The illness?

That boys are pretty,

Ladies just 9 years,

 

[Here our rhymester seems to beg the question, as if he has intuited our large disgust.—ECS]

 

Disgorged at 21, cast out,

Let alone cast

For the usual caste

Of players.

 

[Does "disgorged" conjure "abortion"?—ECS]

 

You starve on the streets

Then sheets

For simply shillings,

The apprentice lot,

 

["Streets" and "sheets"?  Most unfortunate (see J. Dryden on wit).—ECS]

 

Some wenches just 13

Or even 10,

Nay Macbeth's slut

At 9.

 

[Calls into question the mating habits of Lady Macbeth?—ECS]

 

I've heard it done.

Pretty

For the course of 7 years

And then cashiered

 

To pave the way

For some old Wil's new darling.

And who gets rich

Enough

 

[Not simply the insolence of ascribing pedophilia to the Bard, the author makes him a total wanton toward his unfortunate victims.—ECS]

 

To nurse his wounds?

'Swounds

That old men paddle

In the privates—

 

[The alliteration renders this painful passage even more noxious.—ECS]

 

The lad that shook

Some thousands

With his plainsong

Simply rutted

 

[The juxtaposition of  "plainsong" and "rutted," though likely innocent enough, is most unfortunate.—ECS]

 

Fierce-so and prolonged

He'd hardly hold

It in—his very shit—

Let alone his cherry.

 

[At this point the reader is backing off—how far will this rhymester take us, indeed?  I can assure you, the editor has already had his stomach turned beyond reckoning (I hesitate to even call the slightest notice to the slang term "cherry" and its anatomical implications).—ECS]

 

Cheery?

I can't get furthermore

Explicit

Lest it turn your belly.

 

[We advance beyond horror to monotony, to tedium, as this piece (no pun i.) lumbers on to its dismal climax (no pun i.).  It is almost as if one had discovered an ancient cuniform tablet only to find that it contained a shopping or laundry list.—ECS]

 

Hauled before the Court

To mimic Rosalind

Or LADY MOTHER,

Then rudely forced the very eve

 

["LADY MOTHER" a character from a lesser known play and not a salacious reference, as far as the editor can discern.—ECS]

 

For PROPER shillings

Worth the bother.

That old ghost, goat,

That cocksman, merchant,

 

["Cocksman" a most unfortunate designation for our beloved Bard.—ECS]

 

Sharer, mayor,

Stager, player!

Have Bobbie squeal?

Some thrill!

 

["Squeal," "thrill," both most unfortunate, an ungainly impudent immorality at work here.—ECS]

 

To be his Tatiana

For some hours

On the boards,

The darker service

 

On toward morning,

A tupped Puck.

Scant luck.

Helena

 

To some Lysander,

Some dark angelic shrew,

Katharina screwed

For a Veronese SLY FUCK!

 

["Darker service," "tupped Puck," "screwed," "FUCK"—all to conjure a host of distinctly unpleasant associations (n.p.i.) among the more pleasant references to MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM and THE TAMING OF THE SHREW.—ECS]

 

     iv

 

Oh, that the Revels

Master'd snare him

Drooling at a young lad's

Bum.

 

[The notion itself appalls, that such an august personage of the times would catch our beloved Bard in so compromising a position.  This passage bears, in reality, no speaking on.—ECS]

 

They'd have him

Soon enough,

SHAKSPER on the rack

Like Morely's roommate.

 

[In prelude to Marlowe's death, the impious manuscript in question, the source of which, in that famous interrogation, ascribed to C. M. by the tortured individual (roommate) himself.—ECS]

 

Just mark the way

He struts—

You'd think him royal blood

If not your usual gentle genteel gentile

 

Gentleman.  Trash!

Nothing more no matter.

Even that barn, that castle-yours

In Stratford

 

Can't gild your turds.

Better eyes on his own act

Than pompous,

God yes, preener.

 

[Again, the incessant references to faeces.  This is becoming, to coin a usual phrase, like "fingers over a chalkboard" (if not IN one).—ECS]

 

Obscene old man-manner,

Bag of scum,

Rank hussy,

Putrid, fussy.

 

[All appellations most reprehensible.—ECS]

 

God's wound,

They'd knight such filibuster

In the lavish living end.

This world's awry,

 

That wordy worldly

Primping puss

Of common lot

The worst'd have mere ruffian.

 

["Primping puss," "filibuster," "ruffian"—Matarchy does himself no service here or elsewhere.—ECS]

 

God knows he may have sucked off Raleigh,

To coin a story, money on the line for

Beaumont,

Fletcher.

 

[So reprehensible, so blatantly profane, so CRUDE!—ECS]

 

So rampant that the time

Sufficed from thieving

Plots

From such good men or others.

 

[How far will the young man sink?—ECS]

 

Sly prig to root my bowels

Or simply sniff

Or jerk off steaming at the brain

With a simple doublet.

 

[We derive immediately, sodomy, masturbation—nothing is sacred.—ECS]

 

Playwright?  The man's

A focus on

Hell's codpiece.

Scarfed up the ancients' efforts,

 

[The abhorrent notion that the greatest dramatist of our Western civilization, had his focus on the covering of a man's genitals—we cease to be startled from this point forward.—ECS]

 

Spit out LEAR, OTHELLO.

Not your usual run

Of Cambridge cheat

To dangle in the pubic,

 

[Certainly with "pubic" a reference to the groundling.  Nevertheless, unfortunate.—ECS]

 

Public eye, RATHER the leavings

Of a grammar school-marm-priss

That sniffed

The Court.

 

["Sniffed"—and in what manner, or which of the anatomy?  DIS-gusting!—ECS]

 

Can't but hurt to have him

Pocket a young boy's fees

And line his pockets

Pence by pence

 

By shilling like the Jew

Old Morely foisted on our LIZ

(Wil's Merchant).

Here's your pound,

 

[Obscure comparison of the Bard's Merchant to his Queen only a surface association (no pun i.).—ECS]

 

An ounce or two, I have it hot and ready—

Open up, it's gold

For sticky

Fingers.

 

[The "pound of flesh" becomes Matarchy's modest (I blush) erection.—ECS]

 

SHAKSPER!  SHAKSPER!

Are you listening?

Then bend a while those rusty HINGES,

Just to KISS my rosy ass

 

Come, lick the juncture.

It's there—a large brown pearl

Smooth as your middle finger.

That's it.  Kiss it!

 

[As editor, I find this too too blatant and must remark that monotony has broken (or dampened?) the floodgates.  No matter how graphic or clever, faeces remains faeces, scatology scatology.—ECS]

 

Sweet Christ can well assess

You'd finally miss it!

My LUCK they'll print you into martyrdom

For all your betters.

 

My luck you'll

Die to see them all

Declared

Your debtors.

 

[Which has, of course, occurred, but from no more than the Bard's obvious superiority even to C. M.—ECS]

 

     v    

 

There was a lovelier time,

I just 12

And tasting garlic on his

Exhalation,

 

[Here is an attempt, albeit short-lived and misguided, at the lyrical.—ECS]

 

While he reached

Down for a ducat

Worth of flesh,

The nub I cast of my boyhood.

 

["Nub" here and elsewhere referring to the modesty of the author's manly equipment.—ECS]

 

And bent me

On the cot

Behind his servants' quarters.

Had his first way.

 

[The supposed first seduction by the Bard, all couched in euphemism.  There is a profanity to the subject that resists all efforts toward lyricism, however well-intentioned.—ECS]

 

Again I mention, I just 12

And he some 43.

Feeling him enter

On his spittle.

 

[The author spares us not a solitary repugnant detail.—ECS]

 

Chubby red heat tine

Forked several inches

Toward hot pain

And tingle.

 

[This does not simply represent a fascination with all the grim details of bodily functions; there is in fact a perverse delight, it seems, in airing them, the purpose served uncertain.—ECS]

 

Knowing that I'd live

To be his pet.

Yet time wore on

And unfamiliar paths were ploughed

 

["Ploughed' the common euphemism for the sexually violated (re, the farmer tilling his soil).—ECS]

 

To sameness,

Tickle,

And I more bitch

Than puta.

 

["Puta" referring (if memory serves us) to the infant prostitutes of Renaissance Italy.—ECS]

 

His 5 foot doll

Of misbegotten breeding,

Brooding over the jabs, the hurts,

The service with a smile.

 

["Jabs," "hurts," "service," charged words upon whose interpretation one pursues at risk to the basic healthy sensibility; "service with a smile" a play on a common expression even in our present era.—ECS]

 

In just 2 years, some 15 months,

To conjure all

That might have been

Had I been,

 

Let us say, his proper ward, a son,

A daughter.

For every rush athwart my spine

Some fearful rash and itch.

 

[After six short fairly innocent lines, the poet descends to anatomical difficulties better left in limbo.—ECS]

 

Tedium converting

Into pain,

An ache I live with waking hours,

Negotiate in sleep and hard awakening.

 

[More of the same, though here Matarchy (a pseudonym?) appears to beg sympathy.—ECS]

 

Nights I've slept at all

And now alone,

Wil to his hapless Anne-ful bed

And I to dread

 

[Again the reference to the bed of the Bard's last will and testament; does Matarchy wish his audience to contemplate further upon "hapless" Anne's supposed shortcomings as lover?—ECS]

 

His prepossessing return.

There are many ways to burn.

His lob, his worm,

Teeth on my nub—aye, there's the nibble!

 

[The reference to Hamlet's "Aye, there's the rub," while mildly amusing, does little to dispel, in fact, augments the unfortunate crudity engendered by "lob" and "worm," obvious reference to the Bard's genitalia.—ECS]

 

       vi

 

Those eves I pumped Susanna

In the cheeks—

She wouldn't have me

Forward—

 

[The pun on "Forward" has small leverage on the utter tedium of this and the following stanzas and their anal fixation.—ECS]

 

Just some doors down

From Queen WIL's

Zimmer.

Far more than once

 

[Here the Bard becomes (in homoerotic parlance) the "Queen."  Incidentally, to force a rhyme, the author resorts to the Germanic "Zimmer" for the English "room."—ECS]

 

I made her simmer

For my hook

And barbed her in the AM

With a sly look.

 

["Hook" a peculiar euphemistic conceit for the male organ of generation, likely a convenient rhyme for the anticipated "look."—ECS]

 

So many PM's, BM

Squeezed the lass

And I a decade junior.

 Dear Christos,

 

[Were it not enough in the realm of scatology, we have B (Bobbie) M (Matarchy), and then the unfortunate repetition of referent, the Christian Saviour.—ECS]

 

How SHE squealed.

They say she's still fit virgin

For HER better's

Urging.

 

[The implication (I blush with shame) that the anal passage was chosen to preserve the first born's virginity.—ECS]

 

Just a fondle of the door

And

Stepping

In to heated kisses.

 

["Fondling" a "door"???—.ECS]

 

Late at the Master's

Table,

Being fitly plowed

And able.

 

[Here as well as elsewhere, the play on "Abel"—ECS]

 

His very progeny,

Fully attested

By a scented handkerchief

I swiped and wiped

 

For some Iago,

Replete with crimson faeces.

God, that whole brood bred

For humping,

 

["Crimson faeces," "swiped and wiped," "bred for humping," all ample evidence that the rhymester has descended into the very pit of scatology; the poem takes a turn for the very worst; we are appalled.—ECS]

 

Some odd species!

'D have it out right now

From my bedside

Locker to attest

 

[Insists he keeps the egregiously soiled cloth in his footlocker; we are nearing the limit of healthy disgust.—ECS]

 

I had her tupped.

Nudge me far enough

I'll drop it in his wardrobe

With the silks.

 

[MOST unfortunate.—ECS]

 

Take this in remembrance

Of me!

This she's a HE!

Old Wil, I've buggered awesome

 

[The author refers, in a burst of horrible sacrilege, to the Last Supper, juxtaposing the Christ's own words to "I've buggered awesome."—ECS]

 

Prowess in MY time

And would prejudge your

Sublime fit

To sniff Susanna's shit.

 

[Implications for the Bard's diminished dignity even more frightening and abhorrent.—ECS]

 

Here have me prodigal,

Your fit SON—

The nether aperture simply conjugal

With a daughter's bum.

 

[Witness the double edge to his euphemistic forays, "nether aperture," "conjugal," "bum."—ECS]

 

     vii

 

What's that, you say?

Hell yes, he wrote it all,

At least the greater portion.

Small debt to Raleigh,

 

[At long last the author leaves off the incessant anal fixation and informs us of what we have most hoped  for, an insight from this yellowed document into the life of our beloved Bard; however, as we shall soon see, no irreverence is spared.—ECS]

 

Webster.  Just that most folks

Think him out

To pasture.

Up wee hours

 

[For "out to pasture" read "senile"?—ECS]

 

Between his carnal shifts,

And by 7

Shows with inkblots on his apron, vest,

Quills, bottles, blunted, shavings,

 

[With "carnal shifts" the author has strayed little from the path; the balance is an attempt to ascribe dotage to the Master.—ECS]

 

All in a pot, his hands, his chest,

Elbows black

With Edmund's ravings.

I SEE it!

 

The thing is NEVER

In HIS conversation

Beyond some impious joke

He always finds

 

More sequent than the rest.

I attest

To a man more taken

With your usual blessings

 

Than the tragic.

'Swounds, it's fairly much

Like magic.

The stacks on his table

 

[We welcome the shift in focus, only to brave the assault in the following line.—ECS]

 

And only YOUR own piles

To trace his path,

Assess him Cain or Abel.

They'll bury the least of him.

 

[The very profound and lovely "they'll bury the least of him" spoiled by the pun on "piles" and the hackneyed "Cain or Abel."—ECS]

 

What is his speech?

Small sum.

Long on puns

When fancied,

 

Short and dyspeptic,

Mild, ribald,

Meek, aphasic.

For all intents, a sharp senility that crackles

 

When you have him

Cornered.

Hornied for certain

In the means of acting out,

 

[The majority of this is even acceptable, till one comes on the coinage, "hornied."—ECS]

 

At TIMES, devout.

Serviced lads

But far less lasses,

Tighter than a constipated ass is.

 

[Infuriating, the manner in which Matarchy reverts to his fixation on simply the underside of the anatomy, and, in effect, all human affairs, moving abruptly from "devout" to "serviced" to (I blush) "constipated ass."—ECS]

 

JAM an ape's hind end to a scholar's

Dotage,

A hint more Greek than Latin—

By way of lust or lineage—

 

[The notion that the Bard is a combination of a monkey's rump and the "dotage" of a "scholar," this combined with the ill-conceived reference to habits "Greek" (are we meant to conjure THE SYMPOSIUM?) is less outrageous than simply deadening after all this incessant anal folderol.—ECS]

 

There you have him.

More for ditty than for matin.

Careless of collar,

Beads or garters,

 

Alert to more vivid vibrations

Than a widow's ardors—

The latter matter he'd take as challenge

More than borders.

 

[In isolation, this passage could almost be taken as wit.—ECS]

 

Fantastical,

A-grammatical—

Your usual flunkey'd clear that up.

Known to sup a flagon

 

[The clichéd reference to the Bard's supposed lack of education—is he playing to the distant future's sentiments?—ECS]

 

Of his gamester's urine,

To most past laughter foreign,

Pockets deep but sewn,

Quick to own a profit,

 

["Urine"?  This goes far, too far.  And in the next breath parsimony?  Far, too far.—ECS]

 

Less a loss,

Sensitive to no mean degree the cost.

You've had enough of WIL?

I've had MY fill.

 

Suffice it last the man is past

The ordinary run

Of vices.

Provoked by heat itself and where the ice is.

 

[Again, in isolation, nearly wit—witness the double rhyme ("vices" and "ice is").—ECS]

 

     viii

 

FATHER John was

The total ticket.

Sorry screw'd  have

A VIRGIN's infant wicked.

 

[The all too direct reference to the Blessed Virgin and her son is appalling.—ECS]

 

Second day in Wil's keep,

Begs my underwear.

To jam in his doublet,

Sniff on fond

 

Occasions,

Simply a prelude to his

Other persuasions.  OH yes,

CODPIECE seldom

 

Buttoned,

Feeling me up on wine or mutton,

Thumbs in his crack,

Seldom asleep,

 

[The notion that Shakespeare's revered father would carry about underclothing from a young lad to sniff surreptitiously on "fond occasions" is almost too much to bear, that his "CODPIECE" was "seldom buttoned," that he molested the lad Matarchy, that he went about with "Thumbs in his crack," all this outrage and impiety coming on top of each other, is utterly indefensible, no matter what liberties might be granted the Muse and her wandering eye.—ECS]

 

Poised

For a palsied attack,

Short cakes (bribes) when no one's

Looking, shooing the flies,

 

Incorrigible ancient

Trying THEM on for size,

Meister MATARTHI THITH,

Meister MATARTHI THAT,

 

Groping my wiggle, fondling my fat,

Stiff as a poniard,

Lisping old buzzard,

Dirty fingers

 

In a small lad's

Custard.

The very WHIFF of youth

Would set him on,

 

[To top, or "under" it off, father John has a lisp, is attracted even to insects, sniffs about for the "very WHIFF of youth"; this IS "gone, far gone" (a dig at Polonius).—ECS]

 

Old soul, 

Sampling the private collection,

Gone, far gone.

Till WHEN, improbably,

 

Touted his heritage,

All immanent titles, lineage,

Prince or Lord Chamberlain deigning

Us sniff his toes,

 

Adjusting his scabrous hose,

Sacral, BLESSED

The lowest trough where JOHN had

Pissed.

 

[A rather conventional emphasis on the part of the elder Shakespeare regarding his "heritage" is, again, made the butt of the author's humor, which descends to sacrilege, the closing notion of the final quoted stanza.—ECS]

 

And THAT's enough

Bother

With Wil's fond father's

Groping, all

 

Eyes on the Revels Director,

Mad Rector,

Corrector,

Of the rectal Sector.

 

[Even word play at this level cannot relieve the utter tedium and monotony of the principal thrust (n. p. i.) of this verse.—ECS]

 

     ix

 

Judith ROUNDED

Out the household

(I purge Queen Anne),

Full daft

 

[Judith herself is not spared (Matarchy has her obese).—ECS]

 

The former, bound for

Assyrian vintner,

No favorite

In her favored fashion,

 

[A reference to Holofernes and to the man Judith wedded at the advanced age (for Shakespeare's era) of 31.—ECS]

 

Some stone heavy

In the neck

And hams,

Slitted vision

 

Like a wary sow,

Sower of platitudes

That served

Wil's scribbling ends.

 

(Polonius was a sharpy

Weighed against her,

Clever.)

The LASS HAD WEIGHT.

 

In all but wit.

Strangely preoccupied

With her father's shit

She emptied regular

 

[Just when we feel he has altered his focus (to Judith's supposedly comic obesity), back comes the scatology in full force, a most reprehensible insinuation of the young lady's obsession with her father (the great Bard)'s faecal matter, which she stores under her bed and, as we find in the following stanzas, intends to paint golden upon his demise, the purpose of which "daubing" remains unclear.—ECS]

 

In jars beneath her bed.

Said he'd soon be dead.

Keepsakes

From the jakes

 

She'd sniff at leisure,

Scarcely concealing

Her pleasure—

Beholden

 

To daub them golden

When the last breath

Drew,

At times the sorry SHREW,

 

[Note the unfortunate juxtaposition of "sniff" and "breath."—ECS]

 

But known to count her

Blessings,

Brood of the Bard's

Assessings,

 

Twin Hamnet foisted off

The planet

Prematurely with a rheum,

Stark doom behind her

 

As a wistful reminder

All mortals

Harbor,

The very living end,

 

For none but Wil

True friend.

The Bard would take

It harder departure,

 

However, Susan, not his Judith,

Latter too mindful

Of turd

And larder,

 

[Just when our hopes are engendered for a change of focus, we return to the "back side" of Matarchy's fancy.—ECS]

 

Lardly lady, smug tub

With a sly grin.

Gladder bladder, Judith,

Affixed to next of kin.

 

["Gladder bladder"?  A reference to incontinence?—ECS]

 

     x

 

THERE's the numb chum,

Old poacher

(In my mind's eye),

Paddling his way

 

Through the pantry,

Fingers in

Gladys's bosom, neck,

Fat old prick

 

[We return, however irreverently, to the habits of the great Bard himself, that "fat old prick," that "numb chum," that "old poacher."—ECS]

 

Stiff as a tine,

Scented with nicotine,

Semen,

A touch of the latter

 

[Not only does our honored Bard walk about with an erection; he is "scented with nicotine" and "semen," the latter (we discover) from his sexual proclivities.—ECS]

 

From some pederast-ial

Matter,

Leer for the cook,

Who'd let him have his way

 

Were Wil in the market

For making.

Stuffs the coming supper

In his craw,

 

Negotiates a final glance,

                                            Withdraws                                      

To his study,

Somewhat unsteady,

 

Harnesses spent energy

For the collective

Menagerie,

Opens a gilded book,

 

To the middling Biblical

Plate,

Some ecclesiastical

Celebration,

 

Or other sensation,

Graphic,

Mildly pornographic,

Rank toes protruding

 

[The Bard amuses (or titillates?) himself with graphics he finds in an illustrated Bible?  Cannot afford stockings?—ECS]

 

Where boots have been,

More gaunt

Than thin,

Sated with sin,

 

The only jelly in his

Largely protuberant

Belly—

Broader than his hips

 

(The belt slips).

Breeches bag to near

His knees.

Above that it's a squeeze,

 

His common complaint—

Always between notches,

Even where the crotch is.

Surly old queen

 

[This, again, would approach wit, were it not for the feminine rhyme words chosen for "notches."—ECS]

 

Leafs to another plate,

The great Flood

And two of every kind

Still dry and comfy, camel

 

[A disturbing take on Noah's Ark.—ECS]

 

And hump-free, even insects. 

Dissects the flick

Of a maid's departing

Rump,

 

Rhenish from Rhineland,

A-space on the leather

Divan.

Sweetly, it is, God's plan.

 

THIS punk remembers,

Conjures, imagines,

SHAKSPER at leisure,

Will Wil die of a seizure?

 

SOMEWHERE in his cups,

When what

He deigns as downs

Is finally UPS.

   

[Oddly enough, the author of this treatise anticipates the current existence of a United Parcel SERVICE.—ECS]

 

     xi

 

All right, you still have to hear it?

Anne, the queen's Queen,

How I steer it?

TAKEN with Wil, I fear,

 

[The use of the two "queens" and its irreverence not to be missed.—ECS]

 

To no great assessment,

Lover of laughter,

More

What a dress meant.

 

Plain as a horse's ass

But lofty in her carnal approach,

Banal

As your average roach,

 

[Again, "ass."  Will the litany never cease?—ECS]

 

Airs to boot,

Little taken by the middle

Fruit.

Frigid to suit,

 

["Middle fruit"—euphemistic and cunning when taken in isolation, but together with the rest a tedious nuisance.—ECS]

 

Hapless in homing,

Dull as a toad,

Squat in the center

Road,

 

Small grace under pressure,

Or even leisure,

The usual her pleasure,

The commoner glitter her

 

Treasure—

Some stone too fat

In the brain

Mildly insane,

 

Hated your Bob in the balance,

Airs,

Simply airs were her valence.

Ignorant of rutting

 

[Perhaps to give credence to the rest of his tale, the author has his Anne, though homely, obese, and stupid, quite unapprised of the intricacies of her peers' incessant "rutting."—ECS]

 

As pairs.

Self much involved but far number,

Seldom in mood

For the plumber,

 

["Plumber"?  Does he mean what we think?—ECS]

 

Earned not her keep,

More her Wil's dread,

Fitting her second best bed,

Lulled into sleep,

 

Mindless as porridge

Left over,

Steep for a lover.

Fur on a stoat,

 

[Somewhat obscure, this reference—does the author mean to say that the Bard's Anne is just that common (as fur on a stoat)?—ECS]

 

Alert as a goat,

Lard in her throat, miser by rote,

Scarcely afloat,

Helpless as maiden to aid'm.

 

[To top things off, the great playwright's wife DESERVES her "second best bed."—ECS]

 

    xii    

 

I KNOW these days 'tis common

Be apprenticed

Unto Mammon,

To eye one's earnings

 

Bulging the large man's purse or purser.

'Tis the curse

Of the times

That beauty's slave

 

To age.

I'd urge my lady friends

To hold out

For their shillings,

 

To ask for equal

Billings.

Such sublime tricks

Of recall and elocution,

 

Let alone a twinkling

Eye or dimple, sorely

Prized

By your rough groundling,

 

Should not engender

Foundling.

Alas, such jealousies

Erupted have disrupted

 

Any sensible

Solution.  The average

Complaint

Is lucre,

 

And just behind,

Hind quarters,

Whether Arsch or garters,

The kind

 

[The focus, despite "hind quarters" and "Arsch," has (to our gratification and amazement) momentarily shifted.—ECS]

 

Of sordid matters

Makes a mockery

Of THEIR prize

Young ratters.

 

And the sum, alas the best,

Are cashiered

When the voice deepens

And the chin

 

Sprouts whiskers.

Not for collusion

These mild

Tricksters,

 

More to spread

That simple buggery

Might net the LARGER fish

Than sculling Cleopatras.

 

[But shifts again (unfortunately, for poem and audience).—ECS]

 

And so, reduced

To poverty,

Departs at 20, 21,

As impecunious as your fabled Claudius,

 

With a rapier

Up his derriere.

And old Queens flourish

While their betters

 

[Again, wit is peripheral, small matter how well conceived his "rapier" conceit, and the author hammers again with "Queens."—ECS]

 

Simply nourish

Crowd and court.

In short, no known redress

For folks that mask

 

Their privates

With a gown, a dress,

Grown rancorous

But largely impotent,

 

De-balled by Hamlet's adage,

"The Play's the Thing . . . "

I fear that even a queer

Steer

 

["De-balled," "queer steer," certainly not needed this late in the game.—ECS]

 

Like your odd SHAKSPER's

No exception

To the rule, in cups

Or simply senile,

 

And give IT ever more the norm

Than some odd instance.

We get it up for meat.

Small edge

 

[Asserting (n. p. i.) that pederasty and pedophilia are not confined to the Bard-Matarchy relationship, but in fact rampant.—ECS]

 

OUR erection.

WIL, WEBSTER, Fletcher?

They know their slut

And how to FETCH her.

 

     xiii

 

Fetch THIS!

The oddest hypocrisy

Is the purity

Your coming millennium

 

Will lavish

On these makers,

These fakirs,

That something

 

So common,

So gruesomely regular,

Such buggery

Of those with no recourse

 

But penury

To fend off venery,

That you'd PRAISE their banality,

Eschewing e'en DAME

 

[The same unfortunate theme, but couched softly, even morosely, and prefigures the final stanzas.—ECS]

 

Immortality.  I've said my piece,

Just STOP!

Say what?  That the usual run of these old

Gamesters,

 

And Wil no real exception,

Did their best to bend

Their gift

To suit the times,

 

These venal peers, their rhymes,

Masters of the Royal Game of Bears,

Lining their pockets.

That SCENT is wrong,

 

Their airs, from old to older,

Kyd to Dekker,

Cashiered their very kin

For Fortune's specter,

 

Any odd shillings

In their breeches,

Their art as certain as their leeches,

That flies'd

 

Be apprized,

And even teach us,

That Greene or Beeston,

Some 8 or 10, 11

 

Pawing the Royal coven,

'D whore a SUBTLE talent

Even,

Sing in coarsest measures,

 

Pouring out their treasures

For dullest lechery,

The lot a bitchery—

Without a stitch were we!

 

And looking back, the waste, the waste,

That something great

Is seldom chaste,

That Wil is merely

 

What the times

Could manage, that blunt savage,

The times, the times,

The best of garbage,

 

Hemings, Condell, Burbage,

What they tupped.

Lucre, lucre, how

Common down were upped.

 

     xiv

 

How serious I've become.

As if tragedy

Could swell

From humor.

 

And yet my jokes

Are bitter to a taste.

My haste

Has turned me crooked.

 

Where will THEIR masters

Have me,

Bobby, the lass, with FATHER

John

 

To book it?

I'd hold a candle

To a conflagration,

Would, shadowed by the lot,

 

Burn

One hot spot

In the total cerebration.

From heat TO chill,

 

My laughter's ill,

My mind not well,

My brain a soup.

If soul could kill!

 

Where are you going, Miss

Iago?

What would you offer

Lear?

 

My lot has been

The ladies

In their lives.

ONLY the print survives.

 

My terrible oblivion

An option the going surgeon

Would deem fit.

Small

 

Dark

Fleck

Of

Shit.

 

[With the very small, niggardly exception of this last word (line), the tone has utterly altered, and some REAL poetry nearly shows face (and not its posterior).  The final stanza, the one to follow, is almost wistful, certainly wishing for better than the author (with his anal strategies) has promulgated.—ECS]

 

An ideological

Punctuation.

To suit the occasion.  Now

I quit.

 

 

         [Here the manuscript ends.—ECS]

 

                       1608 (circa)

 

 

AN ADDITIONAL NOTE FROM THE STAFF OF THE FOLGER LIBRARY:

 

       The editor and discoverer of this interesting, albeit profane, document, Edmund Clarence Stedman, has assured us that no liberties were taken with the text other than minor alterations of spelling, usage, and punctuation.  The flavor (however unfortunate) of the original was given its full force.  He apologizes for having brought so much fuss and (in the final analysis) so little substance to the public's attention.

 

                 March 27, 2001