09w01:1 Shakespeare's Blog I

by timothy. 0 Comments

January 4th

Madness madness all madness. After H departed there comes Dick Burbage all hotfoot and sweating spite of the bitter cold with loud news that the Men are commanded to play at the wedding of the Earl of Derby and H’s cast-off Lady Liza. Things so coincidentally chiming ring like matter of a comedy, yet life is so, often grossly so, so that a playmaker feels himself to be a better contriver than God or Fate or who runs the mad world. The madness is in the brevity of the time. At the Court of Greenwich but three weeks from now. Well, let us lie back on the bed unmade for more to coincide, for H knocked books from my shelf and one was Chaucer that opened at the duc that highte Theseus and weddede the Queen Ypolita, and the other was this fire-new marriage-song of Edm. Spense with his

Ne let the Pouke, nor other evill spirghtes,
Ne let mischievous witches with their charmes,
Ne let hob Goblins, names whose sence we see not,
Fray us with things that be not

And so I lay on my back a space and watched the fire sink to all glowing caverns and it was like a dance of fieries, I would say fairies. And then came the name Bottom, which will do for a take-off of Ned Alleyn, so that I laughed. Snow falling as I sat to work (I cannot have Plautus twins for most will have seen C of E but I can have the Pouke or Puck confound poor lovers) and the bellman stamped his feet and cursed, blowing on his fingers. Yet with my fire made up I sweated as mid-summer, and lo I got my title.

(Anthony Burgess, Nothing Like The Sun, p. 144)

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