09w05:1 Shakespeare's Blog Part VI

by timothy. 0 Comments

January 27th

It was yesterday and I have scarce breath to write. Liveried barges to Greenwich and then the great roaring fires and braziers against the bright thin cold as we deck ourselves, wine too and ale and chines and boarheads and a tumbling profusion of kickshawses, then we gasp in to the Great Hall, the Queen chewing on broken teeth in her magnificence, gold throne, bare diamond-winking bosoms glowing in the heat of logs and seacoal, laughing lords and tittering ladies and the Queen’s bead-eyes on my lord E, amethysts bloodstones carbuncles flashing fingers jewelled swordhilts the clothofgold bride and silken yawning groom. And so, amid coughs, to our play, Will Ostler trembling and forgetting his lines and finger-clicking for bookholder to prompt but all else going well save for Kemp, impromptu King, who got not so much laughter as he thought his due and chided audience for this. Later almost to blows with Kemp, but he has a share and I am but a poet. So home in dead weariness (torchlight on the river as though the river burned). But in my cold chamber I am dragged wide awake by letter on table with H’s seal. It is to be done. I am to have my share. In fever of delight and gratitude. So I go today to her house, clear flashing winter sunlight making a world all of tinkling money, and I am admitted at once, for all must go well for me now. I have a gift for her if she will accept it, it is no more than a dish of candy from the Court, but it is from the Court the Court, mark that, madam. Aye, my play was done before the Queen’s majesty at Greenwich. Before the Queen? Aye, that. And what did she wear and what noble lords and ladies were there and tell me all all all. And so I told her all.

(Anthony Burgess, Nothing Like The Sun, p. 147-48)

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