Soliloquy For Two

by Roderick T. Long


[written around 34, or 1998-ish, in Chapel Hill NC or Auburn AL, with some slight assistance by William Shakespeare.]



All the world’s a stage,
and all the men and women merely players,
or may we dare to cram within this wooden O
the very casques that did affright the air at Agincourt?
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more!
To be or not to be – aye, there’s the rub!
There is a tide in the affairs of men
which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune,
winding up days with toil and nights with sleep,
perchance to dream – we are such stuff as dreams are made on
and our little life is rounded with a sleep.
Now is the winter of our discontent
made glorious summer by this son of York;
all this divided York and Lancaster
by God’s fair ordinance join together!
To the marriage of true minds let none admit impediments:
we will unite the White Rose and the Red.
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
by any other name would smell as sweet.
If music be the food of love, play on!
But soft – what light from yonder window breaks?
Alack, alack, what blood is this, which stains
the stony entrance of this sepulcher?
O horror, horror, horror! Tongue nor heart
cannot conceive nor name thee.
Howl, howl, howl, howl! Oh, you are men of stone,
you blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things –
lend me your ears! Had I your tongues and eyes
I’d use them so that heaven’s vault should crack
and, like this insubstantial pageant faded,

leave not a rack behind.
Oh, what a rogue and peasant slave am I,
deform’d, unfinish’d, sent before my time

and have not those soft parts of conversation that chamberers have,
being from my mother’s womb untimely ripp’d.
If you prick us, do we not bleed?
O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts
and men have lost their reason. Cry havoc!
and let slip the dogs of war.
When shall we three meet again?
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
creeps in this petty pace from day to day
and makes us rather bear those ills we have
than fly to others that we know not of.
Four days will quickly steep themselves in night;
four nights will quickly dream away the time;
so let it be with Caesar – for within the hollow crown
that rounds the mortal temples of a king
keeps Death his court. How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
seem to me now all the uses of this world
when one might his quietus make with a bare bodkin.
Is this a dagger that I see before me,
its handle toward my hand? Come, blade, my breast imbrue,
and farewell friends, thus Thisby ends,
adieu! adieu! adieu!

     [exit pursued by a bear]




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