Master Shaxpere, in divers parodies withal

April 24, 2012 at 9:19 am (literature, Rosie B)

Miller:     Get thee to Gloucester, Essex. Do thee to Wessex, Exeter.
Fair Albany to Somerset must eke his route.
And Scroop, do you to Westmoreland, where shall bold York
Enrouted now for Lancaster, with forces of our Uncle Rutland,
Enjoin his standard with sweet Norfolk’s host.
Fair Sussex, get thee to Warwicksbourne,
And there, with frowning purpose, tell our plan
To Bedford’s tilted ear, that he shall press
With most insensate speed
And join his warlike effort to bold Dorset’s side.
I most royally shall now to bed,
To sleep off all the nonsense I’ve just said.


They exit. Re-enter all four as rustics.   

Miller: Is it all botched up, then, Master Puke?
Bennett:  Aye, and marry is, good Master Snot.
Moore: ‘Tis said our Master, the Duke, hath contrived some naughtiness against his son, the King.
Cook:  Aye, and it doth confound our merrymaking.
Miller: What say you, Master Puke? I am for Lancaster, and that’s to say for good shoe leather.
Cook:  Come speak, good Master Puke, or hath the leather blocked up thy tongue?
Moore:  Why then go trippingly upon thy laces, good Grit.
Cook:  Art leather laces thy undoing?
Moore:  They shall undo many a fair boot this day.
All:  Come, let’s to our rural revel and with our song enchant our King.


Enter Cook and Miller, with swords.

Miller:     Why then was this encounter nobly entertained
And so by steel shall this our contest be buckled up.
Come, sir. Let’s to it.
Cook:   Let’s to it.
Good steel, thou shalt thyself in himself embowel.
Miller:  Come, sir. (They fight)
Ah ha, a hit!
Cook:  No, sir, no hit, a miss! Come, sir, art foppish i’ the mouth.

They fight again. Cook ‘hits’ Miller.

Miller:  Oh, God, fair cousin, thou hast done me wrong. (He dies)
Now is steel twixt gut and bladder interposed.
Cook:  Oh, saucy Worcester, dost thou lie so still?

Enter Bennett

Bennett:     Now hath mortality her tithe collected
And sovereign Albany to the worms his corpse committed.
Yet weep we not; this fustian life is short,
Let’s on to Pontefract to sanctify our court.


  1. Innocent Abroad said,

    Often imitated, never equalled. Many thanks, Rosie.

  2. Geoff Collier said,

    This blog hasn’t been as interesting as normal recently. Here’s something to get you all going

  3. modernity's ghost said,

    On the contrary, it has been fine without the monomania that normally goes on.

    btw, how many other countries do you think there are in the Middle East?

  4. Jim Denham said,

    Geoff: I read that article this morning and it immediately occured to me that, once again, the Graun has rushed enthusiatically forward to pronounce the last rites over the two-state “solution” (inverted commas because revolutionary socialist advocates of two states do not, in fact, consider it to be a “solution”.)

    However, if you read Harriet Sherwood’s article, it becomes clear that the headline (“Oslo accord architects say two-state solution cannot bring peace”) is thoroughly misleading.

    For a start, one of the two “architects,” Yossi Breilin has clearly *not* given up on two states. The article says:

    “Despite Breilin’s dismay at the outcome of Oslo, he insisted the two-state solution was ‘in trouble but not dead’. A one-state outcome ‘means a Jewish minority dominating a Palestinian majority in a few years from now, and this is something that neither Israelis and for sure not the world will accept’. He added: ‘Or is it possible to have one state in which a Palestinian will be the prime minister or president? No, Israelis will not accept that.'”

    In that last sentence he’s clearly talking about the binational “solution” by the way.

    Perhaps even more intersting are the comments attributed by Sherwood the other “architect”, the Palestinian Ahmed Qurei, who is certainly keener to write off two states (as “defunct”) and, according to Sherwood, says (though this does not appear to be a direct quote) “the option of a single democratic state for both Israelis and Palestinians must now be considered.”

    Again, according to Sherwood (but not a direct quote), “Both men reflect a view held by many: that the window of opportunity to create a Palestinian state has closed or is about to close. The alternatives to two states, they say, are a continuation and entrenchment of the status quo, or one state that denies equality to a large, rapidly growing minority, or one binational state of equals that would no longer be Jewish in character.”

    Leaving aside, for the moment, the point I made about that not being a real quote, but a gloss created by Ms Sherwood, I presume we’d all agree that the first two options are undesirable. Which leaves the third – “binational” – way forward. Leaving aside the fact that elsewhere in the same article (as I have quoted, above) Beilin clearly rejects binationalism (which throws into doubt what Sherwood writes about “both men” agreeing), how would binationalism work in practice?

    The obstacles to binationalism (from both sides of the conflict) are immense: that’s why a little while ago I risked the wrath of certain people who regard Benny Morris as a “racist” by publishing the section of his book ‘One State, Two States’ on Judah Magnes and his attempt (the only serious one, ever) to win support amongst Arabs for binationalism:
    It ended in total failure: there were no takers and the practical difficulties (eg re Jewish immigration and the question of balancing the numbers of the two communities and establishing workable minority rights for whoever *was* the minority) were so immense that the entire project collapsed before it had even got off the ground. In comparison, the practical difficulties of two states are relatively minor.

    In principle, however, I am not against binationalism. It’s just that I don’t see it working in practice.

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