A SCENE IN SHAKESPEARE’S GARDEN
Written in honour of this fascinating discovery of cannabis residue in the pipes found outside the Bard’s house.
I.i. Shakespeare in his garden, ruminating. Enter a Policeman.
‘S’blood! Methinks a local constable
Be come to test my instability.
Fair even, Officer. What vexes thee?
Umm yeah… what’s your name, sir?
My name is Shakespeare, spelt just as it sounds
Or rather like it sounds; or yet unlike–
Six ways I spell’t. Marry, is it Friday?
Then ‘Shaksper,’ with as few E’s as thou canst.
Riiiiight… sir, have you been drinking?
I swear upon my famous neck-ruff, nay.
Been smoking anything unusual?
Thy line of questioning, sirrah, ought to have frayed
Before this end; ere I were fraid besides.
What are you saying? I…I can’t understand you.
To understand, thou need’st must oversee.
By rounding talk wouldst I thee errant lead.
Look, sir, we found these pipes in your garden. They belong to you?
Nay! Nay, sirrah! For never under sun
Have I those weed-pipes laid mine eyes upon…
Oh! ‘Laid my eyes upon,’ a merry gem!
I’ll write it, and t’will soon be idiom!”
So if they’re not yours, whose are they?
I do deny it. All that has gone on
In this abode was not done by my hand.
I swear upon my life, sirrah, this pipe
Graced not these rude and rustic hands. In truth,
Or verily–another pun, for thou
May’st find a noble, my old friend De Vere,
Responsible for all thou seest here.
And all the paraphernalia inside? That belongs to your ‘friend’ De Vere too? What about all those rolling papers?
I do declare it! Trouble me no more!
All things within the Earl at Oxenford
Demanded me I hold for him until
He came again. The pipes, and papers too!
The papers aren’t yours, either?
I do deny it. All from Edward’s hands
Came down to me. All things you find within.
I guess you’re free to go. Have a good night, Mister Shaksper.
Farewell, sirrah. A thousand times, farewell!
Is this my fortune? I, who run afoul
At every corner with man after man
Who ever daily harsheth on mine vibe,
At last have shed the coat of suspect eyes
That plagued my shoulders all this winter past?
Perhaps some hidden cost my hasty lies
Will pay me in the end; but t’is no thing.
I’ll sit upon this craggy garden stone,
And smoke until I fancy it a throne.
[Inhale and exeunt.]