I composed an homage to Shakespeare’s “Richard III” on a dark, chilly December night, using a famous network anchor’s quote as my muse to extend an earlier thought exercise on Twitter.
I thought it would be worth pulling together the tweets and editing them into single document of bowdlerized verse after Dan Rather and other folks on Twitter praised it.
My timing feels apt.
As Peter Baker observed in the New York Times, President Trump’s final days “railing-against-his-fate outbursts seem like a story straight out of William Shakespeare, part tragedy, part farce, full of sound and fury.” Just so.
Jeffrey R. Wilson, a Shakespearean scholar at Harvard, told Baker that “this is classic Act V behavior.”
“The forces are being picked off and the tyrant is holed up in his castle and he’s growing increasingly anxious and he feels insecure and he starts blustering about his legitimate sovereignty and he starts accusing the opposition of treason.
If there are these analogies between classic literature and society as it’s operating right now, then that should give us some big cause for concern this December. We’re approaching the end of the play here and that’s where catastrophe always comes.”
And now, the final act begins.
Now is the winter of our discontent
Made inglorious bummer by this son of Queens;
And all his tweets that low’r’d upon the House
Impeachment charges by the Senate buried
Now are our brows bent to funeral wreaths
Our bruised hearts debate traitorous monuments;
Our schools and work changed to virtual meetings
Our protests and marches to indoor pleasures.
Grim-visaged Death hath smooth’d his dark shroud
And now, instead of heart attacks & cancers
To fright the souls of fearful Americans
He capers nimbly indoors
Borne by the promiscuous breathing of our youth
But we, that are not used to pandemic restrictions,
Nor bade to mask our plagued breaths;
We, that are rudely cramped, and in want of love’s tragedy
To dance before a wanton ambling nymph;
We, that felt curtail’d of our fair proportion,
Cheated of life by a dissembling cretin
Sickened, uninformed, sent before our time
Into this breathing world, alternative facts made up,
And so lame and irrational
That dogs bark as they halt by them;
Why, we, in this bleak time of plague,
Have tried to vote away the crimes,
Hoping to drive away shadows with the sun
And return our union to normalcy:
Therefore, since he cannot prove widespread fraud
We must not entertain these baseless lies
He is determined to invent villains & rages against the displeasures of his days
Plots has he laid, inductions dangerous
By conspiracies, libels & dreams
To overturn the election & become king
In deadly hate set one against the other
And if our union be as true and just
As he is subtle, false, and treacherous
This day should he be mew’d up
About a conspiracy, which says that ‘Q’
One of his heirs shall be fascistic
Dive, tweets, down here