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An Exiles Lament

The poet protecting his work from a thespian
Being a committed Marlovian, I give a polite (but muted) clap to celebrations of Caliban - the thespian slave of Stratford-upon-Avon who masked the exiles work under the name of Shake-spear. Though the sonnets tell the tale of his departure from England and his anonymous exile it is The Tempest that gives the fullest reflection of what happened to Kit Marlowe and the key players in the greatest literary and political mystery of renaissance. I have been fascinated by the incongruities and, to my mind, impossible facts of Shakespeare's life since high school English class but about 10 years ago I read the Tempest again and I imagined it as a play written for a new King at a royal pageant explaining to "those in the know" what happened and offering forgiveness those who had betrayed the brilliant artist who wrote it. Reading it through this prism gave me a great appreciation for the story and makes the unusual characteristics of the play very understandable.

  • Prospero = Marlowe
  • Miranda = The Plays & Poems
  • Ariel = Bacon? Hard to know - whoever the English receiver and editor of the plays was.
  • Caliban = Shakespeare
  • Sycorax = Queen Elizabeth
  • Antonio & Sebastian = interesting question with a lot of possibilities.

Anyway, I was laughing today because the Brits have been celebrating the 400 years death-day of one William Shakespeare and have looked around for something kind he might say about immigrants or Moors or even refugees and they can't really find anything - so they went to a play "The Book of Sir Thomas More" written by - well, let's call it a collaborative effort - but supposedly it contains 3 pages written by The Bard in (what is claimed to be) his own hand and if true it only solidifies my Marlovian   conspiracy belief because these are the words of an emigrant longing to come home - not a stern rebuke from The Globe theater on how England should welcome immigrants to the show. Doesn't matter, they had Sir Ian McKellen read it to the crowd anyway and I'm sure UKIP is feeling very ashamed of itself.

Marlow asks: If the King banished you, where would you go?

Grant them removed, and grant that this your noise
Hath chid down all the majesty of England;
Imagine that you see the wretched strangers,
Their babies at their backs and their poor luggage,
Plodding to the ports and coasts for transportation,
And that you sit as kings in your desires,
Authority quite silent by your brawl,
And you in ruff of your opinions clothed;
What had you got? I’ll tell you: you had taught
How insolence and strong hand should prevail,
How order should be quelled; and by this pattern
Not one of you should live an aged man,
For other ruffians, as their fancies wrought,
With self same hand, self reasons, and self right,
Would shark on you, and men like ravenous fishes
Would feed on one another….
Say now the king
Should so much come too short of your great trespass
As but to banish you, whether would you go?
What country, by the nature of your error,
Should give you harbour? go you to France or Flanders,
To any German province, to Spain or Portugal,
Nay, any where that not adheres to England,
Why, you must needs be strangers: would you be pleased
To find a nation of such barbarous temper,
That, breaking out in hideous violence,
Would not afford you an abode on earth,
Whet their detested knives against your throats,
Spurn you like dogs, and like as if that God
Owed not nor made not you, nor that the claimants
Were not all appropriate to your comforts,
But chartered unto them, what would you think
To be thus used? this is the strangers case;
And this your mountainish inhumanity. 

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