On I go, with my new play. It’s really quite an eccentric story, but perhaps I notice that more because I don’t know it. A lot of Shakespeare is very eccentric and I think that he must have had so much fun, throwing all the rules out of the window. He certainly followed his whims where they took him and maybe that was part of what made him great. One gets the sense that a lot of the time he really did not give a damn.
And then, just as I am laughing or raising an eyebrow or thinking what? what? he smashes me with pure beauty, like in this speech of Helena’s, which is so filled with lovely language that I read it three times.
Poor lord! Is’t I
That chase thee from my country and expose
Those tender limbs of thine to the event
Of the none-sparing war? And is it I
That drive thee from the sportive court, where thou
Of smoky muskets? O you leaden messengers,
That sings with piercing; do not touch my lord.
Later, two tremendous lords appear, who are funny and interesting and unexpected.
This one has a fine turn for the frankly insulting -
He’s a most notable coward, an infinite and
endless liar, an hourly promise-breaker, the owner
of no one good quality worthy your lordship’s
Well, that’s him told. I especially like the ‘hourly promise-breaker’. I know a couple of those.
And there is this line, which pleases me mightily, I’m not quite sure why. It has such a mordant and comical cadence -
Yes, yes, do let him fetch his drum, for the love of laughter.
The Second Lord then whacks me with something I absolutely do not understand -
I must go look my twigs.
I have not the wildest idea what this could mean, but I absolutely love it. I am certainly going to go look my twigs at once.
The plot is getting rather Byzantine now, and I frown at the page as it twists and turns. I don’t really understand the motivation of half the characters but somehow that does not matter. I fulfil the first duty of the Dear Reader, and suspend my disbelief. I follow the beauty where it takes me.