To the Odious Imbeciles Who Would Desecrate the Greatest Literary Voice in the History of the English Language

Title page, William Shakespeare’s First Folio, 1623 (source: Wikipedia)

poem by Matthew de Lacey Davidson

And — so!

I do address those people — truly pompous of the heart
 many young — but many others just a thoughtless fart –
 older yes — but wiser — nae — I take them now to task,
 as they cover up the face of genius — with a preposterous carnival mask.
 Way too many people, educated (they purport)
 have a spread a vicious myth, I sadly do report:
 that Shakespeare never wrote a word (his famous plays)
 their arguments not logical, in many wanton ways.
 As Benjamin wrote famously to his beloved Bard,
 to keep a discourse short is hard;
 thus, in my sincere attempt to forthrightly persuade,
 my argument shall fast conclude when finally it’s made.

We’re told no records for the schooling of the Bard exist –
 Well, Ben Jonson’s also don’t survive — should you insist.
 “Okay, how come no manuscripts of Shakespeare’s can be found?”
For reasons sim’lar that none of Jonson’s are around;
 and what you say is not exactly true…
 a play not published in his lifetime’s come to view;
 a collaborative effort modern scholars can’t ignore –
 the hand identified is clear — the play, “Sir Thomas More.”
 Elizabethan authors in their grandiose temerity
 never thought along those lines — preserving for posterity.
 And playwrights then were much ill-viewed — like ghostly London fogs –
 a playwright’s place was just below the Man in Charge of Dogs.

“In Phillip Henslowe’s diaries his name cannot be seen!”
That’s true — but neither are there Burbage, Marlowe, Kyd, or Greene.
 Though Jonson states how Shakespeare’s Latin’s small — 
 in comparison to now…well…we have almost none at all.
 By age fifteen, a youngster in those days received 
 instruction equal to a modern Master’s (when achieved).
 The Bard was not much popular towards the end and after –
 but tastes of near contemporaries bring us peels of laughter.
 Dryden had a preference for Beaumont and for Fletcher –
 the thought of that would surely knock me out upon a stretcher.

Though other poets of the time one might defend;
 to theatre was Shakespeare more the friend.
 (And while ev’ry word of Marlowe’s like an amethyst –
 Shakespeare was by far the greater dramatist.)

The broader implication of this nasty little hoax:
 to obfuscate a prejudice t’wards ordinary folks.
 “As a commoner, no courtly knowledge could he bring!”
You forget that Shakespeare served the King.

(Important for historians to note:
 John Chamberlain, a commoner, of the court, so well, he wrote).
 This anger t’wards the poor has tried to blind us from the facts.
 This “pseudo-theory” — classist people it attracts.
 Jonson laying bricks and writing poems? Not contrary –
 though Jonson was degreed from Oxford — it was honorary.
 Believers in a diff’rent writer — much prejudice is spewed
 they claim that Will can’t be the One — because of attitude.

At risk of being crass –
 Attitude — my ass!

True — his plays display much jest at commoners’ expense
 to modern sensibilities, this causes great offence…
 but consider Shakespeare’s audience — the very first enjoyer –
 Shakespeare merely sought to please the taste of his employer.
 Those who wish on him to drop the curtain
 forget the paucity of facts regarding Jesus which are certain.
 And much to the Detractors’ sad chagrin and pointed grief,
 the facts of Shakespeare’s life are that — one can’t speak of “belief.”
 If circumstantial evidence is all a person knows –
 should I then, believe in Little Green Men, and scary UFOs?
 Detractors of the Bard know not what scholarship demands –
 this standpoint’s the work of some people with way too much time on their hands.

Tragically, these lies persist, and always will they live,
 as long as we have fools to read, and misinformation to give.

To knock the Bard off of his stool, should you then have the mind –
 your search for faults is genuine? They’re not so hard to find:
 Misogynistic? Yes — Anti-Semite? Yes…
 What other “ite” or “ist” he was, is anybody’s guess.
 Though the cult of personality has brought this sadly state –
 if critically you think, you help avert a dreadful fate:
 for when the truth has vanished, should that day perchance arrive,
 well, when you’ve killed off Shakespeare, then we cease to be alive:
 as you are Shakespeare, I am Shakespeare, he is ev’rywhere;
 he shows us what is human — what’s as important as the air.

As long as we have foibles, then these lines are not absurd:
 I am Hamlet; you are Juliet; we are Richard the Third.

My little rhyming thesis now is nailed to the door — 
 I hope that all regard the Bard as Dramatist and more.
 And finally, I beg of you — avoid a human quirk:
 please focus not upon the man, but rather, on his work.

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