I've pages now on Richard – twenty-one;
They need a coda. Then, let's get it done.
I opened with some questions: Was this king
The devil, or a human sort of thing?
And what about his role as dramatist,
A major role, which hardly should be dissed?
I also said his battles as he rose
Might be worth note, espec-i-álly those
He had with Anne, with Marg'ret, and the Queen –
Elizabeth – who grows to her great scene.
And finally, to add a little tonic,
I said I thought much of this play was comic.
Language was key, and Randall, citing some,
Compared Dick's time to ours, and then, begun,
Considered how he shattered the "fourth wall"
And how his "Ha!" Is talking to us all.
Then Gilbert spoke to mention Dick's fixation
With his misshapen body, his elation
At noticing his brother's bodily lust,
Scorn spoke by women. Gilbert, then, I trust,
Suggested that, in Henry Six, Dick's flatter
By far than in this play. Here's deeper matter!
For here's a richer, thinking kind of man:
Human, creative, evil. Understand?
Ernst interrupted with a filmic point
About re-writing hist'ry and the joint
Time's thus put out of when we're caught
Somewhere 'twixt truth and fiction-what is what?
Which all led Cindy to apostrophize
McKellan's "fascist" Richard, which, with sighs
She often found quite chilling, to which I added
Some IMDb notes (Is this verse padded?).
Then Gilbert said this film was fun, but clear-
Ly "Good film-yes, but not-so-good Shakespeare."
And mentioned, passing, that late chevalier
Whose black-white film's superb: Olivier.
Then Randall, Ernst asked, "Is there something more
To say about this play, or does it bore
Us so we'd best close up our talk,
To which Ernst added (from fall-bright New Yawk)
An essay into Richard Three and women
Who form a doleful chorus, eyes a-brimmin'.
So Gilbert, with sheer formalistic brilliance
(And citing films and critics by the millions)
Chose 1, 1, 1 to 41 to scan,
Plus other lines to paint Richard a man
Who's master of his master's language skill,
Whose very words produce an awesome thrill.
Thus prodding John to make an exclamation
Regarding what oft seems exaggeration!
And raising yet again the theme of truth on
(Excuse me for my brusque anácolúthon)
The role of Shakespeare in this context Tudor:
Does literary gold turn into pewter?
Is Shakespeare showing us how much a lie
Is used by Bush types speaking from on high,
Or is he merely following his hunch on
Pleasing his patrons, gaining an escutcheon.
So Gilbert took this up with broad examples
From Dryden, Fielding and some other samples,
And turned it back to Ernst, that simple creature,
Who cited Marlowe's pop'lar "Overreacher,"
A term applied to Scythian Tamburlaine,
And "high astounding terms" he used to gain
A popularity phenomenal
Which Shakespeare might be spoofing after all.
Thus Gilbert, making pre-doctoral faces,
Brought up another term, one "Catabásis,"
And somehow, got from there to Richard's brother,
Whose vivid images all other such do smother –
Ill-fated Clarence and his dream most powerful
Which we might all debate another hour-full.
So John stepped back and found such talk delightful,
And mentioned other heroes archetypal.
Thus from the classic age life turns more hectic,
And we confront a different dialectic.
And Ernst concludes this many-circled dance:
"So that's what's 're-born' in the Renaissance!"
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