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Seven separate scenes of anguish
Played before the Duke, lithe spirits
Rend'ring spells to the enchanted:
Tableaux wrought to set a moral,
Frame some strange philosophers' quarrel,
Banter, bait, as if tomorrow
Knows no dawn.

Audience held, enthralled, hypnotic,
By the game the despot actors,
Bold to see their lords subservient,
Presently unfold, before the
Waywards lusting glory,
Find themselves within the story's
Tragic bent.

Stage-struck cinderellan firebird
Rising through the gloomy weather ...
Comes the word the hammered fists fall,
Clock-struck chime the midnight bell's toll,
Star spun glistening earthwards ever.

Distant morrow, O th'art welcome
From the haven, hoped salvation,
If too late to share our visions;
Weavers' nets that once were cast lie
Tattered, horror as it passed by
Yet had left its tell-tale mark – my
Father's corpse.

Could I guess, who hired the actors,
That my plot was themed simplistic
In a far more complex drama?
Judge and jury had I proved, my
Father's son, mad, were unmoved by
Songs of mercy spun to soothe blind
Savage beasts;

Fey I felt the daggered handle
Thrust bewitched towards my scheming,
Whelped semantics to my fortune –
Odd the word I never thought on,
"Fatal"; now I know the meaning:
Life's a play that I'm but dreaming.
the play's the thing ...
Ladislaus Wladislaw von Czachorski "Actors before Hamlet" ca.1872-75

Created: November 17, 2014. © Stephen Alsford