A few years ago I was walking past a graveyard late at night. I heard a voice call my name and turned to find a man beckoning to me from among the gravestones. Without thinking I walked to where he stood. He had an old leather case in his hands. I could see it clearly in the light that fell from the streetlamp some several yards behind me. He extended it to me and said. "Here, this is yours from another time." I took it without thinking as the man turned without further comment and began to walk away into the darkness.
"Wait." I cried. "What is this, where are you going? I don’t understand!" He turned and smiled at me. "We will talk again." Then he was gone. Upon reaching my destination, I opened the case and there found a large collection of vellum parchment inscribed upon in a spidery hand. Reading the text it became clear to me that these were plays. At some point in my reading I saw the name William Shakespeare signed at the bottom of a page. I cannot express the impact of the shudder that passed through my frame.
I have taken some few soliloquies from among these plays of which there are five; some complete but most not. I have no knowledge of whether this is real or some sort of hoax. Time will surely tell.
From the play, ‘Arthur Pendragon’, Act IV, Scene V.
Merlin, after learning that he will now sleep for eight hundred years.
Methinks she has dined on scorpions and
must drink blood by violence spilled
into cups of treacherous thought.
They hold their form but a moment and
then dissolve with all remembrance
into the bottomless stem.
What dark and disturbed kin to Love is this?
Affection of a sort-
even base desire of simple love malformed-
does motivate us all.
To what dread understanding has she come,
that the thought of such deeds does inspire the act?
And still can laugh
outwardly, it seems
I have watched her face in sleep,
no trouble nor horror there are sketched
save for her beauty...
ordinary as all the rest.
If I live a thousand years
I will never understand
this masquerade that gives to evil
such a pretty face.
Like sculptured milk
and roses flowing in fulsome grace
The world has many dangers
they await at every turn
but none there are so deadly
as that awful pits which yawns
behind this woman’s eyes...
From the play, "Henry the King." Act II, Scene VI.
Henry speaking after being informed that his son Edward has been slain near Cornwall.
It is but the desire to hope
when all is lost and darkness closes over the hearts lamp
that makes us see faces we know have gone.
We have lost the rope upon which we hang
and yet we live.
Each moment consecrates an hour
in which the unexpected
triumphs over the will of kings.
Would I have believed
if I were told but yesterday,
that mere hours hence
such a sorrow would consume
the very foundation stone of life-
and make of me an enemy to truth-
Never to understand
that what truths there really be
remain obscure and distant as the stars
and of course
impervious to me.
Is there anywhere a charm
That can protect the thing we love?
If not then let this vain folly of earthly concern cease
Let black winds blow away
The false promise of a shameless dawn
I would rather that darkness shone upon an empty stage
We do watch and hope
And if it will not come
Then there is no armor that can shield the heart against such cruel defeat
Why some should die and others live
I do not understand
still waters move
but by whose hand it is not seen.
From the play, The Philosopher King Act IV- Scene II.
Harpocrates, as he reflects upon his departure from the realm.
Surely it was meant to be.
There are no accidents in nature or ourselves
Merely the disagreements on what should have been
What we would have ordained
Had we been in control
Of the force of destiny
I think I shall endeavor to be an empty boat on drunken seas
The unseen hand of god on the tiller
Ageless eyes upon which clouds move across empty space
It seems asleep yet
brimming with quick force
No more to win or lose
The game abandoned
The arena of performance struck
Nothing moves here in the center of the storm
The baggage of mortal dreams slips away in the wake of my passage
Far off I hear the thunder of cities in flames
They will burn forever
No evidence will point to where I have gone
The witness departs
And slips between the rifling cards of time.
From the play The Grand Duke of Castille Act III Scene VII.
Alexander, the Grand Duke of Castille, has just awakened from an uneasy sleep an hour before dawn.
Strange dreams they are
Which trouble this dark hour
I know not why the sun shines forth in splendor on my fields
And all around me opulence is built
Power I have
And fortune in great measure
Protected by the fates it seems
I am ever blessed by wondrous luck
And early warning
And this last the one great treasure every ruler seeks
And unconscious rumination
But these dreams that come
Suck at the marrow of my life
Until no part remains untouched by dread
The center folds and I see shapes of brooding fear
How came I here
One step upon the other
And we one day come into an unknown kingdom
Friendless and alone
I fear there is poison in the wine
Surely there is a peril on the wind...
From the play, Arthur Pendragon Act II Scene I.
Merlin shortly after the initial enchantment has set in.
I have never loved until now
I know this to be true
I have cared
And shown friendship and salvation
As was sometimes in my power to grant
I have done good
If doing good means not having harmed
When the opportunity was in my hands
And I have been good
When it was before me
And not overly troublesome
Having always some excess of purse
And attendant stature
It seems that every heart
Penurious and unknown to itself
Remains asleep to the fire of its life
How are we made and maintained and do not know?
How do we breathe the stuff and remain blind?
Though it cost me all
I see that bright star rising in the East
It flowers into brilliance upon the darkness of the mind
And the heart thrills and vibrates with a thousand tongues of song
Exquisite beyond description
The form may change or fall
What do I care of this?
For I go on and on
But not to sleep
Oh love the shimmer smoothes
But not to sleep.
From the play Galileo Act IV Scene V.
Galileo in the hours before dawn in his prison cell.
What vapors are these
Composed of black sleep alone
They billow out such a darkness that even the blind
Complain of a greater loss of sight
Oh how deep and dark is that night
Whereupon the blush of reason’s dawn has never come
I cannot pander to a deformed muse
I cannot accept that temporary refuge
Where I am joined to lies against which I have battled
As I have sought to breathe
No matter these enchantments
Or how troubled I am by need and cringing fear
I will not
Not even in drunken squalor
Allow that comfort of sleep to draw my head down upon
The breast of the beast
Neither the good intentions of friends
Nor those who caution for my safety
Will bring me cause to deny the truth
To appease a false God
For God indeed there is
He is that one who has led me to such places
As could only have come through his grace
Look long and understand all you by dogma blind
I love neither cold nor lonely place
Yet will I suffer such things as no man is prepared for
That I might see that promised love in victory come
To burn away all fear
And heal the deeper injury of life
By this I walk alone
Even in the company of friends
The true exchange comes from no outward place
Time does stand still
But a like illusion as the dreams of those
Who foul the common well
Thinking no one will see
Thinking by atavistic camouflage
That the real identity is set free]
From the consequences of crime
Dream deeply fools
Arrange with such delicacy that not a leaf is stirred
Believe you have escaped
Gain confidence with the passage of the moment
Grow fat like the complacent sow
No regret troubles your heart
For you delight in evil and into evil
You will go
Make no mistake
There is no distance far enough
No shelter so defensible and strong
We write upon our souls that sure address
As sure one day the sun
will rise upon your fate
and then the dust will settle and be done...
From the play The Philosopher King Act III Scene II.
Harpocrates, shortly after his discovery of the plot to assassinate him.
I am the king
That much I know
Were I to grasp the bell-pull
Spears would rattle
True men would stand
But which are true?
And the Queen, false as her smile
Would tremble and wonder on her fate.
Yes, I am king
But for how long?
to me it appears
Is something we work for or against
But still achieve
How can this be?
That having all is losing all
I doubt my figures
But so it seems
How peaceful is the lot
Of him who possesses nothing
And does not want for more
Had I but known
Before I had
By strength of sinew and will
By origin unknown
Taken this kingdom and slain
Many good men
To what an island I am come
I would have simply walked away
I see through my casement window
One hour before dawn
My guards obliged to sleep
My sons all far afield
I am alone and I sense them come for me
I have been rash and arrogant and fierce
One does not come to rule without them save by birth
But I am no fool
I will not stay to fight
The aged lion slain within his lair
I trip the candle-rest astride the wall
It moves and there
The darkened passage way revealed
I have my secrets yet
As well my skin
And I am gone to the new breaking day
While confusion reigns behind
This moments clarity
How clear I see my life
The years now fall away
Let jackals feed
The dead have no regrets
First the thunder
Then the storm
But well before
Stands the calm and quiet
Where wait the engines of doom
The outcome already known
The outcome forever the same
Treachery will stir the air
That twists it in the wind
From the play The Grand Duke of Castille Act IV Scene VIII.
Roberto the lover, upon hearing of the death of Caroline at the hands of her husband Alexander.
She was precious to me
Look long upon that quiet face
No trace of joy or grief
But only repose
Is death then truly a vale of peace?
What waits on yonder shore?
Hard politics they are that slay beauty
Greater loss is their reward
That they have never seen at all
The fine treasures of life are ravished and tossed to the winds
By mad beasts
Sorrow stains the golden road of Love
Who knows to what strange ends Love has come?
I loved her
And what is Love
But the loss of self in the beloved
Therefore I do not exist
Nor am I torn with rage or loss that she is gone
How can that be
When all that I am
Is with her now
And there is nothing more of me
From the play The Philosopher King.
King Harpocrates emerging from his meditations has chosen to abdicate in favor of his eldest son and now reflects upon his state.
Kingdoms, fortune, power and fame
Yes! How magically they sing
Echo’s ring from the history books
Dream on you mad intoxicated fools
Believing that such terrible destiny will complete the soul
Love alone will triumph over circumstance and time
And only Love will meet us in the air
Dust is dust
Whether it be gold or common stone
And of themselves can generate no heat
Save for the covetous fire
Give me the Sun
All brilliant and rounded with marvelous hue
Here is value given
All ambitions change once they have been achieved
All dreams end
However it may be that death or sleep has released them
And where once we imagined was such a place
Dissolves like wine when poured into a stream
Sixty summers have come and gone
Too few now I remember
And what I have
Valuable only in the eyes of others
It will end
Everything but seeming good and evil does
And even they must change compartments
Hollow vessels all
Filled with change
And change filled with emptiness
And emptiness filled...
Somewhere awaits that morning where no loss is known
No tear may fall
But that it falls into the well of undying joy
There to glisten at its center
Let come what may
I wait upon that dawn...
From the play The Grand Duke of Castille Act II, Scene IV.
Roberto at his window after consummating his love with Caroline.
And now she is gone
Who moments before opened petals of wonder
And spread her perfume on the still, warm air
Alexander if he knew
Would kill us both
But Love is made more precious with danger all around
And surely Love in its perfection
Cannot come to harm
Love without guile,
Courageous and unadorned
What beauty could one give to Love
That Love would not make part
Of all of what there is of Love
And then increase the heart
Love comes unscathed through every jeopardy
Can bring to every strife a healing calm
Can cut to every creature at the core
For all Love wants to do
Is just love more.
I will not see you again
Or else we both are put to sword
One other thing I know Love does possess
Is oft it lives alone
And cries on its own breast
When else it risks the life in which Love lives
I go now
Into emptiness and waste
For all of moments real
And imaged on that future screen
Are but hopes and wishes
Not what is
Only that which is is real enough
True love can worship from afar
But oh Love that is
How great you are...
From the play Galileo Act IV Scene VI.
Galileo during a respite in his ordeal at the hands of the inquisition.
How ask you this of me?
Power to harm swells from your dark throne
And fear attendant shrinks my heart
Till it seems I will become mortal still in that cold grip
Not my position or my possessions
Not even those I love
But only that which my self cannot deny
You would be better served to command the tides to stop
More may it be possible
As in a certain manner nature is subject to man
But man is subject to God
And to God it is I answer
Not to you
Should truth then go quiet into the vault
And profit no one?
Not even those for whom no such concerns exist
Truth then bent ceases to be truth
Should I live on as half a lie?
Telling what I am told
Broken not by circumstance and fate
But by the heavy weight of the lie
No longer caring what shall carry me
I cannot answer but rather
Let my silence speak what my reply shall be
If dreams encompass life
And life be but a dream
Drawn about with webs and curtains
Then we see how oracles are shaped in riddles to confuse
Still, I speak more bravely than I am
For you do terrorize my heart
And the flesh so weak
Has made of me a prisoner to fear
Fear of what I do not know
But I fear you
And I do sin against God.
Lord I seek that place where all men find the strength to carry on
Against every barrier and malicious intent
Where broken bridges span by faith
Cross fire and ice
And mortal bodies find those states that science tells us cannot be
Wise men nod but do not speak
I hang upon the hooks
Drawn racks and horror do appear
Like shadows on the mind in search of light
I am alone and stricken in the night
And you are terrible beyond compare
I am afraid
I imagine romances from long ago
I see the headsman wears your face
I am afraid
What will become of me?
The black throne haunts my sleep
Until I wish that I might never wake again
Yet I do know that armies massed
And unknown laws on nature’s wild force
That force incomprehensible
As silent as virgin space
By most missed
Confident over all
Before the dice were ever cast
Before the game, the chase had entered thought
If I know that it lives
Though I may fall
I am raised up and triumph over all.
From the play The Grand Duke of Castille Act I Scene III.
Alexander watches his children at play.
Sweet childhood you dance
With open heart and pure believing mind
Not fixed on anything
For gentle is thy grasp
And long the day
Bright the air
Resplendent with awe and expectant face
Who could imagine harm to such as these?
Yet each of us did from such innocence emerge
Into plots and appetites
Some hideous and cold
Until we were as hard and complicated as a mountain range
In which may hide an army in ambush
Or a cemetery of night
Perhaps at that moment of division we died
And whatever came after
Was not life
But only its echo