A Dreadful Rot by Arthur Taylor
2019 finalist: Grade 7 to 9 category
Arthur Taylor is a finalist of the 2019 Shakespeare Selfie Student Writing Challenge. This annual writing competition challenges students to write a soliloquy or monologue in the voice of a Shakespearean character based on a prominent news, pop culture or current affairs event from the last year (April 2018 to April 2019).
Taylor, who attends Dover Bay Secondary School in Nanaimo, B.C., wrote about Brexit negotations from the perspective of Titus Andronicus's Titus Andronicus.
Let me go grind these old bones of dissent,
And add this vengeful liquor, withered and bent;
In the fumes of pungence thou shalt breed,
Essences of darkness and destructive creeds.
What is't a clock?
'Tis becometh thine,
To speaketh of impending time,
Whence bides the hours of thy fate,
And time canst but wait, and wait.
He doth speak with his eyes a-blazing,
'Twas the horse of fearful razing.
He spake in a most hungry tongue,
For woeful ballads of blinded sheep hath sung,
"wherefore hath I riden 20 years,
Bearing mine emperor's bane,
Yet doth ride on mine emperor's mane?"
Thou seest this horse, in vengeful fire caught,
Doth smelleth of a dreadful rot.
He doth bite and snap at the reigns,
And at the smallest hurdle feigns,
At which hour its occupants, though loath, doth flee,
Thy horse is abandon'd, and, yea,
Whither descends an iron fist
That hath its fortress in the mist,
'Tis one through which none canst clearly gaze,
Struck dumb, as if thou stoppeth in a maze.
And, anon, the merciless horse trots,
As its bowels doth rot and rot,
And, as its riders, beset with indecision, becometh hoarse,
They doth ride and hie to no discourse.
As fate hath wings, they doth slowly succumb,
The latent cloth of patience hath been wrung and wrung;
O'er thy horse are strung a thousand falls,
To the din of the battle and the chaps of thy pall.
Heretofore, whether a horse hath ailed,
Its fruitless begging to prithee be availed,
Wast the final nail in peace nailed,
And, oft, the common people ensnared,
Of Time's old, dusky, volumes unaware.
Nay, aught alarum'd makes not its presence,
Affections swayed by lack of pence;
Alliances are, anon, forgot,
Devoid of what they hath begot.
For when these Britons, 'twixt chasms, doth cower 'neath the sky,
Whence they shall no longer gaze eye to eye —
Why, here they are! Bak'd into mine pie!