SCENE 5: Ye Olde Chestnut. A hostelry.
A stormy evening.
Behind the bar is stood innkeeper Humfrey D'Forrest, a man of lusterless demeanour.
Thunder and lightning.
Seated in an unlit alcove, a solitary cowled and shadow-shrouded figure nurses a flagon of Galpin Ale.
A flash of lamplight at the widow.
Enter Wilhelm Rattlepike, a bard of dubious morality.
WILHELM: Egads! I swear this torrent hath presented not a moment's respite for forty days and forty nights! (He remains a moment silent and motionless, then begins to move feverishly about the inn.): I come hither seeking both to quench my thirst with a good healthy pint and present my sodden self with shelter from this drenching rain. (He halts before the bar, scarlet cloak dripping rainwater onto the unpolished timbers of the floor.)
HUMFREY (after a moment of incredulity.): Of all the hostelries in all the hamlets in all this realm, but that thou should venture into mine! I trust thou wilt clean up thy mess?—I hath given Ingrid the night off.
WILHELM (gesturing towards the door.): Hast thou not beheld yonder weather? Dee Forest, a bog art! (He slumps onto a stool.): Rain! Rain! Travel yonder. Draw near anew some other morrow.
HUMFREY: Entities, objects or creatures, that are not or cannot be specifically designated or precisely described, are ne'er so bad that they cannot be made to worsen.
WILHELM: Most eloquently voiced, friend. Be thou a fellow bard?
HUMFREY: Nay; I am but a humble innkeep. Humfrey be my name. And thee be?
WILHELM (thrusting out his chest and throwing back his head: hands on hips.): Ho ho! Who be'eth I indeed! ’Tis your privilege, friend Humfrey, to address none other than Wilhelm Rattlepike, bard laureate to her Regal Highness the Queen Heroin.
HUMFREY (indifferent.): I hath ne'er heard of thee, Mister Prattlespike.
WILHELM: Verily though doth jest, sir inkeep!
HUMFREY: Mayhap I doest; It be a jocular olde world, eh?
WILHELM: Whether comedy or tragedy, this world be but a stage, upon which all net-masked men be merely thespians: They hath their entrances, and maketh one final exit.
HUMFREY: That one of yours, is it?
HUMFREY: Hardly original, guv'nor, now is it?!
WILHELM (arching a brow.): Doest thou brand me plagiarist?
HUMFREY: “Quod fere totus mundus exerceat histrionem.”
WILHELM: Come again?
HUMFREY: “Because almost the whole world are actors.”
WILHELM: It be'eth all Greek to me, mate!
HUMFREY: Latin, actually. It were penned by Gaius Petronius Arbiter. One of Nero's courtiers. He was in here last summer. Nipped in for a pint and a pie during a break in the European Bard Championships. Nice bloke. He lost in the final to some geezer called Leitch.
(A voice from the unlit alcove.): The world is my oyster; its players pearls of keenest wisdom on whom I oft hath want to call: They maketh their entrances accompanied by nuances.
WILHELM: Most eloquently voiced, mysterious and shadow-shrouded friend. Be thou a fellow bard?
(From the alcove.): Alas, no. A ''would-be-bard'' is all I may lay claim to be. Alak, oft be the times I hath sat alone in my chamber, ailing with chiseler's block.
WILHELM: And yet, when thy muse doth strike thee, it doth so with the peachiest of quoths: Though I shalt be as bold as to venture that thou movest thyself more with the times. The modern bard, ''Would-be'' or otherwise, doth use a PQ.
(From the alcove.): But that I had the groats with which to purchase parchment and quill. And then there be the cost of ink! (The cowled and shadow-shrouded figure moves into the light).
WILHELM: By mine pointy beard! Art thou he who is know by the name Robin of Shire Wood, former Holy Crusader, who doth filch from the wealthy to delivery alms unto the underprivileged?
(From the alcove.): Nay. (The shadow-shrouded figure throws back his cowl.): I be he who is named Francis of Holly Wood, conscientious objector—He of fallen arches and perforated eardrums.
WILHELM: There be'eth the pity: For I had hoped to rekindle the flickering flame of my muse by way of bloody tales of the siege of Krak des Chevaliers.
FRANCIS: (he goes over and sits down beside Wilhelm, then begins to sing in a loud voice.): ♫— Warfare. Huh! Be there aught 'tis useful for? De facto naught. Oyez, pay heed to me. Huh! I shalt speak these words once more. Oyez. Warfare. Huh. Be there aught 'tis useful for? De facto naught.
WILHELM: Thou doth sing a merry tune, friend Francis. Yet, and alak for thee, thy words doth pale beside mine own. And yet... (He stops, broods, resumes.): Mark my words, sirs, that there will cometh the day when each and every man, woman and child of this realm shalt hath my produce flowing freely 'pon their tongue.
HUMFREY: Chance wilt be a thing of fineness! ’Tis naught but the stuff of dreams!
FRANCIS (turning to face Wilhelm.): In which case, friend Wilhelm, I propose that thee live thy dreams. Scheme thy schemes, Sir. Strike me with thy concentrated beams of —
HUMFREY: Ho ho! Take heed, friend Francis: Be ever frugal with thy discourse. Wilhelm, here, doth strike me as a fellow who wouldst appropriate the words of his peers so as to claim them as his own: Postliminary to a modest redraft, that is!
WILHELM: As if! I am Wilhelm Rattlepike, sir. Bard laureate to her Regal Highness the Queen Heroin.
HUMFREY: H'm... such is your want to state repeatedly. So, what's she like, then, Queen Heroin? In the flesh, like?
WILHELM (looking aghast.): In the flesh! Thou hath the audacity to suggest—
HUMFREY (interrupting.): In y' dreams, mate! No, I meant up close. Personal, like.
WILHELM: Ah, the beauteous Queen Heroin! Shall I compare she to a summer's day?
HUMFREY: If y' must. But I'd rather have all the dirt in plain English.
WILHELM: She be the rose to my thorn.
HUMFREY: Yeah, right! You've got precisely two chances o' thornin' Queen Aitch: Obese and nay!
WILHELM (theatrically: head thrown back.): A man must hath his dreams! And Queen Heroin be a veritable dream cometh true; she hath delivered peace unto this realm, making it so that any man may dream a dream, however large or small. She enriches her comrades with the spoils of those whom they slay in defence of her realm, so that all might feast from prosperity's platter. Ne'er hath we had it so good! This be the finest of times, this be the most abominable of times, this be the age of sagacity, this be the age of witlessness, this be the epoch of—
HUMFREY (interrupting.): Proffer it a respite, eh!
WILHELM (after a moment of bewilderment.): Eh?
HUMFREY: Give it a rest, will yer, guv'nor. Now, how about I pour thee a drink?
WILHELM: Nay; it wilt serve only to muddy my muse.
HUMFREY: Folk who shun ale are afeared of revealing themselves.
WILHELM: (he fumbles in his pockets, finds nothing but lint. Finally, he brings out a groat and hands it to Humfrey who examines it—bites and then sniffs it.) A small half of mead, if you will.
HUMFREY: Any nuts with that?
HUMFREY: Crisps? Pork scratchings?
WILHELM: Nay, and nay.
HUMFREY: Cheesy nibbles? Pickled Eggs? Ready salted squirrels' testes?
WILHELM: Nay, nay, and thrice nay!
HUMFREY: So that'll be a no, then, will it?
HUMFREY: Aye aye, or aye nay?
WILHELM: Aye nay.
HUMFREY: O, woe is me! Y'have seen what I have tried that I might shift my dead stock! I'll kill those bloody Walker brothers when next I see 'em! Little blue bags be all the rage, they telt me! Pah! They be far from righteous brothers!
WILHELM: And yet they have nary regrets!
FRANCIS (gloomily.): Egads! My head doth pound something fierce! How may a fellow relax, when his head doth throb so?
WILHELM: A throbbing head, eh? Now, there's the rub!
HUMFREY: Thee shouldst nary have switched from wine to ale.
WILHELM: To drink, to live— To live—perchance to drink: E'er didst my mother say that life be akin to Pandora's box…upon it being opened, one ne'er knows what it be that they may receive.
HUMFREY: Strewth! You at it again with yer plagiarism?! I be of a good mind to call Sam, have him throw thee out. Wilt thou tongue now yield, sir?
WILHELM: Yield! I? Nary, ne'er!
FRANCIS (sagaciously): Should two tribes maketh warfare, a solitary notch wilt e'er be the premium tally.
HUMFREY: I maketh thee correct, friend Francis: It taketh not much to perceive that the problems of two little folk addeth not up to a valley of potatoes in this Thome fole realm. Mayhap someday friend Wilhelm wilt comprehend as much.
WILHELM (sneering.): Thee can place thy puckered lips 'pon my fundament.
FRANCIS: Most eloquently voiced, friend Wilhelm. Thou truly art a bard!
The Liar's Dance
Sayest thee: ''I hath sailed beyond the river,
O'er the sea, sung the song of sirens, played
The pipes with Aegipan, ridden 'pon foul night mares,
Broke the wildest beast, felled Fjeld giants,
Wrestled Grendel, bedded Vesta's virgins three.''
Look me in the eye, sir, proclaim thou speak truths:
Then wilt I place pretty pennies on thine eyes,
Call thee liar, sir; wouldst bury a liar.
I declare thy claims fable. How sayest thee?
Where doth thy honour reside? Come, follow me:
I shall carry thee down to yon hallowed ground,
Hollow thee a quiet plot of fallow ground.
There, shall e'er be where thy blackguard hide doth lie.
When thee down I cast, thou shalt bare not witness
To the earth's quake; nor the soles of my feet,
As I dance a Ronde upon the resting place
Where e'er shall lie thy blackguard mendacity.
Wouldst thee in shrouds of deceit e'er wrap thy tongue?
Turn, perjuring cur: Face thy game accuser.
Oh, thou art a fair damsel! I beg of thee:
Please, dear lady, accept mine apology.
Untruths could ne'er be uttered thro' lips as sweet.
Canst thou e'er pardon a tongue as indiscreet?
Now, by your command, I shalt swift take my leave:
If thou wouldst kindly remove thy boot from my codpiece.
Last edited by Messiah
on Sat May 12, 2012 5:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Writing for an audience of one.