Sunday Fakespeare: Ipsos Custodes

Shakespeare's WardA couple of years back I helped write an interactivetheatre piece based on ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. We found out I have a talent for the old Elizabethean iambic pentameter, and – inspired from also being involved with productions of “William Shakespeare’s The Empire Striketh Back” around the same time – I started doing a silly fun thing which I will share on some Sundays here: converting famous moments from pop culture into Shakespeare! See if you can recognize it, some are easier than others.

Upon this morn, the roadway’s neatness soiled
for there in woeful state the carcass of
a hunting hound was laid, its lights drawn forth
by carriage passage cruel, tale told by
a wheel’s trace writ in blood. This borough fears
my step, reviles anon my comp’ny, for
’tis I who has its truest visage seen.
Its coachways are in truth but poison’d troughs,
these troughs replete with sickened borough’s blood;
the ditches shall in time coagulate
and in the flowing gore shall vermin drown.
The rot and filth, the refuse born of sin
of fornication vile and murder foul,
shall burble forth above their darksome loins
and then the whores, the kings, the sinners all
shall turn their yellow mien to heaven high
and in their terror shriek “Have mercy, lord,
and set us free!”, and I shall whisper… “Nay.”


  1. brucegee1962 says

    Fantastic job!
    By the way, did you find the knack for iambic pentameter came naturally, or did you have to work at it? I’ve taught it to students for years, and my belief is that it’s an innate talent, like the ability to distinguish pitch. Some pick it up instantly once I explain it, and some never ever develop a sense of whether a line they’ve written scans or not.

  2. says

    @4 brucegee1962

    Thank you! Also, interesting question. I’m not totally sure, to be honest. The reason for this is that the iambic pentameter came easily when I first did THAT, but I had already been a filker – writer of parody songs – for years and years before that, so ‘matching someone else’s meter’ was already something I had the ten thousand hours on before I first grappled with Will’s style.

  3. y6nh says

    This is so good! I’d love to see the whole graphic novel rewritten like this.

    (One correction, though – line 7, “I who has” should be “I who have”.)

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