141. a cow-slip, a super-sappho

bull and walter, known satire,

put on in the shakespeare time,

told of talkers, tools, and tim,

mostly stuff about the queen


george of hants., a hapless scribbler,

on pain of vengeance, he resisted,

when he had completed it,

sent it for the censor’s whip


cold the cobber, constant, wet,

made some notes to the effect,

if he put it near a stage,

he would be arrested, hanged


but it was a labored love,

his whole life poured into the prose

(the play was all in blank verse wrote,

but the preface, purest gold!)


he took production under ground

to a tavern in the town,

gave the role of luckless tim

to a drunk he found within


if you haven’t read the thing,

tim’s a toadie, who has been

sent by powers, foreign, mean,

to seduce the virgin queen


sure he gets into some scrapes

(it’s got fill a full three acts),

and the middle, mostly a

discourse about courtly love


then there was the queen corrupt

(that’s the part the censor scrubbed),

whether it was libelous —

it wasn’t much in line with myth


so, the drunk, his name was joe,

reprised the role with some crows,

a spoon, a candle, and a cat

(a mop sufficed for walsingham)


it was, of course, a great success

for the rats and empty chairs,

but, within, there was a grass,

who reported to the brass


george of hants., helpless, imprisoned,

bull and walter, deemed illicit,

was burned inside the queen’s own hearth

(no-one told who walter was)

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