Photo Credit: Prisoners of Eternity
“Richard II: The Boy who would be King”
[P / P Edit One] Editor’s Note: In my life, Shakespeare’s writing is essential when it comes to building, training and understand the root of writing the key element of a story. It is not about color, origin, race of creed, it is about learning how to be a great Western writer. It is also great to simply be spectator of Shakespeare’s plays and how they influenced the world. There is nothing wrong with that. But as I worked on manuscripts over the years, Shakespeare’s output and collection of writing has crept up and returned again and again, becoming a foundation when I begin to write in a voice and language that has a breadth, emotional width and situational range.
Should my and everyone’s work be inspired by Shakespeare? Of course not, anyone can pick and choose when they are ready to delve into the poet and playwright’s work and furthermore, choose what style they want to use when researching and reading to prepare to personally write long form.
Below is a passage from King Richard II. It jumped out at me and challenged me as I have been transcribing passages by hand from the play for the last couple of months. It was challenging because this passage is long and the book is pocket sized, so the type it very small. It took concentration to complete. This is the first time I have typed a transcription from Richard the II.
King Richard is one of Shakespeare’s tragedies.
King Richard II
[Scene V. Pomfret Castle.]
Enter Richard alone.
Richard. I have been studying how I may compare
This prison where I live unto the world;
And for because the world is populous,
And here it is not a creature but myself,
I cannot do it. Yet I’ll hammer it out:
My brain I’ll prove the female to my soul,
My soul soul the father, and these two begat
A generation of still-breeding thoughts;
And these same thoughts people this little world,
In humors like the people of this world,
For no thought is contented. The better sort,
As thoughts of things divine are intermixed
With scruples, and do set the world itself
Against the word, as thus: “Come, little ones”;
And then again,
“It is hard to come as for a camel
T0 thread the postern of a small needle’s eye.
Thoughts tending to ambition, they do plot
Unlikely wonders: how these vain weak nails
May tear a passage thorough the flinty ribs
Of this hard world, my ragged prison walls;
And, for they cannot, die in their own pride.
Thoughts tending content flatter themselves
That they are not the first of fortune’s slaves,
Not shall not be the last, like seely beggars
Who sitting in the stocks refuge their shame,
That they may have, and others must, sit there;
And in this thought they find a kind of ease,
Bearing their own misfortunes on the back
Of such as before endured the like.
Thus play I in one person many people,
And none contented; sometimes am I king,
Then treasons make me wish myself a beggar,
And so I am. Then crushing penury
Persuades me I was better when a king.
Then I am kinged again and, by and by,
Think that I am unkinged by Bolingbroke,
And straight am nothing. But whate’er I be,
Nor I, nor any man that but man is,
With nothing shall be pleased, till he be eases
With being nothing…