“Bloody good find! It’s Shakespeare!”
“Don’t be so quick about it,” Sir Waverly warned his Stratfordian colleague Hitchbottom. “We can’t attribute this poem to the Bard. Have you forgotten the 17th Earl of Oxford once lived in and lost this house too?”
“Damn to bloody hell that villain, Edward de Vere! He left his bleedin’ fingerprints all over the page.”
“And Shakespeare’s as well.”
“If we say Oxford wrote this sonnet everyone will know who authored the works of Shakespeare. Let’s say Marlowe did it.”
“That would be problematic.”
“Splendid. I’ll ring the press.”
What saith the world is aught to me,
So saith they that fortune’s envy breed,
As I chase fey muse over sun spilled sea,
My kingdom dissolves in fact, in deed.
From worldly acts come naught but trouble.
Tis ever & always a wall’s destiny to fall
& monuments too soon collapse to rubble.
To woo, thy muse must burn and consume all.
Dare I care what dissolution they see
So long soars my muse, soul shackle-freed?
By troth, what saith the world is all to me.
Thus hide I my name in invented weed
Until those who breathe this air have passed
then reign o’er my kingdom of mind EVER last.
I added the sonnet in case you were curious to know what our literary sleuths uncovered. Some believe that William Shakespeare wrote this poem (note the usage of “invented weed” similar to the line “to keep invention in a noted weed” in Sonnet 76), while others attribute it to Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford (“My Mind To Me A Kingdom Is” is a poem attributed to Sir Edward Dyer that some believe was written by de Vere). Oxford is often cited by the sacrilegious as the man who really wrote the plays and poems of Shakespeare. However due to this sonnet’s many imperfections of meter and rhyme most authorities now believe a lesser poet wrote the poem. Some even suspect that I may have had something to do with it ツ
And yes, I am an Oxfordian having a little fun with the authorship question.
This story was written for the Friday Fictioneers, a group dedicated to crafting flash fiction pieces of a 100 words with the inspiration of a photo prompt. Thanks to our gifted facilitator Rochelle Wisoff-Fields and to Sarah Ann Hall for a wonderful photo prompt. You can view stories from the rest of the Friday Fictioneers here.