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DANOS: Art not thou more fool than intitulement, to bear the tail of the line, but bear no son to stretch it past inches of fool’ry, to some depth of dignity?

FOOL: No sweet son I’ll brook in exile, whose head is a hod; nor to measure out the girth of Experience roly-poly breaks not the hawser!

DANOS: Methought Experience erstwhile lean with ken.

FOOL: Portly the rather with little needing study, and little too long free of it, sire!

DANOS: Speak’st thou on exile; wherefore?

FOOL: Being born ‘mongst you purblind mortals, warrant you, very doth synonymize to have been kidnapp’d and thrown into exile; your customs commonest hitherto stranger me! ‘Tis reason treasonable to reasoning! Witchcraft to witcraft! Yet meknows, great ones comets be, rare as they are brief; stealing unheard through your earth, as thieves through abominately cloaky night! Mine eminence and my death hand in hand go; no soon I rise to the stars (whenas the world note me and bear me up) but I come to sand!

DANOS: Call’st thyself great, scalawag!

FOOL: A great fool, liege, to expostulate of greatness ‘mongst fools!

DANOS: And call’st me fool therewithal?

FOOL: That I call thee, sir, to yoke minds with me, and sweat under the burden of the question, why I call not thee fool, is not under question! Why, so not neither, to call thee fool, but thy progenitors, which clears thee of the charge, since thou’rt bastard of the house (I had this of the aerial meteors at the market); thy friends, since thou’rt very diehard nonrepentine in reclusing, and should port a hermitage as Cerberus fuming Hades, to draw souls ever in that groan’d not for friend, and keep the door behind them; thy children, as thou hast been cuckolded soundly (I found this of your wife in plain dealing) – and yet, roundly noted, I’ll no sons in exile!

DANOS: I am portrait-still, that thou, hellhound! lay’st out these charges end-end pendulate, either which answer’d weighs the arraigner down, both on either to rise or fall depending! For thou here speak’st me a tome of crossdeeds, each volume an insult, insult stiletto, that multiply barb and poniard me withal! I am median, mark me, of the extremaextremums, straightway here to hang thee in a glance, lugworm! and catch a fat revenge; or myself resort to the gallows!

FOOL: A murder or quietus most goffer’d and skewy, to stand upon a lie, to either execute; ‘tis hurtleberry-wild, rash as the measure of the troubled deep heavenward; ‘tis trespass, ‘tis loss, sates not the appetite of the Mithymna brach our law, more loathsome dish to Burial than bear bears to eat of rye!

DANOS: What, eat up thy words, and I am no cuckolded!

FOOL: ‘Faith art thou more cuckold than a coursier-sire to a mule, happen thou to lay out thy life at the coin of a cuckolding wife! At cuckoldry were the poor bridegroom best, as eluded in the business, no reaper of the loss of it! Yet ‘tis not in cunning, but in grace, a man is saved! And have I, great gods gracious! grace enow to ask grace; save I have it not to be given me, nor given me grace enow to use grace; so to enjoy it, and so be saved!

DANOS: Knowledge, say they, is power, yet con we which is right to do, and want power to do it!

FOOL: Your wife answer it!

DANOS: To the word! – as I am husband!

FOOL: Sooth, you are husband of the house, that’s certain, save, cry you mrcy, you not husband her, till you have enroll’d a rascaldom of drudges to till the land, crop it, and shear off your harvest to fee’d satisfaction! Marry, there’s poor husbandry for your answering, liege; which richly answer’d leaves thee to lose seed of your wife; poorly, keep your producents’ crop. The lady methinks she hath more flutter of husbands to her sweet ears than I can inn my grain; nor to ape you in setting chaffinches to it, I come not to swift ruin! Perpend you this, that in dogging you to the hatch I something conn toward your love, as, had thou been but half full so season’d seafarer as I, no shallow water you’ll bear me withal, that clutch true friends with both hands! Friends, take it of a mortarbrain, of two breeds be, like mongrels; some to fawn on us with dribbling tongue to a drowning in slime, as to bark us out of our patience; the sweeter deadlier, harsher kindlier! – that a man may pick his friends by their barking – the louder barker, comrade truer!

DANOS: Ay me, my conduct to this with kindred whistlepigs hide him from me holed, and chomp this sharp hedgeberry, this thy saucery, I know not how! For now have I a mind to whip you as are chariot-horses, to speed a perpetual melancholy, then fear that a world which keeps silly wags wilt do, balk’d of her gladdener, or turner from the netherveins, in turn her succour! For well yet do recall I how the curmudgeon world warm her with witwagging, and to lonesome coasts banish old Gravity, there to breed, like hadgons and shearwaters, wild woes wandering disparate!

FOOL: Would ferrets use opossums as they would bobcats use them, hob and jill both; bobcats ferrets as catamounts them; bear bobcats as man use him, that he lose nor fur nor fillet to the tyrant; so you would use me as you sometime importunate heaven’s benisons! Some other favour I yet may answer than from beneath the whip; for why a fool may teach the world a thing or two, if the world be wise enow!

DANOS: True, the old cranky surly earth may die deliciated yet, and praised be gods for fools!

FOOL: Not so, good my liege; but the rather that the gods thank men for the dish of fools, noting we fools be not their own doing, but miscarriages of their intents; butt well miss’d, yet the larger hit! Luck as shakes off the shaft of their prescience, favour undeserted!

DANOS: ‘Tis known, fools gods of gods, gods dogs of fools be!

FOOL: Marry, ‘tis! – favour fiery gods first fine-feather’d fools that weigh so light on their council, wherein they little need brabble of the matter! Aproof! Aproof! The fool! All earth and long! – in one eruptuous cry all each one break! But the fool contemns it, earth and long, and spits, and evilly brocks, and goes his way – and nonetheless is bless’d upon the snell breaking of a word!

DANOS: Thus be foredoom’d men well school’d and tufted in the scrolls ere come to the courts to try their bottoms for their lives!

FOOL: So they be gods enjuried in the panel, the case higgles not one minute of life! For nothing more the gods abominate below the spirits than mortal conceit! There keeps the godlike privilege in being an honest fool; by inspiration, nothing study!

DANOS: Lo, I had but now purpos’d to study fool’ry by inspiration!

FOOL: Come, soft, green wit, you’ll not be fool today! Fool’ry brooks no purpose, nor is no burdock neither, to burr at reason with the head, reasoning reasoning out, but comes round and befalls like a retribution you know not why! Yet, hark, I’ll line you with a pro whereby thou may’st gaff it, liege; more favour’d he be that meets it home; for well I remember my father for a brickhead hidebound whom my mother, the bellwetheress of the house, tried to save till, too big a catch for her, she fell in herself and, alack, more thicker and globular than is baobab, could not swim, but drown’d and died with a kind of alacrity suspectly o’erhasty!

DANOS: Lives yet your sire, fool?

FOOL: A witwag wantonly widower’d! I’ll show you him, as you twain fathers be. There’s help in like degrees! Come away, we’ll make the old fool, or mar the new else!



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About the author

Sydney Chesterfield

Poet, Playwright, Philosopher, Humanitarian, mad lover of children and unflinching fighter for equality on all grounds viz. Women's rights, child rights, sine die.

Twitter: @syd_field