Dr. Drekespeare sayeth: “Express thyself” 1


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I have no idea why I did this until almost two in the morning, but here is N.W.A.’s “Express yourself” with all the lyrics changed to Shakespearean iambic pentameter. I guess it fits with today’s comic about the hidden story behind Shakespeare’s death. Hath not this man still much love for the streets?

SCENE I. The New World. A theatre.

Enter YOUNG ANDRE (a Doctor) and JACKSON, both men of attitude 

ANDRE
In sooth! What cowards all about us lie,
Too timid of their bodkins here to kick
Reality; an’ flaking manner in
Their cowardice doth perpetrate the sin.

JACKSON
Good sir, thou art much vested in thy work,
And good work, aye, it be, yet caution bear
That ye might dullards teach the creeping hour.

ANDRE
What would’st thou have done of me?

JACKSON
Why, sir–
A wish, and only merest wish at that,
That thou might vent thy augur and make known
To any man expression of thy thoughts.

ANDRE
I am expressing by all measures troth
Yet e’en my frame corrected by Law doth
Rebuked in prison lie, an’ Rigid Crown
Upon expressions such as these look down.
An arrow’s thrust the path of sooth I tell
Entranc’d like Fitch’s savages by Hell,
I let fall savors of a tongue, and make
My father’s face upon these acts; is it
Not necessary in men to mimic
Their Blood’s technique, or shall we now here blame
Thee, Jackson, who hath called it, in French,
The wretched odor of things said and done by men?
Recite the cant upon the drums of war
And ye shall find me flush, a merry laugh
Upon these lips from whence such words do flow.
Merry, and no man can say himself the same.
Hear now, that mine is not a hand to stay
From striking fools–one, two, down now fall all!
Down, Sciences! Down, English! Weary words
Strike quaking thunders when bereft of song
Though Yella bids a silence claim the room.
Still, burning I, with fire, yet not smoke, express
Keen thoughts though levymen collect their sess.
A dull mind is ill management, and make
A suckling whelp unweaned of knight and knave.
Then seek new means beyond the broken mould.

VILLAGERS
Expression! Expression! Go to’t! Alla stoccata carries it away!

ANDRE
Returning then, to our intended term,
’tis I, friends, Young Andre, now Doctor ‘Dre,
Restored to you upon my books’ completion.
What, ho! It was an easy thing to do.
These hollow men without expression yield
To mighty words that buffet battle fields.
Bereft of physic, they doth cling to hulls
Like barnacles to more courageous souls.
‘Tis so, ’tis so, and ever so, that those
Upon the wrong end of fortune’s wheel chase
Bleak circles round their fate, and run headlong
Into their own destruction. Yet brave men
Roar hot words in doom’s wrinkled visage and
Unaided face that spectre’s bony hand.
Confession left unheard, they hazard not
A guess while gusting forth their hearts’ tempests.
‘Tis madness, that man bends to other men,
And so submits his heart to worrying rue.
And I? Not I. I make no moan but this:
Fresh roads prove truer still than well-trod ones,
Where man looks back to see the path behind him,
That he not drift to please the route ahead.
No oath upon the hearth did man lament
That he kept true within the public square.
Such hinds make much ado of truth in deed,
While sprink’ling word with dreamers’ calumnies.
Apothecaries, all! A pox claim them!
And what is gold? A passing fancy, this–
‘Twas mine, ’tis thine, ’twill still another’s be,
And these scant few take note of folly’s wealth,
Yet fewer still make note: express thyself.

VILLAGERS
Expression! Expression! Hie ye forth and have done!

ANDRE
O, crying heart! Which sails, a luffing ship
In life’s slow seas, here charting its
Unheard expressions. Lacking grace, it plods
In most, a dying turtle’s crawl, its best
Parts still ensconced. Yet, like the unhatch’d egg,
There looms a fresher art within to grow.
What now, the lesson–all of these expressions?
My pistol thirsts to kiss its lover’s neck,
If Perfidy thy name. Thy account we forgive,
An’ lacking base to weather seasons here.
‘Tis ‘Dre, made earthly in my hot concerns,
Till all the soil is plowed, made wet, and turned.
Then climbing stalks, as warranted in sheer
Necessity, the fecund nature doth
Compel both man and plant’s explosive growth.
Within such flesh unwelcome fertile spring
The self turned ‘gainst the self whene’er I sing.
Maintaining thus my form I damage do,
Restraints too late applied I damage too.
‘Tis knowledge, sir, that burning engines moves,
And knowledge still that sets wheels in their grooves.
Enough! Now ponder all the lessons learned;
For health expressly needs must thou burned.

Exeunt all. 


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