“Not Without Mustard”

Opening Credit for the Movie “Not Without Mustard”

“Or, the True, Lamentable Tragedy of Edward de Vere”

A Screenplay by Leonidas Kazantheos

In six months time, that is sometime in the year 2023 many theatres and literary and media institutions will probably be celebrating or commemorating the 400th Anniversary of the publication of William Shakespeare’s 1623 Folio of Romances, Tragedies, Comedies and Histories. In celebration of that event I expect to have completed a period drama documentary about the real life of “William Shakespeare”, who in my opinion was in actual fact Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford. It will give a controversial but realistic view of his life and character as well as the major events in his life that have shaped his literary and theatrical profession.
The general concept of this film/drama would be to re-create the major events of Edward de Vere’s life using textual passages from Shakespeare’s plays and poetry to be included in the production of the script cleverly coinciding with the storyboard and screenplay. In this way it will prove that the life currents of Edward de Vere’s life coincide or at least resonate artfully with Shakespearean literature, thereby supporting the Oxfordian case in a very creative way. Alongside extracts of Shakespearean text I have inserted extracts from Edward de Vere’s own poetry, various selections from letters, manuscripts, court reports and legal documents from the time for the sake of accuracy and authenticity. The screenplay is in the form of Elizabethan theatre utilising a five-act structure, each act with seven scenes and covers the life of the young Earl from the age of twelve until his death at the age of fifty four. For that purpose there will be at least two actors required to play the leading role, one for his youth and another for middle to old age. To aid the narrative and plot there are also extracts from Ben Jonson’s “Every Man Out of His Humour”, as well as “A Yorkshire Tragedy” which is now considered to be in the hand and style of William Shakespeare and other historical sources for the scenes in Ireland.

A still photograph from the movie “Anonymous” showing Edward de Vere writing at his desk

About the Drama:
“Not Without Mustard”, or “The True Lamentable Tragedy of Edward de Vere” is a low budget, 45-60 minute movie or even a stage-play, or audio book about the life and times of Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, who actually wrote the plays and poetry, as well as several songs attributed to William Shakespeare, of Stratford-upon-Avon. A film about Edward de Vere has already been made entitled “Anonymous” which strongly supports the Oxfordian case. “Anonymous” is a 2011 period film drama directed by Roland Emmerich and written by John Orloff. The film is a short fictionalized version of the life of Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, an Elizabethan courtier, playwright, poet and patron of the arts, and suggests he was the actual author of William Shakespeare‘s plays. A 2020 subscriber survey conducted by the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship indicated that although entertaining, the film did not persuade or convert the viewers from the traditional Stratfordian view in favour of the controversial Oxfordian case.
However, lacking the funding available in Hollywood this film, drama or audio play will be made in a totally different way and will make the case for Edward de Vere as the pseudonymous “William Shakespeare”. The screenplay is made up largely from the text of William Shakespeare’s plays and other historical sources. I am sure that many enthusiasts and academic scholars of Shakespeare’s work will be intrigued and would attempt to guess which extracts, phrases and sometimes entire speeches have been derived from which plays or poems. A small percentage of the text is from my own collection of poems written while I was researching the “Shakespeare Authorship Controversy“.
Because of Edward de Vere’s strong aristocratic connections, his ancestry and personal circumstances he was aware that for his family, and with regard to other feudal or religious reasons presumed that his contributions in the theatre would demean his status as tutelary Lord Great Chamberlain, he became involved in the theatre secretly. For this means he decided to employ a pseudonym or “nomme de plume” under which he could write and never be acknowledged either by critics or his enemies. In effect he enlisted the help of the Stratford actor (William Shakspere), whose name coincidentally was the same as his secret identity. He had a turbulent and exciting life and was a favourite at court for a short period of time and then fell out of favour. He recieved an annuity of £1,000 from Queen Elizabeth to work as the royal propagandist and “spin-doctor” of the English Renaissance. However, a number of scandals surrounded his life and clandestine activities. Most notably, he had travelled to France, Italy, and Flanders and was extremely well-educated, financially well-endowed and had an intense interest in literature, music and poetry. At the age of 12 his father died in mysterious circumstances and he became a ward of Sir William Cecil, Lord Burghley, Chancellor and advisor to Queen Elizabeth 1st , under his instruction and support the Earl grew up and later went to Gray’s Inn to complete his education. Even from an early age he displayed an interest in drama and poetry, his uncle Arthur Golding published the first English translation of “Ovid’s Metamorphoses”, which was one of the major literary sources for many of Shakespeare’s plays. Golding actually dedicated the book to Edward de Vere, who was tutored by Roger Ascham, Dr. John Dee, Thomas Smith, Bartholomew Clerke and admired by some of the most illustrious minds in literature, astronomy, medicine, history, drama, and botany. However, the Earl was also a provocative, hedonistic, narcissistic, messianic, bombastic, vindictive and bellicose individual. Presented in this light the drama throws a different light on the works attributed to the Stratford actor William Shakspere and their conventional interpretation by traditional academics.

Another still from the movie “Anonymous directed by Roland Emmerich and written by John Orloff

About the Movie:
The film currently has the working title of “Not Without Mustard” or “The True Lamentable Tragedie of Edward de Vere”. For example, major events such as his confinement in the Tower of London parallel scenes in which historical figures recited their own soliloquies in the dramatic works of Shakespeare as for example, in the scenes from Richard II. In a literary and historical context it is significantly controversial. Some critics would argue that this screenplay is essentially cut and paste “Shakespeare” to create a different narrative biography of “The Bard of Avon” but it has been meticulously researched and compiled to reveal the truth about the real life of “William Shakespeare”.
Basically the movie could be shot in atmospheric black and white, Tudor film noir style, with sepia, green/blue and copper tones. This is not a period drama it is a docu-drama with educational overtones or episodes. No Elizabethan costumes will be worn by actors just modern minimal clothing (black, grey, white polo-necks, leggings and hose) with occasional references to lace collars, wigs, beards, capes, hats, boots and caps to denote status of character. Shadow sheets will be erected for silhouette scenes, back projection for some scene locations, soft lighting, smoke machines, soft focus techniques in comic strip chiaroscuro, and unusual narrative angles for camera. Rostrum and rolling camera for some scenes will be employed. We expect to shoot some scenes on 16m or 32m Film and edit them in with the digital scenes. Camera resolution will be HD4 that is above 1080 dpi which is adequate for full-screen projection in most of today’s small cinemas. We are looking at the film being ready in 12 months time for the Stratford Theatre and Film Season. We will also be employing silent mime action and with the assistance of folk groups who have some talent in clog-dancing, Morris dancing, Mummer’s Plays and so forth. Some attempt will be made to re-create the dramatic format and the theatrical milieu operating during Shakespeare’s life. In this sense it is also an educational or documentary style film with loads of exciting and dramatic action thrown in. It might be defined in itself as a romance, tragedy, irony or historical drama rolled into one. It may even evolve in performance or production as a stage drama, audio play or Utube video.

The Screenplay, Act One

The opening scene is a theatre in foggy London around late Summer where the cast of Lord Leicester’s Men are performing a play from an earlier period such as say “Midsummer Night’s Dream”.

Act One Scene 1,: [An outdoor theatre with rustic actors and an audience].
[Prologue; read by a presenter in a small puppet show]

Gentles all, perchance you’ll wonder at this show;
But wonder on, till truth makes all things plain.
This man here is Edward, if you would know;
This beauteous Lady Anne is as yet uncertain.
This man, with lime and rough-cast, doth present
A wall, that vile wall which did these lovers sunder;
And through wall’s chink, poor souls, they are content
To whisper. At which let no man wonder.
This man, with lanthorn, dog, and bush of thorn,
Representeth Moonshine; for, if you will know,
By moonshine did these lovers think no scorn
To meet at Ninus’ tomb, there, there to woo.
This grisly beast, which Lion hight by name,
The trusty Anne, coming first by night,
Did scare away, or rather did affright;
And, as she fled, her mantle she did fall,
Which Lion vile with bloody mouth did stain.
Anon comes Edward, sweet youth and tall,
And finds his trusty Anne’s mantle stained:
Whereat, with blade, with bloody blameful blade,
He bravely broached his boiling bloody breast;
And Anne, tarrying in a mulberry shade,
His dagger drew thrust in her heart, and died.
For all the rest, let Lion, Moonshine, Wall, and lovers
Twain discourse, while here they do remain.

(Gradual fade out of sound/angle from stage), camera cuts to one of the spectators in a private annex, Sir Robert Dudley, who turns towards his accomplice, seated aside and asks:

“Pray tell, is not the Earl of Oxenforde (John de Vere) the most well-endowed in estates of all our Earls in the whole of the Kingdom?”
The accomplice adds menacingly;
“And privately an avid Papist to boot?”.

Robert Dudley:
But if by chance or peradventure the earl were to die prematurely?
–Then none save his young son, Edward would inherit his estates.
And he has not yet come of age, so he will accept a wardship to some lord.

Accomplice:
Be well assured leave the matter to me,
I sense his noble days are numbered.

Robert Dudley:
Indeed, attend to the business with haste.

Accomplice:
Very well my lord.

[Accomplice exits]
[Close]

Act One, Scene 2: [A Churchyard and cemetery beyond with assembled crowd of mourners. Autumn is fast approaching, winds and coppery/yellow leaves]. Next scene is the young Edward de Vere attending his father’s funeral with suggestions that the cause of his father’s death is far from natural.

Sir Thomas Smith:[Approaching Edward]

“Youth, thou bearest thy father’s face; frank nature, rather curious than in haste, hath well composed thee. Thy father’s moral parts mayst thou inherit too!”
Edward:
“Then let my father’s honours live in me, nor wrong my age with this indignity.”
Sir Thomas Smith:
-“I would I had that corporal soundness now, as when thy father and myself in friendship first tried our soldier-ship! He did look far into the service of the time and was disciplined with the bravest. He lasted long but on us both did haggish age steal on and wore us out of action. It much repairs me to talk of your good father. In his youth he had the wit which I can well observe to-day in our young lords; but they may jest till their own scorn return to them un-noted ‘ere they can hide their levity in honours.”
Edward:
“This good remembrance, sir, lies richer in your thoughts than on his tomb this solemn day; So in approof lives not his epitaph but in your loyal speech.”
[Turns to Lady:]
“And I in going, madam, weep over my father’s death anew: but I must attend her majesty’s command, to whom I am now in ward, and evermore in subjection.”
[Edward Exits]
[Enter Church Chorus-singing in procession]

Urns and odours bring away;
Vapours, sighs, darken the day;
Our dole more deadly looks than dying;
Balms and gums and heavy cheers,
Sacred vials filled with tears,
And clamours through the wild air flying.
Come, all sad and solemn shows
That are quick-eyed Pleasure’s foes;
We convent naught else but woes.
We convent naught else but woes.

The interior of Castle Hedingham as it stands today

Act One, Scene 3: [A podium in a castle].
The next set of scenes merging with the young Earl being presented as a ward to the Queen at Castle Hedingham where another play (Henry VIIIth) is due to be performed. He is later presented as a ward to William Cecil, scenes of early education and experience.
[In the background mingling crowds, spectators and processions. It is the cold of a dark winter’s evening. Edward, still mourning for his father, while still wearing black, is presented to the Queen by Lord Burghley].

Prologue: [Read by an actor/presenter]
I come no more to make you laugh: things now,
That bear a weighty and a serious brow,
Sad, high, and working, full of state and woe,
Such noble scenes as draw the eye to flow,
We now present. Those that can pity, here
May, if they think it well, let fall a tear;
The subject will deserve it. Such as give
Their money out of hope they may believe,
May here find truth too. Those that come to see
Only a show or two, and so agree
The play may pass, if they be still and willing,
I’ll undertake to see away their shilling
Richly in two short hours. Only they
That come to hear a merry, bawdy play,
A noise of targets, or to see a fellow
In a long motley coat guarded with yellow,
Will be deceived; for, gentle hearers, know,
To rank our chosen truth with such a show
As fool and fight is, besides forfeiting
Our own brains, and the opinions that we bring,
To make that All Is True we now intend,
Will never leave us an understanding friend.
Therefore, for goodness’ sake, and as you are known
The first and happiest hearers of the town,
Be sad, as we would make ye: think you see
The very persons of our noble story
As they were living; think you see them great,
And followed with the general throng and sweat
Of a thousand friends; then in a moment, see
How soon this mightiness meets a misery:
And, if you can be merry then, I’ll say
A man may weep upon his wedding-day.

[A young lady with troubadours passes by singing and dancing:]

“Orpheus with his lute made trees,
And the mountain tops that freeze,
Bow themselves when he did sing:
To his music, plants and flowers
Ever sprung; as sun and showers
There had made a lasting spring.
Every thing that heard him play,
Even the billows of the sea,
Hung their heads, and then lay by.
In sweet music is such art,
Killing care and grief of heart
Fall asleep, or hearing, die.”

Enter Lord Burghley: [In attendance is the young Earl with train]
“Your most gracious Majesty, permit me on this most excellent and propitious hour to present his lordship, Edward, Earl of Oxenforde who, since his noble father passed away, is now enjoined in your ward-ship ‘til he becomes of lawful age”.
Edward: [Bowing graciously] “Your Majesty….”
Queen Elizabeth:
“Good Edward, cast thy nightly colours off, and let thine eye look like a friend on England’s royal court. Do not for ever with thy veiled lids seek for thy noble father in the dust. Thou know’st it common—All that lives must die, passing through nature into eternity?”
Edward:
“T’is not alone this inky cloak, Good Mother, together with all shows of grief that can denote me truly. But I have that within which passeth show-these but the trappings and the suits of woe.”
Sir Robert Dudley:
“T’is sweet and commendable in your nature, Edward, to give these mourning duties to your father; but you must know your father lost a father; that father lost, lost his and the survivor bound in filial obligation for some term to do obsequious sorrow. We pray you throw to earth this un-prevailing woe and think of us as of a father; for let the world take note you are the most immediate to our throne.”
Queen Elizabeth:
“Let not thy mother lose her prayers, Edward study to remain here in the cheer and comfort of our eye, our chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son.”
Lord Burghley:
My good lord, moderate lamentation is the right of the dead,
excessive grief an enemy to the living.

[All exit with the Queen, leaving Edward alone]
Edward:
“O, that this all too solid flesh would melt,
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fixed
His canon against self-slaughter! O God! God!
How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable,
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fie on it! ah fie! ’tis an un-weeded garden,
That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature
Possess it merely. That it should come to this!
But two months dead: nay, not so much, not two:
So excellent a father; that he was, to this,
Hyperion to a satyr; so loving to my mother
That he might not be-teem the winds of heaven
Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth!
Must I remember? why, she would hang on him,
As if increase of appetite had grown
By what it fed on: and yet, within a month–
Let me not think on it–Frailty, thy name is woman!–
A little month, or ‘ere those shoes were old
With which she followed my poor father’s body,
Like Niobe, all tears:–why she, even she–
O, God! a beast, that wants discourse of reason,
Would have mourned longer–married with my uncle,
My father’s brother, but no more like my father
Than I to Hercules: within a month:
Ere yet the salt of those unrighteous tears
Had left the flushing in her galled eyes,
She married. O, most wicked speed, to post
With such dexterity to their incestuous sheets!
It is not nor can it come to good:
But break, my heart; for I must hold my tongue.

[Exit]

Act One, Scene 4: [A Forest glade]
Scenes where the maturing Earl is depicted riding horse, learning the rudiments of falconry, practising his archery, jousting, fencing etc. A series of scenes in which he takes an interest in English history and the part played by his forebears. Scenes in which he is tutored by Sir Thomas Smith (Sheriff of London), Leonard Digges and Roger Ascham-his secret studies in alchemy, astrology, Hermeticism, and magic etc. No great exchange of dialogue; just Elizabethan music throughout. Towards the end cuts to cinematic split-screen scene panning parallel across a series of library shelves (Shakespeare’s literary sources), on the left words invented by him rolling up or down, superimposed is a hand with quill scribbling furiously across a manuscript the opening words of a play or poem. The action takes place through springtime, summer, autumn and winter.

Act One, Scene 5: [A hermit’s cave in early springtime]

That gradually merges with a scene in which the story of the Hermit’s prophecy is told to the Earl by Dr. John Dee. The Earl of Oxford realises he must lift the curse imposed on his family’s lineage through writing plays and poetry.

Dr. John Dee:
“I have a prophecy, my gracious Lord,
Wherein ‘tis written what success is like
To happen us in this outrageous war;
It was delivered me at Fox’s Hole
By one that is an aged Hermit there.
[Reads.] “When feathered foul shall make thine army tremble,
And flint stones rise and break the battle ray,
Then think on him that doth not now dissemble;
For that shall be the hapless dreadful day:
Yet, in the end, thy foot thou shalt not advance
As far in England as thy foe’s in France.”

Edward:
There is a history in all men’s lives,
Figuring the nature of the times deceased;
That which observed, a man may prophesy,
With a near aim, of the main chance of things
As yet not come to life, which in their seeds
And weak beginnings ly in-treasured.
Such things become the hatch and brood of time;
And by the necessary form of this
A King might then create a perfect guess
That great men, then being false to him,
Would of that seed grow to a greater falseness;
Which should not find a ground to root upon,
Unless it rests on you?

Dr. John Dee:
Not from the stars do I my judgement pluck;
And yet methinks I have Astronomy,
But not to tell of good or evil luck,
Of plagues, of dearths, or seasons’ quality;
Nor can I fortune to brief minutes tell,
Pointing to each his thunder, rain and wind,
Or say with princes if it shall go well
By oft predict that I in heaven find:
But from thine eyes my knowledge I derive,
And, constant stars, in them I read such art
As truth and beauty shall together thrive,
If from thyself, to store thou wouldst convert;
Or else of thee this I prognosticate:
Thy end is truth’s and beauty’s doom and date.

Edward:
Come on, then; I will swear to study so,
To know the thing I am forbid to know:
As thus,–to study where I well may dine,
When I to feast expressly am forbid;
Or study where to meet some mistress fine,
When mistresses from common sense are hid;
Or, having sworn too hard an unbroken oath,
Study to break it and not to break my troth.
If study’s gain be thus and this be so,
Study knows that which yet it doth not know:
Swear me to this, and I will ne’er say no.

Dr. John Dee:
Why, all delights are vain; but that most vain,
Which with pain purchased doth inherit pain:
As, painfully to pore upon a book
To seek the light of truth; while truth the while
Doth falsely blind the eyesight of his look:
Light seeking light doth light of light beguile:
So, ere you find where light in darkness lies,
Your light grows dark by losing of your eyes.
Study me how to please the eye indeed
By fixing it upon a fairer eye,
Who dazzling so, that eye shall be his heed
And give him light that it was blinded by.
Study is like the heaven’s glorious sun
That will not be deep-searched with saucy looks:
Small means have continual plodders ever won
Save base authority from others’ books
These earthly godfathers of heaven’s lights
That give a name to every fixed star
Have no more profit of their shining nights
Than those that walk and wot not what they are.
Too much to know is to know nought but fame;
And every godfather can give a name.

Edward:
No, my good lord; I have sworn to stay with you:
And though I have for barbarism spoke more
Than for that angel knowledge you can say,
Yet confident I’ll keep what I have swore
And bide the penance of each three years’ day.
Give me the paper; let me read the same;
And to the strictest decrees I’ll write my name.

[Writes the name “William Shakespeare” on a manuscript then holds it aloft]

Dr. John Dee: [reaches for a book from his gown]
Peace, cousin, say no more:
And now I will unclasp a secret book,
And to your quick-conceiving discontents
I’ll read you matter deep and dangerous,
As full of peril and adventurous spirit
As to o’er-walk a current roaring loud
On the un-steadfast footing of a spear.

[Both exit slowly, while Dr. John Dee continues reading aloud…]

Act One, Scene 6:
A few years on, a scene at Gray’s Inn, where the young Earl receives his knighthood, matriculates and then plays a part in college revels, masques and plays.
[A College Hall, enter Edward de Vere, George Gascoigne and a Master of Mirth all walking through a throng of excited students and surly masters].
Edward:
Gentlemen, I am a fellow of the strangest mind in the world as I delight in masques and revels sometimes altogether. The elegancy, facility, and golden cadence of poesy will we enact, the play’s the thing wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the crowd.
George Gascoigne:
A play there is, my lord, some ten words long,
Which is as brief as I have known a play;
But by ten words, my lord, it is too long.

Edward:
As imagination bodies forth the form of things unknown,
The poet’s pen turns them to shapes, and gives
To airy nothing a local habitation and a name.
–Oh for a Muse of Fire, that would ascend
the brightest heaven of invention!

George Gascoigne:
-What a coil’s here!
The serving of becks and jutting-out of bums!
I doubt whether their legs be worth the sums
That are given for them. Friendship’s full of dregs:
Methinks, false hearts should never have sound legs,
Thus honest fools lay out their wealth on courtesies.

Edward:
Come now; what masques, what dances shall we have,
To wear away this long age of three years
Between our after-supper and our bed-times?
Where is our usual manager of mirth?
What revels are now in hand? Is there no play,
To ease the anguish of a torturing spell?
Call forth our maker of mirth.

Master of Mirth (reads):
The battle with the Centaurs, to be sung
By an Athenian eunuch to the harp.’
We’ll none of that: that have I told my love,
In glory of my kinsman Hercules.

Reads:
‘The riot of the tipsy Bacchanals,
Tearing the Thracian singer in their rage.’
That is an old device; and it was play’d
When I from The Globe came last a conqueror.

Reads:
‘The thrice three Muses mourning for the death
Of Learning, late deceased in beggary.’
That is some satire, keen and critical,
Not sorting with a nuptial ceremony.

Reads:
A tedious brief scene of young Pyramus
And his love Thisbe; very tragical mirth.’
Merry and tragical! tedious and brief!
That is, hot ice and wondrous strange snow.
How shall we find the concord of this discord?

Edward:
O’erstep not the modesty of nature, the purpose of playing was and is, to hold, as t’were, a mirror up to nature.
George Gascoigne:
Will you see the players well bestowed? Let them be well-used for they are the abstract and brief chronicles of time.
Edward:
The actors are at hand; and by their show, you shall know all that you are like to know.
George Gascoigne:
Look, he is winding up the watch of his wit; by and by
It will strike who knows who, when and where.

Edward:
Nay, George I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent,
But only vaulting ambition, which overleaps itself.
secretly writing plays and poetry. No dialogue.

Act One, Scene 7: [A Study or Library]
While reflecting on his ancestry in his study the Earl sees an apparition in the mirror on the wall. It is the ghost of his dead father warning him of Robert Dudley’s involvement in the plot to kill him so that he may benefit financially from his premature death.

Edward:
Why, what an ass am I! This is most brave,
That I, the son of a dear father murdered,
Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,
Must, like a whore, unpack my heart with words,
And fall a-cursing, like a very drab,
A scullion! Fie upon it! Foh! About, my brain! I have heard
That guilty creatures sitting at a play
Have by the very cunning of the scene
Been struck so to the soul that presently
They have proclaimed their malefactions.

[Turns towards a mirror in which an apparition gradually appears.]

-Oh, is that a man o’ the cloth?
Before my God, I might not this believe
Without the sensible and true avouch
Of mine own eyes. Nay, ‘tis a man apparelled
As an apparition that might disappear,
As if an aether of my poor father.

[Ghost beckoning].
-Where wilt thou lead me? speak; I’ll go no further.

Ghost:
Mark me, Edward! My hour is almost come,
When I to sulphurous and tormenting flames
Must render up myself again at dawn.

Edward:
Alas, poor ghost! Not yet…
Ghost: [Moving closer].
Pity me not, dear boy but lend thy serious ear
To what I shall unfold.

Edward:
Speak, speak; I am bound to hear it.
Ghost:
So art thou now bound to your revenge,
When thou shalt hear: I am thy father’s spirit,
Doomed for a certain term to haunt the night,
And for the day confined to fast in fires,
Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
Are burnt and purged away. But that I am forbid
To tell the secrets of my prison-house,
I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres,
Thy knotted and combined locks to part
And each particular hair to stand on end,
Like quills upon the fretful porcupine:
But this eternal blazon must not be
To ears of flesh and blood. Now list, list, O, list!
If thou didst ever thy dear father love–
-A murder most foul, as in the best it is;
But this most foul, strange and unnatural.

Edward:
Haste me to know it, that I, with wings as swift
As meditation or the thoughts of love,
May swoop to my revenge.

Ghost:
Now, dear Edward, hear:
‘Tis given out that, sleeping in my orchards,
A wicked serpent stung me; so the whole ear of England
Is by a forged process of my death
Rankly abused: but know, thou noble youth,
The serpent that did sting thy father’s life
Now straddles the Queen’s horse.

Edward:
Oh, my prophetic soul! Sir Sidney’s uncle, Robert Dudley?
Ghost:
Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate dog,
With witchcraft of his wit, in traitorous hour,–
Of wicked deceit, and with that had the power
So to seduce, even our Queen!–won to his shameful lust
The will of thy most seeming-Virgin Queen:

[Raising his arms]
Oh Edward, what a falling-off there wast!
From me, whose love was of that noble dignity
That it went hand in hand even with the vow
I made to your mother in marriage, and to decline
Upon a wretch whose natural gifts were poor
To those of mine! Thus was I poisoned,
Sleeping, by a foul brother’s hand, deprived of life,
Of crown, of Queen, unjustly dispatched:
Cut off even in the blossoms of my sins,
Unhousel’d, disappointed, un-panell’d,
O, horrible! O, horrible! Most horrible!
If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not;
Let not the royal bed of England be
A couch for luxury and damned incest.
Now, fare thee well at once!
-The glow-worm shows the morning to be near,
And ‘gins to pale his un-effectual fire:
Adieu, adieu! Dear Edward, remember me.

[Gradually disappears, fading into mist]
Edward: [Alone and at his desk].
Oh, all you hosts of heaven! O earth! what else?
And shall I couple hell? Oh, fie upon this deed!
Hold, hold, my heart; so, Dudley, there you are.
Now to my word; it is ‘Adieu, adieu! remember me.’
I have sworn it!

[Exits]

Published by Leonidas Kazantheos

For as long as I can remember I have been passionate about the arts, social change and the sustainable environment. After more than thirty years of voluntary and professional involvement commuting between Yorkshire and Lancashire while working in those areas I finally relocated to Buxton in 2013. This was after the birth of our son Gaspard and to further the career of my French partner, Francoise Collignon who is currently seeking work in the tourism sector. In 1988 I became the Regional co-ordinator for the National Artists Association in Manchester and helped promote the artistic revival in the region. At the turn of the millennium in 2001, while pursuing my vocational interest in symbolism and the natural world, I became involved in environmental conservation and the protection of green space in W. Yorkshire. I was elected editor for Calderdale Friends of the Earth, a monthly postal and online newsletter. In my spare time I was preoccupied as a writer, natural archivist and amateur poet. Over a period of five years I also worked briefly as an architectural technician, landscape designer and mural artist near Holmfirth where I gained invaluable insights into restoration and the development of Green Field and Brown Field sites. In my mid-forties I relocated from Halifax, W. Yorkshire to Manchester where I worked as an artist and freelance set designer for several photographic, film and video companies. My work recieved reviews in Hotshoe International, Avant Magazine, NME, The Face, the Big Issue and one shot (The Wolf) became a best-selling poster for Athena Posters. In the late 80’s I became an active member of the National Artists Association and a subscriber to the Design & Artists Copyright Society. I assisted in the instigation of the first Multi-cultural Arts Conference and the first Black Arts Forum in Manchester. I became editor of a quarterly Arts Magazine concerned with promoting and supporting artist’s initiatives in the region. Nevertheless, in my spare time I wrote numerous articles on the natural world and researched aspects of Dream Symbolism and the study of semiotics and gestalts in literature and art. I was involved as facilitator for the local allotments and helped set up a local nature reserve at Hough End. Finally, I was encouraged by a close mentor in America to write more seriously about the work of the literary genius William Shakespeare and to pursue a role as a poet. Although somewhat reluctantly over the past four years I have given poetry performances, workshops and readings in Manchester. I have recently published an anthology of my poetry entitled “Parthenogenesis” and a companion to Shakespeare studies entitled “Shakespeare’s Qaballah”. I am currently working on a screenplay entitled “Not Without Mustard” about the life of Edward de Vere.

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