Now we have Royal Babylon, on the British royal family. It has been online and bilingually available in Germany, but is published this month by Skyscraper. Elizabeth is on the cover of Royal Babylon, with crown and stole and silver candy-floss hair, looking into your eyes like a Nazi eugenicist. In Royal Babylon, blood runs in torrents from the throne. Titular head of the armed forces, receiver of fealty, beneficiary of shares in weapons systems, convener of arms-dealing fairs in her castles, signer of death sentences in dominions, bestower of medals on war criminals, seizer of the properties of the intestate dead, the Queen is here displayed as vampiric.
He and Charles killed 50 boar in a single sporting day in Germany. This is unrhymed and unmetered broadside poetry that could be nailed to a palace door. If I were its editor I might have suggested a little slimming and rearranging, but this poem is real, vivid, deeply felt, urgent and serious.
Amid the royal gossip and worship of the powerful, it asks questions of the institution and its defenders that deserve to be addressed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Kings and Queens of England
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Screen Name Selection. Only letters, numbers, periods and hyphens are allowed in screen names. Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password. Your Comments. Sign In Sign Out. We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. The company were now styled the King's players. The far-seeing poet doubtless quickly added to his praise of Elizabeth the vista of newly and more widely extending glories of the reign of her successor, and in King Henry VIII , Act V.
He says of the new King: "Nor shall this peace sleep with her: but as when The bird of wonder dies, the maiden phoenix, Her ashes new-create another heir, As great in admiration as herself; So shall she leave her blessedness to one, When heaven shall call her from this cloud of darkness, Who from the sacred ashes of her honour Shall star-like rise, as great in fame as she was, And so stand fix'd: peace, plenty, love, truth, terror, That were the servants to this chosen infant.
Shall then be his, and like a vine grow to him: Wherever the bright sun of heaven shall shine, His honour and the greatness of his name Shall be, and make new nations: he shall flourish, And, like a mountain cedar, reach his branches To all the plains about him: — our children's children Shall see this, and bless heaven. The present writer will endeavour in a separate work to conclusively prove that Shakespeare wrote the supposed Fletcherian portions of Henry VIII.
The King during his first regular progress through his new kingdom after leaving the city of Salisbury on August 26, , was, with the royal party entertained on the 29th and 30th of the same month at Wilton, the noble seat of William Herbert, third Earl of Pembroke, and on the 6th October the King and Queen were again at Wilton, and at this noble mansion they stayed several weeks.
And on the 2nd December the King and Court were again at the seat of the Earl of Pembroke witnessing a theatrical performance by the company of players to which Shakespeare belonged, and again during the Christmas holidays the same company gave several performances before the Royal party at Hampton Court.
Queen Elizabeth I
The list of plays they performed has unhappily not been preserved. There is little doubt but that Shakespeare was with his company at Wilton on some of these highly important occasions, if not on all, and that the King first noticed the poet on this occasion, even if he had not already become acquainted with him in Scotland; and the famous "Amicable Letter" which on good authority, we are told, was written by the King to Shakespeare, may have been in reference to his desire to see a play written by him upon the subject of Macbeth.
This play was produced we may well suppose upon receipt of the letter and in haste for a special Court performance. The King was proclaimed King of Great Britain and Ireland in , and the play may well be assigned to the first year of his coronation. If not in Scotland, at Wilton and elsewhere the King was already acquainted with Shakespeare, and the position he held and the company to which he belonged. The new monarch it should be remembered was a descendant of Banquo ; this the poet has kept in his mind's eye — "Some I see That two-fold balls and treble sceptres carry.
A great change had come over the country, "the old order passeth away and giveth place unto the new. Robertson there were but fifty-eight — now they came in streams following the King. This evoked much banter and sarcasm amongst the wits, dramatists, and actors of the day, several of them openly showing their dislike by satirizing the King, his Court, and countrymen; they failed to see the benefit that would arise from the union of the kingdoms. Shakespeare appears most fully and clearly to have seen it, and heralded the advent, as we have seen, by a full tribute of gratulation and praise.
That King James would be very likely to suggest the play of Macbeth is highly possible.
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George Buchanan, who, as before observed, had been preceptor to the King in his "History of Scotland," published in Edinburgh in , states in the 7th book that the history of Macbeth was well adapted for the stage, "Multa hie fabulose quidam nostrorum affingunt; sed quia theatris aut Milesies fabulis sunt aptiora quam historiae, ea omitto.
Viewed in this light the poet had several objects in view in producing his Macbeth at this juncture, and moulding it, though roughly, yet in weighty and attractive metal a masterpiece of skill and power.
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In the play Measure for Measure , written in , a passage appears to refer to the proclamation of the Scottish King on his accession to the throne of England, forbidding the populace to assemble to meet him on his entry to his new kingdom, a proceeding on the part of the people both of Scotland and of England of which he soon grew weary, and told the people how greatly he disapproved of it.
The poet notes the mood of the King — "I love the people, But do not like to stage me to their eyes. Though it do well, I do not relish well Their loud applause and aves vehement; Nor do I think the man of safe discretion, That does affect it.
This comedy was acted before the Court at Whitehall on December 26, These lines would be at once recognised as aptly alluding to the extreme aversion of the King, long well known alike in regard to his Scotch subjects, as also lately proclaimed to his new people. Their first appearance in print we now find was under a very rare engraved portrait of King James I, published about the year , The various MS.
It is not a little remarkable that this King was also in close connection from this time onward to the last with both of Shakespeare's patrons; the special honours the King at once bestowed upon the Earl of Southampton, after granting his immediate release from imprisonment in the Tower, and the various other signal favours granted later in life, both to him and to William Earl of Pembroke, reveal the fact that he at once regarded Southampton with a favourable eye, and at the same time exhibited a devoted regard for Pembroke, whom he also favoured highly but with a more constant favour and more attached and friendly regard, as he ever after retained the latter in office or at the Court in what appears to have been a bond of most sympathetic friendship.
He was evidently attracted at once by the merits of both these lords, and in every way he could, expressed his admiration for them by conferring honours upon them upon several important occasions. His love for Pembroke, however, was far more constant and uniform, but he retained it would appear to the last also a regard, if not adoration, for Southampton; Pembroke, however, was his assured friend, confidant, and counsellor. King James remained an admirer of the drama all his life, and on many occasions witnessed the plays of Shakespeare at various performances at Court, and his plays doubtless added joy and brightness to the festivities of many a passing hour; and the Court, upon our poet's retirement to his native town, missed the great luminary amongst men, though they had to abide the fate of the hour; the poet doubtless needed rest and peace, and the pleasurable and constant circle of his family and friends.