Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Mistress of Mince (A Play in One Act)

This little ditty won a writing challenge a few years ago, and I wanted to share it as a special treat for my blog and Facebook fans/friends.  It was my first attempt at writing in Iambic Pentameter or mimicking Shakespeare's style.  I do hope you like it.  Please--comments welcome.  If you know of a place I can submit it for publication, let me know that, too.

The Mistress of Mince

A Play in One, Short Act

ACT I. Marcus and Efennama are sitting on the stone steps of his
                       castle, enjoying the sunny afternoon. He is posing for her, reciting
                                        poetry of his own creation. She is a married lady, very unhappy in her union.

Marcus:      Come to Albion, thou weedy, rough-hewn lout!

Efennama:   Thou hast spoken well, my Lord. Pray, say on.

Marcus:      For, the morrow's light doth break soon softly,
                  So blench thou not at wisdom's sufferance.

Efennama:   'Tis true, for England's land is luminance;
                  And low brow's babble makes for fool's fodder.

Marcus:      Tell, dear Efennama, what malapert
                   reason brings thee to this palace of rheum?

Efennama:   "But I, who never knew how to entreat,
                  Nor never needed that I should entreat,
                  Am starved for meat, giddy for lack of sleep,
                  With oath kept waking and with brawling fed:
                  And that which spites me more than all these
                  wants, He does it under name of perfect love;
                  As who should say, if I should sleep or eat,
                  'Twere deadly sickness or else present death.
                  I prithee go and get me some repast;
                  I care not what, so it be wholesome food."1

Marcus:      The prescribed remedy for thine hunger
                  sits in my hand, so glad am I to give't.
                  For pie's r's squaring is n'ere enough to
                  satisfy, but those whose minds rest upon
                  Descartes' durst vision make mirth like "Honey Pie".

Efennama:  Relieve my suffering, and lay upon
                  me thy level-headed verbage's score.
                  Dear Lord, I can go no further: O,
                  I die for food! Here lie I down, and measure
                  out my grave. Farewell, kind Lord.

Marcus:     Nothing attends a picnic more than mince,
                 so shall we fillest our bellies thus hence.
                 Combine 1/2 lb beef suet, chopped fine
                 4 cups seedless raisins are so divine;
                 2 cups dried currants will add needed zest,
                 1 cup coarsely chopped almonds to go next.
                 1/2 cup coarsely chopped candied citron
                 Something to hang our 1/2 cup figs upon;
                 1/2 cup chopped orange peel to soon follow,
                 And 1/4 cup chopped lemon peel on the morrow;
                 4 cups chopped apples will add the fibre,
                 Nothing's sweeter than 1 & 1/4 sugar
                 Spices notwithstanding, 1 tsp nutmeg
                 1 tsp allspice, 1 tsp cinnamon
                 1/2 tsp cloves, 2 & 1/2 cups brandy
                 And in finale,1 cup dry sherry.
                 To be mixed together in thy largest bowl,
                 And sauteed in brandy, with sherry for soul.
                 In weeks of three we shall attend the mix,
                 In the lag, my eyes upon you transfix.

Effennama: My Lord, regail me with your riddles, pray.

Marcus:     In battle I rage against wave and wind,
                 Strive against storm, dive down seeking
                 A strange homeland, shrouded by the sea.
                 In the grip of war, I am strong when still;
                 In battle-rush, rolled and ripped
                 In flight. Conspiring wind and wave
                 Would steal my treasure, strip my hold,
                 But I seize glory with a guardian tail
                 As the clutch of stones stands hard
                 Against my strength. Can you guess my name?

Effennama: Thy wisdom would preclude my meagre guess,
                 And you wouldst not be answered with reason.

Marcus:     Do try, dear beauty.

Effennama: A flag.

Marcus:     Merry, thy meed is meet to be named, and
                 so now give name to the very battle.

Effennama: Kind Sir, it was the Battle of Naseby
                  that set aright a nation's yearning for

Marcus:     Thou ist my Bohemian Girl, forsooth.
                 Do me the honour of kissing my lips.

Effennama: Haply, you wouldst have me make of thee a
                 Cuckold for certain? For thou surely foins
                  a ballow for my occassion, dear heart.
                 Were it not for my own weakness of mind,
                  I wouldst surely lay no place of nonce for
                  thine meaty and lusty palter.

Marcus:     You mistake the eager air of my Speech;
                 For it is indeed liberal with ruth.

Effennama: Perhaps Bermuda has kept this meaning
                  For its triangle hidden, from cogging
                  Greeks who wouldst as quickly make of it a
                  sport whose determinate manner would
                  surely daff every honourable woman
                  within its region. For love comprised of
                  a set of three vertices whose woof is
                  hardened, can only vouchsafe a vizard
                  of scathful deceipt.

Marcus:      Is it your intention to shent me my
                  liberality of compassion? Thy
                  gaoler is a heavy mistress, indeed.
                  Can your eyes not look upon love's visage,
                  for the sake of love's true first kiss, and not
                  for the thorn hidden on the rose's branches?

Effennama: My Lord, thou hast worn me down in this game,
                  So I must surrender the match point to
                  thee, and prithee protect my foolish heart.
                  Life's meaning changes with each morrow,
                  and this day I must needs redeem its
                  implying. Our bendbradnes hast been much,
                  so now I bid thee good'night my kind Love.


1 Kate, in The Taming of the Shrew, IV, 3

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