Richard the Third in a Fourth of a Second

February 5, 2013 § Leave a comment

The Essential Shakespeare, Volume I
Rapid-retrieval editions in rhymed hemimeter

ACT I

Clop.

Clop-
clop.

But
look
what
Hop-
toad
did.

Wid-
ow’d,

ACT II

woo’d,

took

this
lewd
and
stin-
king
thing
this
En-
gland.

ACT III

Clop-
pit-
y
clop
he
swap
it
fer
some
horse.

ACT IV

Flum-
mer-
y
of
course.

Cov-
er
stor-
y
for
the
hoi-
po-
lloi.

ACT V

Good;

we
would-
n’t
want
the
slu-
bbered
herd

ACT VI

thin-
king
which
nerd
murd-
ered
Rich-
ard
Third.

– George Starbuck

A bare bones exhumation of Shakespeare’s deform’d, unfinish’d king?

A syllable is nothing more than the smallest phonetical unit of a word, a vocalic boulder with consonantal tufts of grass sprouting before and after. As Starbuck shows, syllables do funny things when cleft from their crags: thinking breaks to thin king, stinking becomes stin king oozing from the odiferous En gland. Eek. But then everything ends in a landslide of -urds, -erds, and words, reburying the body.

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