Love’s Labor’s Won: Prologue

 

Love’s Labor’s Won.         Prologue.               War

This text is featured in our interview with Scott Kaiser.

Click here for a scanned version.

WAR

  1. Nay, do not run—for thou dost know me well;
  2. Though now my clothes are torn, and my grim visage
  3. Arrayed in blood. ’Twas only four years since
  4. That thou didst take my hand and welcome me.
  5. Why, is not this the very place that thou
  6. Didst fold me in thy open arms, and kissed
  7. My rosy cheeks, and praised my bearing much,
  8. Swearing oaths and waving flags as I marched by?
  9. And dost thou now not know me? O for shame!
  10. Why, thou didst polish bright my silver buttons,
  11. And sharpen my worn sword, and fill my purse
  12. With borrowed gold and new-collected treasure.
  13. And dost thou now not recognize my face?
  14. I am war, the pandemonious child
  15. You once adored, born in the self-same hour,
  16. And in that same contagious bed whereon
  17. The last French King commanded his last breath,
  18. Whose sickness, carried on the wanton breeze,
  19. Infected intertwined alliances
  20. As fragile as a widow spider’s web,
  21. Infesting all the fecund courts of Europe
  22. With deadly enmity. For four long years
  23. I’ve toiled for thy glory without rest,
  24. Deafening sons with my thunderous voice,
  25. Defiling daughters with my fiery fists,
  26. Trampling villages with my cruel boots,
  27. Starving children with my greedy stomach,
  28. Bereaving fathers with my stony heart,
  29. Widowing wives with my venomous breath,
  30. Divorcing bodies from their timeless souls,
  31. And all in loving and devoted service
  32. To thy most deep and secretive desires;
  33. And dost thou now disown me? Call me bastard?
  34. Spit out my bitter name? Well, ’tis no matter:
  35. I know thou shalt despair when I am gone,
  36. Which soon may come to pass, for now, alas,
  37. The fickle coronets of Spain and France
  38. Do court in Paris, where they woo and dance,
  39. United by desire to conceive
  40. A fetal treaty that will banish me
  41. From out the skirts of these deflower’d lands.
  42. But what care I if they expel me hence?
  43. For I’m in great demand on every plot
  44. Of this contentious ball of wormy earth;
  45. Pretend then, henceforth, not to know my birth;
  46. A round or two my labors here shall cease,
  47. While Time gestates my witless sibling, peace.

 

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