Poetry: Splinters from Shakespeare | clivejames.com
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Splinters from Shakespeare

My name is Shallow. Lend me credit, pray,
If I, at this stage, sound deep once or twice.
They called me “lusty Shallow” in my day,
But time ensured that I would pay the price,
Which is to wonder where my juices went.
Jesu, the mad, mad days that I have spent.

My cousin Silence would attest, were he
To find a voice, I left no woman cold.
This poor forked radish once was a green tree,
And now I hear Jane Nightwork has grown old
Who said she spurned me, but that was not true.
The death I owe to God has fallen due.

I heard the chimes at midnight with Sir John,
But he was stirring, even as he sighed.
He sucked up his great sack-butt and moved on,
And left me here alone to nurse my pride.
I, too, have lived: a small life, but not mean.
Jesu, Jesu, the days that I have seen.