HH: Goodnight, Sweet Prince
(23 August 1998)
Another item gleaned from the Net, but hopefully unfamiliar to at least a few of you. I've lightly reformatted it for Web publication.
Saturday Morning Hamlet
by Michael S. Schiffer
This recently discovered folio edition of "Hamlet" follows other known
versions closely until Act V, Scene II, where it begins to diverge at
line 232, as will be seen:
- ...'Now the king drinks to Hamlet.' Come, begin,
And you the judges, bear a wary eye
Trumpets sound. HAMLET and LAERTES take their stations
- Come on, sir.
- Come, my lord.
Enter FRED, DAPHNE, VELMA, SHAGGY, AND SCOOBY
- Stop the fight!
HAMLET and LAERTES put up their foils
- I like this not. Say wherefore you do speak?
- Good lord, I pray thee, let thy anger wait.
For we, in seeking clues, have found the truth
Behind the strange events of latter days.
- The first clue came from Elsinore's high walls,
Where, so said Hamlet, Hamlet's ghost did walk.
Yet though the elder Hamlet met his death,
And perforce hath been buried in the ground,
'Tis yet true one would not expect a ghost
To carry mud upon his spectral boots.
Yet mud didst Shaggy and his faithful hound
Espy, with footprints leading to a drop.
This might, at first, indeed bespeak a ghost...
Until, when I did seek for other answers,
I found a great, wide cloth of deepest black
Discarded in the moat of Elsinore.
'Tis clear, the "ghost" used this to slow his fall
While darkness rendered him invisible.
- The second clue we found, my lord, was this.
- It seems to me a portrait of my brother
In stainéd glass, that sunlight may shine through.
- But see, my lord, when placed before a lantern
- My brother's ghost!
- My father!
- Nay, his image.
- In sooth, that image caught the Prince's eye
When he went to confront his lady mother.
Nor did his sword pierce poor Polonius.
For Hamlet's blade did mark the castle wall
Behind the rent made in the tapestry.
Polonius was murdered by another.
The knife which killed him entered from behind.
- But who?
- Indeed my lords, that you shall see.
- And if this ghost was naught but light and air,
Then what of that which I did touch and speak to?
The GHOST enters.
- Indeed, my son.
- Mark them not.
Thou hast neglected duty far too long.
Shall this, my murderer, live on unharmed?
Must I remain forever unavenged?
SCOOBY and SHAGGY run away from the GHOST. SCOOBY, looking backward,
runs into a tapestry, tearing it down. As a result, tapestries around
the walls collapse, one surrounding the GHOST.
- Good Osric, pray restrain that "ghost",
That we may reach the bottom of the matter.
Now let us see who truly walked tonight.
FRED removes the helm and the disguise from the GHOST'S face.
- Tis Fortinbras!
- The valiant prince of Norway!
- Indeed it is, and curses on you all!
This Hamlet's father brought my own to death,
And cost me all my rightful heritage.
And so I killed this king, and hoped his son
Would prove no obstacle to Norway's crown.
Then Claudius bethought himself the killer
(As if one might be poisoned through the ear!)
The brother, not the son, took Denmark's throne,
And held to Norway with a tighter grip.
I swore an end to Denmark's royal house.
I spoke to Hamlet of his uncle's crimes.
Then killed Polonius to spark Laertes.
This day, with poison's aid, all might have died,
And Denmark might have come to me as well
As my beloved Norway and revenge.
My scheme blinded them all, as if by fog
But for these medd'ling kids and this their dog.
- The villain stands confessed. Now let us go.
For much remains to us to be discussed.
And suitable reward must needs be found
For these, our young detectives and their hound.
Copyright © 1993, Michael S. Schiffer. Permission is granted to Jed
Hartman reprint this work once in his "Words and Stuff" column. All other rights are reserved to the author. To request
permission to publish this in another forum, electronically or on
paper, please contact the author at email@example.com or
firstname.lastname@example.org. This work can also be found at
Side note about Hamlet: It's been translated into Klingon (though apparently not on the Web) by the Klingon Language Institute.
Jed Hartman <email@example.com>