Discovered: 'New' poem from Shakespeare dedicated to Elizabeth I


Blackleaf
#1
Discovered: 'New' poem from Shakespeare dedicated to Elizabeth I

20th April 2007
Daily Mail


A 'new' poem by William Shakespeare has been published for the first time




A 'new' poem by William Shakespeare has been published for the first time.

'To the Queen' is just 18 lines long and is thought to have been written as an epilogue for one of his plays and was read in the presence of Queen Elizabeth I in 1599.

But it has previously been neglected and its inclusion in a new version of his complete works is its first publication.

American scholars William Ringler and Steven May found the poem while searching through manuscript collections of court poetry.

They came across the notebook of a certain Henry Stanford, who was attached to the household of the Lord Hunsdon, Lord Chamberlain in charge of court festivities and official patron of Shakespeare's acting company.


Richmond Palace, now long gone, stood on the banks of the Thames in London. Here it is in 1765. It was a Royal residence from 1327 to 1649 when King Charles I was beheaded and England became a Republic.



Entitled in the manuscript 'To the queen by the players', the epilogue was written for the occasion of a performance at Richmond Palace in the presence of Queen Elizabeth on Shrove Tuesday, February 20th 1599.


Queen Elizabeth I - the last Tudor monarch - reigned England during the years 1558-1603



A spokesperson for the Royal Shakespeare Company said the poem - which may well have been spoken by Shakespeare himself - is written in the same style as the epilogue to A Midsummer Night's Dream.

"In its command of language and rhythm, it has the utter assurance that is unique to the mature Shakespeare. Though only eighteen lines long, it's a precious addition to the canon," she said.

Though discovered 30 years ago it was somehow omitted by the editors of the last Complete Works of Shakespeare, the 1986 Oxford edition.

'The RSC Shakespeare', edited by Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen, is a new edition of Shakespeare's Complete Works, the first edition in 300 years to be based on the first folio.

Commenting on the 'new' poem, co-editor, Jonathan Bate, said: "When plays were put on at court, it was a requirement that there should be a prologue and an epilogue tailor-made for the occasion.


Entitled in the manuscript 'To the queen by the players', the epilogue was written for the occasion of a performance at Richmond Palace in the presence of Queen Elizabeth on Shrove Tuesday, February 20th 1599




"Shakespeare was probably in the habit of dashing some lines down on the back of an envelope and then chucking them away. By chance, this one example has survived."

"We know that Shakespeare's company played at court that day, but unfortunately we don't know which play they performed.

However, the allusion in the first line of the poem to the 'dial hand' of a clock chimes with some of the language in As You Like It, which was new in 1599," Bate added.

The poem is due to be read on the 'Today' programme on BBC Radio 4, tomorrow, by actor Geoffrey Streatfeild who is a member of the RSC acting ensemble, performing in the RSC's History plays, in Stratford-upon-Avon.


'To the Queen'


As the dial hand tells o'er
The same hours it had before,
Still beginning in the ending,
Circular account still lending,
So, most mighty Queen we pray,
Like the dial day by day
You may lead the sessions on,
That the babe which now is young
And hath yet no use of tongue
Many a Shrovetide here may bow
To that empress I do now,
That the children of these lords,
Sitting at your council boards,
May be grave and aged seen
Of her that was their fathers' queen
Once I wish this wish again,
Heaven subscribe it with
'Amen'


dailymail.co.uk
Last edited by Blackleaf; Apr 20th, 2007 at 02:36 PM..
 
tamarin
#2
Not a lot there but at this late date anything by the bard is newsworthy.
 
hermanntrude
#3
I'm no artist but I quite like that poem. Much better than Henry V, for instance, which was crap from beginning to end
 

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