Shakin’ up Shakespeare

For the benefit of those who find Shakespeare’s poetry too flowery and difficult to understand, I have paraphrased another of his poems, taking it entirely out of context, of course. I hope he’s not turning in his grave. This poem suggests that he didn’t expect to.

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“Fear no more the heat of the sun” with paraphrasing

Fear no more the heat o’ the sun
Nor the furious winter’s rages;
don’t worry about the weather
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages:
you’re dead.
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.
everyone dies.

Fear no more the frown o’ the great;
Thou art past the tyrant’s stroke;
the gits can’t get to you now.
care no more to clothe and eat;
To thee the reed is as the oak:
no point in getting togged up for dinner.
The scepter, learning, physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.
everyone dies.

Fear no more the lightning flash,
Nor the all-dreaded thunder stone;
I mentioned the weather, didn’t I?
Fear not slander, censure rash;
Thou hast finished joy and moan:
don’t take any notice of what people say about you.
All lovers young, all lovers must
Consign to thee, and come to dust.
hope you don’t mind being surrounded by snogging couples.

No exorciser harm thee!
Nor no witchcraft charm thee!
magic can’t do anything now!
Ghost unlaid forbear thee!
Nothing ill come near thee!
nothing can,
Quiet consummation have;
And renownèd be thy grave!
you’re dead. oh! and you’re dead famous too.

This is the way William Shakespeares version looks:

Fear no more the heat o’ the sun
Nor the furious winter’s rages;
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages:
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.

Fear no more the frown o’ the great;
Thou art past the tyrant’s stroke;
Care no more to clothe and eat;
To thee the reed is as the oak:
The scepter, learning, physic, must
All follow this, and come to dust.

Fear no more the lightning flash,
Nor the all-dreaded thunder stone;
Fear not slander, censure rash;
Thou hast finished joy and moan:
All lovers young, all lovers must
Consign to thee, and come to dust.

No exorciser harm thee!
Nor no witchcraft charm thee!
Ghost unlaid forbear thee!
Nothing ill come near thee!
Quiet consummation have;
And renownèd be thy grave!

This is my interpretation, which is far less wordy, and therefore more ecological when printed onto paper. Shakespeares generation didn’t worry about wasting resources as we do:

don’t worry about the weather,
you’re dead.
everyone dies

the gits can’t get to you now.
there’s no point in getting togged up for dinner,
everyone dies

I mentioned the weather, didn’t I?
don’t take any notice of what people say about you.
hope you don’t mind being surrounded by snogging couples.

magic can’t do anything now!
nothing can.
you’re dead. Oh! and you’re dead famous too.

© Jane Paterson Basil

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13 thoughts on “Shakin’ up Shakespeare

  1. Old Will’s dead too, so no worries about him getting fretful over this! And what’s an icon for if not to take the mickey out of? I was wondering what he had against chimney sweeps (why are they picked out to die rather than anyone else) but then twigged he means they gather dust from chimneys – bit of a gag?
    Nicely done and not a little funny 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I suppose, like most people ,he wrote about what he knew. He’d probably seen more than a few of those little kids being stuffed up chimneys and coming down dead.
      He must have seen a lot of lovers die, too. He was always banging on about dead lovers.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Nothing more appealing than a dead lover, it seems. True love cut short tugs more on our inner romantic than a long marriage that dissolves onto being irritated by his nose picking or her nagging 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

            1. Good to find someone who understands why I had to do those things.
              I’ve suddenly remembered this is a public conversation. Maybe it’s time to mention that I’m joking! there are no shallow graves in the back garden.

              Liked by 1 person

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