Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Ghosted Writer

by David @ More

Sweet Swan of Avon! England's holy ghost!
Who chose to dispose of the trove of unpublished shows
that Marley composed not pre-'93, but post?
The Shakespeare First Folio is surely the most
audacious literary author hoax
(a front man getting credit when the writer croaks)
ever pulled on English-speaking folks.

In 1623, a collection of plays
performed during Kit's 'living-dead' phase
were gathered and published for cash with bold praise
for the dead author (addressed as Soule of the Age,
Star of Poets and wonder of our stage).

Described as a rash enterprise, the Folio offered
three dozen Shakespeare plays that Marley authored--
but words inside implied another father!
A necessary lie? Ah yes! But why bother?
This question isn't meant rhetorically;
the answer's evident historically:
Kit Marley's lurid 'rap sheet' killed his chance
of getting credit for his Art's advance
in the course of a stellar 20-year career
as the hidden poet-playwright "Shakespeare"
from The Rape of Lucrece through King Lear
and every line in which he "shook a lance
at ignorance"—a stance gravely enhanced
by deathly banishment. No pun is meant,
just grievous and egregious punishment
about which Marley surely had no choice:
He lost his name, his love, his home, his voice.

When he was just a 20-something wit,
Kit wrote and said some irreligious shit
in jest, offensive to The Church. Alas,
those words came back to bite him in the ass
so hard that all the world believed he'd passed.
This public dead-and-buried circumstance
would cause his readership to look askance
if his name proudly crowned the title page
and Christopher Marley was hailed Soule of the Age.
They'd wonder "How'd a dead man write so much?
"He truly must possess a magic touch!"

So what else could the Grand Possessors do
to print Kit's Shakespeare plays for public view?
They execute a simple switcheroo:
Employ the dead Stratfordian anew—
as decoy for the hard-luck playwright who
could not (back then) get credit he was due.

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