(To Antonio: From Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice)
"Signior Antonio, many a time and oft.." (Is only the beginning).
When I was a young rascal I enjoyed memorizing poems by Robert Frost and Willy Shakespeare.
Recently though, I had a long distance conversation with a poet friend who lives in Amsterdam and mentioned Frost's powerful poem, "Out, Out." My friend was was unfamiliar with it and so I recited it for him. We all know that poems are much more effective when spoken properly and, as expected, he was blown away by it.
Shortly afterwards while taking a shower I wondered how it would sound to boom out Shylock's twenty-four line speech to Antonio while I was still in the shower and so I did so. They say that a shower's droplets create negative ions that stimulate the brain. Perhaps that's what did it.
However it was, the speech kept going and going way beyond what had ever been published and it so fascinated me that I jumped out of the shower, all naked and all, and began writing it down. It only stopped at the eighty-ninth line and only then as a result from a visitor from Porlock. Shades of "Kubla Khan."
Later, I realized that it needed footnotes so I added them as you will see.
I'm sure that you know this speech's beginning and perhaps may be curious to click on the entirety of of what surely must be a genetic memory below;
In the Rialto, you have rated me
About my monies and my usances:
Still have I borne it with a patient shrug,
For sufferance is the badge of all our tribe.
You call me misbeliever; cut-throat dog,
And spit upon my Jewish gaberdine,
And all for use of that which is mine own.
Well then, it now appears you need my help:
Go to then, you come to me and you say,
‘Shylock; we would have monies': you say so;
You, that did void your rheum upon my beard,
And foot me as you spurn a stranger cur
Over your threshold: monies is your suit.