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414 pages, Paperback
First published January 1, 1593
But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks,
Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;
I, that am rudely stamped, and want love’s majesty
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
I, that am curtailed of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
Deformed, unfinished, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that so lamely an unfashionable
That dogs bark at me as I halt by them –
Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pass away the time,
Unless to spy my shadow in the sun
And descant on mine own deformity.
And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,
To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
I am determined to prove a villain
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,
By drunken prophesies, libels, and dreams,
To set my brother Clarence and the King
In deadly hate the one against the other.
And if King Edward be as true and just
As I am subtle, false, and treacherous,
This day should Clarence closely be mewed up …
I got hold of two books when I started the histories: Shakespeare’s Kings by John Norwich (a popular historian), and Shakespeare’s English Kings by Peter Saccio, a professor of Shakespearean Studies and English, and “an accomplished actor and theatrical director”. I should someday do a syntopical review of these books. I find both these books useful, but don’t want to say anything more about them now, since I could easily mislead. [Exeunt.]