I watched King Charles the Third on Wednesday night.
It did not take me long to realise
That Royals speak exclusively in iambs.
Decasyllabic lines conveyed the drift
And burden of this ninety minute play.
It was a very Shakespeherian Rag;
You could not fail to spot Will’s influence
(By Will I mean the Bard and not the Prince).
You might have thought the clowns would speak in prose –
Provincial patois, slangy, a la mode
Or some such less exalted register
But nay; this wuznae punters doon the pub
But kings and queens and those and such as those –
Prince and Princesses, Crown Imperial.
Besides, to tell the truth there were no clowns
Though “circus” might describe this Windsor court
Depicted by the traffic of the stage.
Princess Diana took a cameo role
Like Hamlet’s father on the battlements
At Elsinore, or maybe Banquo’s ghost
Up Cawdor way, by Birnam, Dunsinane.
Indeed the Scottish Play was ever present –
(Eleven syllables are quite the thing
So long as endings are made feminine)
Vaulting ambition the imperial theme
And Evil’s metaphysic thrall. I thought
The playwright took a frightful liberty
In casting Catherine as a harridan.
Lady Macbeth was never cold as this.
This futuristic melodrama was
Beyond dystopian; I cannot think
It bore much semblance to the actual Firm
Conspiring to get Charles to abdicate.
The King was shown to dither, vacillate;
With little succour from the Cambridges.
No need to ponder who the trousers wore –
The heir was firmly under Catherine’s thumb;
The spare as vacuous as his dithering dad
If dad he was – the playwright went so far
As cuckold him; what right to cast this up
Before a man with no right to reply?
Now here’s the nub: this is a travesty.
I might be Royalist or Republican –
It matters not one whit; this is abuse.
An alexandrine line to end this flood:
You can’t make monsters out of living flesh and blood.