Written by Willie Shakespeare, Age 8

What would Shakespeare’s writing be like if he was 8 years old? A little thought experiment I did back in the day. Enjoy!

PYRAMUS AND THISBE 2

By Willie Shakespeare, Age 8

Translations and footnotes by Nick Edinger of the Shakespeare Translators of Dundee Society

Act 1

Enter Tyramus, Phisbe.

 

Tyramus

Alas, my poor son Pyramus is dead!

I found him stabbed besides a lion’s bed,

Alongside maiden Thisbe[1]. She, too, poked

With same dagger[2], Aphrodit’s[3] wrath invoked.

Thisbe’s relatives lived around this wall

Which divides our houses. Before his death,

My son would place his eye upon this wall

Like a canker[4]. But soft! I found a hole!

Phisbe

Oh woe! Oh woe! Oh woe! Oh woe! Oh woe!

My daughter will’fly[5] sought her salvation

With bloody dagger. Violent is all love!

Tyramus

I’m taught I shall not covert neighbor’s wife,

But this is cutest thing I’ve seen this life!

Woman! Why is there wall between our love?

Phisbe

As you know, our homes are on witch’s curse,

Which bewitches those of us which love first.[6]

Tyramus

Curse your womanly fear! At this first sight,

I see I’ll love this girl against all blights[7]!

Phisbe

And I love you, you eye peering from crack.

Only you may stare at this crack[8]. But woe!

Villainous John[9] seeks my hand in marriage.

Tyramus

I’ll kill him. He makes my hand work too hard[10].

We must meet. Disguise yourself from witch eye

In men’s dress. True, I love you, greater than

Loaner loves a debt.[11] We will meet again!

Tyramus and Phisbe exit.

Act 2

Enter John.

John

I’m the villain. I have declared war on faraway England, have obtained treasure enough to mold Olympus for myself[12]. Foolish Tyramus sharpens my swords every night and day.

Enter Medea[13] and Alcides[14].

 

John

Thine curse, Medea, killed the two brats well.

Medea

My pet lion did well, but how on Earth

Did those two meet, since wall sep’rates from birth?

John

Ease, my pet. If it hap on Earth, than it

Did have power to hap[15]. Slave Alcides!

My war plan still needs funds. As I have planned,

The double death shall distract from our deed.

Steal self[16] from hence and steal coffers of the

Families Phisbe and Tyramus. Away!

Alcides

I shall obey.

They exit.

 

Act 3

Enter Caesar, two Clowns.

 

Caesar

Pardon me. I am your Caesar. Where is

My treacherous cousin, whose name is Miss

Medea? Why do you walk with bottle[17]?

First Clown

First, ye redress[18] me by me proper name, ye.

Caesar

If you so wish. What is your proper name?

First Clown

Nobody[19].

Caesar

Nobody, tell me where Medea hides.

Second Clown

Of course, he hadn’t said anything yet[20].

First Clown

I’d say I’d seen nobody, but I did not glance in a pond yet[21]!

Second Clown

Since that lion’s been in town, I’ve seen no bunny[22] myself.

Enter Phisbe [disguised as a man].

 

Phisbe

Hast thou seen a strong man called Tyramus?

Second Clown

Tyrant must[23] answer for us, for we have not. Beware him, for he talks to nobody.

Caesar

Sensible man, know thee of Medea?

Phisbe

O her! She cursed that house over yonder,

Divided in and out by sturdy wall.

Caesar

She runs from me as she runs from her God.

Phisbe

God forsake any girl that runs from place[24].

Caesar

Once I find her, I’ll punch her in the face.

Enter Tyramus.

 

Tyramus

[aside] I haste to come on time, but my Phisbe

is not here. Only men do my eyes see.

Phisbe

My lord! ‘Tis I, the jewel all clothed in rags!

Tyramus

Thou lies! No woman could match[25] man so well.

Caesar

And women dressed as men are put to death.

Phisbe

But I love you, Tyramus! You did too!

Tyramus

You’re no brother of mine. I swear before

The Pantheon[26] I’ve not seen you before.

My love forsakes me! Only my son knew

True joy when Death’s swift wings did him consume!

Tyramus exits.

 

Phisbe

He seeks his death! So soon from comedy

Does our tale dive into tragedy!

They exit.

 

Act 4

Enter Tyramus

 

Tyramus

Oh woeful Trojan, I, who finds no horse[27][28]

With no most beautiful woman inside.

This knife of Pyramus has not been dulled.[29]

Our world is tragic. What is that sound?

Enter John, Alcides.

Tyramus

John! You dare steal from the wall’s houses!

John

I did! And now your life hast given me all![30]

Tyramus

If life is tragedy, tell me, brother,

What is one death piled on another!

[They fight]. Enter lion.

 

John

By beard of Zeus[31]! I throw money at it

To scare the beast away from our great duel.

Oh no! I bake its rage, it comes for me!

My rich[32] stomach is what makes it hungry!

Exit, pursued by lion.

 

Pyramus

And now, the blade to my bosom’s embrace…

Ow! Ow! That stings! I lack Pyramus’

Strength. The lion licks his blades over there.

Perhaps it’s my cold flesh that he could tear!

He exits.

 

Act 5

Enter Phisbe.

 

Phisbe

The clowns did hold me up, holding my time

With their enforced merriments… woe is me!

The processed remains[33] of my lover lie

In front. Its flies pick undigested clothes.

It would be comical, this heap of dung,

If my life did take another tale type.

With these men rags, I choke myself in grief.

I cannot bear love’s loss. Oh what relief!

[Phisbe dies]. Enter Tyramus and Medea [hidden].

 

Tyramus

The lion ran too fast for me to catch,

Most likely since he digested John quick.

I return to what’s left of him. O me!

Besides this poo, my love of life does lie.

I recognize the robes. What fool was I

To not see her when we met early on!

My life is like that shit. It’s that far gone.

I find my courage now to raise my blade.

I hope, for love, that He[34] my sins forgave.

[Tyramus dies]. Enter Alcides, Caesar, and Two Clowns.

 

Caesar

What means this mad[35]? Cousin, you must explain.

Medea

I foresee past and now[36]. I tell it plain.

I lost control of lion. It did eat

My employer, John, he of warlike mind.

Old Phisbe did confuse it for her love

And sought to join above[37]. Young Tyramus

Also took his life to join her in death.

My lion is loose. God says we’ll be next.

Caesar

None live here long. Clowns can’t find comedy

In world like this. The lion will find we.

Two sets of lovers dead will make none glad.

Love makes you happy, and love makes you sad.

They exit.[38]

[1] The legend of Pyramus and Thisbe recounts two lovers that live in one house divided by a wall. They communicated through a crack in the wall, and decided to elope. Thisbe, at the meeting place, is scared off by a lion and leaves behind her mantle. When Pyramus sees the lion with the mantle, he concludes that Phisbe has been eaten. He stabs himself. Phisbe returns, sees the dead body of her love, and kills herself.

[2] I.e., she used the same dagger that killed Pyramus to kill herself.

[3] Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love.

[4] A type of caterpillar that attacks plants, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

[5] Willfully

[6] The witch’s curse applies to anyone on one side of the wall who loves someone on the other side.

[7] Blights include both the witch’s curse and what children in modern times would call ‘cooties.’

[8] A pun regarding Phisbe’s derriere. The Shakespeare Translators of Dundee Society apologizes for the juvenile humor of young Master Shakespeare and reassures new readers that we will not have to point out any crude humor in any of his other plays.

[9] A possible reference to John Shakespeare, father of William Shakespeare.

[10] Implying that Tyramus is an employee of John.

[11] I.e., more than a loaner loves the promise of receiving his money back.

[12] I.e., he could pile his wealth into a mountain similar to Olympus (the home of the Greek gods).

[13] A witch in Greek mythology, most famous for her role in the Jason and the Argonauts myth.

[14] The birth name of Hercules. Unlike with other classical references, the Shakespeare Translators of Dundee will assume that modern audiences recognize who Hercules is.

[15] I.e., it was possible on Earth for Pyramus and Thisbe to meet because they met on Earth.

[16] Yourself (i.e., go away)

[17] The First Clown, as the audience will soon observe, is drunk.

[18] First Clown means ‘address’

[19] A clear allusion to Homer’s Odyssey, in which Ulysses convinces the Cyclops that his name is ‘Nobody.’

[20] I.e., nobody has told Caesar where Medea is because Nobody (First Clown) has not told Caesar where Medea is.

[21] In this case, the First Clown would use a pond as a mirror.

[22] This joke assumes that lions eat bunnies. The Shakespeare Translators of Dundee express preemptive regret if we have ruined the joke for any readers.

[23] A pun on ‘Tyramus’

[24] i.e., on the social hierarchy

[25] disguise herself like a

[26] The Shakespeare Translators of Dundee suggests that if the reader does not know what the Pantheon is, he or she may not find this text within his or her reading range.

[27] A popular condom during Shakespeare’s time.

[28] The Shakespeare Translators of Dundee entrusts that the reader understands that the previous footnote was a witticism, as we assume our readers comprehend as basic an allusion as the Trojan Horse.

[29] Tyramus has arrived where Pyramus died, and now picks up the latter’s pointed extension.

[30] I.e., John has taken literally everything from Tyramus now.

[31][this comment retracted by the editor of this edition for unnecessary profanity]

[32] Fat

[33] I.e., the lion finished eating and took a massive [this word retracted by the editor of this edition for unnecessary profanity]

[34] Jesus

[35] Madness

[36] Young Master Shakespeare believed witches could view the past, and events in other parts of the world.

[37] I.e., in heaven.

[38] As many versions of other Shakespeare plays exist, the Shakespeare Translators of Dundee believe that this represents an abridged, earlier version of the ingenious tale that we know Shakespeare, even at such a young age, was more than capable of producing.

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