JR (22 September / London)

Epitaph Iii - Parody Chidiock Tichbourne 1558_1586 Elegy And Thomas Kyd

My little space no trace may leave behind,
My little base, - whose clock must soon unwind.
Why little haste? When discontented mind
reproves the race of shadow-shapes unsigned,
when worth and mirth too soon are undermined,
to earth returned, - with nobody to mind.

Our passing tresses, jesses just a while
play gesture-jester, jest at Fate's swift trial
where sentence executionary the smile
aborts, deletes, erases: goodness, guile,
find no reprieve, with self to reconcile,
before Time tells of span unprotractile.

The sentence-execution's always known
instinctively from crown to funny-bone.
If bridge between birth, death, we hold our own
then where lies sense, or there sense lies: once sown
the blossom sees one sunrise then is blown,
Time makes short shrift of deist cornerstone.

Today we dream we dream tomorrow's plan,
which in and of itself mocks mortal man.
Time grates great pyramid, sand's partisan
defends ground zero status quo whose span
prepares its own demise. Wise he who can
play for the day, unpaid life's courtisan.

The sentence-execution's always known
instinctively from crown to funny-bone.
If bridge between birth, death, we hold our own
then where lies sense, or there sense lies: once sown
the blossom sees one sunrise then is blown,
Time makes short shrift of deist cornerstone.

There's no extension offered free, sublime,
no subtle lock to block the wheels of time.
We cognate are both cog and natal rhyme
as photo flash forgotten frames our grime, -
the ‘moving finger' writes our pantomime
who's string, who's strung, when none can care a dime?

Our intranet is mirage-module base
to serve self image, through projection place
perspective partial playing to replace
the void within, avoiding loss of face.
Perhaps through love a moment's state of grace
some lucky few may conjure for a space.

As flies within an amber double bind,
time's trap some squander, others tap to find
through questions answerless with which mankind
plays games with frames of reference which, blind,
are vain reminders ‘I the undersigned'
is/was the proof Life knows no mastermind.

Today awake, tomorrow lost beneath
some sodden turf, with little left to show
for threescore years of sojourn, lacking teeth,
poor eyesight, addled brain, 'tis time to go.
'My fruit is fallen, yet'... wit weaves writ wreath,
glass full lies empty, quits, slips underneath.

'I looked for life and saw it' masquerade
of misinterpretations from the womb
until tomb's doom, where puppet man and maid
together dance suspended from chance gloom
that seldom clears the clouds of bias backed
from birth to final berth in charnel stacked.

An eyelid's twinkling, blink, our present past
becomes, numb, dumb, for coward and for brave,
most stillborn linger, finger truth aghast,
seek safety mining crass conventions' cave,
and then they die, their story stillborn too,
through mind pollution rue solutions true.

No matter what the rhyme-scheme that is used
'upon this chequer board of nights and days, '
no matter what's accepted, what's refused,
'life hither, thither, moves, and checks and slays.'
'the Moving Finger writes, and, having writ,
no tears can cancel out one word of it.'

Our Spring 'of youth is but a frost of cares, '
our fullness feast plays out, frays, 'dish of pain, '
'our crop of corn' time-worn, warns harvest dares'
glean gleams decay, stained by 'vain hope of gain.'
'Our day is past, ' hour one-way trip mirage,
stage tripped, page ripped, sage stripped in crypt collage.




© Jonathan Robin 23 January 2006 Parody Chidiock TICHBOURNE
..........................revised with final five verses added 2 April 2010 and verse 4 revised 15 November 2011
Elegy

My prime of youth is but a frost of cares,
My feast of joy is but a dish of pain,
My crop of corn is but a field of tares,
And all my good is but vain hope of gain,
The day is past, and yet I saw no sun,
And now I live, and now my life is done.

My tale was heard and yet it was not told,
My fruit is fallen, and yet my leaves are green,
My youth is spent and yet I am not old,
I saw the world and yet I was not seen,
My thread is cut and yet it is not spun,
And now I live, and now my life is done.

I sought my death and found it in my womb,
I looked for life and saw it was a shade,
I trod the earth and knew it was my tomb,
And now I die, and now I was but made,
My glass is full, and now my glass is run,
And now I live, and now my life is done.

This is the first printed version from Verses of Prayse and Joye 1586. This version differs slightly from the original text, in which the first line of the second verse reads The spring is past, and yet it hath not sprung, and had various other minor textual differences.

Chidiock TICHBOURNE 1558_1586 Written in the Tower of London before his execution I. i.59
..........................
Chidiochi Tychborne

Thy prime of youth is frozen with thy faults,
thy feast of joy is finisht with thy fall:
Thy crop of corn is tares availing naughts,
thy good God knows thy hope, thy hap and all.
Short were thy days, and shadowed was thy sun,
T' obscure thy light unluckily begun.

Time trieth truth, and truth hath treason tripped;
thy faith bare fruit as thou hadst faithless been:
Thy ill spent youth thine after years hath nipped;
and God that saw thee hath preserved our Queen.
Her thread still holds, thine perished though unspun,
And she shall live when traitors lives are done.

Thou soughtst thy death, and found it in desert,
thou look'dst for life, yet lewdly forc'd it fade:
Thou trodst the earth, and now on earth thou art,
As men may wish thou never hadst been made.
Thy glory and thy glass are timeless run;
And this, O Tychborne, hath thy treason done.

Thomas KYD 1558_1595

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