The Craftsman

Once, after long-drawn revel at The Mermaid,
He to the overbearing Boanerges
Jonson, uttered (if half of it were liquor,
            Blessed be the vintage!) 

Saying how, at an alehouse under Cotswold, 
He had made sure of his very Cleopatra, 
Drunk with enormous, salvation-contemning
            Love for a tinker. 

How, while he hid from Sir Thomas's keepers, 
Crouched in a ditch and the midnight 
Dews, he had listened to gipsy Juliet
            Rail at the dawning. 

How at Bankside, a boy drowning kittens 
Winced at the business; whereupon his sister
Lady Macbeth aged seven - thrust 'em under,
            Sombrely scornful. 

How on a Sabbath, hushed and compassionate
She being known since her birth to the townsfolk
Stratford dredged and delivered from Avon
            Dripping Ophelia. 

So, with a thin third finger marrying 
Drop to wine-drop domed on the table, 
Shakespeare opened his heart till the sunrise
            Entered to hear him. 

London waked and he, imperturbable, 
Passed from waking to hurry after shadows...
Busied upon shows of no earthly importance?
            Yes, but he knew it!

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