A New Year’s Eve masque.

Enter BEN, at right, an older gentlemen, broad of girth. His fashionable “Twelfth Night” doublet and ruffs nearly obscured by his self-righteous scowl (the poet himself selected his costume). Before him he bears a small folio that reads Christmas, his masque.

Enter left, the ENGLISH UNDERGRADUATE, in pyjamas and dressing robe befitting the lazy holiday season, and armed with a copy of Brome’s collected works (volume one) and a half-eaten piece of toast in either arm. She is attended by her usher, a hungry golden retriever.

BEN. Hrpmh.

ENG. UND. A’ peace, whats the matter there?

BEN. You’ve usurp’d my good name, once again.

ENG. UND. On what grounds? This whole archive is devoted to you, isn’t it?

BEN. A shameful pretense. I’ve heard my name twice merely in the last month, and only three more times in the months before that! Your logic class has gotten more attention.

ENG. UND. I did write a whole post on your second epigram. I’m excited about seeing Bartholomew Fair. Also, what about that poem I wrote for my environment class?

BEN. A work deserving more blotting than William’s lines [aside]. Yet you’re reading a book by my servant, Richard, and something about Shakespeare’s wife; you wrote an entire post about that young clergyman —

ENG. UND. John Milton —

BEN. not even mentioning me. Though the university at Cambridge said we were the two most learned men in Britain.

ENG. UND. Actually, they said with the exception of Milton you were the most learned man in England…

BEN. Well, one mustn’t expect much from anyone who educated Kit Marlowe. [aside] You ignored me in the solstice masque; Christmas came and went: a perfect opportunity to mention my Christmas masque. Instead you waste all your time writing about the “poets” of the Canadas.

ENG. UND. I did consider posting your masque, you know, but, Ben, it was Christmas, and that masque is a little —

BEN. Yes?

ENG. UND. dull. It’s asking a bit much of the dear readers, isn’t it?

BEN. It’s better than this paltry work. This isn’t even a proper masque, you know.

ENG. UND. I’m sorry, should we be marching solemnly around the room? Dancing to lute music? Should I include self-important bits of commentary? [Ben tended to ruin the work of the other actors with his untimely interruptions of their lines. Despite this small matter —

BEN. Can you dispense with the cheap mockery and get to the matter for which this dramatic contrivance was cheaply devised?

ENG. UND. You mean declaring my excitement for the two courses in early modern drama in which I’ll be involved, and which I hope will provide ample opportunities for returning to my Ben-related articles?

BEN. Don’t forget to apologise for asking them to read this drama. [Exeunt]

ENG. UND. I always do. [Exeunt]

31 December 2008 ~ St. Catharines

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