Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Shakespeare Revamped--Not

Charlotte Firbank-King

Many authors from bygone days, like Shakespeare, are eschewed by writers and described as difficult to understand and boring. I took A Midsummer Night’s Dream and modernized a few lines—how boring is that version? Not to mention, clichés were all that seemed to work.

I think it loses something vital and beautiful in the translation. Writers can learn a lot from the likes of Shakespeare, Dickens and even Homer.

Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour
Draws on apace; four happy days bring in
Another moon: but, O, methinks, how slow
This old moon wanes! she lingers my desires,
Like to a step-dame or a dowager
Long withering out a young man revenue.

Hey, sexy Hippolyta, not long before we tie the knot, babe.
Four days before the next moon rises and the nights sure drag.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a cool time with you.
But, man, this old moon is slow to disappear, and I really have the hots for you.
That moon is like an old woman pushing my buttons.
And I don’t know how long I can hold back.

Four days will quickly steep themselves in night;
Four nights will quickly dream away the time;
And then the moon, like to a silver bow
New-bent in heaven, shall behold the night
Of our solemnities.

Relax, four days and nights will go in a flash.
Then a new moon will hang out in the sky like a sliver of light.
And hey, presto, we’ll be saying our vows.

Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments;
Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth;
Turn melancholy forth to funerals;
The pale companion is not for our pomp.

Hey, Philostrate
Go get our Athenian buddies.
Tell then to snap out of it, catch a wakeup and organize a party.
I don’t want any long faces at our bash, like someone died.


I woo'd thee with my sword,
And won thy love, doing thee injuries;
But I will wed thee in another key,
With pomp, with triumph and with reveling.

Hippolyta, my darlin’, sorry I nicked you with my blade in that street rumble;
But, hey, it won your love.
I promise our wedding will be different.
I’ll show you a real good time with all the bells and whistles.

Not the same, is it? Perhaps Shakespeare is antiquated, but there is a lot we can learn from the poetic way he crafts his syntax.

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