An affair in the tides of men that leads on to fortune

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The Independent Culture
I'M GLAD to say that we are able to bring you another extract today from the recently rediscovered lost Shakespearean play, The History of King Tony or New Love's Labour Lost, detailing the bumpy rise and rise of King Tony of Britain.

The scene is Clapham Common, on the south side of the river Thames. It is late. Enter, alone, King Tony, accompanied at a safe distance by bodyguards, detectives, spin doctors, courtiers, New-Age Catholics, etc.

King Tony:

How strange it is to think that on this green

My chief Welsh baron, Davies, used to roam.

His star seemed fixed to shine as bright as day,

For, had he kept his nerve, and score sheet clean,

He could have been the new-crowned King of


Yet one false step, and down he quickly fell.

One day in heaven, the next in lower hell.

Messenger: My Lord, the armies of the rebel Welsh

Do gather in the hills and arm for battle

Under their disobedient leader, Morgan,

The treacherous earl who will not heed your voice. KT: I made this Morgan and by me he'll be


I'll crush him as a gardener, with a spade,

Crushes the worm that dares to challenge him! Messenger:

But sire, a worm is every gardener's friend!

The healthy earth on worms' work doth depend.

Your metaphor is out of place and gear...

KT: Throw this fellow out upon his ear!

The bodyguards seize him and eject him. The scene changes to Westminster Palace, where Duke Prescott is preparing to take his leave of King Tony.


Farewell, my Liege. I leave you for a while.

KT: Where to this time?

Prescott: To Buenos Aires.

Thither I go to save the world we love.

KT: What - save the world again ? I would have


It were well saved by now, with all your summits.

Each time you go and say, We'll do it now!

We'll save the atmosphere, no matter how!

And then, before a few short months are up,

You're off to another eco-junket-meeting.

Thou'rt like the candle on the birthday cake

Which, how oft you blow, will never die.

P: This one's the one. This time we'll do it right.

I'll knock some sense into their bloody heads!

A bit of talking straight is what they need.

Let's see what Northern bluntness can achieve!

KT: Come, come, dear John! With me there is no


To act the Northern bully boy like this.

Each one of us today is middle-class!

Was it not you yourself who first said this?

P: Mebbe. Mebbe not. I call it not to mind.

But there's a danger in being too refined.

Look at yourself, my Liege, in nature's glass

And ask yourself if you've not too much class.

KT: Too classy? Me? Your leader, lord and king?

How can you possibly hint at such a thing?

P: Easy, my Lord. Just look at American Bill...

KT: King William of America? I hate that man!

P: Not so the people of the United States.

They love him well. Mark this - the more he sins,

The more they love him and his ratings rise.

KT: What mean you, Prescott? That should I sin

My people would but love me all the more?

Did they love Baron Davies out in Clapham?

P: Nay, nay, my Liege. You do not catch my drift.

They like King William in America

Because he shows a human face to them.

He is not perfect, not a plaster saint. Whereas...

KT: Whereas I'm too good to be true?

I've work too hard upon my saintly image?

P: Something like that. It's worth a thought, at least.

And now for Argentina! I head east!


KT: Or rather, west. My dear Lord Prescott

Can sort out everybody but himself.

Enter the messenger again.

Messenger: My Liege, the armies of the rebel Ken

Do gather outside London everywhere

And aim to make their leader Mayor of London!

KT: Will no one rid me of this turbulent Red?

The public by the nose by him are led!


To say "lead by the nose" is actually wrong.

The metaphor should be "lead by the thong".

I mean the thong which was attached just here...

KT: Throw this fellow out upon his ear!

More of this soon, I hope.