~ Gertrude ~
Dear God, the poor old man!
Foolish, kindly, loyal…
And Ophelia, what shall the poor girl do now?
Why did Hamlet accuse me so, of killing a king?
He is the one now standing with hands blooded;
oh, how like his father he has become indeed!
“What have I done,” I demand, “that you dare
wag your tongue in noise so rude against me?”
“Such an act,” he answers,
“that blurs the grace and blush of modesty,
calls virtue hypocrite, takes off the rose
from the fair forehead of an innocent love
and sets a blister there.
Makes marriage-vows as false as dicers' oaths:
oh, such a deed
as from the body of contraction plucks
the very soul, and sweet religion makes
a rhapsody of words.”
“Ay me,” I do not understand. “What act, that roars so loud,
and thunders in the index?”
“Have you eyes?
Could you on a fair mountain leave to feed,
and batten instead upon a moor? Ha!
Have you eyes?
You cannot call it love.
Sense, sure, you have, else could you not have motion;
but sure, that sense is sick; for madness would not err,
nor sense to ecstasy was never so enslaved.”
So this is his truth.
And can I deny it to him?
I ceased to love his father.
But God, I had cause!
And when his father was gone,
no matter how harsh the days and nights between us,
a part of my own heart was gone as well.
But surely, now, he would never believe this.
And now this poor old man lies in his blood,
at my son’s feet, while Hamlet’s words, like daggers,
enter in my ears.
I should have been content to love only you, son.
But what now?
He turns away, and speaks.
But he is not speaking to me.
“Save me, and hover over me with your wings,
you heavenly guards!
Do you not come your tardy son to chide,
that, lapsed in time and passion, lets go by
the important acting of your dread command?
What would your gracious figure?”
He is speaking to the empty air.
Then it is true, even after all this,
or perhaps because of all this.
Son, dear son, you are mad.