Shakespeare on Moving

Just for fun, I like to imagine how Shakespeare would add to the commentary of pop culture on unpleasant phenomena…like tax day. And moving.

If the Bard had decided to give a treatise on moving to one of his characters, my bet is on the Duke in Measure for Measure (Act 3, Scene 1) and I think it would probably run something like this:

Be absolute for loss.
Ev’ry box thus found shall thereby be the sweeter.
Reason thus with things: if I do lose thee,
I do lose a thing that none but fools would keep.
When moved, thou art servile to all the molding influences
that dost this habitation, where thou keep’st, hourly afflict.
Merely, thou art loss’s fool. For him, thou labour’st
by thy move to shun, yet runn’st toward him still.
Thou art not noble, for all th’literary books that thou bear’st
are nursed from yard sales. Thou art by no means valiant,
for thou dost fear the sharp and biting edge of broken glass.
Thy best of rest is cleaning, and that thou oft provok’st,
yet grossly fear’st thy move, which is no more.
Thou art not thyself, for thou exist’st
on many a thousand bags that issue
out of dust. Happy, thou art not,
for what thou hast not, still thou strive’st to get,
and what thou hast, forget’st. Thou art not well-packed,
for thy possessions shift to strange effects on the highway.
When thou art rich, thou art poor,
for like a truck whose bed with boxes bows,
thou bear’st thy heavy burdens but a journey,
and wind unloads thee. Friend, hast thou none,
for thine own fellows, who do call for help,
at mere repayment of thy proper aid
do curse the stairs, back-breaking, and the heat
for ending thee no sooner. Thou hast nor space, nor bed,
but as it were, an after-dinner’s sleep, dreaming on both.
For all thy dancing floor is covered up
and doth beg the work of clearing space.
And when thou art old and rich,
thou hast neither grace, energy, friend, nor timing
to make thy spaces pleasant.
What’s yet in this that brings out fear of loss?
Yet in that loss lie hid more free square feet.
Yet moves, we fear, that makes these losses happen.

At least, that’s how I think it would go. The irony is that I wrote this piece before moving, packed the little slips of paper with it written down, and since moving, have entirely failed to relocate them. I’m sure the first draft was much more brilliant, but this is the best I can do for a re-write. Weep, literati, for what has been lost to mankind.


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