The droids for which thou search’st
One of two young men I know, both bearing a strong resemblance to myself, gave his dear old pa a very interesting present for Christmas. It is the script for the original “Star Wars” movie rendered into more or less perfect late 16th century English by Ian Doescher, under the title “William Shakespeare’s Star Wars — Verily a New Hope.” Here is an example taken from “Act Three, Scene one — Mos Eisley, on the desert planet Tatooine. Enter Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke Skywalker, C-3PO and R2D2, riding in landspeeder.” It should give you the flavor of it.
TROOPER 3: I prithee, speak, how long hast thou these droids?
LUKE: ‘Tis three or, mayhap, four full seasons now.
OBI-WAN: We are prepared to sell them, shouldst thou wish.
CHORUS: Now is the Force to noble purpose us’d -
Not as the Sith, employing it to smite,
Hath through the dark side rank the Force abus’d -
Good Obi-Wan shall use the Force for right.
TROOPER 4: Pray, show me now thy papers.
OBI-WAN: Nay, thou dost not need to see his papers.
TROOPER 4: Nay, we do not need to see his papers.
OBI-WAN: True it is, that these are not the droids for which thou search’st.
TROOPER 3: Aye, these are not the droids for which we search.
OBI-WAN: And now, the lad may go his merry way.
TROOPER 3: Good lad, I prithee, go thy merry way!
OBI-WAN: Now get thee hence.
TROOPER 4: Now get thee hence, go hence! (Exeunt stormtroopers.)
Truly wonderful! And it offers us the additional delight of reading English spoken by R2D2, although we only read him speaking plainly when there are no other characters listening. ‘Tis done in the manner of a soliloquy. Otherwise he beepeth in his accustomed fashion.
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I quite wore myself out last week with my complicated complaint against the Canadians and their infernal weather weapon, and a less complex argument against our carpetbagging school superintendent, so much so that I used the wrong word. For “there” I wrote “their”. This is a dreadful sin, for which I can only offer an apology.
CONSCIENCE: O, now dost thou bootless kneel, thou inky fool, having thy sin committed a long week since! The fair reader shall be fair indeed who forgives thee soon, knave of words, thief of hearts, and most damn’d villain! Get thee up and get thee hence! And for thy sins prepare a strong penance!
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I note with despair that the barrow of nuts that occupied a corner of Hannaford near the fruit all though the holidays is now filled with something completely different, for I had become quite fond of those nuts. Nuts are good for you, and I must have eaten several pounds of them last month. So I enquired of a young chap wearing Hannaford red, and asked if there were any nuts left in the store at all.
He went off to investigate, and came back to report that there was not a single honest nut left in the place. “We only had them for the holidays,” he said. “They are all gone.”
I was a bit upset. The only nuts they sell year-round are what one might gently describe as frou-frou nuts. They come in dainty little plastic bags and have been pre-shelled, and are presented modestly for sale at $100 per ounce, or something like it. An ordinary shopper desiring only ordinary nuts, I was forced to leave empty-handed. But not before asking the lad in red to pass on to his superiors my humble opinion that many ordinary humans enjoy eating proper nuts all the time, and that we might feel a sense of despair at being sold them only in December.
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In a parallel vein, I notice that Cadbury’s little chocolate Easter eggs are now for sale in Rockland. Easter is a dozen weeks away, and falls this year on naughty Hitler’s birthday. Surely it’s a bit soon to be selling Easter goods?
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Last week was hellish up here in the frozen air on top of the east tower at the foot of Mechanic Street. I am sure it was hellish for many of you. So let me tell you an invented tale that amazes me, and forces a reconsideration of certain strongly held opinions. About 3 a.m. one frigid night I woke up in my little bed under the stars and bitter moon, and saw that the Four Seagulls of the Apocalypse, one perched on each bedpost, had spread their wings over and about me, warding off the very worst of the weather as I slept. Indeed they were asleep in this position, somewhat frozen in place in a strange tableau vaguely resembling the cherubim on the Ark of the Covenant, but apparently willing to risk themselves in order to keep the worst of the Canadian gale away from me.
I have spoken very badly of these foolish birds, and have often found them to be arrogant and cynical toward me and my species. Why then should they take such measures to defend my health and well-being, at some cost to their own? It was a shock, I admit. It was a bit like waking up one morning and finding that my bone-idle friend Inertia O’Meara of the Bangor Terrible News had swept my battlements or done my laundry without being asked, and without thought of reward. Pretty unlikely, I can tell you.
David Grima is a former editor with Courier Publications. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, although he advises against it.