March 15, 2013

“I Am Not As I Seem To Be”

So, it turns out that, despite being a good poet, Randa Lane is also an unrepentant Oxfordian. And in seeking out some actual De Vere to inflict upon her, I came across this poem. It kind of resonates with me right now.

I am not as I seem to be,
For when I smile I am not glad;
A thrall, although you count me free,
I, most in mirth, most pensive sad,
I smile to shade my bitter spite
As Hannibal that saw in sight
His country soil with Carthage town,
By Roman force defaced down.

And Caesar that presented was,
With noble Pompey’s princely head;
As ’twere some judge to rule the case,
A flood of tears he seemed to shed;
Although indeed it sprung of joy;
Yet others thought it was annoy.
Thus contraries be used I find,
Of wise to cloak the covert mind

I, Hannibal that smile for grief;
And let you Csesar’s tears suffice;
The one that laughs at his mischief;
The other all for joy that cries.
I smile to see me scorned so,
You weep for joy to see me woe;
And I, a heart by Love slain dead,
Present in place of Pompey s head.

O cruel hap and hard estate,
That forceth me to love my foe;
Accursed be so foul a fate,
My choice for to prefix it so.
So long to fight with secret sore
And find no secret salve therefore;
Some purge their pain by plaint I find,
But I in vain do breathe my wind.

— Edward De Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford

Thankfully, I have listened to every episode of Mike Duncan’s The History of Rome, so the historical allusions aren’t lost on me. And looking up De Vere got my mind off what I was going to blog about this morning, which is probably for the best. So thanks, Randa!

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  • Ali,

    I’m delighted that you are able to find enjoyment in good poetry (as opposed to my drivel), but I don’t “get” much of what DeVere is talking about in this poem. For example, the last line — Is he talking about smelling his own farts? It’s beyond me…help me out with a word or two of explanation/interpretation Ok?


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