I'll probably be like Shakespeare
When he died, in 1616,
He was a great literary productionist
I an artist and a poet
But have yet to publish
No one noticed him as author
Until after he died
His death was not an event
I do not want to say like mines
Shakespeare was a man before his time
No one probably remembered him at all.
When upon him the Lord called.
His death made no stir, it attracted no attention.
If so it would have been mentioned.
His eminent literary contemporaries
Did not mention his works because they did not
Realize that he was a celebrated poet
Who had passed from their midst.
Perhaps they knew him as a play-actor of minor rank
So upon his death they did not think
Here was a man that made a different in our life
His gifts was blessing with our price
Yet they knew he had disappeared,
But did not regard him as the author of his Works.
Just common people, they wasn't being mean
And they wasn't being jerks
They just didn't recognize that God had placed
A genesis in their midst
To give them pleasure and joy unspeakable
With pen, paper and ink
So working folks didn't pay him no never mind
Most of them I assume just didn't have the time.
I am justified in assuming this.
Because I have the right like you to assume
Also because I have over seven hundred works
Just sitting in one of my rooms.
So I am justified to assume anything I like,
Especially since I can't get anyone
To buy my works, or give me a home to store them
Yet everybody say they love them.
There are no facts telling me any different.
His death was not even an event
It didn't even hit the news
But now it fills books and are used in most school.rooms
Yes I am privileged to assume what ever I like
No, I am OBLIGED to assume—
That such was the case.
Like me He spent the best of his young life writing,
And of course knew everybody around town
And was known by everybody as the man of pleasure
That enjoyed making them feel good instead of depressed
But when he left this plane it was just that
Gone was he just like you or me.
Everybody knew him including the dogs,
The cats and the rats.
He spent the last five or six years of his life,
Diligently trading in every big and little thing
That had money value in it to pay his rent
To keep a roof over his head
With all that now said
I am compelled to assume that many
Knew him personally, and the rest by sight and hearsay.
But not as a celebrity.
I suppose that's the way with me it will be.
For everybody soon forgot to remember any contact with him
Or any incident connected to him.
The townspeople knew of him or knew about him
Did not tell anyone worth while about him
Or of any of the things connected with that period
Of his life no they didn't tell about it.
Would they if they had been asked?
It is most likely. Were they asked?
It is pretty apparent that they were not.
Why weren't they?
It is a very plausible guess that nobody there
Or elsewhere was interested to know.
For seven years after Shakespeare's death nobody
Seems to have been interested in him.
Then the quarto was published,
And Ben Jonson awoke out of his long indifference
And sang a song of praise and put it in the front of the book.
Then silence fell AGAIN. For sixty years.
Then inquiries into Shakespeare's life began,
Who had known Shakespeare or had seen him?
No. who had seen people who had known
Or seen people who had seen Shakespeare
No. Apparently the inquires were only made of
People who were not people of Shakespeare's day,
But later comers; and what they had learned had come
To them from persons who had not seen Shakespeare;
And what they had learned was not claimed as FACT,
But only as legend—
Dim and fading and indefinite legend;
Legend of his day
The things that he wrote back then could have
Paid his way.
But they didn't.
He just wasn't worth remembering either as history or fiction.
Will this happen to me it has happened before—
To one of the greatest men in history.
It's ashamed that a person can spent half of his life
Where he has lived, slipped out of this world
Voiceless and gossip less
Leaving nothing behind him—
Utterly voiceless, utterly gossip less
It shouldn't have happened but it did
So couldn't and wouldn't it happen in my case
Had he been regarded as a celebrity at the time of his death.
He was a celebrated person; he was a benefactor of the human race.
I am no one of important, doubt at this point I'd ever be.
Shakespeare died young--he was only fifty-two.
At least I've made it to fifty-five
And I am still alive
He had lived in his native village twenty-six years,
Or about that.
He died celebrated.
Yet when he died nobody there
Or elsewhere took any notice of it;
And for sixty years afterward no townsman
Remembered to say anything about him
Or about his life.
When the inquirer came at last he got but one fact—
No, LEGEND--and got that one at second hand,
From a person who had only heard it as a rumor
And didn't claim copyright in it as a production of his own.
He couldn't, very well, for its date antedated his own birth-date.
But necessarily a number of persons were still alive who knew of him,
It all seems to mean that he never had any literary
Celebrity, there or elsewhere, and no considerable
Repute as actor and manager.