Variation on a Regicide
by Anna Stephen | March 28, 2022
Enter SILVIO, wearing bloodstained crown,
SILVIO: Well, it’s done, and my heart is sicker for it.
The head that wears the crown rests uneasy,
Or so said the king.
He was wrong:
mine rests not at all.
If you can bear it, bear me to the stage,
Where players dance and soldiers fight the age;
I stole your years, I stripped your steel with mine,
(touches crown and dagger)
But nothing will erase the deed from time.
He throws the crown from his head
turns to dagger
Consider sleep forever murdered.
This blackened blade that weeps with sorry blood,
This blade emblazoned, signs that say ‘beware‘ –
Beware of living lives that came before;
You’re right, I know; I killed, did right, I swear.
cleans dagger, ferociously
The words I speak, they sing of times long past
And stages bare, and players and their art;
But hear this now (and please, don’t cry)
Since these words join us, you and I.
Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall;
Sick guilt doth make companions of us all.
My thoughts are strange bedfellows.
There! In my sheets entangled is my soul
Made restless by my choice,
Torn out of me by my own hand
And glistening from the moonlit ring,
(cleans his wedding ring)
Left to reek, to bleed, to rot
words and thoughts
I die with it –
He presses the dagger to his heart
SILVIO: But still, I cannot.
He drops the dagger. ∎
Words by Anna Stephen. Art by Millie Dean-Lewis.