Enter the Queen

Queen Gertrude, by Jim Carson @ Flickr

Queen Gertrude, by Jim Carson @ Flickr

One of the prompts for my last paper in English 113 was to write a soliloquy for Gertrude. The following essay was an eleventh hour idea that was instantly one of my favorite pieces I’ve ever written.

I put it at the beginning of the play, as a prologue to the play itself. As such, I thought I’d give iambic pentameter a go, which sort of separates it from the main play.

(Note that Aros is an archaic alternate spelling of Eros.)

Enter the Queen


GERTRUDE: Life was a field of hay when first we wed.

The joy and pain and lust and tame were mixed

within our bed. Where hath my lover gone?

Submissive colt, my sweet adoring man,

Hamlet my King, both Dane and thane. Secret

desires not known or feared among common

or high lay deep within the breast of him.

The rest of Gertrude’s soliloquy lies below the fold, click to read the rest.

To train the colt the colt be trained and not

of neck so stiff but bent to heel. Aros

unto Aphrodite submits and so

did king to queen thus bend, at knee and waist

his love to plead his pain and need for it.

Stripes he bore and bruise and more excellent

a trainéd trainee trained I never have

nor will I ever I suspect. Even

brother Tartarus is unlike to match

though present circumstance may tilt the weight

of my decision now. Oh that then were now.

Aros colt did take to crop and whip and blade

as though he born to train and bend and kneel

and wear collar as well as crown, and proud

in heeled subservience. But now! Oh now

the colt Aros lies lame upon the heath

with head aching or strained back or bruised knee

and waits not on Mistress Aphrodite.

“Safeword, safeword,” the word is safe and safe

the colt from his trainer’s flushed countenance.

Mistress Aphrodite hath sheets of ice

no flesh to warm with warméd flesh angry skin

to sate her thirsty appetite. Her boots

unkissed, her lips unmissed Aros lies in

the field. Claudio Tartarus is now

the colt, the only colt that stands within

the reach of Queen Aphrodite. Scrawny

pale in comparison to good Aros

yet choice seldom comes to good and better

rather down to poor and poorer – or none.

A fool! A fool! My kingdom for a fool!

A falling fool, the fool to fall for queen

and country give his all, his all is mine

to take and mine to give, incestuous queen

is better than no queen at all, I think.

To keep the crown and bed the king, to have

the man strapped down in sling, the polish on

the boots besmirched by lips of royal blood,

the poor outstrips the worse. Mistress Monarch

must be free of this uncertainty. I –

I must kill the king. Not by hand of queen

but yet by hand of weak of will I’ll find

the way to kill. He lusts for me and

twitches his eye, and all can see his leer

when I pass by. Should suspicion be raised

of kingdom razed, the queen in senseless haze

the wiser none shall be. I play the fool.

“Usurper,” they will cry but not at I.

Usurping serpent! Aye! Not eye, but ear!

A plot is near, from mouth to ear to hand

to ear again. So shall it be and I

will once again atop the kingdom lie.

And he

will lick



From whence came the art:

That image is titled Queen Gertrude, by Jim Carson, and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license.

One Response to “Enter the Queen”

  1. I Write Like « Crowded Head, Cozy Bed Says:

    […] Enter the Queen, a prelude to Hamlet that I wrote for a Lit class (and which I love because it changes the tone of the whole play), is most like H.P. Lovecraft. One has to be happy about that, right? […]

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