backhand.gif (112 bytes) Pioneer Valley Folklore Society Anthology

Amherst poet, scientist and philosopher, Ted Melnechuk, becomes animated when giving his assessment of the state of modern poetry.  "It is mostly free verse, and free verse is not poetry, but prosody, or often  simply pensées, or thoughts."  Hence, Ted has gone to great lengths to give structure and rhyme to his approximately 5000 poems, verses and limericks.

Hamlet's Last Soliloquy was originally intended to be included in a libretto that Ted undertook as part of a musical adaptation of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. It was inspired by Huck's encounter with a pair of vagabond actors known as the Duke and the Dauphin.  The project was never completed, but Hamlet's Last Soliloquy, a clever amalgamation of quotes and lines from classic poems, survives.

Challenge: How many of the original sources for the lines of Hamlet's Last Soliloquy can you name? (Answers are hidden on this page)


Hamlet's Last Soliloquy

© 1958-1998 by Ted Melnechuk

Westward the course of empire takes its way;
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown;
The curfew tolls the knell of parting day;
I hate to see that evenin’ sun go down.

Welcome the coming, speed the departing guest
When that Aprille with his shoures soot’
And flights of angels sing thee, to thy rest,
Of Man’s first disobedience and the forbidden fruit

Of perilous seas in faery lands forlorn.
Abandon hope, all ye who enter here
The undiscovered country from whose bourne
Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer.

Lo, the poor Indian! Whose untutored mind,
A thing of beauty, is a joy forever.
I must be cruel only to be kind:
Be good, sweet maid, and let who will be clever.

Sweet are the uses of adversity;
As dreams are made on, we are such stuff.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be,
And damned be him that first cries, "Hold, enough."


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