The Tragic Comedie of King Leer
Scene 1. A forest glen.
Enter Witch Tripp and Kenneth of Starr.
Double, double, Webster Hubbell,
I think I got the Creep in trouble.
Eye of Newt, strap of bra,
Could it be he broke some law?
Praise this broth utmost ephemeral,
Heavens! I left out my Essence of Emeril!
Hark! Who trespasses so near?
Kenneth of Starr: 'Tis I, the Inquisitor. What news?
Witch Tripp: Things proceed with quickening speed, m'lord. The maiden
Lewinsky, so deeply embroil'd, is now join'd by the Lady Willey in
like pursuit. Daily tightens the noose around the king.
Starr: Would that it were so, but he hath good counsel, and more moves
than a chess board. His public, well pleas'd with good news of the
economie, doth o'erlook much.
Witch Tripp: How may I serve you next?
Starr: I have need of acts damnable and facts verifiable. Else he may
elude me yet.
Witch Tripp: His dog Buddy, freshly neuter'd, may bear his master
harsh reproach. He may consent to wearing a collar of our invention,
to survey the king at his ease. Dogs are much accustom'd to insects.
What's one more bug?
Starr: Good hag, I rely on you completely. I must away.
(Exeunt Tripp and Starr)
Scene 2. The king's antechamber
Duke of McCurry: My Lord! I needs must speak with you most urgently!
The castle is assaulted on all sides!
Leer: What would I not give for an hour's peace!
McCurry: An army of reporters is settled at thy gate. They are press
in name and press in deed, for they press me daily, nay, hourly for
some explanation from thy lips.
Leer: Who is there among them?
McCurry: Lords Jennings, Brokaw, Rather, Geraldo of Rivera and a
host of others. Methinks I spied the van from Hard Copy.
Leer: You cut me to the quick. Do they not know that I am chaste?
McCurry: They insinuate that thou hast chased too often.
Leer: Never have lies been so artfully stack'd against a pure soul.
Where is Lady Hillary?
McCurry: Her secretary doth report that she is lock'd in her bath,
saying over and over, "Why can I not wash my hands of this guy?"
Leer: Oh cursed fate! I must be the most solitary mortal in all
creation. Never have I betrayed m'lady's trust.
Messenger: Good king, steel thy nerve. I bring a missive from
Kenneth of Starr, the Grand Inquisitor.
Leer: Was ever a man as Starr-cross'd as I? Why does this man
conspire to afflict me thus? My hand is unsteady. Read it to me.
Messenger: Let me see. He offers you his regards, blah, blah, blah,
then doth subpoena you to appear at his chamber at Friday next,
to forswear again that thou tookst no liberties with the Jones wench,
who withdraweth not her claims against you.
Leer: I have already so sworn!
McCurry: It would seem, m'lord, that the woeful tale of Lady Willey
rekindles old flames.
Leer: I kiss'd the woman on the forehead, as a sign of my regard.
Never was a king so expos'd!
McCurry: Truer words were ne'er spoken.
Leer: I cannot think on't further. Leave me to my own counsel.
(Exeunt Messenger and McCurry)
Leer: To be forthright, or not to be forthright, that is the
question. Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings
and arrows of outrageous fortune, or just bag the whole thing
and teach law at a junior college.
Courtier: My liege, you are late for an appointed meeting.
Leer: What's this?
Courtier: You were to interview a new assistant at the stroke
of two. She seems most capable, and with rare intellect for one
so young and fair.
Leer: Well, tell her I will see her anon, and on, and on.
Courtier: A most clever jest, my king.
Leer: Let us not tarry further.
(Exeunt Leer and courtier. Enter Buddy, from behind a chair)
Buddy: So dearest reader, I bid adieu.
Me seeth I have much to do.
And so it comes to this pretty pass
To see if the king doth get some ....