Sunday, February 1, 2009

291. The Source

                                                 'Ophelia' by Arthur Hughes

*Oddly enough, there is a similarity between both my weekend offerings, though one was in response to a picture and one to a word.

Another enticing painting from SIMPLY SNICKERS! Every picture tells a story....... luckily.


Witness the lovely Ophelia, there by the riverside.
We all know how she pined for Hamlet and how, in the river, she died.
We see her planning her drowning, gazing down at the water's flow,
Agonising over Hamlet and doomed to the water below.
Screed upon screed has been written of her heart-breaking love-affair.
Artists have thrilled to the vision of her flowing still-lovely hair
Floating along in the river, framing her still-calm face,
But  Katherine preceded Ophelia, and, of her, there isn't a trace!

Shakespeare was just a young fellow of sixteen or so it is said,
When a girl from a nearby village was found in the river, dead.
The drowning was seen as a mystery; the girl had a lover, it's true,
And the gossips spoke of a broken heart, as gossips often do.
She was only a humble creature, maybe a lowly maid,
And she was carrying buckets, part of her stock-in-trade.
Finally, it was decided that accidental death
Had caused her to fall in the river, and take her final breath.
Maybe she overbalanced, or tripped on a rock by chance,
But the rumours always persisted as a story of romance.
Shakespeare was young and dreamy; he thought of the girl, no doubt,
And. as a man, it's rumoured, he let the story out.

'Katherine' became a lady of noble and royal birth,
Far removed from peasantry and the toil of the common earth.
Shakespeare 'created' Ophelia, immortalised her history;
Imbued her with grand yearnings and an air of eternal mystery.

No-one knows, for certain, that this was Shakespeare's source,
And no-one ever will know at this late stage, of course.
The uncertainty about it must be underlined.
But the girl's name was


So make up your own mind!


Darlene said...

Too much of a coincidence to be an accident. Ophelia had to be patterned after that poor girl Kathryn Hamlet.

A Sad tale well told by you.

Anonymous said...

i was just reading a book abt katherine by germaine greer... very, very dry yet so very, very interesting...

Lilibeth said...

I think so too, and I hadn't heard this before...such a clever way to tell the story in verse.


Really, how interesting.
And how clever of Shakespeare to have used it so imaginatively. Ophelia, so beautiful, so unfortunate, yet fortunate to be loved by Hamlet, such a haunting image lying among the drowned reeds.

Very nice, Brenda.

Andy Sewina said...

Cleverly done! I'll put that in my pipe and smoke it!

Tash said...

wow - a fabulous discovery thru your wonderful poem. I'd memorized Ophelia's remembrance speech in High School - I still find it moving.