As the final hours of our Wicked auction ticked away and we knew that it was time for some fresh material on this page, we were watching the Oscars. We recalled that Shakespeare In Love, released just 15 years ago, was a big winner with the Academy, and we also recalled that, in the interest of sharing little-known history with our readers, we had unearthed the balcony scene from Romeo And Ethel, the never-published play that Shakespeare, beset by writer's block, was working on in that movie. It didn't surprise you then that a dachshund made an appearance on that balcony, and it won't surprise you now.


Capulet's Orchard

Enter ETHEL and NURSE at window above


ETHEL
But soft, what sort of cur is this you bear?


NURSE
Behold, my child, thy noble father has
While trading with the savage Teuton tribes
Obtained this creature of such comic mien
And thought himself that it would bring some joy
Unto thy often melancholy heart.
The Teutons call it dachshund, which, I hear,
When rendered from their gruff and heathen tongue,
Bespeaks a dog that goes into the lair
Of fearsome badger, dragging forth the beast,
And yet, withal, it seems a gentle dog.


ETHEL
Indeed it does, for look into its eyes,
And soon you see the gladsome heart that fills
The hollow of this most capacious chest,
Like prow of warship on the north-land sea.
Though seldom have I seen so odd a shape,
Yet I would warrant that this little dog,
Is friend in need and friend in pleasure's quest,
And soon I shall regard him as the best
Of friends that I could ever have.
I think, dear nurse, I'll name him Romeo,
After the name of that well-favored lad,
Who has the great misfortune to have been
Conceived of blood that with my blood doth war.


NURSE
It shall be as you wish, my child, but see
Thy noble father never hears that name
Uttered within his house unless a curse
Is quickly added to the end of it.


Exit NURSE Above


Enter ROMEO Below


ROMEO
The wine flowed freely as a brook in spring,
And lest a mighty river burst its dam
Ere halfway home I hie I'll stop by this
Wall and, as March causes springs to flow
Will act the aqueduct for nature's course.


ETHEL [to the dachshund]
Ah, Romeo, none are more fair than thee.


ROMEO [aside]
Ye Gods, I'm spotted in more ways than one,
Yet am I powerless to stop the course
So eagerly begun beside this wall
Which I perceived to be well out of sight.


ETHEL
There are no eyes as sweet and brown as thine.


ROMEO [aside]
My eyes she marks! Perhaps 'tis for the best.


ETHEL
I would not silk in all the Orient
Espy that is more soft than thy sweet skin,
And I would feel it warm against my own
As I retire to seek my rest this e'en.


ROMEO [aside]
A saucy baggage this, and that sweet sauce
Might add a note of savor to a feast
Of love that I fain would have never thought
I might enjoy with this enchanted maid.


ETHEL
And mark it is that I have never seen
Nor even thought that I would so be graced
To see a creature half as long as you
Nor find it nestled in my private place.


ROMEO [aside]
I was about to speak, but now I fear
I am struck dumb by this last thought and phrase
And must remove me quickly from this place
Ere I rise up the wall to where she stands.


ETHEL
In all thy being would I only fault
One thing, and that one thing we will soon fix.
I have no wish to have a whelp of thine
The household's population to increase.
And so upon the morrow shall we see
My father's surgeon who, with two quick cuts
Shall see that all our days together will
Be much more placid than were I to let
You sport about in this, your current state.


ROMEO [aside]
Sweet saints preserve me! Though to move in haste
In that which she describes as "current state"
Is not a labor lightly to be done,
Withal I have no other choice but run
And leave, as all my kinfolk would have urged,
The murderous (and worse) folk who live here.
If heaven grant that my dear home I reach
In pieces that will number less than two
I swear that nevermore will I seek love
Among the lowly cutting Capulets.


Exit, pursued by a fear