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From The Tempest: Miranda and Ferdinand playing chess

Image: Wikipedia
The Chess Players attributed to Karel van Mander. This was identified in 1916 as an image of Ben Jonson and Shakespeare playing chess. Most scholars consider this to be pure speculation, but the claim was revived in 2004 by Jeffrey Netto, who argued that the chess game symbolises “the well known professional rivalry between these figures in terms of a battle of wits”.

Update: 2016 – Shakespeare died 400 years ago and today is Shakespeare day! I’ve decided to repost an entry of 4 years ago. Please enjoy my ‘contribution’ to Shakespeare day. The following is my entry of 2012.

I’ve written another cento – I had to, because it’s a chess one! I’ve taken again Shakespeare lines – like my Moonrider-cento , where I also used Shakespeare. A cento is a form of poetry, where you use lines of different poems. In this case [like Moonrider], I’ve used lines of Shakespeare’s works – and not different poems. This cento was much easier to put together than Moonrider, as they are shorter lines and I didn’t really spent that much time thinking how to merge it into a poem that makes sense. I couldn’t give it a title other than ‘A Game of Chess’. I have made minor changes here and there – to the word order or adding of an exclamation mark – just for effect. This ‘poem‘ is almost like a dialogue – as it’s various characters speaking in role from Shakespeare’s plays.

A Game of Chess
Sweet lord, you play me false
For a score of kingdoms you should wrangle
and I would call it fair play
How fares the king?
His hour is almost past

A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!
And I have horse – will follow where the game makes way.
I have his horse!
Give me another horse!
So, the good horse is mine.
My day’s delight is past, my horse is gone.
The rascal hath removed my horse.

Are the knights ready to begin their triumph?
A wandering knight?
I am undone! The knight is here!
Great shouts within all cry ‘the mean knight!’
Great is the humour of this dreadful knight.

I dare thereupon pawn
My life I never held but as a pawn
I have not pawn’d to you my majesty?
I pawn’d thee none!
I’ll send some bishop to entreat
The bishop will be overborne by thee
Wat says my bully rook?

There stands my castle!
His queen, it was his queen!
Queen of queens, how far dost thou excel?
Come hither, come! Come, come, and take a queen
Sir your queen must overboard!
Will take your queen
Farewell sweet queen!

I’ll move the king.
The skipping king, he ambles up and down
This may gall him for some check
No mates for you!
We’ll draw!
My lord, your son drew my master
Where’s the master? Play the men!
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown 

[Shakespeare-lines -]
Click on this link to read more about the Cento and to read what Folger Education think about my cento. I feel humble – you can view their comments in their comments box. Thank you!

–Click on this link to see the complete list of chess quotes with the references to the works of Shakespeare.

Enjoy Shakespeare day with some chess dancing!

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