In the Country of Fools, the Half-Wit is King


"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool."
– As You Like It, Act 5, Scene i

So which are you, fellow, wise man or fool?

I have a pleasant wit about me,
if it please you.

‘Tis so? Where-abouts?
Does it hang, top or bottom?
Can you toss it o’er your shoulder, with a continental shudder?
… Or, oooh, somewhere about the middle?

Ay, I know not. Up top, mayhap.

May I see it?

See it?

Yes, if it be particularly astute,
I may wish to borrow of it.
I have much hankering for a witty stew.

Stew? My wits? Thou would’st have my wits for a stew?

Nay, nay. They are in a stew already,
consternation set a’bubble.
Thou are he who has set his wit afire
and cries to heaven for relief.

I? Afire? Give me a glass!
Give me drink that I be put out!

Thou are well put out already.
A glass, say’st thou?
Thou would’st inspect thy parts,
find wisdom in eyelashes,
truth in a carbuncle?
I will have no more of such parts.
Why, with wit thou may smile up a storm.

‘Tis out, pray? The flamble?

Nay, ‘tis thou, knave, were out.
Therefore, clown, abandon!
Which is to say – in the vulgar – to leave
Take heed – take to thy heels,
if thou canst find them – in short, depart!

Aye, sir. Rest you merry.

But, fellow, come back betimes.
“’Tis meat and drink to me to see a clown.”

This poem is about: 
Our world


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