That way doth madness lie...

November 4, 2005

A lost draft of Shakespeare's King Lear has been found by Terence Kealey. In the interests of scholarship, we reproduce it here

ACT ONE
Scene I

(Oxford)
Enter Vice-Chancellor Lear, the Lord of Hefce, the Trustee of Nolan and Professor Cordelia.

Vice-Chancellor Lear: Give me the strategic plan. Know that I have divided in three our university; and 'tis my fast intent to shake all cares of business from our academics, conferring them on outside strengths while we unburden'd crawl towards servitude. Which of you shall we say doth love us most?

Lord of Hefce: Sir, I love you beyond what can be valued, rich or rare.

Professor Cordelia: (Aside) Which is why we hath nothing left that is valued, rich or rare.

Lear: Of all these bounds, even from this college to this, I make you Lord. What says our Trustee of Nolan?

Trustee of Nolan: My Lord of Hefce comes too short. I am a true alumnus of the dear university, and am alone felicitate in your love.

Cordelia: (Aside) Which is why thou hast come short in giving us money these 800 years.

Lear: To thee and thine hereditary ever retain every faculty of our fair university. Now Professor Cordelia, speak.

Cordelia: Nothing, your Grace.

Lear: Nothing will come of nothing. Speak again.

Cordelia: I love the Vice-Chancellor according to my bond. I have for eight centuries governed this university as if it were my child; no more no less. That is why it is the best university in Europe.

Lear: Thy centuries then be thy dower! Here I disclaim all your care. My Lord of Hefce, my Trustee of Nolan, I do invest you jointly with all the university's power.

Scene II (The Lord of Hefce's palace)
Enter Hefce.

Hefce: So Professor Gloucester hast got only a 4 in the RAE? By day and night that university wrongs me. I'll not endure it. I'll pluck out his grants.

Scene III
(The Trustee of Nolan's palace)
Enter Trustee.

Trustee: What marvel to have th'expense and waste of Professor Edgar's revenues. That university shall be ruled.

Its every professor will on his or her knees beg even for half of half of his or her previous provision.

Scene IV
(Oxford)
Enter Lear.

Lear: Woe that too late repents! How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless trustee!

ACT TWO

Scene I

(A meeting of Congregation at Oxford) Enter Congregation including Cordelia.

Cordelia: As flies to wanton boys are we to the trustees.

They crush us for their sport. Take heed o' the foul fiends!

Congregation: (As Greek chorus) We are every inch a university, but the university's a-cold.

Cordelia: We are a very foolish, fond old university.

Congregation: We shall have such revenges.

We shall do such things - what they are yet we do not know - but they shall be the terrors of the earth and we shall refuse the trustees more than one honorary degree apiece.

Cordelia: That way madness lies.

Congregation: Dost thou call us fools, girl? Out vile jelly!

Cordelia: Thou whoreson zeds o' Bedlam. All thy other titles thou hast given away.

Enter Hefce and Nolan, who kill Cordelia's research programme, halve the university's staff-to-student ratios and close the smaller colleges and departments. Exeunt with a dead march.

Terence Kealey is vice-chancellor of Buckingham University.

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