A Pox on Both Your Houses

A few days ago, I invited readers of this blog to write a rant. Today, I invite you to write a curse. For inspiration, let's turn to Shakespeare. Here is a short quote from Henry IV, Part I:

"You starveling, you elf-skin, you dried neat's tongue, you bull's pizzle, you stock-fish! O for breath to utter what is like thee! you tailor's-yard, you sheath, you bowcase; you vile standing-tuck!"

Do you see what I see? This curse is a string of nouns with a few adjectives thrown in. A list, in other words. So, make a list of everything vile you can think of. Now, precede every item with the word "you."

You are almost done.

Next step: delivery. Some of Shakespeare's best curses are uttered in Timon of Athens. They are directed at corrupt politicians. Put your curse in an envelope and address it to somebody in Washington, D.C. Or post it in a comment below. Or bring it to the next Kimball Library workshop on September 25 at 10 a.m. via Zoom.


If you are too shy to write a curse, give me a word, any word, and I will write a curse for you. We can write a group curse. I'll even illustrate it. We can do a whole book of curses. (See how my mind works?) A cursing handbook. I like it. There will be a chapter on the year 2020.*

For further reading:

Curses and Insults in Shakespeare's Plays (Michael J. Cummings)

A Short History of Shakespearean Insults (Angela Tung, The Week)

* Thanks to Nancy Gage, author of The Desert Doll, for inspiring this post.

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