First let us expose this whole Stratford ruse
The man christened as William Shaksper
He emerged from skullduggery to choose
An unknown illiterate impostor
For Queen Elizabeth to make appear
As the man who wrote "William Shakespeare".

The most damning clue that exposes her game
Which has perturbed scholars at the Folger
Is Shaksper couldn’t even sign his name
Betrayed by his six splotchy signatures
One expects just a little more upstairs
From the man who wrote "William Shakespeare".

Seems such a fellow would know a few books
Distant travel from his native England
He might’ve given French and Spanish looks
All necessitating time on his hands
But Willy Shaksper was a wretch sans peer
Hardly capable of writing "Shakespeare".

He never engaged in leisure or sport
Or ever stepped foot outside of England
He spent his days seeking damage in court
Or escaping the arm of the taxman
No record he owned a book makes it clear
He could not be the man who wrote "Shakespeare".

He mentioned no poems or plays in his will
And no one attended his funeral
A shame they missed the silly doggerel
To protect against his bones’ dispersal
The statue’s sack of grain marks a career
Quite inconsistent with that of "Shakespeare".

But when it comes to meeting essentials
Though history records his name rarely
The man who possesses full credentials
Merits fair treatment from posterity
For through a life of love, loss, and jeers
He created the works known as "Shakespeare".

Born as the Seventeenth Earl of Oxford
Intimately entwined with royal court
Two ancestors encountered the wild boar
The one speared it dead, the other was gored
When at royal jousting games he shook spears
Perhaps he devised the penname "Shake-speare".

Raised as a ward by Lord Cecil Burghley
Elizabeth’s arch administrator
He bought expensive books in a flurry
Like the Bible and Virgil and Homer
Only with an education so dear
Could one become a "William Shakespeare".

The Virgin Queen, known for eternity
Was not so sexually unaware
When she forced her royal virginity
On her favorite teen, Edward de Vere
Maybe this is the reason she would fear
Having her paramour known as "Shakespeare".

When he brought to life the Queen’s worst nightmare
By portraying her the rapist Venus
And, as if to make the whole world aware
Himself as the spear-shaking Adonis
Gored by a wild boar, giving idea
To all impishly that he "Will Shake-speare".

The Rape of Lucrece retells the story
Royalty defiling an innocent
That crime put an end to the monarchy
So when "Will's" sonnets to their love child are penned
Passing her crown to such a bastard heir
Goads Queen Elizabeth to fake "Shakespeare".

But Hamlet paints his whole life for us all
Including his true brother Horatio
Merchant of Venice makes thin betrayal
Of "shy" Loc who stole his portfolio
As You Like It recounts tricks very near
To those played on the writer of "Shakespeare".

Now that the aggrieved parties are long dead
And this man has changed English forever
Finally perhaps his dues are all paid
Just attribution we can endeavor
Edward de Vere, we proclaim with a cheer
Was the man who wrote "William Shakespeare"!

© 2000 by Michael J. Farrand

Based upon conjecture and speculation presented by Charlton Ogburn, Jr. in his The Mysterious William Shakespeare: the Myth and the Reality (Dodd, Mead, 1984). No sufficient proof exists to support this version of events. This author, hoping to take some refuge behind poetic license, will leave his poem as is while he searches for other answers to the mystery.

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