Soliloquy No. 1: On Original Thinking

soliloquy |səˈliləkwē| noun (plural soliloquies) an act of speaking one’s thoughts aloud when by oneself or regardless of any hearers, especially by a character in a play. ~New Oxford American Dictionary

Less than a year ago, I decided to write what I call a “free” Shakespearean soliloquy—one that has some kind of rhythm, is written in the Bard’s English and from the first-person, but does not conform to iambic pentameter. I wanted my soliloquy to ramble like that of Prince Hamlet, yet, also like Prince Hamlet, for every thought to lead to profundity and to stem from wonder at the world around me. Consequently, I structured my poem around these goals, I started my piece with questions, immediately proceeded to negate them, traveled a different route stemming from the same questions, journeyed into some philosophical realm, and finally came back and declared the consummation of my thinking. As such, the resulting tapestry became one of my favorite masterpieces—with a subject I chose initially to justify my lack of any words to say! Talk of irony. Enjoy!

“I’ll call for pen & ink, and write my mind.” ~Henry VI, Part I by Shakespeare (prompt for the following piece)

On Original Thinking

What is there new to say, when all
has been said already? Shall a suppos’d
new mind, glorious as is apt to be, spark
a thought previously unknown out o’ th’
same dust? No…that cannot be. What was
deem’d equal by th’ Creator, as it saith in
th’ good Declaration, canst not have any inequality
amongst them, whether in mind or deed. We 
are of equal worth. But what then shall I 
say accounts for particular greatness—or
is that mere folly? Surely one man canst
dream and think as well as th’ other. But let
that go—I do not believe the superior mind
rests on a pedestal of thought’s capacity.
Capacity, instead, gives way to use—use almost
excessive—and laying off conforming pleasures,
stuff that doth mold th’ brain into a lousy
creature. We are more than earth; let not our minds act
as dull. Nay, think, think well, and continue. Originality
lies not at the heart of greatness, for the essence of 
every man’s circumstance, be it well or ill, is shared.
Yet if one thinks enough, sooner or later a stray
thought, unoriginal as it might be, will feel unanswer’d
for. And if that thought doth appeal to man’s virtue
rather than raw flesh, begging for unity or
division, whatsoever God sees fit, then is the
writer’s turn to speak, speak well, and continue,
till he hath better’d his world.


~Sarah Merly

October 6, 2018

Isaiah 53