Fake Research: Real Writing
By Maggie Rue
Much has been researched regarding the identity of the “Fair Youth” of whom William Shakespeare spent a large portion of time extolling the virtues, one that seemed to be an Adonis in physical beauty and amazing in every aspect. Yet this person remains unnamed and unknown, despite the devotion from the great poet and it becomes clear that Shakespeare acknowledged the special aspect of the sonnet subject while keeping that person at arm’s length. Some say this was a platonic love of Shakespeare’s while others insist that this was an actual physical lover. Some believe this was a young man for whom Shakespeare developed a father-son dichotomy or perhaps wanted to mentor.
Given the diversity of suggestive comments in Shakespeare’s sonnets, it becomes clear that the subject is none other than the Doctor, the alias assumed by a millennia-old humanoid alien called a Time Lord who travels through space and time in the TARDIS, and who continued to visit the burgeoning poet, and even perhaps took Shakespeare as a Companion for some time. By the time the Doctor left William Shakespeare back in his own time, the poet had a number of new ideas from which to create his library of works, but continued to eulogize the amazing entity that he had come to know and love.
One example of the Doctor’s influence in these sonnets is seen in Sonnet 3 when the poet states: “Look in thy glass and tell the face thou viewest, / Now is the time that face should form another”. By this point in their relationship, The Doctor had clearly visited this period of time repeatedly, and William Shakespeare understood that the visage of the Doctor transformed over time. Another example of this acknowledgement of the amazing reincarnating ability of the Doctor comes from Sonnet 6: “If ten of thine ten times refigured thee: / Then what could death do if thou shouldst depart, / Leaving thee living in posterity?” Whilst most people assume Shakespeare was overly obsessed with another man’s reproductivity, it is clear the poet was far more fascinated—and rightly so—with the Doctor’s ever-changing faces.
The Tardis itself received some recognition from Elizabethan wordsmith, notable in Sonnet 7 with the words “But when from highmost pitch with weary car, / Like feeble age he reeleth from the day.” Indeed, it is with Sonnet Seven with its talk of weariness, “burning head” and “new-appearing sight,” one suspects that this was an occasion when Shakespeare went with the Doctor on one of his many adventures resulting in either a transformation or the witnessing of the Doctor’s good works saving the Earth from peril. Regardless of the event, the Sonnet reveals clearly the sound of the Tardis and the results of a wearisome battle. Shakespeare also lauds the journey in which he participated, as seen in Sonnet 15: “When I consider every thing that grows / Holds in perfection but a little moment. / That this huge stage presenteth nought but shows / Whereon the stars in secret influence comment.”
Thus, we also see certain personalities come forward. Indeed, the poet as Companion sees how one face may be kind or encouraging, but another be wrathful or fretful. The amazement with which Shakespeare notes his Doctor’s self-doubt and loathing: “But that thou none lov’st is most evident: / For thou art so possessed with murd’rous hate,” in Sonnet 10. This diverse personality change also is noted in Sonnet 117, where the poet states: “And on just proof surmise, accumulate, / Bring me within the level of your frown, / But shoot not at me in your wakened hate.” It is only natural that Shakespeare ask in Sonnet 53, “What is your substance, whereof are you made, / That millions of strange shadows on you tend?”
Lastly, a strong argument for Shakespeare and the Doctor traveling together is seen with the frequent discussion of “time” and how it controls—not the fair youth’s countenance so much as the subject’s very existence. An example is seen in Sonnet 126, the very last of the Fair Youth sonnets: “She keeps the to this purpose, that her skill / May time disgrace, and wretched minutes kill. / Yet fear her O thou minion of her pleasure, / She may detain, but not still keep her treasure!” Another example is seen in Sonnet 16: “But wherefore do not you a mightier way / Make war upon this bloody tyrant Time?” Such comments seem more about the Doctor’s attempts to change certain situations in time rather than a silly moment of self-vanity.
And so it appears that Shakespeare comments on his many adventures with the Doctor as a Companion on the Tardis. Certainly, it can be scoffed at that Shakespeare was instead talking of some lover or romantic interest at home living somewhere in England. It is important to add the final piece of evidence as seen in Sonnet 31: “Thy bosom is endeared with all hearts, / Which I by lacking have supposed dead.” Talking of the Doctor’s unique anatomy, it can only be concluded that the unnamed Fair Youth in fact needed no name, having only been called The Doctor during their time together. Eventually the Companion and Doctor must depart, and Shakespeare acknowledges this separation in Sonnet 87: “Farewell! thou art too dear for my possessing, / And like enough thou know’st thy estimate.”
It is clear that William Shakespeare met someone that seemed to encompass the universe for the young poet, resulting in a fascination and obsession for someone who astounded, impressed, and amazed him. From the broad hints and references to time and space, it becomes all too obvious that the Time Lord was a friend of Shakespeare, and saw in him that special something that compelled the Doctor to return on a number of occasions to see him in the 1600s. In that sense, the Doctor helped Shakespeare become something of an immortal himself.
Many “thank yous” go out to everyone who submitted something for the April Fool’s “Fake Research – Real Writing” challenge. Thank you for taking the time to read, and enjoy, each and every one of these articles. Aunt Æthel and I were most amused to read the creative thoughts of our artisans. We will judge all of the articles after they have been all posted on the Æthelmearc Gazette, and then announce the winner who will have the rights to brag about their win for the next year to anyone who would listen – Caleb