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Monday, October 06, 2008


by Bill Costley

Lightly adapted from HENRY VI, Part Three, Act II, Scene V, ll. 55ff

Alarum, Enter a REGULATOR that hath ruined a banker . . .
[dragging in the banker’s ruined body]

Regulator. Ill blows the wind that profits nobody.
The banker whom so handily, I ruined today
May be possessed with some store of crowns
& I that haply do take them from him now,
May yet ere night yield both my job & them
To some banker else, as this ruined banker doth me.
Who’s this? O God! It is my banker’s face,
Whom in this conflict I unawares have ruin’d.
O heavy times, begetting such events!
In the District by the President was I set;
My banker, being Bear Sterns’s man,
Came on the part of Bear, pressed by Stearns,
& I, who at his hands had receiv’d my funds,
Have by my hands of capital bereaved him.
Pardon me, God, I know not what I did!
& pardon, dear banker, for I knew not thee!
My tears shall wipe away thy financial wounds;
& no more words till they have flowed their fill.

President. O piteous spectacle! O bloody times!
Whiles bankers war & battle for their banks,
Poor harmless depositors abide their futility.
Weep wretched Regulator, I’ll match tear for tear;
& let our hearts & eyes, in intra-class war,
Be blind with tears, & break o’ercharg’d grief.

Bill Costley serves on the Steering Committee of the San Francisco Bay area chapter of the National Writers' Union.