Hey Nonny ’Nonymous

Comes, Roland, a very superficial, ignorant, unweighing varlet, to draw me out of retirement with yet another claim that I, the sweet swan of Avon, did not write the plays, the poems—any of the works I’m credited with. I’m surprised that the director of Independence Day and Stargate doesn’t think some alien wrote my plays.

In response to your laundry list of “evidence” for Edward de Vere’s authorship, may I mention only this, that Sir Edward died in 1604, and by most accounts I wrote The Tempest in 1611? But what if all of those scholars are wrong? What if your man wrote the play before dying? After all, some addle-pates have suggested the play was written as early as 1603. If that’s the case, how do you explain the play’s explicit references to documents from the New World not available until 1609 or later?

[Sidenote to America: nice job with the whole New World thing. Among your greatest achievements I list climate change, credit default swap, and the Kardashians.]

Thus, unless our noble kinsman was clairvoyant or his presumed talent extended beyond the grave, I’ll warrant that only a clouted clapper-clawed blind-worm could believe that he wrote the play.

And what about The Winter’s Tale and Cymbeline? Both were composed after your man shuffled off this mortal coil. All I have to say is, that’s one busy dead man!

As for the conspiracy of silence, do you really think the back-stabbing, flap-mouthed wag-tails I hung out with would keep mum about such a juicy bit of gossip? All of them? For all time?

But if this evidence is not enough for your too credent ear, list. I invite you, thou impertinent clack-dish, to get all CSI on the case and carbon date the coffee ring you’ll find on the first page of the quarto (foul, of course), tracing it back to that London Starbucks hard by my beloved Globe. Drop by. Ask around. They’ll remember me. Especially Mariana, the barista who was the true model for the dark lady of the sonnets. “Inky” she called me.

Oh, Roland, Roland! Unless I’m reading my Hollywood Reporter incorrectly, more people went to see a junior high production of my Caesar in Anytown, America, than attended your little theatrical. May it rain potatoes upon you, thou loggerheaded folly-fallen hedge-pig!

What? Still not sated with evidence, thou beef-witted motley-minded miscreant? Then list harder. Hear thou that faint ka-ching? That’s the old dough-re-mi dropping into my Swiss coffers every time one of my plays is performed, my lines quoted, my name invoked. I get a cut, even, of every ticket sold for Anonymous (all twenty-three of them). To these aged eyes, boy, that’s what winning looks like.

Most shallow man! Hast thou or word, or wit, or impudence, that can yet do thee office? Nyuh-uh! Didn’t think so! Go thy ways, thou vain hasty-witted pignut!

Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in. Oh yes, you didn’t know? I wrote The Godfather, too. Retirement hasn’t been all Mah Jongg and Mai Tais, you see.