Monday, December 8, 2008
N.B. Herewith is a little-known bit of printing history, recently discovered by us amongst some 15th-Century documents from the Court of Lichtenstein when we were doing some genealogical research on a forgotten ancestor. ----- “Oh great King Swopshire, we humbly prostrate ourselves before thee and beg thee to pour thy generous mercy upon our poor inestimable heads. We are unworthy of thy attention, and we pray that thou wilt spare us despite our unforgivable impudence in coming before you in this brazen way. Yet our hearts are heavy. Thou hast cast the poor printer, the decrepit old man Theophilus Hawley, into thy dungeons, where he even today sits amidst his own filth, dressed in rags, unwashed and unkempt, his hope as forlorn as that of a Chicago Cubs fan. And for what? Why dost thou turn thy magnificent hairy back upon this poor wretch, a man whose printing has enlightened both scholars and royalty, entertained the highly-born as well as the peasants, given solace to the heartbroken and inspiration to those who do daily toil in the service of thy great and thunderous desires. Forsooth! It is but a petty complaint that thou dost have against him. He meant no harm. He was but playing the fool, believing that thy famous sense of humor would recognize his jest for what it was, a mere effeminate sneeze in the whirlwind of thy astounding whoosh. Was it his fault that he knoweth not thy sensitivity to comments upon thy wondrous and most admirable derriere? Not that we would ever notice the amazing breadth of thy rump, nor the enormous extent of fine silk cloth necessary to encompass such an astounding expanse of arse, nor the mind-numbing sound emanating from thy nether regions when the capacity of thy bowels becomes o’er-stretched with noxious fumes. ‘Twas but a tiny cartoon that he printed in his little-read publication, not even noticed by most of his readership. Admittedly, he should probably have portrayed thy buttocks in a more modest manner. But naked buttocks are unmistakable, while thy clothed buttocks might have been mistaken for a pair of 500-pound bags of flour or sails on a great ship, billowing in the wind. Notwithstanding the offense that thy majesty has taken, we plead with thee to not have thy royal wolves rip him into bloody chunks, nor to break him on the wheel and drag his squashed corpus through the streets behind thy noble steeds. His printing press has been smashed, and his type tossed into the river – surely that is adequate punishment. Release him, oh great king, and thy subjects will celebrate thy kind and just forbearance. Long live King Swopshire!” ----- History has not recorded the final outcome of this sad event, but we do trace our family line directly to this poor doomed jokester and practitioner of the black art.