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egungun

Williams Shakespeare, “King Charles III,” Act 1 Scene 1, (#2).


KING CHARLES:
Behold! Oh, Apparition.
If you must speak for your people, do it now. Or remove back to whence you came. It is night and Camilla and I long for the comfort of our bed.
EGUNGUN:
Address me by my name, I already told you who I am.
Or, as it is the fashion of your people, are you poised to rename me? For there is no place you go that do not re-name, as the original name of that land is never good enough for you.
Rather than ask them, “What is your name? What is the name of this place?”
Never, you say: “I name you Monday because I met you on a Monday afternoon. And I call this land Silvercoast, because I see you have silver all over this country. It is no more your land or your country. It is now part of my Commonwealth!”
From whence this uncouth egotism feeding your arrogance to all native peoples?
KING CHARLES:
What you call arrogance, Strange Being, is what we call custom.
It is the custom of our people to place our stamp on all things we see, meet or fancy.
I see you have a strained accent.
Is English your second language?
Where, indeed, are you originally from?
EGUNGUN:
English is not my second language.
It is a tongue I loathe to carry. I speak English to you, not by desire but because you learned none other vernacular beyond English.
Must I like a tongue that has become a plague unto my people, such that it kills off the original language of our ancestors?
Indeed many are those of my people who now swear on your ‘perfect vernacular, whilst they gradually fail to speak properly the language of their forebears.
KING CHARLES:
You blame us for every ill of your tribe!
Phantom, be for once at least grateful!
We taught ye language! Thou ingrates, ever full of limitless ills.
EGUNGUN:
To what avail is this thorned vernacular you taught me, which you turn around and call language, only to call my language vernacular?
KING CHARLES:
Enough tomfoolery tonight, apparition. Say what you have come to say. For to my bed, I must go. The night is fallen.
EGUNGUN:
Not unless you call me my real name will I let you rest. I am not a masquerade as your people and art historians have named me. I am Egungun. Say my name and say it well.
KING CHARLES:
It is a name heavy and stinging on the tongue: E-gone-gone!
EGUNGUN:
Say it again, or for you, there’s no respite tonight.
KING CHARLES:
E-gone-gone!
EGUNGUN:
Again!
KING CHARLES:
E-gone-gone!
EGUNGUN:
Again!
KING CHARLES:
E-gone-gone!
EGUNGUN:
Good. Now listen carefully. I bring you many queries from my land.
(to be continued).

egungun
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