Disclaimer: I did this as a creative rewrite for one of my university lit courses, and all the inspiration and quotes belong to Robert Browning the original writer of "My Last Duchess"
HIS LAST DUCHESS
“That’s my last Duchess painted on the wall,
Looking as if she were alive.” (I’m not)
Alas! Me, “a wonder.” He calls.
Now wretchedly refined and pasteurized.
To be consumed, now, for genteel eyes.
Pity! Should you ever see me roll mine.
Behind those curtains, you might have been surprised
To see my countenance whimpering
At you Sir; and seething, at Him.
Must you not be fooled by that sickly decorum
Upon which his manly pride resides.
The Duke—what rich talent in envy he has,
And of pithy idiosyncrasies! Pardon me now
As I speak of his infamies: Is it not,
Too preposterous of a Duke, to sulk
And take offense, over a blush?
(As if the blush was his to wield and shun.)
Am I not allowed to flush at all?
And must I be ashamed of being swooned
By the casual offers of life’s grandiosities?
Each and every, dropping of the daylight,
Ripen cherries in May and chivalrous gentlemen,
my dear white mule; must I then weep
at them all, only to prove my fancy for him.
And when does gracious gratitude itself
become in vain: a finite honour—
deemed excessive elsewhere?
Never had he plucked me out, for censure,
Before he gave commands, I knew he did
To pluck the smile out of my face.
Utterly clueless—he thought I was
To find myself throttled, for immodesty.
A wife, an appendage to a Duke,
Loosely felled, to stroke a green-eyed ego.
My fault it seems, is a mere generosity
Of affection: falsely opined, if not
Misread, to fare a defect of temperament,
A chronic malady, doth be cured by death.
To cement the farce he will, soon, bring you
Downstairs to meet a friend. (a fiend)
A prized possession: Neptune, taming a sea-horse.
His hubris incarnate, cast in bronze.
But you must know the truth, for the sea-horse
Did not perish for naught, she is freed from him