Shakespeare’s Letter to the Earth

  Our Globe Ensemble respond to Letters to the Earth with Titania’s speech from A Midsummer Night’s Dream

3 minute read

We are facing an unprecedented global emergency, the planet is in crisis and we are in the midst of a mass extinction event.

Scientists believe we have entered a period of abrupt climate breakdown. Carbon emissions and temperatures keep rising; ecological collapse is everywhere. On this course, we will see abrupt and irreversible devastation. The time for denial is over – we know the truth about climate change. It is time to act. Together we can shape new ways of being human on earth.

In October 2018, the International Panel on Climate Change reported that we only have 12 years to change how we live, globally. It described the enormous harm that anything above a 1.5oC rise in global temperature would cause. It told us that limiting to 1.5oC may still be possible yet requires ‘rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.’

Together with the Royal Court and National Theatre Wales, we’re backing  Letters to the Earth, a nationwide UK Arts Climate Protest and a response to the climate and ecological emergency.

Our Globe Ensemble responds to Letters to the Earth with Titania’s speech from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act II scene 1.

We are their parents and original

But with thy brawls thou hast disturbed our sport.
Therefore the winds, piping to us in vain,
As in revenge, have sucked up from the sea
Contagious fogs, which falling in the land
Have every pelting river made so proud
That they have overborne their continents.
The ox hath therefore stretched his yoke in vain,
The ploughman lost his sweat, and the green corn
Hath rotted ere his youth attained a beard.
The fold stands empty in the drownèd field,
And crows are fatted with the murrain flock.
The nine-men’s-morris is filled up with mud,
And the quaint mazes in the wanton green
For lack of tread are undistinguishable.
The human mortals want their winter here.
No night is now with hymn or carol blessed.
Therefore the moon, the governess of floods,
Pale in her anger, washes all the air,
That rheumatic diseases do abound.
And thorough this distemperature we see
The seasons alter: hoary-headed frosts
Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson rose,
And on old Hiems’ thin and icy crown
An odorous chaplet of sweet summer buds
Is, as in mockery, set. The spring, the summer,
The childing autumn, angry winter change
Their wonted liveries, and the mazèd world,
By their increase, now knows not which is which.
And this same progeny of evils comes
From our debate, from our dissension.
We are their parents and original.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act II scene 1.