William Shakespeare, if he is watching us from Heaven, will have noticed that with the whirligig of time (and he is the inventor, in his Twelfth Night, of the notion of time behaving like a whirligig) the federal capital city gets better and better.
Canberra! Budding one day, blossoming the next.
There is everyday evidence of how Canberra is becoming more spine-tinglingly Melburnian. But as I write, those of us who love our budding metropolis's progress can point to two great big pictures. One is this weekend's Federation Cup tennis match between Australia and the Ukraine at Lyneham. The other is the looming (next week) suite of free performances of a Shakespeare play in the parks of Canberra and Queanbeyan.
These are both big city, mature city, cosmopolitan city occasions.
Quickly, nimbly I leap (like Canberra's mercurial Nick Kyrgios leaping for an opponent's lob and smashing it away) to say that there is so much more to tennis than it being a mere sport. Tennis is dramatic, and is about Life, about Life's tragedy and comedy, and so is really very Shakespearean in its own right.
Eerily, the dramatic men's singles final at this year's Australian Open lasted almost exactly the length of a performance of Shakespeare's tragic Romeo and Juliet. Just as eerily, this year's unforgettable Open women's final took, to the minute, almost exactly the time it takes to perform Shakespeare's hair-raising and grisly Macbeth. The more astute fans at Lyneham this weekend will know (albeit subconsciously) all about tennis's strange Shakespeareaness. They will feel it in their very bones.
But even on a more prosaic level the staging of a Federation Cup match in Canberra is a sweet rite of passage for our city. While miserabilists (their natural habitat the Letters pages of this newspaper) insist that Canberra has become a kind of degenerate hell ever since we were cursed with self-government (one letter last week even blamed today's ACT government for the ACT's snakes) those of us who are cheerfulists think Canberra has never been better.
But Canberra could do even better. The city is still (unlike bold and bustling Melbourne) a little shy and lacking in self-esteem. I urge the Chief Minister to appoint from his multi-talented MLA ranks, a Minister for Making Canberra As Much Like Melbourne As Possible.
For the thinking Canberran never visits Melbourne (and I have just had another sojourn there) without being impressed by that city's flair and swagger. I was lucky, too. The trustworthy Peter Dutton has insisted that gangs of dark-skinned migrants from undesirable nations are terrorising white Melburnians. I'm sure he's right, but by some miracle (can it be that gangs of the dark-skinned don't haunt art galleries, the Australian Open tennis, the genteel suburb of Coburg where I was staying?) I avoided any gang-monsterings. Phew!
My only disappointment with our coming outdoor Shakespeare occasions is that the chosen play, Much Ado About Nothing, is one of the great man's comedies and so is rather lacking in dramatic wallop. Perhaps organisers felt, understandably, that a "family" play (without the atrocities, the blood and guts strewing the stage that are a hallmark of so many of Shakespeare's plays) was appropriate for this first Canberra sally into free, outdoor Shakespeare.
Perhaps, down the track, we will feel ready to imitate New York. There the most recent season of Shakespeare In The Park (in Central Park) presented a controversial, modern-dress Julius Caesar in which the actor playing Caesar was dressed, coiffed and bewigged so as to be an unmistakeable Donald Trump.
There is so much potential Australian scope here, when we begin to make Canberra's outdoor Shakespeare performances of his histories and tragedies.
For example, I see a staging of Macbeth in which the three witches, the "weird sisters" who gibber dark things as they toss vile ingredients into their foul cauldron, strongly suggest three prominent female members of the parliamentary Liberal Party.
I see (prominent fake ears would make him unmistakeable) someone mischievously suggestive of Tony Abbott in one of Shakespeare's ludicrous comic roles.
I see a production of The Tempest in which the costume of the actor portraying Caliban the loathsome sub-human monster includes an Akubra hat. That will have audience members (outdoors in Glebe Park, beneath a night sky bejewelled with stars) gasping "It's Barnaby!"
I invite Shakespeare-literate readers to do their own castings, in the contemporary political spirit of the New York Julius Caesar. What of our very own and inexplicably unpopular Senator Zed Seselja? Conservative, forbidding and moralising (as we have discovered with his implacable opposition to gay marriage) perhaps he is reminiscent of Angelo who in Measure for Measure administers Vienna, taking a ruthless attitude to fornication.
What of the likeable Dr Andrew Leigh, our member for Fenner? Sprightly and intellectual he is somehow suggestive of Oberon, the influential King of the Fairies in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
But the whirligig of my imagination has carried me away, using up all this week's words. Our revels now are ended. It is time to snuff out the brief candle of this week's column, this insubstantial pageant written in sweet flattery of our increasingly exciting city.