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Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: November ::
Re: Ophelia's Garland
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 708. Wednesday, 3 November 1993.
 
(1)     From:   Kevin Berland <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 2 Nov 93 13:25 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0704  Q: Ophelia's Garland
 
(2)     From:   Fran Teague <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 02 Nov 93 14:36:10 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0704  Q: Ophelia's Garland
 
(3)     From:   Stephen Orgel <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 2 Nov 1993 17:06:36 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0704  Q: Ophelia's Garland
 
(4)     From:   William Godshalk <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 02 Nov 1993 20:47:28 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0704  Q: Ophelia's Garland
 
(5)     From:   Michael Friedman <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 02 Nov 1993 21:19:37 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0704  Q: Ophelia's Garland
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Kevin Berland <
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Date:           Tuesday, 2 Nov 93 13:25 EST
Subject: 4.0704  Q: Ophelia's Garland
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0704  Q: Ophelia's Garland
 
It's gross enough: Dogstones = dog's testicles.  -- Kevin Berland
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Fran Teague <
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Date:           Tuesday, 02 Nov 93 14:36:10 EST
Subject: 4.0704  Q: Ophelia's Garland
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0704  Q: Ophelia's Garland
 
I'm not sure I know the answer to the question about Ophelia's garland, but
here's an answer.  In 1877 Joseph Crosby wrote, "Its botanical name is _orchis
morio mas_, anciently _testiculus morionis_.  _Orchis_, you know, means a
_testicle_; and I presume the 'grosser name' has some relation to the masculine
(_mas_) testicle, probably on account of its oval shape.  One of the notes says
that its various names, too gross for repetition, are preserved in _Lyte's
Herbal_,  1578; and another, that _one_ of its "grosser names" was "_the
rampant widow_, " a name that _Gertrude_ would not be very willing to recall."
The passage is included in _One Touch of Shakespeare_, which John Velz and I
edited.  I see we also have a note:  the grosser name may have been
cuckoo-pint (pint = pintle = penis).  The Wild Arum was so-called; it has a
long purple spadix of phallic shape.  See Karl P. Wentersdorff, "_Hamlet_:
Ophelia's Long Purples," ShQtly 29 (1978):  413-17.  (That's John's note, not
mine, so I'll refer you to him.)
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephen Orgel <
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Date:           Tuesday, 2 Nov 1993 17:06:36 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 4.0704  Q: Ophelia's Garland
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0704  Q: Ophelia's Garland
 
The 'grosser name' is any one of the ones given in Lyte's 1578 Herbal;
Hibbard's Oxford ed. cites priest's pintle, dog's cullions, fool's
ballocks, goat's cullions, all alluding to the appearance of the
roots. The note is on p. 319.
 
Stephen Orgel
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Godshalk <
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Date:           Tuesday, 02 Nov 1993 20:47:28 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 4.0704  Q: Ophelia's Garland
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0704  Q: Ophelia's Garland
 
"long purples" - Harold Jenkins' edition of HAMLET (Arden) has a good note on
the passage, The flower is probably a wild orchis which has testicle-like
tubers, and Jenkins records the following names: dogstones, dog's cods,
cullions, fool's ballocks, and variantions on these. And Jenkins points out
that we can't know precisely what Shakespeare had in mind. Personally, I think
"long purple" suggests an erect penis, the flower rather than the tubers. But
Farmer and Henley don't list "long purples" or "purples," nor does James Henke,
GUTTER LIFE AND LANGUAGE. . . . (West Cornwall: Locust Hill Press, 1988).
 
Shamefully yours, Bill Godshalk
 
(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Michael Friedman <
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Date:           Tuesday, 02 Nov 1993 21:19:37 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 4.0704  Q: Ophelia's Garland
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0704  Q: Ophelia's Garland
 
In case Ronald Dwelle hasn't seen it, here is editor Harold Jenkins' note
in the Arden *Hamlet* on the "grosser name" to which Gertrude refers:
 
"We cannot know which Shakespeare had particularly in mind, but recorded names
for the orchis, derived (like the term *orchis* itself) from the testicle-like
tubers of most species, include dogstones (L. *testiculus canis*), dog's cods,
cullions, fool's ballock's, and many variations on these."
 

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