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Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: March ::
Re: Funeral Elegy
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0193.  Monday, 11 March 1996.

(1)     From:   Don Foster <
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        Date:   Sunday, 10 Mar 1996 14:02:32 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: Funeral Elegy

(2)     From:   Roger D. Gross <
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        Date:   Monday, 11 Mar 1996 12:29:14 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Funeral Elegy

(3)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Monday, 11 Mar 1996 13:26:22 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: Funeral Elegy

(4)     From:   Richard J Kennedy <
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        Date:   Sunday, 10 Mar 1996 21:35:41 -0800
        Subj:   Doctor Dodypoll


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Don Foster <
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Date:           Sunday, 10 Mar 1996 14:02:32 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Re: Funeral Elegy

I'm sorry to have upset Richard J. Kennedy.  As I already said in my earlier
post, he did me no harm by taking what he could glean from my unpublished
handout, nor have I felt any injury.  But if Mr. Kennedy wants members of this
list to take seriously his view that the plays and poems of Shakespeare were
written by Edward de Vere, then he should get his facts straight before he
speaks--or remain silent. By borrowing from my handout without having attended
my talk, Mr. Kennedy first confused himself, then readers of this list: he has
simply misstated the facts with respect to John Ford.  We all know, by now,
that Mr. Kennedy thinks "A Funeral Elegy" to be the single most wretched piece
of rhyming drivel that he ever laid eyes on, which is certainly an okay thing
for him to say.  But aesthetic impressions have scarcely any evidentiary value.
 Various posts subscribed with Mr. Kennedy's name have been distributed to
SHAKSPERians in recent weeks. If one or two readers of this list find his posts
badly written, shrill in tone, and factually inaccurate, it would not be
wise--on those grounds alone--for us to conclude that Mr. Kennedy did not
actually write them.  Mr. Kennedy's co-religionist, Joseph Sobran, has
published an article saying that Will Peter was married just eight days at the
time of his murder; that "A Funeral Elegy" was written years before the murder;
that it was not written for Peter, but for someone else; and much more nonsense
having no point of contact with the real world.  Such perverse disregard for
the facts only muddies our discussion, making it harder for an intelligent and
well-informed skepticism--as per that of Godschalk, Egan, and others--to be
heard over the anti-Stratfordian static.

One virtue of David Kathman's recent posts is that he has taken care to present
simple facts, without relying on conjecture or unsupported assertion. I haven't
seen all of the recent posts, so pardon me if I repeat what's been said by
someone else.  While Shakespeare's feminine endings in blank verse steadily
increases over the years, feminine endings in his nondramatic verse steadily
*decrease* from *Ven* (1593, 15.7%) to *Luc* (1594, 10.7%) to *PhT* (1601,
9.0%) to *Son* (1599-1608 [by the latest evidence], 7.7%) to *LC* (1608 [see
MacD. Jackson], 8.8%).  At 11.6%, FE is rather too *high*, than too low, for a
Shakespeare poem written in 1612. For more info, see *Elegy by W.S.*, pp. 86-9.

I, not Kathman, am to blame for the odd wording with respect to *Tmp* and the
point about regular trochaic verse vs. iambic verse with feminine endings (see
n.7, p.246).  But something tells me that we won't get very far with a
discussion of how many feminine endings would appear in a rhymed poem of 578
lines written by Shakespeare in February 1612.  In the light of other evidence,
it appears now that we'd have a poem with 67 feminine endings (11.6%)--or, if
we count the unelided participles at lines 396/8, 69 feminine endings (11.9%).
I have always found Gabriel Egan's SHAKSPER posts to be thoughtful,
informative, and attentive to the facts--but on this issue, he is simply
mistaken.  I'm doubtful that even one Jacobean poet can be produced whose
rhymed and unrhymed verse have a comparable frequency of feminine endings--but
it is demonstrably not so with Shakespeare or with most of his contemporaries
who wrote both rhymed and unrhymed verse.

For those who are still looking for evidence that Shakespeare didn't write FE,
let them look elsewhere than to feminine endings.  For example, FE has a very
high incidence of *as* and *which* relative to most Shakespearean texts.  I
will gladly assist any fellow scholar who hopes at this late juncture to build
a case against Shakespeare's authorship of the elegy.

Foster

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Roger D. Gross <
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Date:           Monday, 11 Mar 1996 12:29:14 -0600 (CST)
Subject:        Funeral Elegy

Gabriel Egan suggests that we have exhausted the FE discussion.  I hope he
doesn't convince us to drop it.  Despite the tedium of the unsubstantiated
damnings of the Elegy, there has been much of interest here and I feel we may
be closer to finding the best of all uses of the list with this conversation.
Rather than feeling that we have exhausted the discussion, I am inclined to
think that we have gotten the knee-jerk stuff out of the way and are now ready
for a serious and worthy scholarly examination of FE.

It's much too early for me to have an opinion.

But...here is something I noticed.  It hardly qualifies as serious stuff but it
jumped out at me.

Richard Kennedy pointed out a parallel between W.S.'s "sour-bitter" line and
the same term in a line by Ford.  Both W.S. and Ford give "sour" two syllables.

Shakespeare uses the word "sour" 36 times; he also uses "sour'd", "sour-ey'd",
and "sour-fac'd" once each.

In each case but one he gives "sour" one syllable.  In COE, 5.1.45, he gives it
two.

I don't know what this implies but it does jump out.

I'm now looking at a few other words which might show something similar.

Please continue.  It is important work.

Roger Gross
U. of Arkansas

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Monday, 11 Mar 1996 13:26:22 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Re: Funeral Elegy

>Dave Kathman writes:
>
>Actually, Don Foster did cite Warner South in his list of all works by people
>with the initials W.S. between 1570 and 1630.  The first edition of Butler's
>*The Feminine Monarchie* (STC 4192) was in 1609, so it was closer to FE than
>you thought.  South also had a Latin poem in Thomas Vicars' *Cheiragogia*, the
>third edition of which was in 1628.  According to the list, Warner South (or
>"Warnerus South, Jurista Novi Collegii Socius") was born in 1586 and was Canon
>of Wells.  Since both of his known works are in Latin, there's not much basis
>for comparison with the Elegy.

I stand corrected.  I was reacting quickly, and checked only Don Foster's Index
-- in which South is not mentioned. But as Dave notes, Don does list him on
page 273. Sorry about dragging up an already dragged up W.S.

Mea culpa.

>Dave Kathman summarizes his argument thus:

> Shakespeare's use of enjambment increased over time in
>both his plays and in his non-dramatic poetry, involving similar percentages,
>and there is no reason not to compare FE with the late plays.  With feminine
>endings, though, the plays and the non-dramatic verse differ, as I've been
>arguing:  feminine endings increased steadily in Shakespeare's plays, as they
>did in Elizabethan plays in general, but they held steady or arguably decreased
>in his nondramatic verse, much as they did in Elizabethan rhymed verse in
>general. Given a choice between comparing the feminine endings in FE with the
>blank verse of the late plays or with the nondramatic poems, I've been arguing
>that the nondramatic poems are a better choice, even though neither choice is
>ideal.  The nondramatic poems differ from FE in terms of date, but I've argued
>that that doesn't appear to be a very significant factor in rhymed verse; the
>late plays differ from FE in being almost entirely blank verse, which I've
>argued is a very significant factor since blank verse tends to have more
>feminine endings than rhymed verse.

All this seems rational and well-reasoned, but I still feel a certain amount of
circularity in the statement.  Dave wants to use the standard that works best
for his argument, and, by gum! it does work best for his argument!

Dave has also sided with the scholars who want to date the sonnets in the
seventeenth century, shortly before they were printed and published in 1609.
For the sake of debate (the sonnets don't FEEL late to me because they seem
related to plays like LLL and R&J), let's grant Dave a late dating of the
sonnets -- circa 1609.

The sonnets are then the closest non-dramatic poetry to FE (1612).  Only three
or four years separates them, and they are both basically written in quatrains.
 As you recall, Shakespeare likes the three quatrain and a couplet structure
for the sonnet, and FE is basically in quatrains.  And some scholars want to
llink FE to the first 126 sonnets.

So let's compare FE to the sonnets. Let's use the sonnets as a rational
standard, and see how close they are in terms of style -- feminine endings,
enjambement, elisions, and so on. I have no idea what the statistics are, but
wouldn't this comparison make sense?

Yours, Bill Godshalk

(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard J Kennedy <
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Date:           Sunday, 10 Mar 1996 21:35:41 -0800
Subject:        Doctor Dodypoll

"The Wisdom of Doctor Dodipoll" was entered Oct 7, 1600, and was published as:
"The Wisdome of Doctor Dodypoll.  As it has bene sundrie times Acted by the
Children of Powles. London.  Printed by  Thomas Creede, for Richard Olive,
dwelling in Long Lane. 1600."

At the moment I know little else but the short notice given by E.K. Chambers,
"The Elizabethan Stage" Vol IV, p. 54.

"Fleay, ii.155, assigned the play to Peele, chiefly on the ground that a snatch
of song is from his "Hunting of Cupid".  But Peele died in 1596, and Koeppel
points out that the phrase (Bullen, p. 129), "Then reason's fled to animals, I
see", presupposes the existence of Julius Caesar (1599), III.ii.109:  "O
judgement! thou art fled to brutish beasts/ And men have lost their reason."

But the anonymous writer of Dr. Dodypoll has much more in common expression
with Shakespeare.  A cursory investigation yields these comparisons:

DD:  Well, I am glad we are haunted so with Fairies.
Cymbeline:  What fairies haunt this ground?
ditto:  With female fairies will his tomb be haunted.

DD:  For his behavior, for his sweet discourse. ]
T.G. of Ver:  ...hear sweet discourse.
L.L.Lost:  So sweet and voluble in his discourse.
Rich III: Vows of love and ample interchange of sweet discourse.
Rom. and Juliet:  All these woes shall serve for sweet discourse.

DD:  Why being (of late) with such importunate suit.
Othello:  By their own importunate suit.

DD:  See what a lively piercing eye is here.
Coriolanus:  Able to pierce a corslet with his eye.
Lear:  How far your eyes may pierce I cannot tell.
3 Hen IV:  These eyes...have been as piercing as the mid-day sun.

DD:  Ass that I was, dull, senseless, gross brained fool.
Hen V:  In gross brain little wots what watch the king keeps...

DD:  Of their close dealings, winkings, becks and touches...
2 Hen VI:  This is close dealing.

DD:  But not a rag of money.
Com. of Er:  But surely, master, not a rag of money.

DD:  With nothing true, but what our labouring souls...
Hamlet:  We shall jointly labour with your soul...

Not wishing to weary the reader, the rest I have gleaned will be appended to
the end of this post.  Most of all, I find the poetry in Doctor Dodypoll to be
of the highest order, quite happily suggesting Shakespeare, or so it sounds to
me. Here are a couple of examples.  In the first, a painter is by way of the
Almighty praising his employment in the art

"...why the world
With all her beauty was by painting made.
Look on the heavens colour'd with golden stars,
The firmamental ground of it, all blue.
Look on the air, where with a hundred changes
The watry Rain-bow doth embrace the earth.
...Look on that little world, the twofold man,
Whose fairer parcel is the weaker still.
And see what azure veins in stream-like form
Divide the Rosie beauty of his skin."

And again the painter, regretting that he cannot paint
his fair love as she comes to his eye.

"...Then might'st thou justly wonder at mine art,
And devout people would from far repair.
Like Pilgrims, with their duteous sacrifice,
Adorning thee as Regent of their loves;
Here, in the center of this Mary-gold,
Like a bright Diamond I enchast thine eye.
Here, underneath this little Rosie bush
Thy crimson cheeks peer forth more fair than it.
Here, Cupid (hanging down his wings) doth sit,
Comparing Cherries to thy Ruby lips."

This much in the first scene only, and much more throughout
the play.  But also the roughness of Shakespeare, that crude,
scoffing throw away attitude, the smooth vulgarity of the man,
challenging poetry even in the latrine:

        "Indeed M. Doctor your commodities are rare,
        A guard of Urinals in the morning;
        A plaguie fellow at midnight;
        A fustie Pothecary, ever at hand with his fustian
        drugges, attending your pispot worship."

The comedy is sprinkled throughout with bright and original phrases, and I give
but a few:  "Curious pencil of your tongue; triumphing from corner to corner;
color-fading cheeks; nuptial fire; nuptial appetite; absolute man; stealth of
love; feeds on melancholie; jealous stomach; fresh stars; swords in thy tongue;
perilous wit; amourous lunacy..." and much more of course.

Then there is the story, very Shakespearean, and the play needs a couple of
readings to get the drift, very like Shakespeare in that.  I'll not attempt to
tell it faithfully in an outline.  It's five acts, 58 pages.  It's about a
couple of marriages, a Duke with an ugly daughter (but fine), disguises, a love
potion, cross-dressed misunderstandings, an Earl posing as a poor painter who
loves below his station, an embassy from abroad, confusions, our hero gone mad,
and there are dumb puns, music and song, and the ridiculous Dr. Dodypoll who
spends his mastery of English in this manner:

Doct:  I by garr: heere be de powdra, you give de halfe at once.
Flor:  But are you sure it will work the effect?
Doct:  Me be sure?  By garr she no sooner drinke but shee hang
         your neck about; she stroake your beard; she nippe your
         cheeke, she busse your lippe, by garr.

I suppose you might call Doctor Dodypoll low comedy, but its blessed with some
high poetry and merry folk all falling over themselves for the sake of love and
a happy ending.  I'd love to see it played, and that might be the first time in
400 years, so far as I know.

And no doubt I know very little, and I'd appreciate if anyone could tell me
more of the play.  Not by the way at all, for those who might be interested, it
is STC 6991, and the U. Mich microfilm is Reel 289.  Perhaps it hasn't been
printed since 1600, but I'd be pleased to learn differently.  Here are the
remaining comparisons with Shakespeare:

DD:  You offer an intollerable wrong.
T. Andron:  Despiteful and intolerable wrongs!

DD:  Aye me, what Demon was it gulled me thus.
Hen V:  The same demon that hath gull'd thee thus.

DD:  You that are bodies made of light air...
Othello:  Trifles light as air...

DD:  No sleep will seize on my suspicious eyes.
1 Hen IV:  Suspicion all our lives shall be stuck full of eyes.

DD:  O brave free hearted slave...
T. of Athens:  I am bound to your free heart.
Macbeth:  Let us speak our free hearts each to other.

DD:  His life and wits, should ransom worlds for me.
Rich II:  The world's ransom, blessed Mary's son.
2 Hen VI:  The world shall not be ransom for thy life.
W. Tale:  They looked as they had heard of a world ransomed.

DD:  Yet since my mind beats on it mightily...
Tempest:  For still 'tis beating in my mind...
ditto:  A turn or two I'll walk, to still my beating mind.
ditto: Do not infest your mind with beating on the strangeness of this business.

DD:  Ere I'll offend your grace or breed suspicion...
2 Hen VI:  Because in York this breeds suspicion...
Hen VIII:  I am sorry my integrity should breed...so deep suspicion.

My deep suspicion is, of course, that Shakespeare wrote the play and escaped to
the world without even his initials to mark it.
 

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