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Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: March ::
Re: Funeral Elegy (and Sonnets)
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0214.  Saturday, 16 March 1996.

(1)     From:   John Velz <
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        Date:   Friday, 15 Mar 1996 13:12:46 +0200
        Subj:   Whiles

(2)     From:   Richard J Kennedy <
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        Date:   Friday, 15 Mar 1996 08:51:05 -0800
        Subj:   Funeral Elegy

(3)     From:   <
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        Date:   Friday, 15 Mar 1996 18:41:29 -0500
        Subj:   Syntactical Examinations of Elegie

(4)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Friday, 15 Mar 1996 22:32:01 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Subject: Re: SHK 7.0202  Re: Funeral Elegy (and the Sonnets)

(5)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Friday, 15 Mar 1996 23:05:48 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0211  Re: Funeral Elegy (and Sonnets)

(6)     From:   W. L. Godshalk <
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        Date:   Friday, 15 Mar 1996 23:11:08 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0205  Re: Funeral Elegy (and the Sonnets)


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Velz <
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Date:           Friday, 15 Mar 1996 13:12:46 +0200
Subject:        Whiles

Anent Richard Kennedy's comment that the word *whiles* does not appear in Sh's
nondramatic poetry:  It certainly does in appear in the plays, however.

My old Bartlett's Shakespeare Concordance shows 13 instances of this word from
11 plays.

John Velz

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard J Kennedy <
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Date:           Friday, 15 Mar 1996 08:51:05 -0800
Subject:        Funeral Elegy

        I dreamed of Shaxicon the other night,
        All copper-plated as he was bright,
        Striding like a giant out of Goya
        To seat himself upon a wondrous hill,
        His height above the world in poetry.

        A pilgrimage from far and wide advanced,
        Lovers all of Shakespeare, humble folk among,
        Gathering at the monster's sanctioned feet,
        Listening for the monster's brazen tongue
        To tell the terrible tale of Shakespeare's
        Later verse, so lusterless and stale.

        "Enjambment makes the world go round,"
        Declared that polished giant of my dream.
        "The data base is sound, all dependent clauses
        Have been counted, hendiadys and permutatio
        Satisfy and prove that Shakespeare wrote the Elegy."

        And then the monster read, O, woe betide,
        The worse poem ever recited on a high hillside.
        It was the Funeral Elegy by W.S.,
        And not a righteous eye but wept for the lad,
        Poor William Peter, stabbed to death on horse,
        Who enjoyed in all his life no other sin
        But tavern-hopping in the mid-day sun.

        Shaxicon was merciless, and for our doubt
        All half the thousand lines were wrung out
        For our weeping, and when the dirge was done,
        I found myself alone, and no birds sung.

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           <
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Date:           Friday, 15 Mar 1996 18:41:29 -0500
Subject:        Syntactical Examinations of Elegie

I have only just joined the list. It's possible I may be duplicating prior
inquiries. If Don Foster's book has been released I have not been able to
locate it. I have not tried requesting the book yet, hoping one of several
bookstores I visit might have it.

My question concerns SHAXICON. Specifically, is it capable of differentiating
between parts of speech -- sytactical usage? What I have in mind is an
examination of the Elegie such as John Porter Houston "Shakespearean Sentences"
might have allowed it. How often, for example, does the author of the FE invert
the normal SVO (Subject-Verb-Object) order? If Mr. Houston's work is to be
trusted, Shakespeare, among other idiosyncracies, inverted this order to a
greater degree than any of his rivals.

Having followed the discussion thus far, it seems the program has tallied such
information as word and image clusters, enjambment, the number of feminine
endings, etc.?

Patrick Gillespie

[Editor's Note: You would be better served looking for Don Foster's book in
your library rather than your bookstore.  Here's the citation: Foster, Donald
W.  *Elegy by W.S.: A Study in Attribution.  Newark: U of Delaware P, 1989. As
for SAXICON, there has been much discussion in the past on SHAKSPER, but because
we currently do not have the DATABASE FUNCTION under Unix I cannot give you the
easy way to locate those discussion.  However, you should consult the Summer
1995 edition of *The Shakespeare Newsletter* (54.5, No. 225) for a reprinting
of Don Foster's description of the program from his July 4, 1995, posting to
SHAKSPER.  --HMC]

(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Friday, 15 Mar 1996 22:32:01 -0500 (EST)
Subject: SHK 7.0202  Re: Funeral Elegy (and the Sonnets)
Comment:        Subject: Re: SHK 7.0202  Re: Funeral Elegy (and the Sonnets)

>Dave Kathman writes:
>
>As I've just said, I wouldn't put the Sonnets as close to FE as you say --
>more like ten years {circa 1602?} than three or four.  I don't have all the
>numbers here, but in feminine endings, as has been noted, the Sonnets overall
>are 7.7%, FE is 11.6%. In run-on lines (enjambment), the Sonnets are about 17%
>(I don't have the exact number), FE is 46% --- but Shakespeare increased his
>enjambment markedly in the late plays (from 19% in *Ado* to 31% in *Lear* to
>46% in *Tempest*). Both the Sonnets and FE have the same number of relative
>clauses, roughly 13 per 1000 words.  FE has more hyphenated compound words
>than the Sonnets (101 per 20,000 words vs. 75), but both are well within
>Shakespeare's normal limits. In terms of vocabulary, I believe that the
>Sonnets have more vocabulary in common with FE, percentagewise, than any
>other text in Don Foster's considerable text archive.

Okay, it looks as if we have a starting point.  Comparing one text with another
seems more fruitful (to me) than comparing all the Shakespeare texts without
discrimination.

Unfortunately for me, I have too much grading to pursue this argument right
now, but, undoubtedly, I'll have more to say later!

>And on glancing through Don Foster's list of English elegies, I see there was
>an "Elegy upon His Honoured Friend Mr. James Herrewyn", written by "J.
>Godschalck" (p.309).  A relative, perhaps, Bill?

I hope not.  My family is supposed to have come here from Germany in the late
17th century.  I hope we didn't leave Uncle Julius in England!

Yours,  Bill Godshalk

(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Friday, 15 Mar 1996 23:05:48 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 7.0211  Re: Funeral Elegy (and Sonnets)
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0211  Re: Funeral Elegy (and Sonnets)

 Richard J Kennedy writes:

>The writer of the Funeral Elegy liked to use the word "Whiles" in place of
>"While" or "Whildst". In 578 lines he used the word 8 times.  In 2,150 lines of
>the Sonnets, 1,850 of Lucrece, and 1,194 lines of Venus and Adonis, Shakespeare
>never uses the word once.

I assume that "Whildst" is a misprint for "Whilest" -- which Shakespeare used
eleven times.

But according to the Spevack Concordance, Shakespeare used "Whiles" 82 times,
most often in the history plays, but once in *LUC* line 1135: "whiles against a
thorn."  "While" is obviously the preferred form for Shakespeare; he used it
(in this form) 339 times.

Yours, Bill Godshalk

(6)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           W. L. Godshalk <
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Date:           Friday, 15 Mar 1996 23:11:08 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 7.0205  Re: Funeral Elegy (and the Sonnets)
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0205  Re: Funeral Elegy (and the Sonnets)

Michael Skovmand writes:

>I must take issue with the Kathman/Godshalk *radicality* of uncertainty as to
>the dating of the sonnets : sonnets 138 and 144 appeared in the miscellany *The
>Passionate Pilgrim* in 1599, with only a few insignificant variations in
>spelling!

Yes, I agree.  Remember that my original point was that the sonnets are
"early." Dave Kathman disagrees, but to give us a battleground, I (tentatively)
accepted his late dating.  But if Katherine Duncan-Jones is correct, and
Shakespeare organized the sonnets as he wished them to appear in 1609, and IF
we also assume (and perhaps we have no right to make this assumption) that the
sonnets were written in a fairly chronological order (i.e., 1 to 154), then the
series was essentially completed by 1599. John Velz is also correct that Meres
had read or had heard of Shakespeare's sonnets in the 90s.
 

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