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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: September ::
Re: God Speed and Helena's Entrance
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0948.  Tuesday, 23 September 1997.

From:           Ed Pixley <
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Date:           Monday, 22 Sep 1997 15:11:28 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 8.0943  Re: God Speed
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0943  Re: God Speed

> Ed Pixley's student is mistaken about "God speed".  It means "may God
> bring you success" [at whatever you do].  But like "Goodbye", which is
> from "God be with you," it long before our time lost its original
> meaning, and is, indeed, in this context just what the Folger edn. says
> it is: "a conventional greeting"
>
> Tell your student to look at  a concordance to Shak. and note that many
> of the "speed"s clearly mean "succeed".

Dear Professor Velz:

How gently you lay the fault to my student without attributing the fault
to me, where it properly lies.  Off-list, James Marino with equal
gentleness directed me to OED, which I should, of course, have consulted
instead of assuming a definition which I had come by in some
long-forgotten circumstances.

As one anonymous respondent suggested, however, our audience is more
likely to connect to the term as a farewell rather than a greeting, in
keeping with modern usage, whether valid or not.  Therefore, I am
equally grateful to the several imaginative suggestions on staging that
came from David Richman, Roger Gross, W. L. Godshalk, and A. J. Koinm.
One of the greatest pleasures of producing Shakespeare is in exploring
visual possibilities for giving immediacy to the words in the theatre.

Thanks for the benefit of your wisdom,
Ed Pixley
 

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