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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: December ::
Re: Questions on R&J
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.1296  Monday, 14 December 1998.

[1]     From:   Roy Flannagan <
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        Date:   Saturday, 12 Dec 1998 11:53:08 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1292 Questions on R&J

[2]     From:   Alex Went <
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        Date:   Saturday, 12 Dec 1998 17:01:31 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1292 Questions on R&J

[3]     From:   Robin Hamilton <
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        Date:   Sunday, 13 Dec 1998 18:52:06 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.1292 Questions on R&J


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Roy Flannagan <
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Date:           Saturday, 12 Dec 1998 11:53:08 -0500
Subject: 9.1292 Questions on R&J
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1292 Questions on R&J

>In the nurse's speech in 1.3, she speaks of Juliet's weaning and says
>that she had upon her head a bump big "as a young cockerel's stone."
>The Arden footnotes "stone" as "testicle." However, cokerels'
>reproductive organs are not external, are they?  (This question needs
>answering by a poultry expert, not a Shakespeare expert, no doubt <g>!
>In the same vein, the students wanted to know if "cock" as a slang term
>for penis was current in Elizabethan times.

Your student was very bright to notice what most editors probably
neglect.

I am not a poultry expert, but any chicken might have in its craw small
stones or pebbles used as internal tools to help pre-digest something
like a kernel of corn.  Testicles would be internal, which doesn't mean
that the Nurse wouldn't have seen one while eviscerating a cockerel.

Ophelia's smutty song with "By cock they are to blame" would seem to
indicate that Shakespeare endorsed "cock" as slang for "penis."

Roy Flannagan

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Alex Went <
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Date:           Saturday, 12 Dec 1998 17:01:31 -0000
Subject: 9.1292 Questions on R&J
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1292 Questions on R&J

"Young men will do't if they come to't
  By Cock they are to blame" (Ophelia)

where "Cock" = 1. God and 2. membrum virile

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robin Hamilton <
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Date:           Sunday, 13 Dec 1998 18:52:06 -0000
Subject: 9.1292 Questions on R&J
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.1292 Questions on R&J

>In the same vein, the students wanted to know if "cock" as a slang term
>for penis was current in Elizabethan times.

Eric Partridge in A Dictionary of Historical Slang has his earliest
reference to 'cock' as penis from Nathaniel Fields, Amends for Ladies
(1618), so it was probably already current in this sense when
Shakespeare was writing.  I don't have his Shakespeare's Bawdy to hand,
but I'd imagine that would have something relevant.

Robin Hamilton.
 

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