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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: April ::
Q: By the Beard
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0771  Wednesday, 28 April 1999.

From:           A. J. Hoenselaars <
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Date:           Tuesday, 27 Apr 1999 18:19:34 +0200
Subject:        By the Beard

In HENRY V (4.6), the Duke of Exeter describes how the Duke of York
approached the "noble Earl of Suffolk" as follows:

Suffolk first died; and York, all haggled over,
Comes to him, where in gore he lay insteep'd,
And takes him by the beard, kisses the gashes
That bloodily did yawn upon his face.

I do not seem to be able to picture the phrase: "And takes him by the
beard" (perhaps because Henry V in the courtship scene boasts of a son
who will go to Constantinople and "take the Turk by the beard"). Can any
of my colleagues explain?

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