The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0771 Wednesday, 28 April 1999.
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?