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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: November ::
Re: Dyers and Big Calves
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.2039  Monday, 22 November 1999.

[1]     From:   Dana Shilling <
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        Date:   Friday, 19 Nov 1999 10:46:45 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.2035 Dyers and Big Calves

[2]     From:   Moray McConnachie <
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        Date:   Friday, 19 Nov 1999 15:53:46 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.2035 Dyers and Big Calves

[3]     From:   Tom Bishop <
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        Date:   Friday, 19 Nov 1999 11:46:54 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.2035 Dyers and Big Calves


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Dana Shilling <
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Date:           Friday, 19 Nov 1999 10:46:45 -0500
Subject: 10.2035 Dyers and Big Calves
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.2035 Dyers and Big Calves

I have just performed a Bardarobic simulation. Dunking cloth into a dye
vat probably required standing flat-footed and bending from the waist,
which stretches the hamstrings. Removing the cloth was probably
performed in releve.

Twould be a brute part to kill so capital a calf,

Dana (Shilling)

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Moray McConnachie <
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Date:           Friday, 19 Nov 1999 15:53:46 -0000
Subject: 10.2035 Dyers and Big Calves
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.2035 Dyers and Big Calves

>Can anyone explain why dyers might have developed large calf muscles? A
>joke in The Art of English Poesy runs as follows:
>
> =====
>
>as we once sported upon a country fellow who came to run for the best
>game, and was by his occupation a dyer and had very big swelling legs:
>
>He is but course to run a course,
>Whose shanks are bigger than his thigh:
>Yet is his luck a little worse,
>That often dyes before he dye.
>
> =====
>
>Readers of Webster will know that barge-men had notoriously strong
>thighs (a fact also attested to by Camden), but why the occupation of
>dyeing would develop the calves is unclear to me.

Because dyers trod the dye into the clothes, like grape-treaders.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom Bishop <
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Date:           Friday, 19 Nov 1999 11:46:54 -0500
Subject: 10.2035 Dyers and Big Calves
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.2035 Dyers and Big Calves

Frank Whigham asks,

>Can anyone explain why dyers might have developed large calf muscles? A
>joke in The Art of English Poesy runs as follows:
>
>=====
>
>as we once sported upon a country fellow who came to run for the best
>game, and was by his occupation a dyer and had very big swelling legs:
>
>He is but course to run a course,
>Whose shanks are bigger than his thigh:
>Yet is his luck a little worse,
>That often dyes before he dye.

Is it clear that the "and" in "and had very big swelling legs" is a
causative one at all? Might it not just be an accident that caught the
eye of a satiric rhymer? The rhyme is very specific to the occasion of
the race, perhaps the conjunction is too.
 

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