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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: November ::
Re: What Songs the Sirens Sang
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.2058  Tuesday, 23 November 1999.

[1]     From:   Stephen Michael Buhler <
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        Date:   Monday, 22 Nov 1999 09:38:58 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.2048 What Songs the Sirens Sang

[2]     From:   Peter Berek <
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        Date:   Monday, 22 Nov 1999 10:54:26 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.2048 What Songs the Sirens Sang

[3]     From:   Brother Anthony <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 23 Nov 1999 09:14:31 +0900
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.2048 What Songs the Sirens Sang

[4]     From:   Peter Hillyar-Russ <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 23 Nov 1999 10:17:50 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.2048 What Songs the Sirens Sang


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephen Michael Buhler <
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Date:           Monday, 22 Nov 1999 09:38:58 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 10.2048 What Songs the Sirens Sang
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.2048 What Songs the Sirens Sang

Dr. Greenberg is recalling a passage from Browne's *Hydriotaphia, or
Urne-Buriall*, chapter 5: "What Song the Syrens sang, or what name
Achilles assumed when he hid himself among women, though puzzling
Questions are not beyond all conjecture."  Browne himself adds a note
referring to Suetonius' Life of Tiberius 70, in which the emperor
indulges his taste for mythology by interrogating professors of Greek
literature with these and similar queries.  The passage continues by
asserting that, while antiquarians might be able to guess when the
remains in the urns were interred, it is impossible to determine the
identities of the deceased.  Browne argues that this is a salutary slip
in "the art of perpetuation," providing "Emblemes of mortall vanities;
Antidotes against pride, vain-glory, and madding vices."

Regards,
Steve Buhler

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Berek <
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Date:           Monday, 22 Nov 1999 10:54:26 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 10.2048 What Songs the Sirens Sang
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.2048 What Songs the Sirens Sang

In reply to Dr. Greenberg: the passage you seek is in Browne's
Hydriotaphia or Urne Burial, Chapter 5.

       Peter Berek

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brother Anthony <
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Date:           Tuesday, 23 Nov 1999 09:14:31 +0900
Subject: 10.2048 What Songs the Sirens Sang
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.2048 What Songs the Sirens Sang

Sir Thomas Browne's words indeed; not 'Religio' but 'Hydriotaphia'
('Urne-Burial') Chapter 5 beginning of the 3rd paragraph in my edition.
Or view  http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~rbear/browne/hydriotaphia.html#V
Lovely stuff, I'm always amazed to come across educated and
literature-loving people who have never heard of the man. E. M. Forster
made him driver of the 'Celestial Omnibus' on the first day, though
Dante takes his place on the second, in the remarkable short story of
the same name.

Brother Anthony (An Sonjae)
Sogang University, Seoul

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Hillyar-Russ <
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Date:           Tuesday, 23 Nov 1999 10:17:50 +0000
Subject: 10.2048 What Songs the Sirens Sang
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.2048 What Songs the Sirens Sang

If the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations is to be believed, the quote is
actually from Browne's "Urn Burial" Chapter 5.

I know it well, because my father was, forty years ago, a Cryptographer,
and he claimed it was the most frequently used encoded quotation, used
by almost every amateur inventor of codes.  It runs:

"What song the Syrens sang, or what name Achilles assumed when he hid
himself among women, though puzzling questions, are not beyond all
conjecture."

Regards,
Peter Hillyar-Russ
 

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