The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1539 Tuesday, 31 August 1999.
Date: Monday, 30 Aug 1999 16:27:43 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Thrice-three Muses Question
In A Midsummer Night's Dream, 5.1, Lysander reads "The thrice-three
muses mourning for the death/Of learning, late deceased in beggary"
(52-53) as one of the proposed and rejected entertainments at Theseus
and Hippolyta's wedding. The footnote in my Norton anthology says that
the lines are "Possibly a topical reference: Robert Greene, Christopher
Marlowe, and Thomas Kyd, university wits who began writing for the stage
in the 1580s, all died in desperate circumstances in 1592-94. But
satiric laments on the poverty of scholars and poets were commonplace"
Does anyone know of recent scholarship regarding these lines, possibly
providing encouragements for the topical reference mentioned in the
note, other topical reference suggestions, or a fuller discussion
of/argument for the more commonplace one? I am away from my library at
the moment and am unable to look for treatments of these lines on my
own. When I read 5.1.52-53, I tend to think of Spenser's Teares of the
Muses, but in agreement with the note, I realize that complaints of this
sort were indeed commonplace. I'm interested in finding out more about
the lines' interpretation/reference if possible. Thanks in advance for