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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: May ::
Re: Hawk and Handsaw
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1244  Monday, 28 May 2001

From:           Abigail Quart <
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Date:           Friday, 25 May 2001 14:48:56 -0400
Subject: 12.1221 Re: Hawk and Handsaw
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1221 Re: Hawk and Handsaw

In some shire glossaries (not Warwickshire, unfortunately) of the 1800s,
a hawk is a dung fork or a tool for filling manure. Would that likely be
a new meaning or a very old one?

"When the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw."

My old, coverless, publisher's page missing, complete Shakespeare from
college glosses "wind is southerly: The south wind was considered
unhealthy."

If a correct paraphrase of the line is, "When an ill wind blows, I can
smell shit," it would fit with the bad smell imagery of Hamlet and make
sense for a writer whose grandfather owned a farm.

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