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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: September ::
Re: Funeral Elegy
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2090  Monday, 2 September 2001

[1]     From:   Richard Kennedy <
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        Date:   Friday, 31 Aug 2001 22:14:24 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2080 Re: Funeral Elegy

[2]     From:   Richard Kennedy <
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        Date:   Friday, 31 Aug 2001 22:39:14 -0700
        Subj:   [Fwd: SHK 12.2080 Re: Funeral Elegy]


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Kennedy <
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Date:           Friday, 31 Aug 2001 22:14:24 -0700
Subject: 12.2080 Re: Funeral Elegy
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2080 Re: Funeral Elegy

Whatever the reason may be, the fact is that Shakespeare died without
any poet, or anyone in the theater world saying a word about it, not
even his old Mermaid friend Ben Jonson, who is said in anecdote to have
been at Shakespeare's last bout of drinking, along with Michael Drayton,
who said nothing either.

But here's a nice example of Elizabethan word-gaming, I think.  On his
stone in Westminster, Ben Jonson is remembered with this wry notice:  "O
Rare Ben Jonson".  I like to think of Ben being a God-fearing man after
all, and I like to think that the carving on his stone can be read
"Orare Ben Jonson".  That is, to loosely construct the Latin, "Pray for
Ben Jonson".

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Kennedy <
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 >
Date:           Friday, 31 Aug 2001 22:39:14 -0700
Subject: 12.2080 Re: Funeral Elegy]
Comment:        [Fwd: SHK 12.2080 Re: Funeral Elegy]

David Kathman, at his web page, agrees with me that there was nothing
said of Shakespeare's death until he was dead for seven years except for
that ms. poem by Basse.  He also finds this poem by John Taylor written
in 1620 when Shakespeare had been dead for four years.  But the great
poet gets a mere mention amongst a dozen other poets.  This surely can't
be called an elegy.

"John Taylor, the Water Poet, has a poem in The Praise of Hemp-seed
(1620) in which he includes Shakespeare among famous dead English poets
who live on through their works:

          In paper, many a poet now survives
          Or else their lines had perish'd with their lives.
          Old Chaucer, Gower, and Sir Thomas More,
          Sir Philip Sidney, who the laurel wore,
          Spenser, and Shakespeare did in art excell,
          Sir Edward Dyer, Greene, Nash, Daniel.
          Sylvester, Beaumont, Sir John Harrington,
          Forgetfulness their works would over run
          But that in paper they immortally
          Do live in spite of death, and cannot die."   - Kathman

Does anyone suppose that the "Hemp-seed" of the title has anything to do
with canabis?  Recently there's been some talk that some cannabis
residue was found in some pipes dug up in Stratford.  I've collected
some contemporary notice of Tobacco and it's evils, and it's joys, which
make me think that a lot of pipes were stuffed with the weed.  Happy to
share if anyone is interested. -Kennedy

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