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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: August ::
Re: Funeral Elegy
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2001  Thursday, 16 August 2001

[1]     From:   Vick Bennison <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 14 Aug 2001 13:47:23 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1993 Re: Funeral Elegy

[2]     From:   Richard Kennedy <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 14 Aug 2001 17:15:09 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.1993 Re: Funeral Elegy


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Vick Bennison <
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Date:           Tuesday, 14 Aug 2001 13:47:23 EDT
Subject: 12.1993 Re: Funeral Elegy
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1993 Re: Funeral Elegy

The Ford attribution makes sense in terms of the apparent biographical
content of the elegy.  Ford and William Peter were both Devonshire lads,
and Ford has the required connection with Oxford University (since
that's where William Peter was educated).  I have a question about
Ford.  What can be implied from the fact that he attended one year at
Oxford and then was admitted to Middle Temple?  Where is Middle Temple?
London is where I assumed.  Does this indicate he was doing well at
Oxford or doing poorly?  Would this represent a change in course or a
logical educational progression?

- Vick

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Kennedy <
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Date:           Tuesday, 14 Aug 2001 17:15:09 -0700
Subject: 12.1993 Re: Funeral Elegy
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1993 Re: Funeral Elegy

It was Don Foster himself who gave the first clue that John Ford wrote
the Funeral Elegy.  I had read the poem and hadn't the slightest notion
of who had written it except that it couldn't possibly be Shake-speare.
This was in 1998.

Foster was searching about to find the author, and came upon a long poem
written by John Ford in 1613 - a pious, parching poem of something
called "Christ's Bloody Sweat," and Foster found that the there was much
matching up with the Funeral Elegy, written in 1612.  He compared
several lines of these two poems, including these few:

Elegy:  by seeming reason underpropped
CBS:  which life, death underprops

Elegy:  Now runs the method of this doleful song
CBS: Set then the tenor of thy doleful song

Elegy:  a rock of friendship figured in his name
CBS:  a rock of torment, which affliction bears

Elegy:  That lives encompassed in a mortal frame
CBS:  For whiles encompassed in a fleshly frame

Elegy:  Unhappy matter of a mourning style
CBS:  The happy matter of a moving style

Elegy:  So in his mischiefs is the world accurs'd:
 It picks out matter to inform the worst.
CBS:  For so is prone mortality accursed,
 As still it strives to plot and work the worst

Elegy:  But tasted of the sour-bitter scourge,
 Of torture and affliction
CBS:  Drew comfort from the sour-bitter gall,
 Of his afflictions

Foster's conclusion was that John Ford, in writing Christ's Bloody
Sweat, had the Funeral Elegy before him and was copying a few lines,
stealing off of Shakespeare, so goes his story.  It never occurred to
him that John Ford wrote both poems, something chronic in that I think.

Thereafter followed many postings about the Funeral Elegy, and for
myself at least the end of the quest for "W.S.".  The poet was John
Ford, a Devonshire neighbor of the Peter family, active in the elegiac
trade.  Shakespeare can be put nowhere in the neighborhood except for
the catch-penny suggestion that he passed that way between London and
Stratford.

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