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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: August ::
Re: Funeral Elegy
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.2080  Friday, 31 August 2001

[1]     From:   David Kathman <
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        Date:   Thursday, 30 Aug 2001 15:39:41 -0600
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2070 Re: Funeral Elegy

[2]     From:   Rita Lamb <
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        Date:   Friday, 31 Aug 2001 08:46:11 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.2070 Re: Funeral Elegy


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Kathman <
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Date:           Thursday, 30 Aug 2001 15:39:41 -0600
Subject: 12.2070 Re: Funeral Elegy
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2070 Re: Funeral Elegy

Richard Kennedy wrote:

>It would be wonderful to find such a thing, but there's nothing.
>There's his monument in Holy Trinity, Stratford, with those few words
>that you know, but otherwise the world was silent about Shakespeare's
>passing. Some years later a man named Basse wrote a poem (ms. only, I
>believe) that noticed the poet's death, and 7 years after Shakespeare
>died the First Folio was published (1623), and therein it is Ben Jonson
>who first remembered that the great poet was gone, and revealed him as
>"the soul of the age." The explanation for this delayed notice of
>Shakespeare's death might be because Stratford was a two or three day's
>ride from London.  Or perhaps the grief over Shakespeare's passing left
>his friends and theater colleagues speechless, no one knows.

Despite Richard Kennedy's disingenuous suggestion, the only unusual
thing about Shakespeare's death was how well it was commemorated for
someone of his social rank.  In my article "Shakespeare's Eulogies",
available on the Shakespeare Authorship web page, I show in great detail
how badly Richard Kennedy and his antistratfordian ilk have
misrepresented the facts on this matter.  You can read it here:

http://www.clark.net/tross/ws/eulogies.html

Dave Kathman

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[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Rita Lamb <
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Date:           Friday, 31 Aug 2001 08:46:11 +0100
Subject: 12.2070 Re: Funeral Elegy
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.2070 Re: Funeral Elegy

Richard Kennedy wrote:

>It would be wonderful to find such a thing, but there's nothing.
>There's his monument in Holy Trinity, Stratford, with those few words
>that you know, but otherwise the world was silent about Shakespeare's
>passing. Some years later a man named Basse wrote a poem (ms. only, I
>believe) that noticed the poet's death, and 7 years after Shakespeare
>died the First Folio was published (1623), and therein it is Ben Jonson
>who first remembered that the great poet was gone, and revealed him as
>"the soul of the age." The explanation for this delayed notice of
>Shakespeare's death might be because Stratford was a two or three day's
>ride from London.  Or perhaps the grief over Shakespeare's passing left
>his friends and theater colleagues speechless, no one knows.

You write as if Shakespeare was recognised in his own day as peerlessly
above his contemporaries.  Was his work so prized?  If his plays tended
to be rated in their own time as sound, commercially-successful drama -
though perhaps not of the first rank - then logically their author's
death ought not to have called forth extraordinary effusions from the
literary establishment.  Indeed from a purely literary viewpoint they
may not even have felt that a 'great poet was gone': it wasn't like
they'd just lost Spenser.   And as Shakespeare had already been retired
some time from active involvement in the theatre, there wasn't some
large gap to be lamented there.  Sometimes people talk as if they think
the court should have been ordered into mourning.

Anyway, as you say, 'no one knows'.  My theory is the other writers had
all gone off him in his latter years  - too bloody smug by half with his
coat of arms and his little place in the country - and it probably took
about ten years before they wistfully remembered he hadn't been so bad
after all.  And dammit, he could write.

Rita

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