The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1432 Friday, 8 June 2001
From: Rainbow Saari <
Date: Friday, 8 Jun 2001 11:47:52 +1200
Subject: R & J query
Comment: SHK 12.1363 R & J query
I also heard an echo of mathematical theory on reading those lines. They
turned out to be linked to Sonnet 136, the second of the ' Will'
sonnets. (lines 7-10 )
In things of great receipt with ease we prove
Among a number one is reckoned none.
Then in thy number let me pass untold,
Though in thy store's account I one must be.
I thought the 'one is none' came from Pythagoras; hopefully someone can
enlighten us on that. In Son. 136 Will is of course exploiting the
ribald potential of much of the language in the lines above, and I
believe there is a corresponding subtext in the Capulet/ Paris scene.
Paris points out that Capulet and Montague are both men of honorable
reckoning; counted with other members of their class they have equal
standing in their community. The phallic/ yonic language in this last
sentence is not unintentional.
The issue these two men are discussing is of whether Capulet thinks his
Juliet is sexually 'ripe' enough to be Paris' bride. Her father thinks
it too early but admits that if Paris can 'get her heart; My will to her
consent is but a part '. In the context of such ambiguous sexual terms
as ' my will' (genitals), 'her consent' ( her cunt ) and 'a part' ( the
genitals again ) the phrase 'get her heart' loses some of its innocence.
I think he's saying 'But if she desires you sexually' therein 'lies my
consent' ( again the suggested sexual imagery; 'lies', my approval of
'my cunt's [Juliet] actions.) There's a fair bit of the old " nudge,
nudge, wink, wink, say no more" about this conversation.
Capulet mentions 'lusty young men' and 'fresh female buds'. When we come
(good grief!) to the lines
And like her most whose merit most shall be,
Which on more view of many, mine, being one,
May stand in number, though in reck'ning none.
the sexual innuendo of the earlier conversation continues. (I didn't
intend those either.)
I was suspicious of the correctness of the word 'on' in the phrase
"Which on more view of many' as Shakespeare, like some of his
contemporaries, is believed to have written 'on' for 'one', on occasion.
I looked up the original wordings of the Q1, Q2 and Folio texts of R &
J. [Draft early Texts (Annex)
Q1 has "Such amongst view of many myne being one"
Q2 & Folio have " Which one more view, of many, mine being one"
so 'on' must be some editor's emendation. I don't think it helps the
sense of the passage, which I read as 'If you consider again all these
other many beauties, mine, being only one, MAY still appeal to you,
though in social standing ( reckoning; see beginning of scene) she is
nothing compared to the others.' Paris is kinsman to the Prince,
remember. The issue of social standing is important in his choice of
bride. Capulet is pleased at Paris' interest in Juliet, though it comes
on him as a surprise. Like Touchstone of his Audrey, Juliet is " a poor
thing, but mine own."
Which takes me back to the language of Sonnet 136. The 'thing' of 'great
receipt' Will refers to in that poem is, of course, his mistress'
vagina. 'Numbers' are also verses ( Hamlet; II. ii 'I am ill at these
numbers.) Verses can equate to penises. (Timon of Athens, V.i."Why thy
verse swells with stuff so fine and smooth, That thou art even natural
in thine art."(I am indebted to Martin Green's Wriothesley's Roses for
this observation.) The whole of Son 136 is verse/ number/ penis on
Will, the male and female genitals, nothings and somethings and I don't
believe it is coincidence that it is numbered 136. 1+ 3+ 6= 10; among a
number 1 is reckoned ( counted/cunted) O. The number one is the penis,
the none or not one ( no-thing), the vagina.
When Capulet says to Paris, Juliet " being one, May stand in number,
though in reck'ning none" the words stand/ reck'ning= standing carry
the sexual undercurrent of 'she may still be the one that arouses you'.
I think emphasising the importance of the word 'May' helps the
understanding (!) of these lines. I think Juliet's father shows in this
scene a genuine interest in securing an alliance for his daughter in
which she stands (!) a chance of being physically/ sexually happy. Does
the line "And too soon marred are those so early made" hark back to the
difficulties of his own marriage to a sexually unwilling bride? Juliet's
mother tells her "By my count (cunt; indeed! ) I was your mother much
upon these years that you are now a maid." Whatever the custom in
Verona, in Elizabeth's England didn't most women wed much later than
fourteen?? There were, I'm sure, differences between what was
appropriate for the aristocracy and other classes.
Hope this is of some help, Steve
All the best,
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook,
The S H A K S P E R Webpage <http://ws.bowiestate.edu>