The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0441 Friday, 15 February 2002
Date: Thursday, 14 Feb 2002 15:48:28 -0500
Subject: Replacement for Devil's Horn
. . .oh place, oh forme,
How often dost thou with thy case, thy habit
Wrench awe from fooles, and tye the wiser soules
To thy false seeming? Blood, thou art blood,
Let's write Good Angell on the Deuills horne
'Tis not the Deuills Crest:
(Norton Folio, page 87, TLN 1014-19)
In John Jowett's Oxford text, the final line is changed to read: "'Tis
now the devil's crest" (2.4.17), and in the Textual Companion (471) John
comments that the Folio reading "lends itself to no convincing gloss,"
thus silently dismissing my note on the passage --"'The Devil's Horn':
Appearance and Reality," Shakespeare Quarterly 23 (1972): 202-5. John
and I have discussed this disagreement privately, and we remain at
So, I would like to bring this problem up for public discussion.
I believe that the final two lines are easily glossed: If we write Good
Angel on the devil's horn, then "fooles" and "the wiser soules" will not
longer see it (i.e. the devil's horn) as the devil's crest.
The Duke words offer a similar gloss: "O, what may man within him
hide,/Though angel on the outward side!" (Oxford 3.1.527-8).
I find an analogue in the Decameron Fourth Day, Second Tale, also about
a fake angel: "They say commonly in proverbial style: A wicked man who
is thought to be good can do evil and yet not have it believed."
Yours, Bill Godshalk
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