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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: January ::
Re: "the sunden stab"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0068  Monday, 14 January 2002

[1]     From:   Brian Haylett <
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        Date:   Sunday, 13 Jan 2002 16:11:45 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0049 "the sunden stab"???

[2]     From:   Clifford Stetner <
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        Date:   Sun, 13 Jan 2002 14:32:16 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0049 "the sunden stab"???

[3]     From:   Markus Marti <
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        Date:   Mon, 14 Jan 2002 07:10:25 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0049 "the sunden stab"???

[4]     From:   Werner Broennimann <
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        Date:   Monday, 14 Jan 2002 10:15:31 +0000
        Subj:   "the sunden stab"???


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Brian Haylett <
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Date:           Sunday, 13 Jan 2002 16:11:45 +0000
Subject: 13.0049 "the sunden stab"???
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0049 "the sunden stab"???

>         Polymetes. How?s that? to fweare and give the funden ftab?
>         Sell Lands to purchafe fafhions? O tis bafe!
>         Bought gentrie, fhould true-borne worth difgrace.
>         (sig.Br; Act I, ll.146-153)
>
>Does anyone have any idea what the "funden", or more likely "sunden"
>means? OED does not list either variant.

I'd say a misprint for 'sudden'.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Clifford Stetner <
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Date:           Sun, 13 Jan 2002 14:32:16 -0500
Subject: 13.0049 "the sunden stab"???
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0049 "the sunden stab"???

> Does anyone have any idea what the "funden", or more likely "sunden"
> means? OED does not list either variant.

It looks to me like a misprint for sudden. Wow, I never knew there was
so much bad writing on the internet. "Sudden stab" is apparently a
favorite metaphor there being no fewer than 1710 examples of it almost
exclusively in posted fiction. It's almost always used in the
metaphorical sense of Shakespeare's RIII, but it shows up in erotic
fiction in a more concrete sense (which I won't reproduce here). I was
only able to find two examples, including Arthur Conan Doyle below,
where it's used without the prepositional phrase almost always "of pain"
"of jealousy" "of regret" even "of pleasure" and implies a covert attack
with a sharp object. But if Shakespeare made a metaphor of it, it was
undoubtedly converted from its concrete sense:

RIII 3.2

 Stan.  The lords at Pomfret, when they rode from London,
           Were jocund and suppos'd their state was sure        88
           And they indeed had no cause to mistrust;
           But yet you see how soon the day o'ercast.
           This sudden stab of rancour I misdoubt;
           Pray God, I say, I prove a needless coward!             92
           What, shall we toward the Tower? the day is spent.

Conan Doyle White Company

Sir Nigel sprang to his feet with his bloody dagger in his left hand and
gazed down upon his adversary, but that fatal and sudden stab in the
vital spot, which the Spaniard had exposed by raising his arm, had
proved instantly mortal. The Englishman leaped upon his horse and made
for the hill, at the very instant that a yell of rage from a thousand
voices and the clang of a score of bugles announced the Spanish onset.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Markus Marti <
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Date:           Mon, 14 Jan 2002 07:10:25 +0100
Subject: 13.0049 "the sunden stab"???
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0049 "the sunden stab"???

Could it be "the sudden stab" (of rancor, as in Rich. III, 3.3.287)?
Maybe "n" and "d" were relatively similar in handwriting (= the usual
expladatiod), but more probably the printer's just mane a little
mistake.

Markus Marti

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Werner Broennimann <
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Date:           Monday, 14 Jan 2002 10:15:31 +0000
Subject:        "the sunden stab"???

I would take "swear" to refer to "embrace Publique affemblies" and "give
the funden ftab" to go along with "knightly exercife" and read "funden
ftab" as "sudden stab".  (Like in "full of strange oaths ... quick in
quarrel.") Not much emendatory energy needed given spellings like
"soudain".  There might be some lurking connection with the
"swear-forswear" pair of contrasts and with this quote from OED 1606
Dekker Sev. Sinnes ii. (Arb.) 21 Oathes are Crutches, vpon whych Lyes
go, and neede no other pasport. Oathes are wounds that a man stabs into
himselfe.

Werner

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