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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: September ::
Re: Boyet
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1905  Tuesday, 17 September 2002

[1]     From:   Lynne Magnusson <
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        Date:   Monday, 16 Sep 2002 10:57:57 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1903 Boyet

[2]     From:   L. Swilley <
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        Date:   Sunday, 16 Sep 2001 10:24:51 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1903 Boyet

[3]     From:   John W. Kennedy <
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        Date:   Monday, 16 Sep 2002 12:13:25 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1903 Boyet

[4]     From:   Peter Hyland <
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        Date:   Monday, 16 Sep 2002 17:22:47 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1903 Boyet

[5]     From:   David Wallace <
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        Date:   Monday, 16 Sep 2002 19:54:22 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1903 Boyet


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lynne Magnusson <
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Date:           Monday, 16 Sep 2002 10:57:57 -0400
Subject: 13.1903 Boyet
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1903 Boyet

>I was working on LLL a while ago and came across this speech which
>rather puzzled me. Read it aloud and I think you'll catch on:
>
>BOYET Why, all his behaviors did make their retire
>To the court of his eye, peeping thorough desire:
>His heart, like an agate, with your print impress'd,
>Proud with his form, in his eye pride express'd:
>His tongue, all impatient to speak and not see,
>Did stumble with haste in his eyesight to be;
>All senses to that sense did make their repair,
>To feel only looking on fairest of fair:
>Methought all his senses were lock'd in his eye,
>As jewels in crystal for some prince to buy;
>Who, tendering their own worth from where they were glass'd,
>Did point you to buy them, along as you pass'd:
>His face's own margent did quote such amazes
>That all eyes saw his eyes enchanted with gazes.
>I'll give you Aquitaine and all that is his,
>An you give him for my sake but one loving kiss.
>
>When I first started reading them I had difficulty making them fit the
>normal iambic pentameter of LLL, which I first presumed was my fault
>(ignorance). But when I got to Line 5 I was certain I was reading
>dactylic (tetrameter). Re-reading the first four lines I found that they
>fit (though not always perfectly) better in that meter than iambic.
>
>So, what's going on here? Has anybody written on this? Is there a
>theory? Or is it just regarded as an anomaly?
>
>Cheers,
>Don

I always tell my students to think of "'Twas the night before Christmas,
when all through the house ..."  to get a sense of the rhythm for the
speech by Boyet that Don Bloom quotes.

Best wishes,
Lynne Magnusson

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           L. Swilley <
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Date:           Sunday, 16 Sep 2001 10:24:51 -0500
Subject: 13.1903 Boyet
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1903 Boyet

Could it be that the confusion of senses described in these lines
extends to the rhythm of the lines themselves, a break into a rhythm
other than iambic emphasizing that confusion?

        L. Swilley

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John W. Kennedy <
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Date:           Monday, 16 Sep 2002 12:13:25 -0400
Subject: 13.1903 Boyet
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1903 Boyet

>So, what's going on here? Has anybody written on this? Is there a
>theory? Or is it just regarded as an anomaly?

The _speech_ is no anomaly, for most of the scene containing it is in
that and perhaps other non-5meter forms.

For the rest, this is LLL, we're talking about, for goodness' sake.

What more to say?

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Hyland <
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Date:           Monday, 16 Sep 2002 17:22:47 -0700
Subject: 13.1903 Boyet
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1903 Boyet

Isn't LLL, broadly speaking, about all manner of linguistic affectation,
from Armado's euphuistic prose, through the pedantries of Nathaniel and
Holofernes, to the courtly effusions of the King and his companions. I
assume that Boyet (himself surely a rather precious character) is simply
adding to this structure with his rhythmic adventurousness. "Maggot
ostentation", as Barowne puts it.

Peter Hyland

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Wallace <
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Date:           Monday, 16 Sep 2002 19:54:22 -0700
Subject: 13.1903 Boyet
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1903 Boyet

Regarding Don Bloom's comments concerning Boyet's passage in LLL 2.1. I
agree with Don that the passage is not iambic pentameter. It has, as Don
suggests, a dactylic character. LLL certainly finds Shakespeare at his
most adventurous when is comes to experimenting with verse forms. LLL
2.1 contains a variety of verse forms, though the patterns (to me) are
not always consistent. Occasionally a bit of prose slips in, as well. In
a play that explores (among other things) the abuse of language, I think
messing with verse forms is an apt strategy.

Act Two contrasts the conflict over Aquitaine with the bold flirtations
displayed by the King's courtiers and the Princess's ladies. Before the
entrance of the men, all the ladies (and Boyet) converse in iambic
pentameter. When the King enters, he greets the Princess in iambic
pentameter. The Princess (peeved) responds in prose. The King persists
in iambic pentameter and the Princess responds in kind. All their
exchanges, after this, are in iambic pentameter. Berowne's initial
exchange with Rosaline is in iambic pentameter. Thereafter, their
exchanges are in a briefer line length. Berowne, Longaville, and Dumaine
all speak to Boyet in rhyming verse - but not in iambic pentameter. As
the men exit, Boyet and the ladies assume the verse pattern that Don
observes. It is as though they've all been love struck. Indeed, Boyet
calls them "mad wenches". I think the change in verse form may indicate
a kind of giddiness.

Boyet and the ladies are not the only ones who depart from iambic
pentameter. Costard (from whom one would expect prose) assumes the same
metre in 4.2 (as do Boyet, the Princess and her ladies). Elsewhere,
Nathaniel, Holefernes, and Dull try out some interesting metres, as
well.

Cheers,
David Wallace

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