Teeth or Arms? A Titus Question
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0444 Tuesday, 17 February 2004
From: David Lindley <
Date: Saturday, 14 Feb 2004 21:34:02 -0000
Subject: 15.0410 Teeth or Arms? A Titus Question
Comment: RE: SHK 15.0410 Teeth or Arms? A Titus Question
>David Lindley quotes Titus Q and comments:
>>And Lauinia thou shalt be imployde in these Armes,
>>Beare thou my hand sweet wench betweene thy teeth.
>>The first line here does not make sense, and the Folio
>>first line to end 'in these things'.
>Perhaps it's best to assume that the compositor and the
>proofreader of Q thought that "in these Armes" makes sense.
>Titus may be ironically alluding to the severed heads and
>hand as "heraldic insignia or devices" (OED s. v. Arms.
>IV.14) of the Andronici. Lavinia is invited to help bear
>these "heraldic arms." Darkly comic? You bet.
I'm not entirely convinced by this:-
a) I don't think I'd bet very much on the care of Q's proofreaders;
b) I think the reading is ingenious, but I still don't quite see what
sense it makes;
c) How many more 12-syllable lines are there in Titus (and that needs
some 'crushing' of 'Lavinia'), and 12-syllable lines where the metre
collapses somewhat at the end? (There well may be others, I haven't
checked more than very cursorily).
But I should stress that I was only explaining, in answer to the
original question, how the variant readings in modern texts have come
about; I've no particular investment in any one answer!
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