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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: February ::
Teeth or Arms? A Titus Question
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0444  Tuesday, 17 February 2004

From:           David Lindley <
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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
 >>modifies the
 >>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.
 >Bill Godshalk

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!

David Lindley

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