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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: February ::
Query: Brewer Satire
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0539  Wednesday, 25 February 2004

[1]     From:   Thomas Larque <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 24 Feb 2004 16:50:23 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0503 Query: Brewer Satire

[2]     From:   Peter Bridgman <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 24 Feb 2004 18:44:46 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0503 Query: Brewer Satire

[3]     From:   Matthew Steggle <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 25 Feb 2004 10:35:00 -0000
        Subj:   Re: Brewer satire

[4]     From:   Matthew Steggle <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 25 Feb 2004 11:26:47 -0000
        Subj:   RE: SHAKSPER Digest - 20 Feb 2004 to 24 Feb 2004 (#2004-38)

[5]     From:   Sally Drumm <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 25 Feb 2004 07:00:21 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 15.0503 Query: Brewer Satire


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Thomas Larque <
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Date:           Tuesday, 24 Feb 2004 16:50:23 -0000
Subject: 15.0503 Query: Brewer Satire
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0503 Query: Brewer Satire

I'm no expert, but surely this refers to a brothel?  "Stews" was a slang
term for a brothel.  "First come, first served" is both a dirty pun on
"come" and "served" and presumably a description of the working methods
of Elizabethan brothels (with customers forming an orderly queue to wait
for one of the ladies to become available?).  "Ride"-ing was a fairly
standard euphemism for sex, and the "*one* on either side" comment
sounds like another pun, something in the tradition of Shakespeare's
"beast with two backs" in "Othello", with the alternative four-wheeled
cart playing on some level with the possibility of group sex.  The
normal way for this "weight" / cargo? or "weight" / body? or "weight" /
sexual press of bodies to run is with two parties not four (using the
metaphor of a two-wheeled cart and four-wheeled wagon) - so the
prostitutes are apparently normally engaged in standard sexual
intercourse between two, but in this particular bawdy house, because
they are engaged in hurrying their customers along (and have such large
queues to deal with), it is implied, every available female orifice is
being filled and three customers are being served by each prostitute at
any one time.  The poet thinks it is better (for morality or for the
customer?) for the prostitutes (or for women in general) to engage in
standard sexual
intercourse between two parties.

Of course somebody will probably now come up with a perfectly innocent
reading of the poem which will suggest that I just have a very dirty
mind, but I plead not-guilty (or at least launch a counter-suit against
Thomas Brewer for Entrapment).

Relevant Oxford English Dictionary entries include:

WEIGHT - 11.a. A heavy mass; usually, something heavy that is lifted or
carried; a burden, load. Also fig.

WEIGHT - 3.c.  Impetus (of a heavy falling body; also of a blow).
[Perhaps with reference to sexual thrusting here].

RIDE - 3.  To mount the female; to copulate.  Now only in low and
indecent language.

RIDE - 4.a. To be conveyed, to travel or journey, in a wheeled or other
vehicle.

STEW -  4. A brothel. (Developed from sense 3, on account of the
frequent use of the public hot-air bath-houses for immoral purposes. Cf.
BAGNIO.) a. In plural (chiefly collect.; sometimes, a quarter occupied
by houses of ill-fame).

COME -  17. To experience sexual orgasm.

SERVE - 52.  Of a male animal: To cover (the female); esp. of stallions,
bulls, etc. kept and hired out for the purpose.

SERVE - 3. a. To be a servant to; to work for, be employed in the
personal service of (a master or mistress).

SERVE - 3. b. fig. To be the slave of (sin, one's lower nature, etc.).
Obs. or arch.

SERVE - 3. d. To work for (a body of persons, a company) as a paid servant.

SERVE - 4. a. To attend upon (as a servant does); to wait upon, minister
to the comfort of.

SERVE - 10. b. To gratify, furnish means for satisfying (desire); to
minister to, satisfy (one's need).

SERVE - 10. c. To comply with the request of (a person); to fulfill the
wishes of, give (one) his wish.

SERVE - 19. b. To be used in common by (a number of persons).

SERVE - 19. c. 19. c. Of a bodily faculty or organ: To render its normal
service to (the owner). Also const. inf.

SERVE - 31. b. Const. with, of: To supply (one) with food at a meal, to
help (one) to food.

SERVE - 35. a. To attend to the request of (a customer in a shop).
Hence, to supply (a customer) with a commodity which he has come to
purchase.

SERVE - 38.  (Said of persons and things.) To supply, provide, or
furnish with something necessary or requisite. Also, to furnish (a
person, town, etc.) with a regular or continuous supply.

Thomas Larque.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Bridgman <
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Date:           Tuesday, 24 Feb 2004 18:44:46 -0000
Subject: 15.0503 Query: Brewer Satire
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0503 Query: Brewer Satire

 >      *First come, first served.*
 >
 > ------------ ------------- ------------ Who can chuse
 >But laugh at this: Why here's a running Stewes
 >Hurries them on.  This waight was wont to ride,
 >Not on *foure* wheeles, but *one* on either side,
 >And that me thinks shewd better. ---------------

Why, here's a busy brothel that hurries the customers on.  This wight
(man) wanted to fuck - not on all fours, but sandwiched between two girls.

Peter Bridgman

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Matthew Steggle <
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Date:           Wednesday, 25 Feb 2004 10:35:00 -0000
Subject:        Re: Brewer satire

David Evett quotes some riddling lines -

      *First come, first served.*

------------ ------------- ------------ Who can chuse
But laugh at this: Why here's a running Stewes
Hurries them on.  This waight was wont to ride,
Not on *foure* wheeles, but *one* on either side,
And that me thinks shewd better. ---------------

Just a guess, but I reckon he is describing a woman riding past in a
posh four-wheeled coach.  He accuses her of sexual immorality,
suggesting in particular that in the past she has ridden in a
two-wheeled cart, i.e., has been "carted" as a whore.

The punishment is discussed in, for instance, Gustav Ungerer,
"Prostitution in Late Elizabethan London: The Case of Mary Newborough",
MRDE 15 (2002): 138-223.

All the best,
  Matt.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Matthew Steggle <
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Date:           Wednesday, 25 Feb 2004 11:26:47 -0000
Subject:        RE: SHAKSPER Digest - 20 Feb 2004 to 24 Feb 2004 (#2004-38)

An addendum on those Thomas Brewer lines -

You could usefully parallel Epigram 96 from Thomas Freeman's _A Rub and
a Great Cast_ (1614):

I prethee Fusca, wouldst thou haue a Coach
To poast the streets, so like a paragon
That all that to thy Concaue Carre approach,
May cry Madona to a Curtezan,
And simpringly salute a sluttish sweet,
And as it were make curtsie to a crab:
Thy hopes are high, and yet perhaps may hit,
And destiny may dignifie a drab;
Or Briddwels duty may (to thy desart)
If not a Coach, yet helpe thee to a cart.

So Brewer wouldn't be the only Renaissance satirist making misogynistic
jokes about the similarity between coaches and carts.

All the best,
  Matt.

[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sally Drumm <
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Date:           Wednesday, 25 Feb 2004 07:00:21 -0500
Subject: 15.0503 Query: Brewer Satire
Comment:        Re: SHK 15.0503 Query: Brewer Satire

Probably, in fact most likely, this comment is way off mark, but
still...I immediately thought of a tarot deck as I read your description
of Brewer's characters.  Of course, the numbers don't match--there are
22 major arcana cards and four suits of minor arcana.  Still, there is
the question of five different names (for those four suits) that float
through history.

At any rate, I checked my deck for your description.  Card seven of the
major arcana is the Chariot.  The card prior is The Lovers.

The piece sounds fascinating.  Any chance it is posted somewhere online
in its entirety?  I would love to compare Brewer's characters to the
rest of the tarot deck.

Sincerely,
Sally Drumm

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