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Home :: Archive :: 2004 :: March ::
Sir Edward Dyer's 'Jest
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 15.0724  Thursday, 18 March 2004

[1]     From:   Peter Groves <
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        Date:   Thursday, 18 Mar 2004 08:24:58 +1100
        Subj:   RE: SHK 15.0706 Sir Edward Dyer's 'Jest'

[2]     From:   Rolland Banker <
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        Date:   Thursday, 18 Mar 2004 00:27:39 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Sir Edward Dyer's 'Jest'


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Groves <
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Date:           Thursday, 18 Mar 2004 08:24:58 +1100
Subject: 15.0706 Sir Edward Dyer's 'Jest'
Comment:        RE: SHK 15.0706 Sir Edward Dyer's 'Jest'

John Peachman asks "The quote "Vilia miretur etc" obviously refers to
the epigraph to Shakespeare's Venus and Adonis, but as quoted by Harvey
it is slightly different: it says "Castaliae" rather than "Castalia" and
"aquae" rather than "aqua". I'm no Latin scholar - what changes in
meaning does this produce? My little pocket Latin dictionary says
"aquae" means "medicinal waters or spa". Is there some bawdy joke here
about baths and sexually transmitted disease (possibly connected with
Sonnets 153 and 154)?"

The boring answer to this particular question is that "plenus" ('full')
can take either the ablative ("Castalia aqua") or the genitive
("Castaliae aquae"), and (since both possibilities will fit the metre)
Harvey, as a thorough Latinist, simply misremembered Ovid's ablative
construction as a genitive one.  Unfortunately "aquae" (plural, 'baths')
won't fit the grammar.

Peter Groves

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Rolland Banker <
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Date:           Thursday, 18 Mar 2004 00:27:39 -0800 (PST)
Subject:        Sir Edward Dyer's 'Jest'

Thanks to my trusty Shakespeare Companion by F. E.  Halliday, I can add
more detail and thicken the soup, as it were, and hopefully the wiser
sort can make it all palatable for us eager to learn more.

The jest seems to be a collegial--peer--winking and nudge-nudge trash
talk at an obvious genius-Shakespeare for writing down to the vulgar
elements of society while he, Dyer, the knighted, Oxford educated
courtier-exquisite poet of excellent devices took the high ground.

As the Latin from Ovid indicates:  Let the base vulgar admire trash; to
me golden-haired Apollo shall serve goblets filled from the Castalian
spring.

Although, in reading Anthony Burgess' Shakespeare, I found out that
Gabriel Harvey was a member of the so-called suspicious 'School of
Night' with other such luminaries as Sir Walter Raleigh, the Earl of
Northumberland, George Chapman and others. An inside joke among this
group of notables is not out of the question.

Also, the Gabriel Harvey quote that you mentioned continues in my
'Companion' as follows:

Whose written deuices farr excell most of the sonets,
and cantos in print. His Amaryllis, & Sir Walter
Raleighs Cynthia, how fine & sweet inuentions?
Excellent matter of emulation for Spencer, Constable,
France, Watson, Daniel, Warner, Chapman, Siluester,
Shakespeare, & the rest of owr florishing metricians.

--end of quote--

So the whole statement gives better sense to the complete thought.

A thought on the spelling you mentioned would be to notice how Harvey
spells: farr, excell, sonets and you could figure that English spelling
was erratic at best as was usual for Elizabethan writers, why not Latin
spelling as well?

I notice too, under the Gabriel Harvey entry that "He quarrelled with
Robert Green, who ill-naturedly taunted him with being the son of a
rope-maker in 'A Quip for an Upstart Courtier,' 1592."

So this puts Harvey in publicized good company as an upstart courtier
with the resident 'Upstart Crow' and in a unique position to render due
appreciation for sueet and melancholy metrical dexterity to all the
deserving.

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