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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: January ::
Did the Bard Have Syphilis?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0104  Wednesday, 19 January 2005

[1]     From:   Louis W. Thompson <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 18 Jan 2005 14:35:45 EST
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0090 Did the Bard Have Syphilis?

[2]     From:   Robin Hamilton <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 18 Jan 2005 21:00:15 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0090 Did the Bard Have Syphilis?

[3]     From:   Billy Houck <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 18 Jan 2005 13:31:54 -0800 (PST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0090 Did the Bard Have Syphilis?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Louis W. Thompson <
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Date:           Tuesday, 18 Jan 2005 14:35:45 EST
Subject: 16.0090 Did the Bard Have Syphilis?
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0090 Did the Bard Have Syphilis?

We will never know what killed Shakespeare unless we exhume him and run
modern tests on his remains.

There is considerable evidence - the curse - that Shakespeare wanted to
be left alone after he died. There may be nothing left of him after
centuries in the moist soil of Stratford; and even the most modern tests
might not be able to determine the cause of death.

Why don't we stop guessing?

Louis W. Thompson

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Robin Hamilton <
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Date:           Tuesday, 18 Jan 2005 21:00:15 -0000
Subject: 16.0090 Did the Bard Have Syphilis?
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0090 Did the Bard Have Syphilis?

I thought the alleged mercury cure for syph was 18th C rather than
Elizabethan.

It crops up the 1790s fragments of The Rake's Lament:

         If she had told me before she disordered me
         ...
         I could have taken pills of white mercury

Closer to the Bard's time, Henry Vaughan's elder brother Edward exited
prematurely due to precipitating an infusion of mercury up his left
nostril, but that was a failed alchemical experiment rather than an
attempted cure for the clap.

Robin Hamilton

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Billy Houck <
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Date:           Tuesday, 18 Jan 2005 13:31:54 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 16.0090 Did the Bard Have Syphilis?
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0090 Did the Bard Have Syphilis?

Peter Whelan's "The Herbal Bed" has the dying Wm Shakespeare being
treated for his terminal illness (supposed to be some vile disease that
poets were prone to) with, as I recall, lead and vinegar.

Billy Houck

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