The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0800 Wednesday, 27 April 2005
From: Peter Bridgman <
Date: Tuesday, 26 Apr 2005 22:47:41 +0100
Subject: Noted Weed
The ongoing spat between David Basch and Larry Weiss on the subject of
Shakespeare's Jewishness is merely an attempt by both scholars to
deflect us from the real truth - namely that the poet was a secret, but
Please consider the following ...
Firstly, references to Ethiopia, the spiritual home of Rastafarianism
can be found throughout the plays. Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing
vows that he will marry a woman he has never seen, even "were she an
Ethiope". Romeo tells us that Juliet "hangs upon the cheek of night
like a rich jewel in an Ethiope's ear". Lysander in Midsummer Night's
Dream calls Hermia an Ethiope. And Rosalind in As You Like It talks of
"Ethiope words, blacker in their effect than in their countenance".
Secondly, there are a number of references in the plays to ganja
(marijuana). Ophelia in Hamlet, clearly intoxicated and incoherent,
babbles on about "herb o grace". This refers to the fact that the
smoking of ganja ("herb") was considered a grace-giving sacrament by
Shakespeare and his fellow Rastafarians. "Herb o grace" is also
mentioned in Alls Well That Ends Well. In Sonnet 76, the poet refers to
a "noted weed", undoubtedly another reference to cannabis. In the same
Sonnet, WS refers to "compounds strange" - surely another drug reference.
Cannabis sativa, the plant from which ganja is derived, was of course
cultivated in Elizabethan England for rope-making. Clay pipe fragments
have also been excavated from the poet's Stratford-upon-Avon home,
leading to suggestions that WS enjoyed smoking a bong or two before
setting quill to parchment .....
Thirdly, let us consider the Rastafarian flavour of the KJV Bible,
which, as David Basch has reminded us, was translated by WS. There are
literally hundreds of Rastafarian reggae songs that borrow lyrics
directly from the KJV ...
Surely this must be proof that the translator was a fellow Rastafarian?
Last but not least, a great many of these reggae records were recorded
at Channel One studios in Jamaica, where the bass-guitarist was Robbie
Shakespeare, a direct descendent of the poet.
PS - If any of the above seems ridiculous, I would like to point out
that I have produced considerably more evidence for Shakespeare's
Rastafarian faith than David Basch has for the poet's Jewishness.
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