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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: April ::
Good my Lord?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0834  Friday, 29 April 2005

[1]     From:   Tom Bishop <
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        Date:   Thursday, 28 Apr 2005 15:04:24 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0816 Good my Lord?

[2]     From:   Stephen C. Rose <
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        Date:   Thursday, 28 Apr 2005 17:59:36 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0816 Good my Lord?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tom Bishop <
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Date:           Thursday, 28 Apr 2005 15:04:24 -0500
Subject: 16.0816 Good my Lord?
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0816 Good my Lord?

Mark Alexander <
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 >

 >What is the meaning and function of "Good my lord"?  I've always
 >wondered about this.  At first I thought it was a typo and should have
 >read "My good lord".  But I see it repeatedly as "Good my lord".

A crude first go-round:  the deformed formula, which was quite
conventional in the period, seems to function as and indicate a sort of
intensive "vocative of respect". One doesn't come across it except as a
phrase of address, i.e. no-one says "Good my lord was there and spoke to
the Queen", a third-person reference such as this would always be "my
good lord".  The inversion also often seems to function to attract the
addressee's attention (and perhaps that of other listeners too) to the
urgency or importance of the remark, to set it off by its
quasi-anomalous character.

Interestingly, the symmetrical formula "good my lady' NEVER appears in
Shakespeare. "lord/lords" is the overwhelming favorite, though "good my
liege" appears a fair number of times. "good my friend/friends",
"mother" and "brother" all appear more than once (but not "father",
interestingly), and the somewhat strained "good my fellows" once, when
Antony is dying.

And then there are parody versions of the "vocative of respect", all
appearing once, such as: good my girl (her father to La Pucelle), good
my knave, good my glass, good my complexion, and good my mouse of virtue!

Tom

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephen C. Rose <
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 >
Date:           Thursday, 28 Apr 2005 17:59:36 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 16.0816 Good my Lord?
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0816 Good my Lord?

Mark Alexander states:

But I see in repeatedly as "Good my lord".

KENT.
Here is the place, my lord; good my lord, enter:
The tyranny of the open night's too rough
For nature to endure.

This is the only place I find it in WS. It seems in context to refer
more to the occasion- shelter found, good! -- than to the King, who is
already known to have Kent's great loyalty.

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