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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: May ::
Good my Lord?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0842  Sunday, 1 May 2005

[1]     From:   Bill Arnold <
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        Date:   Friday, 29 Apr 2005 08:40:21 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.0834 Good my Lord?

[2]     From:   D Bloom <
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        Date:   Friday, 29 Apr 2005 14:08:26 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0834 Good my Lord?

[3]     From:   David Wallace <
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        Date:   Saturday, 30 Apr 2005 13:16:34 -0700
        Subj:   Re: Good my Lord.

[4]     From:   Matthew Baynham <
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        Date:   Sunday, 01 May 2005 17:19:55 GMT
        Subj:   Good my Lord


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Arnold <
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Date:           Friday, 29 Apr 2005 08:40:21 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 16.0834 Good my Lord?
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.0834 Good my Lord?

Stephen C. Rose quotes Mark Alexander, "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."

Then Stephen Rose writes, "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."

In modern day terms, I guess there would be a comma inserted between
"Good, my lord."  That way, the meaning would not be construed other
than as Stephen suggests above.

Bill Arnold
http://www.cwru.edu/affil/edis/scholars/arnold.htm

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           D Bloom <
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Date:           Friday, 29 Apr 2005 14:08:26 -0500
Subject: 16.0834 Good my Lord?
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0834 Good my Lord?

Subject to correction by the more knowledgeable (which I'm confident
I'll receive if appropriate), it appears to me that "my lord" in "good
my lord" is being treated as a single word, as if "milord." It is thus
parallel to "good sir." Thus also (more unexpectedly) to "good my
liege," which I would be inclined to pronounce (if acting a part that
had it) "good miliege."

Then why not "good milady"? I dunno.

How often does "good my lord" show up outside of Shakespeare?

Does it ever turn up in prose (where is usefulness as iambic would be
negated)?

It would appear to me to fit in nicely with blank verse, whereas "my
good lord" puts the stress on the pronoun rather than the adjective.
Such stress would (I guess) give undue importance to the "my" (mine and
only mine), and possibly even to the "good," where it should be merely
an interjected term of respect like "sir," or "lieutenant," of "your
majesty." The "good" serves as a compliment of a kind we no longer
trouble ourselves to offer (except sometimes using "dear").

Cheers,
don

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Wallace <
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Date:           Saturday, 30 Apr 2005 13:16:34 -0700
Subject:        Re: Good my Lord.

The term "my lord" is sometimes rendered as the single word "milord" -
though not in Shakespeare. The phrase seems to have, over time,
experienced the same sort of transformation as, say, "God be with you"
(God be wi' ye; good-bye) - that is, two or more words condensed into a
single word.

With the possessive "my" attaching itself to "lord" in this manner,
placing "good" between the two seems awkward and unnatural. Hence, the
phrase "my good lord" might imply that the speaker is bestowing a
quality on the object of his address (i.e. my GOOD lord rather than my
BAD Lord) whereas "good my lord" tends to comment on the quality of the
relationship in the same manner that "good friends" seems to suggest
friends with whom one enjoys (or invites) a close relationship and not
friends who are being described as virtuous.

An example of this distinction might be found in Timon 2.2 where several
servants accost Timon for past due debts. When Timon attempts to brush
aside their demands Caphis interjects: "Nay, good my lord" to which
Timon replies: "Contain yourself, good friend". Another servant persists
and introduces himself: "One Varro's servant, my good lord". Whereas
Caphis may be appealing to the close relationship between Timon and his
master, Varro's servant may be subtly reminding Timon of his duty to
behave virtuously.

Regards,
David Wallace

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Matthew Baynham <
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Date:           Sunday, 01 May 2005 17:19:55 GMT
Subject:        Good my Lord

I'm not sure whether this order is only poetic, but in the instance from
Lear it surely shows a depth of affection. The same order, though with a
different adjective, does the same job in Lady Macbeth's, 'Gentle my
Lord/ Sleek o'er your rugged looks...' (3.2.28-29) - a moment of real
tenderness, I think.

Matthew Baynham

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