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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: May ::
Good my Lord?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0881  Thursday, 5 May 2005

[1]     From:   David Crosby <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 4 May 2005 12:07:03 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 16.0865 Good my Lord?

[2]     From:   Matthew Baynham <
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        Date:   Thursday, 05 May 2005 08:33:33 GMT
        Subj:   Good my Lord


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Crosby <
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Date:           Wednesday, 4 May 2005 12:07:03 -0500
Subject: 16.0865 Good my Lord?
Comment:        RE: SHK 16.0865 Good my Lord?

I must admit to being confused by posts like this one by Stephen C. Rose:

 >Rhymezone failed me. Bartleby turns up a second Good my Lord sans
comma.
 >Act III. Scene VI. All s Well that Ends Well. Craig, W.J., ed.
1914. The Oxford Shakespeare
 >..Camp before Florence. Enter BERTRAM and the two French Lords.
First Lord. Nay, good my lord, put him to t: let        >him have his way.
Sec. Lord. If your lordship find...

The on-line Collected Works of Shakespeare
http://www.it.usyd.edu.au/~matty/Shakespeare/ generates approximately
115 hits in Shakespeare on the phrase "good my" followed by a noun.
Approximately 100 of them are "good my lord," and come from nearly every
play in the canon. Other nouns that follow "good my" (always in direct
address) include obvious analogues "liege" and "sovereign," comrades
like "friend(s)," "fellows," and "countrymen," the undesirable "knave,"
members of the family like "mother," "brother," and "girl" (but not
"father," and last, but not least, metaphorical persons such as
"[looking]glass," "complexion," and, my favorite, "mouse of virtue."

I think the simplest way to account for the ubiquity of the phrase is
the demand placed on the poet by iambic pentameter, as someone else has
mentioned. I think only one or two of the citations were from prose
passages.

So why are some posters finding so few examples of the phrase. Am I
missing something?

David Crosby

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Matthew Baynham <
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Date:           Thursday, 05 May 2005 08:33:33 GMT
Subject:        Good my Lord

In general, I agree that the usage 'Good my Lord' might be simply
emphatic.  But if Susan St John wants to assert that Shakespeare uses it
hypocritically or aggressively in the two instances cited (Kent to Lear
in the storm; and Lady Macbeth calling her husband 'Gentle my Lord')
she's going to have to argue it against the context in the first case
and the lexical choice (and, I would suggest the context also) in the
second case. One of us here is 'assuming' not arguing, but it ain't me.

Matthew Baynham

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