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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: August ::
Roses
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1272  Monday, 1 August 2005

[1]     From:   Bill Lloyd <
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        Date:   Friday, 29 Jul 2005 14:42:20 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1257 Roses

[2]     From:   Rainbow Saari <
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        Date:   Monday, 1 Aug 2005 16:07:34 +1200
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1250 Roses


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Lloyd <
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Date:           Friday, 29 Jul 2005 14:42:20 EDT
Subject: 16.1257 Roses
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1257 Roses

 >And the question is this: in all these spellings of Wriothesley,
 >as recorded, and claimed by Green to have been heard as Rosely, why did
 >no one write it down as Rosely?

It seems they did at least occasionally-- the list of attested
alternatives includes "Wrosely", which, unless someone is going to argue
that this was pronounced Wuh-rosely, must count as the same as Rosely.

Bill Lloyd

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Rainbow Saari <
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 >
Date:           Monday, 1 Aug 2005 16:07:34 +1200
Subject: 16.1250 Roses
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1250 Roses

Some further thoughts on the question Richard Kennedy poses us; 'why are
there are no examples of the name supposedly heard as Rosely spelled
Rosely?'

I feel I may not have been as clear in my final statement in my last
post as I intended to be. I wrote "that those who wrote it down (in
whichever official document) were doing their best to record accurately
the surname of an Earl or Lord that actually does begin with the letter
'W'."

To expand on this point, it appears that the writers whose variations on
the spelling of Wriothesley Green has detailed (p.146), >knew< that the
surname began with a silent ' W '. This seems not all that remarkable,
given that his sample of Wriothesley spellings are taken from documents
recorded in  Brewster's >The Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic,
of the Reign of Henry VIII< and are probably  written by men who likely
knew how Wriothesley spelled his name. He points out that while most of
these spellings date from between 1509 and 1547, this is exactly " the
period during which the name "Wriothesley" was most frequently written,
for the name was not invented till about 1508, and ceased to be used in
addressing or referring to the most prominent Wriothesleys after
February 1547, when Thomas Wriothesley's elevation to the peerage
resulted in his being addressed and referred to as " Southampton".
Thereafter, in public life the Wriothesleys were generally addressed by
their title, until the early 1620s ( p. 145)

There may, of course, be instances of the name Wriothesley recorded as
Rosely, but to date it seems none has surfaced. I agree, such a find
would assist to clarify the matter. I speculate that the L & P probably
does not record the Wriothesley's score at the local tavern (Mr.
Rosely's reckoning: Item, a capon 2s.2d., Item, sauce  4d., Item, sack,
two gallons 5s.8d.) or  accounts from any wandering Autolycus who might
have rendered the family service. Such men, I conjecture, might be
thought more likely, if they could write, to have tended to write the
name with an initial 'R' because it sounded as though the name began
with it.

In the case of the spellings of Thomas Risley's name that Green lists
from the>Records of the Virginia Company< 20 of the 29 listings of his
name are spelt with an initial ' R ', 9 with "Wr '. As Thomas Risely
/Riseley' name is spelt in a record of share transfers in the Virginia
Company  (which he presumably signed ) as beginning with the letter '
R', it seems it was customary to begin his name with this letter.  My
point is that those who recorded these names seem to have made an effort
to spell the names as accurately as they could; strictly speaking, they
were not attempting to spell these names phonetically, in the sense that
you or I would spell them phonetically.

Kennedy asks 'Why such agony in the spelling if the name was clearly
heard as Rosely?' There's no 'agony' taking place here. A study of Early
Modern English texts will show wide variation in the spellings of words,
including personal names, within a single document by the same writer.
That differing writers spell the same words differently was typical of
Shakespeare's age. There are some 80 differing spellings of
Shakespeare's name, I believe. The idea of Shakespeare agonising over
the spelling of his name (as in the film Shakespeare In Love) is
delightful and humorous, but probably belongs in the realm of fiction.
We need to be very cautious about applying modern language thinking to
Early Modern English.

In his initial exploration of the Rose pun in his >Wriothesley's Roses<
Green commented on the Rosely/ Wriothesley wordplay "such a
pronunciation is not as unlikely as the orthography of the name might
suggest, since  it is not unknown, in English, for a "th" to be
unpronounced before an "s." The most obvious example of this is "
clothes", generally pronounced today as "kloz" [ he indicates here a
long "o"], and doubtless also so pronounced in Shakespeare's time, as we
may infer from the rhyme in Hamlet ( IV, v, 52) " Then up he rose and
donn'd his clothes."  (p. 19)

I've examined each instance of Shakespeare's use of the word 'clothes'
in the Quarto texts of the plays that make use of the term (as made
available to us by the Internet Shakespeare Draft Editions). They shows
several variants on the spelling of the word. One seems particularly
relevant. The 1604 Q2 Hamlet renders the above rhyme from Ophelia's song

"Then up he rose and dond his close"

Whether this was Shakespeare's own spelling of the word in this
instance, or someone else's, it confirms that the "othes" of "clothes"
could be heard   at that time as sounding the same as the "ose" of this
"close" and the word "rose".  Shakespeare, or anyone else simply looking
at the name could  have legitimately chosen to pronounce the "othes" in
Wri-othes-ley as rhyming with the 'ose' of "close/rose".

  One of the things I admire about Green's study is that it solidly
reflects the phonetic practices of the time. I think that the additional
linguistic evidence he has gathered shows that the Rosely pronunciation
was not just a quirky one supposedly adopted by Shakespeare and a few
others in the know.  People who knew Henry Wriothesley would have been
capable of recognising the Rose wordplay in the Sonnets.

Cheers all,
Rainbow Saari

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