Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: August ::
Roses
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1310  Tuesday, 9 August 2005

[Editor's Note: This thread is moving in a direction with which I am not
comfortable.]

[1]     From:   John W. Kennedy <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 08 Aug 2005 11:50:16 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1305 Roses

[2]     From:   Peter Bridgman <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 8 Aug 2005 23:55:38 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 16.1305 Roses

[3]     From:   Richard Kennedy <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 8 Aug 2005 17:36:20 -0700
        Subj:   Roses


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John W. Kennedy <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 08 Aug 2005 11:50:16 -0400
Subject: 16.1305 Roses
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1305 Roses

Richard Kennedy <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >

 >Anyone can single out a word or a phrase to hold his position regarding
 >the meaning of these poems. The Sonnet Industry is fueled by quibbles,
 >and the poems may have some homosexual quibbles to be quibbled. Maybe
 >Shakespeare was gay, on and off, it's likely enough, but Mr. Stratford
 >can hardly be quibbled into the boy's bedchamber, it's a bugger of a
 >problem.

For the puzzled, my very distant cousin Dickie is here attempting a
sub-rosa changing of the subject to his obsession with that wastrel,
child-molester, deserter, and all-round upper-class twit of the
millennium (and, incidentally, poetaster), the 17th Earl of Oxenforde.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Peter Bridgman <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 8 Aug 2005 23:55:38 +0100
Subject: 16.1305 Roses
Comment:        Re: SHK 16.1305 Roses

Peter Farey writes ...

 >... wouldn't Burghley himself have been the more likely
 >commissioner both of this and the 17 sonnets and, as they are 17 in
 >number, at the time of Southampton's 17th birthday in October 1590?
 >
 >On the other hand, if this were so, what on earth would make him employ
 >for this task an unknown actor with little if any track record, when he
 >probably had within his circle of intelligencers one of the best
 >exponents of the iambic pentameter in the country, Christopher Marlowe?

Well quite.  Burghley, a notorious anti-Catholic who hounded and
executed Edward Arden, is unlikely to have commissioned work from one of
Arden's relatives.

There may have been family connections between Southampton and the
Warwickshire Ardens.  When Burghley raided Southampton House in 1583 he
found members of the Arden family sheltering there.  If the first 17
Sonnets are addressed to Southampton, the most likely commissioner of
the poems is Southampton's mother.

Peter Bridgman

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Kennedy <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 8 Aug 2005 17:36:20 -0700
Subject:        Roses

Roses  Part 4

Many of the scholars past, and yet today, agree that the Sonnets are
fictions.  Much has been drawn up from the ancients to explain that the
poems are inventions of time, place, and person, having no allusion to
the poet's living state of mind or troubled heart. The poems have been
judged to be imaginary exercises in the form, mere art, a rhyming up of
make-believe love and distress, a parade of overheated manikins set
before us dressed in overheard emotions. The poems have no historical
interest, that's the claim, nothing to inform us of the poet, his trials
of love, his abject heart, his shame, the stirrings of his soul, his
jealousy and hate.

I suppose that's best, to take them as fictions. Otherwise, abandon all
reason if Henry Wriothesley is thought to be the poet's chosen squeeze.
We are blocked to explain how the man from Stratford got close to the
boy, enjoying such intimate favor as can hardly be supposed, the space
between the two never yet closed by any report, or gossip, or
calculation.  It seems out of the question, no one even makes a guess.

We're left to believe that the Sonnets are idle poetic inventions, or
that Shakespeare was messing about with some lord of the realm, a rival
poet, and a dark lady, all of whom are totally unknown to be part of the
poet's life. Every agent of news is silent on the case. We haven't even
a decently wrought fiction about the union of the poet and the boy.  A
dense London fog rolls in, we can't see our noses, yet many depend, as
Martin Green would say, that Wriothesley is made up of roses. The need
is greater than the proof of that, it's a fustian belief, a half-breed
of horse sense, a giddy-yapped academic trot over a patient public these
many decades.

As one critic put it, regarding Shakespeare's cozy poems as if written
to some high lord of England, they "are of such an enthusiastic
character, and so extravagant in the phrases that the author uses, as to
have thrown an unaccountable mystery over the whole work."  This poor
man's conclusion is that "it is impossible not to wish that Sh. had
never written them."  (Alden 383)  Such is the stuff of the Sonnets, a
shredded bombast, "The obscurity is often such as only conjecture can
penetrate." (ibid.)

We appear to be left with a long set of indecipherable poems, and
consequently it is a "mere waste of time" to try to identify the persons
of the Sonnets, "because no material exists for identifying them, and it
is even possible that they were not real persons at all."  (Rollins 155)
  And, "There are no external testimonies of any description in favour
of a personal application of the Sonnets, while there are abundant
difficulties arising from the reception of such a theory." (Alden 393)

The concern of the first seventeen Sonnets somewhat escapes this
belly-up opinion.  They are all of a piece, apart from the rest, of "no
continuity" (Alden 424), the poetic value being "lowest in the scale,
with its seventeen times repeated and varied exhortation to the friend
to leave the world a living reproduction of his beauty.  They
necessarily express but little of the poet's personal feeling..."  (ibid
400)

There's a clue. If the first 17 were written apart from those others,
leaving aside such intense outpouring of affection and the poet's
pricking about with us as in Sonnet 20, screwing with our noodles, as it
were, then we might have a chance to place this first set in a
reasonable context.  They merely ask someone to get married and have a
baby so that the beauty of the capitalized and italicized 'Rose' of the
first Sonnet be preserved for the ages. They say nothing else

It was a Scot, George Chalmers, who in 1797 first proposed that the
Sonnets were addressed to Queen Elizabeth, the childless Tudor Rose, and
more of this in Part 5.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Biblio. Rollins in the Variorum edition of the Sonnets, as noted in Part 3.

Alden, Raymond Macdonald, ed.  The Sonnets of Shakespeare. >From the
quarto of 1609 with variorum readings and commentary.  Boston and New
York, Houghton Mifflin Company,  Cambridge, 1916>

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the
editor assumes no responsibility for them.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.