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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: November ::
Funeral Elegy/ Shakespeare Wars
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0992  Tuesday, 7 November 2006

From: 		Rolland Banker <
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Date: 		Sunday, 5 Nov 2006 17:27:31 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Funeral Elegy/ Shakespeare Wars
Comment: 	SHK 17.0979 Funeral Elegy/ Shakespeare Wars

"...after your death you were better have a bad
epitaph than their ill report while you live."
  --- Hamlet

The ringing question on SHAKSPER is: "It's unclear why the initials W.S. 
attach themselves to the poem..." (The Funeral Elegy) -- has only one 
answer.

Shakespeare went one better than a bad epitaph and his own "curious 
inscription"-he became feodary to a credulous elegy. And perhaps even 
penned a few lines in it about "the worthiness of thy name" and "Yet who 
is he so absolutely blest/that lives encompassed in a mortal 
frame/Sometime in reputation not oppressed/by some in nothing famous but 
defame?"

W.S., after all, states in the Elegy's intro that: "Whatever is here 
done, is done to him, and to him only." W.S., being but a "second to the 
privilege of Truth," did write to him AND didn't write IT.

In rereading it, I detect an air of the Methodist, and Wesley hadn't 
even been born yet. The elegy's sometime tenor of being "Most assur'd" 
of what we cannot know grates very well on the senses, even so as to 
cause nightmares to a bardolator, as I have cheerfully remarked on 
SHAKSPER at another time.

Having said that, I am content to know that Shakespeare of Stratford is 
no doubt smiling at those who ignorantly speak ill of him now - yet who 
raised not a peep during his successful theatrical career and lifetime. 
Just because they weren't alive then is no excuse.

Basking in assurance,
Rolland Banker

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