Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: July ::
Brian Vickers and A Lover's Complaint
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0467  Wednesday, 11 July 2007

[Editor's Note: The authorship of "A Lover's Complaint" has been 
discussed on other occasions on SHAKSPER, notably in 2003 and 2004. 
Entering the keywords "Lover's Complaint author" in the website Search 
Engine <http://www.shaksper.net/search.html> will direct the interested 
to those previous exchanges. -HMC]


[1] 	From: 	Julia Crockett <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date: 	Monday, 9 Jul 2007 15:34:45 +0100
	Subj: 	Brian Vickers and A Lover's Complaint

[2] 	From: 	Bob Grumman <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date: 	Monday, 9 Jul 2007 17:57:02 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 18.0458 Brian Vickers and A Lover's Complaint

[3] 	From: 	David Basch <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date: 	Monday, 09 Jul 2007 23:19:56 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 18.0458 Brian Vickers and A Lover's Complaint

[4] 	From: 	Sid Lubow <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date: 	Monday, 9 Jul 2007 15:43:13 EDT
	Subj: 	Brian Vickers and A Lover's Complaint


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Julia Crockett <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Monday, 9 Jul 2007 15:34:45 +0100
Subject: 	Brian Vickers and A Lover's Complaint

There is an interesting review by Harold Love of Vickers' book, 
"Shakespeare, 'A Lover's Complaint', and John Davies of Hereford" in 
Times Literary Supplement, July 6th 2007, No. 5440. Love is convinced by 
Vickers 'that Shakespeare was not the author of the "Complaint"' but is 
less convinced by his attribution to John Davies, with his reliance on 
parallel passages and failure to consult advanced statistical testing. 
He concludes, 'I suspect that the transfer may eventually take place; 
but we have not yet reached the degree of assuredness that this bracing, 
immensely erudite, but overpositive study would like us to assume.'

Cheers,
Julia

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Bob Grumman <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Monday, 9 Jul 2007 17:57:02 -0500
Subject: 18.0458 Brian Vickers and A Lover's Complaint
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0458 Brian Vickers and A Lover's Complaint

I have a question about publishing practices concerning collections of 
poetry in Shakespeare's time.  I know that *The Passionate Pilgrim* was 
published under Shakespeare's name although it contained many poems not 
his. I know also of anthologies published with no attribution for the 
whole that contained poems from many pens, some anonymous, some 
pseudonymous, some initialed, some (apparently) with the actual author's 
name attached.  So, how common would it have been for a book of poetry 
by more than one author's being published as a single author's work? 
How often would a full collection by one author, like *Shakespeare's 
Sonnets* (or are some of the sonnets now denied him?), published under 
the author's name, but with an additional minor work not his added to it?

--Bob G.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		David Basch <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Monday, 09 Jul 2007 23:19:56 -0400
Subject: 18.0458 Brian Vickers and A Lover's Complaint
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0458 Brian Vickers and A Lover's Complaint

Gerald Downs supports Brian Vickers' case that John Davies wrote A 
Louer's Complaint. This was done on the basis of 90 parallels to Davies' 
ideas and phrases found in his poems and in ALC. Gerald presents an 
illustrative instance of this in lines given as follows-first those in A 
Lover's
Complaint and then in one of Davies' poems:

         Thus meerely with the garment of a grace
         The naked and concealed fiend he coverd,
         That th' unexperient gave the tempter place,
         Which like a Cherubin above them hoverd
         Who young and simple would not be so loverd.
                                          (LC, 317-20)

         I am (quoth shee) no Soule-confounding Fiend,
         Assuming Angell's forme for wicked end;
         But come to grace thee, graceless forlorne Man,
         With divine favors.              (115-118) [Davies]

While this parallel cannot be denied, it does not preclude that both 
sets of lines are drawn from a common source which has the Devil 
functioning as Tempter and operating in disguise nor does it preclude 
that Shakespeare read Davies' poem and was touched by it. Gerald 
testifies to the persuasiveness of Brian Vickers' book (which I presume, 
although I have not read Vickers book, addresses these alternative 
possibilities).

For what it is worth, I read some lines by Davies from his MICROCOSMOS, 
which I found quoted in the introduction of a compilation of his work, 
and find that the influence of these very words show up in Hamlet. Let 
me quote first from Davies:

      Be jeloues of me, play a Louer's part :
      Keepe Pleasure from my sense, with sense of paine,
      And mixe the same with pleasure by thine Arte;
      That so I may with joy the griefe sustain,
      Which joy in griefe by thy deere loue I gaine.

Now to Hamlet, in Claudius's comment to all assembled on his marriage to 
Gertrude:

      Therefore our sometime sister, now our queen,
      The imperial jointress to this warlike state,
      Have we, as 'twere with a defeated joy,--
      With an auspicious and a dropping eye,
      With mirth in funeral and with dirge in marriage,
      In equal scale weighing delight and dole,--
      Taken to wife: ...

Notice Shakespeare's phrase, "defeated joy"-a striking phrase combining 
opposite attributes-that seems to echo Davies similarly arresting 
phrase, "joy in griefe." Claudius immediately continues with a 
recitation of numerous parallels of a similar kind-"auspicious and a 
dropping," "mirth in funeral," dirge in marriage," and "delight and 
dole." It is as though Shakespeare had read Davies' "joy in griefe" and 
wonderfully enlarged on this image.

It sure looks like Shakespeare read Davies here and paid him by 
imitation the sincerest form of flattery. Can this explain the pairing 
that Gerald Downs offered and perhaps some of the others-Shakespeare 
working with Davies' images, enlarging on them, rather than lifting an 
entire poem by Davies without attribution. Why would not the poem have 
been found as part of the Davies corpus? Do writers like him write poems 
that are left as orphans?

The point is that it need not be that John Davies wrote A Louer's 
Complaint but rather that Shakespeare dashed off this narrative poem to 
parallel his Sonnets for the purpose of creating a context that 
suggested that the Sonnets too was to be read in a similar vein as a 
poem describing the pitfalls of love. Note that both poems make the same 
point that, despite the difficulties and disappointments that love may 
bring, love is the very stuff of life and worth all the pain. 
Shakespeare might have been concerned that his readers would too easily 
recognize the Sonnets as allegorical and raise questions about its 
deeper meaning which he had reasons not to desire at the time. Fifty 
years ago, the allegory theory of the Sonnets was widely assumed by 
scholars. Opposite to Vickers and Gerald, this view assumes that 
Shakespeare was very much involved with his Sonnets and the poem 
accompanying it.

About the word "grace" which Davies was so fond of using as to have used 
it in variations "800 times," that word and its variations appear in the 
Sonnets about 30 times and in ALC about five times. Neither of the 
latter two poems seem to make so striking a use of this word as to make 
this overly conspicuous and indicative of the influence of Davies.

I offer these thoughts as food for thought.

David Basch

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Sid Lubow <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date: 		Monday, 9 Jul 2007 15:43:13 EDT
Subject: 	Brian Vickers and A Lover's Complaint

Our Editor preceded Gerald E. Downs post with this:

"[Editor's Note: I have been uncomfortable with submissions about A 
Lover's Complaint from the beginning of this round of them. And as soon 
as I see a submission whose purpose is to argue overtly for a topic that 
is out-of-bounds on SHAKSPER, I will shut down the thread. -HMC]"

Before I would even attempt a response, I request clarification of the 
words "out-of-bounds".   Indeed, one need not use the name of 
Shakespeare, or any author in order to understand ALC or the Sonnets. To 
defend Downs' lack of understanding ALC, he resorts to quoting Vickers, 
Davies of Hereford,, Shakespeare, Shakespeareans, MacDonald P. Jackson, 
Kenneth Muir, all the while raising the authorship issue that Davies was 
the true author of ALC.  And gets away with the trick, violating the 
Editor's bounds.  And if Davies was plagiarized, why did Davies not 
confront Shakespeare and tell the B---ard off while both were still alive?

[Editor's Note: Regarding "out-of-bounds": It is perfectly acceptable to 
discuss whether William Shakespeare of Stratford upon Avon did or did 
not author "A Lover's Complaint"; it is not acceptable to argue that 
because of convoluted parallels someone (Let's say, Oxford) was the 
author of LC as well as the other works attributed to William 
Shakespeare. The so-called "authorship question" is a topic that I 
stopped permitting discussion on many years ago; and as I announced on 
February 8, 2006, I will only post messages that I believe are of 
interest to the broad scope of academic interests in Shakespeare 
studies. In 2005, I made the following statement: "Once again, let me 
remind members, old and new, that I do not permit postings on the 
so-called 'authorship' question. If you wish to contend that William 
Shakespeare of Stratford was not the author of the plays and poems 
generally associated with him, then you have subscribed to the wrong 
list. Other authorship issues are acceptable, including apocrypha, 
collaborative writing, and possible misattributions such as <I>A Lover's 
Complaint</I>. This is an academic list and I as an educator have a 
responsibility not to distribute posting that I view as misleading or 
scholarly unsound. A number of years ago, I gave Anti-Stratfordians the 
floor to air their arguments. The ensuing discussions threatened to 
consume the list, so I ended them. There are plenty of places to have 
such discussions; SHAKSPER is just not one of them" 
<http://www.shaksper.net/archives/2005/1341.html>. I feel that recently 
some members have been pushing the limits of this policy with 
submissions that I have only reluctantly posted. I intent to be vigilant 
about what gets posted here, and I shall simply deleted without comment 
or response submissions that I believe do not adhere to the policies 
expressed above. -HMC]

I have many things to say. I do not intend to refute or defend 
authorship, in any way, although I strain at the leash, to defend the 
speechless Shakespeare, whose work has been trashed. I think it is more 
important to tell Shakespeareans the story of the Sonnets and why ALC is 
the link.  Indeed, that it is the Prologue to the Sonnets.   Please 
note, Downs does not tell us any of the story.

The last two lines of ALC, read:

"Would yet againe betray the fore-betrayed,
And new peruert a reconciled Maide"...

the Muse...who goes back into the Sonnets, having been seduced by the 
same young man, who was not yet old enough to shave, Narcissus, who says 
that he is "A God in love," with himself, "to whom I am confin'd."

I request clarification.   Can one discuss the Sonnets and ALC's 
relationship to it without discussing the name of ANYONE except 
Narcissus?  Namely, the speechless young man in the mirror, and the Muse 
who wooed the reflection away. The spiteful Muse, who complained so 
bitterly to the old man, voluntarily telling him so many scandalous 
things about her seducer's flings, (and arrows) so ungrateful was he, 
after she breathed inspiration into "his spungie lungs" in the last 
stanza of ALC.

By the way, Colin Burrow devoted nine pages to ALC and did not end any 
"discussion" about it.   As a matter of fact, he wrote this: "Brilliant 
critical and literary historical work by John Kerrigan, who was the 
first editor to see that the poem (ALC), is integrally connected to the 
sonnet sequence it follows, has brought the poem to life as echt 
Shakespeare."

Respectfully,
Sid Lubow

[Editor's Note: Sid Lubow asks above, "Can one discuss the Sonnets and 
ALC's relationship to it without discussing the name of ANYONE except 
Narcissus?" In response, let me explain my position. I am myself 
generally not open to biographical interpretations of Shakespeare's 
works. It is an interesting exercise to speculate about who the 
characters in The Sonnet might be, but I do not consider The Sonnets as 
telling a literal biographical story, despite any attempts to suggest 
real persons as being the characters in The Sonnets. If someone has some 
evidence (and I do mean evidence and not mere speculation) about who 
characters who appear in "A Lover's Complaint" might be, then I would 
post that evidence. However, I am not inclined to have someone use 
SHAKSPER to advocate a . . . [readers may insert here what they consider 
the appropriate adjective to describe a particularly esoteric] . . . 
theory. Sid Lubow has such a theory, a theory that connects "A Lover's 
Complaint" and The Sonnets in a manner that argues for someone else's 
authorship of these and all of Shakespeare's works. I deem this theory 
not to be of interest to the Shakespeare academic community, and I will 
not post submission of this nature. Finally, let me remind all that 
submissions should be substantial and not merely speculative. SHAKSPER 
is not the place for individual musings and unsubstantial speculations. 
Members should read any books they are commenting on.-HMC]

_______________________________________________________________
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.