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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: July ::
Brian Vickers and A Lover's Complaint
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0481  Monday, 16 July 2007

[1]	From: 	Bob Grumman <
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	Date: 	Friday, 13 Jul 2007 18:20:29 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 18.0474 Brian Vickers and A Lover's Complaint

[2] 	From: 	Sid Lubow <
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	Date: 	Friday, 13 Jul 2007 16:45:36 EDT
	Subj: 	Moving bones

[3] 	From: 	Jim Carroll <
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	Date: 	Saturday, 14 Jul 2007 00:02:17 -0400
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 18.0474 Brian Vickers and A Lover's Complaint


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Bob Grumman <
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Date: 		Friday, 13 Jul 2007 18:20:29 -0500
Subject: 18.0474 Brian Vickers and A Lover's Complaint
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0474 Brian Vickers and A Lover's Complaint

 >of t.p.-faith willing to admit those two plays to the
 >Shakespeare canon. It's not beyond the realm of
 >possibility that the Sonnet's sub-title page to Lover's
 >Complaint is mistaken or incorrect. The attribution to
 >Shakespeare cannot be lightly dismissed, but it is not
 >an impregnable bulwark.

Thanks to Bill Lloyd for data concerning title pages giving all works in 
a book falsely to one author.

A Yorkshire Tragedy and The London Prodigal are interesting examples 
(that I knew about).  I wouldn't admit them to the canon (though I would 
say it's completely impossible that they were by Shakespeare)--BUT I 
wonder about them.  Why might Shakespeare not have been their final reviser?

As for "A Lover's Complaint," one of my problems with taking it from 
Shakespeare is that I can't figure out why it'd be put with sonnets if 
it weren't by him.  It would seem unlikely it would have been added to 
boost sales since they weren't mentioned on the title-page.  I lean 
toward keeping LC with Shakespeare--but, while I have and am slowly 
reading Brian Vickers's book, I haven't gotten to his discussion of LC. 
  Maybe it'll change my mind. Not to acceptance of Davies but into 
leaning toward him instead of toward Shakespeare.  One thing it'll be 
hard for me to believe is that anyone has sufficient data on these 
matters to decide absolutely on them.

--Bob Grumman

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Sid Lubow <
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Date: 		Friday, 13 Jul 2007 16:45:36 EDT
Subject: 	Moving bones

I have no bones to pick with our superb Editor, Hardy Cook who 
established the operation of SHAKSPER and supervises its operation, 
gratuitously.

I am not the end man in a minstrel show who plays the bones, but I do 
feel it in my bones that Narcissus is the young man of ALC and the 
Sonnets. Both Jonathan Bate and Colin Burrow knew that in their bones, 
in Shakespeare's very first sonnet, according to Burrow, with this 
interpretation of line 7. (Bate and Burrow echoed each other)

      "Making...lies, Narcissus's cry 'inopem me copia fecit'
      ('my very abundance of contact with what I love)
      makes me poor') was one of the most frequently quoted
      phrases from the Met. (3.466) Cf Venus 1. 19-20n."

Burrow notes that the fourth stanza of Venus and Adonis repeats the same 
reference to Narcissus.  But he misses the reference to sonnet 5.10, 'A 
liquid prisoner pent in walls of glass', one that Bate did not overlook, 
in his book, Shakespeare and Ovid (pages 97-8). The Muse of tragedy knew 
very well which mythical character she had surrendered her virginity to 
with these lines, that scream out NARCISSUS, in ALC 7O-77 of Burrow's 
book: The Oxford Shakespeare COMPLETE SONNETS AND POEMS:

      'Father ,' she says, 'Though in me you behold
      The injury of many a blasting hour,
      Let it not tell your judgement I am old:
      Not age, but sorrow over me hath power.
      I might as yet have been a spreading flower,
      Fresh to myself, if I had self-applied
      Love to myself, and to no love beside.

The very same Muse mentioned in S.21.1, described by the Bard as "that 
Muse', as if referring to a former girl friend, disparagingly, 'that old 
strumpet of mine', one he dumped.   She told the old man of ALC all she 
knew of the young unmarried rake, receiving diamonds and other jewels 
for his liaisons with women, wealthy enough to give them in appreciation 
of his 'love'.

I know that our editor realizes that I am not referring to the young man 
of the poems, biographically, and that he must know that I am saying 
over and over again that the poems are enlarging on the mythical theme 
of the self-loving, fabled, Narcissus.  Historically, the Bard might 
very well have used the poems allegorically, to describe the terrible 
days of the Reformation, reminding his readers of the 2nd Commandment, 
"Thou shalt have no other gods before Me." That both religions, at each 
other's throats, 'had Gods made in their own Images' and slaughtered 
innocents for love of Themselves, narcissistically.

      "A god in love, to whom I am confined.    (S 110.12)

As printed on page 601, Burrow's book, which goes uncommented upon or 
unrecognized as do many other references to Narcissus in the Sonnets.

Some critics claim that the sonnets are indeed biographical, or 
historical. I, emphatically, do not claim any such thing.  A mythical 
theme is useful to historians principally for what it reveals of the 
culture of the people it describes or among whom it was current. In 
modern literature it expresses significant truths about human life or 
human nature, through an imaginary or fictitious person or thing, event 
or story. George B. Shaw's, Pygmalion, for example.

If Prof. Bate feels strongly about making sure his students are 
protected from reading  ALC by eliminating it and The Passionate 
Pilgrim, ('that Muse') from the (IN)-COMPLETE WORKS of the Bard, so be 
it.  But the skeleton he severed of the body of Shakespeare will rattle 
its bones and remind him of it when he again looks on the stone that 
covers the grave of Shakespeare, and reads the doggerel: "Good friend, 
for Jesus' sake forbear / To dig the dust enclosed here./ Blessed be the 
man that spares these stones, / And cursed be he that moves my bones."

"Fie, how my bones ache!" says the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet, II.v. 26, 
(Note scene five) Riverside Shakespeare, p.1073 "Fie, how my bones 
ache!" says the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet, Act 2 Scene 4. 26.   p.1706. 
   Bate , Rasmussen, RSC Complete Works.  She also says, "Lord, how my 
head aches!" Lines 48 and 46 respectively.

Respectfully,
Sid Lubow

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Jim Carroll <
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Date: 		Saturday, 14 Jul 2007 00:02:17 -0400
Subject: 18.0474 Brian Vickers and A Lover's Complaint
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0474 Brian Vickers and A Lover's Complaint

I must apologize to all concerning my belief that "A Lover's Complaint" 
was written by Shakespeare. Nevermore shall I apply myself to 
attributional endeavors, because I can plainly see, alas, that my talent 
lies elsewhere. How could I for a second believe that these lines from ALC

"Among the many that mine eyes have seen,
Not one whose flame my heart so much as warmed,
Or my affection put to th' smallest teen,
Or any of my leisures ever charmed.
Harm have I done to them, but ne'er was harmed;
Kept hearts in liveries, but mine own was free,
And reigned commanding in his monarchy.

'"Look here what tributes wounded fancies sent me,
Of paled pearls and rubies red as blood;
Figuring that they their passions likewise lent me
Of grief and blushes, aptly understood
In bloodless white and the encrimsoned mood-
Effects of terror and dear modesty,
Encamped in hearts, but fighting outwardly.

were written by our immortal bard? Only the pen of John Davies of 
Hereford could have produced such fine writing, the same pen that wrote

(Epigram 34, from "The Scourge of Folly")

A question once arose touching tobacco,
Whether the fume whereof were moist or dry
Twixt wit itself and one that wits did lack-o.
Wit said it dried, and shewed the reason why:
A dog you know (quoth he) doth never sweat.
True said the other; (where was Wit the while?)
And that to him did seem a wonder great.
No 'tis (quoth Wit) and at the fool did smile.
The reason is if physic do not fail,
He, sleeping, takes tobacco at his tail.

I am also cancelling my subscription to the Times Literary Supplement, 
and I will not bother to purchase any publications from Cambridge 
University Press, as I am obviously not qualified to read them.

Jim Carroll

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