The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0614 Friday, 18 December 2009
From: Jim Fess <
Date: Thursday, 17 Dec 2009 15:28:48 +0800
Subject: Falstaff in Arthur's Bosom
Queen Elizabeth wanted to see Falstaff in love. If this rumor is true,
then his death must not fail her-a sex reassignment surgery cut by
Mistress Quickly (whose flourishing words converge on writing, e.g.
sheets, flowers, pen, table, feet, etc.).
 "he's in Arthur's Bosom, if ever man went to Arthur's Bosom":
Falstaff is in King Arthur's bosom, (a woman's dream,) if ever man went
to Arthur's bosom. (Arthur is repeated as a hint -- not a scribble and
sound play suggested, author.)
 "between Twelve and One": between twelve apostles and one devil.
(Bishop, John 6:70, Iesus aunswereth them: Haue not I chosen you twelue,
and one of you is a deuyll?) Falstaff is not in hell but a happy place,
a reply to line 2's "either in Heaven, or in Hell."
 "turning of the Tide": a turning from man to woman.
 "fumble with the Sheets, and play with Flowers": Falstaff's feminine
acts, far from dying of illness.
[9-10] "I knew there was but one way: for his Nose was as sharp as a
Pen, and a Table of green fields": I knew there was but one way; (so I
did) for his penis, was as sharp as a pen, and then flat as a table of
green fields, a new world without obstacles.
 "what man? be a good cheer": what man good? be a good cheerful woman.
 "cry out, God, God, God": badly hurt after anesthesia, and/or
couldn't accept the result.
 "They say he cried out of Sack": Falstaff *cried out* of the sack
of his penis.
 "And of Women": And (Falstaff cried out) of being a woman -- a hint
to split the of.
 "Nay, that a did not": Nay, Falstaff did not *cried out* of being a
 "Yes, that a did": Yes, Falstaff cried *out of* being a woman.
 "they were Devils incarnate": Falstaff's man and woman self were
like devils in his body.
 "Carnation": same as incarnation (OED carnation 1).
Original Text (1623 Folio)
01 BARD: Would I were with him, wheresomere hee is, 02 eyther in Heauen,
or in Hell.
03 HOSTESS: Nay sure, hee's not in Hell: hee's in _Arthurs_
04 Bosome, if euer man went to _Arthurs_ Bosome: a made a
05 finer end, and went away and it had beene any Christome
06 Child: a parted eu'n iust betweene Twelue and One, eu'n
07 at the turning o'th' Tyde: for after I saw him fumble with
08 the Sheets, and play with Flowers, and smile vpon his fin-
09 gers end, I knew there was but one way: for his Nose was
10 as sharpe as a Pen, and a Table of greene fields. How now
11 Sir _Iohn_ (quoth I?) what man? be a good cheare: so a
12 cryed out, God, God, God, three or foure times: now I,
13 to comfort him, bid him a should not thinke of God; I
14 hop'd there was no neede to trouble himselfe with any
15 such thoughts yet: so a bad me lay more Clothes on his
16 feet: I put my hand into the Bed, and felt them, and they
17 were as cold as any stone: then I felt to his knees, and so
18 vp-peer'd, and vpward, and all was as cold as any stone.
19 NIM: They say he cryed out of Sack.
20 HOSTESS: I, that a did.
21 BARD: And of Women.
22 HOSTESS: Nay, that a did not.
23 BOY: Yes that a did, and said they were Deules incarnate.
24 WOMAN: A could neuer abide Carnation, 'twas a Colour he neuer lik'd.
(The way of his death is planned and hinted in _Merry Wives_ and the
epilogue of _2nd Henry IV_.)
Comments are welcome. Thanks for reading.
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