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Home :: Archive :: 2011 :: October ::
Henry V Finding

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 22.0267  Thursday, 6 October 2011

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

Date:         October 5, 2011 11:11:18 PM EDT

Subject:      Re: SHAKSPER: Query; Queen; H5; Ant Passage; Woodstock

 

Mark Alcamo < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it > writes,

 

>Here is the same dialogue from the First Folio [Scene 4.1] :

>

>Bates: He hath not told his thought to the King? 

>

>King: No: nor it is not meet he should: for though I 

>speake it to you, I thinke the King is but a man, as I am: 

>the Violet smells to him, as it doth to me; the Element 

>shewes to him, as it doth to me; all his Sences haue but 

>humane Conditions: his Ceremonies layd by, in his

>Nakednesse he appeares but a man; and though his 

>affections are higher mounted then ours, yet when they 

>stoupe, they stoupe with the like wing: therefore, when he 

>sees reason of feares, as we doe; his feares, out of doubt, be 

>of the same rellish as ours are: yet in reason, no man should 

>possesse him with any appearance of feare; least hee, by 

>shewing it, should dishearten his Army. 

>

>Bates: He may shew what outward courage he will: [etcetera]

>

>Focusing on the King's Speech, everything looks copacetic.  The King 

>is given a 'sympathetic' speech: he looks witty and sounds humble: 

>

>… for though I 

>speake it to you, I thinke the King is but a man ...

>

>But allow me just the slightest employ of wordplay, in Bold :

>

>… for though I 

>speake it to you, I thinke the King is butt a man, ass I am: 

>the Violent smells to him, as it doth to me; the Element 

>shewes to him, as it doth to me; all his Sences haue butt 

>humane Conditions: his Ceremonies layd by, /in his Nakednesse/

>he appeares butt a man; and though /his affections/

>are higher mounted then ours, yet when /they stoupe,/ 

>/they stoupe with the like wing:/ therefore, when he sees 

>reason of feares, as we doe; his feares, out of doubt, be of 

>/the same rellish/ as ours are:  [etcetera]  [my /italics/ for emphasis]

>

>Evidently, some cliche bodily responses to fear have stood the test of time.

> (Etymological-wordplay-wise, you can't quite play stoup and poop

>together, but image-wise, it clearly fits.)

>

>IF this were the Blazing Saddles campfire scene, it'd be in character, yet 

>while Classic bawdy Shakespeare, it is transparently and unobtrusively 

>tucked into the speech with just the slightest of wordplays.  And rather 

>than show the King in a sympathetic light, the speech now begs us to feel

>sympathy for him, given he's clearly unconscious of the abuse he's been 

>subjected to at the hand of his Playwright.  And once more, I honestly 

>don't think the Elizabethan upper crust would guffaw much at this image 

>of the highly esteemed Henry V airing his underwear for Public display.

 

Extremely improbable, both because "poop" in the sense you want is not attested in the OED until 1889, and because, given the already established context of falconry ("higher mounted"), "stoop" is so ordinary a word as to make so obscure and forced a pun unworkable.

 

John W Kennedy

 

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