The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.087 Monday, 4 March 2012
Date: March 4, 2012 4:36:53 PM EST
Subject: Whipping a gig
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN??? I’m pasting from Open Source Shakespeare. I have a personal obsession with the word “gig” which has had a marvelous journey but I never—no idea why—did a Shakespeare search on it. And to come up with a completely unfamiliar (to me) expression!
Now I did look it up. Child’s toy. A top. That’s clear. Spinning a top. Okay. But the first comment is to whip HYPOCRISY. How does the association jump from that to toy? And then to link it to a cuckold’s HORN??? LLL is my least favorite WS play so I don’t know it remotely well. Is there someone around with a better sense of the mental navigation here?
Now step I forth to whip hypocrisy.
Ah, good my liege, I pray thee, pardon me!
Good heart, what grace hast thou, thus to reprove
These worms for loving, that art most in love?
Your eyes do make no coaches; in your tears
There is no certain princess that appears;
You’ll not be perjured, ‘tis a hateful thing;
Tush, none but minstrels like of sonneting!
But are you not ashamed? nay, are you not,
All three of you, to be thus much o’ershot?
You found his mote; the king your mote did see;
But I a beam do find in each of three.
O, what a scene of foolery have I seen,
Of sighs, of groans, of sorrow and of teen!
O me, with what strict patience have I sat,
To see a king transformed to a gnat!
To see great Hercules whipping a gig,
And profound Solomon to tune a jig,
And Nestor play at push-pin with the boys,
And critic Timon laugh at idle toys!
Where lies thy grief, O, tell me, good Dumain?
And gentle Longaville, where lies thy pain?
And where my liege’s? all about the breast:
A caudle, ho!
Thou disputest like an infant: go, whip thy gig.
Lend me your horn to make one, and I will whip about
your infamy circum circa,—a gig of a cuckold’s horn.