The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 20.0614  Friday, 18 December 2009

From:       Jim Fess <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
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.).

Key lines:

[3] "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.)

[6] "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."

[7] "turning of the Tide": a turning from man to woman.

[8] "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.

[11] "what man? be a good cheer": what man good? be a good cheerful woman.

[12] "cry out, God, God, God": badly hurt after anesthesia, and/or 
couldn't accept the result.

[19] "They say he cried out of Sack": Falstaff *cried out* of the sack 
of his penis.

[21] "And of Women": And (Falstaff cried out) of being a woman -- a hint 
to split the of.

[22] "Nay, that a did not": Nay, Falstaff did not *cried out* of being a 

[23] "Yes, that a did": Yes, Falstaff cried *out of* being a woman.

[23] "they were Devils incarnate": Falstaff's man and woman self were 
like devils in his body.

[24] "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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