The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0272  Tuesday, 26 June 2012


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

Date:         June 26, 2012 2:21:54 PM EDT

Subject:     Dedication of “A Funeral Elegy”


The dedication of “A Funeral Elegy” seems, to me at least, to be rather obviously by Shakespeare. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is that when I read it, it reads like a Shakespearean dedication, much like the Lucrece and Venus and Adonis dedications. An explicit count of vocabulary and the order of themes matches closely the known Shakespearean dedications, but there also appears to be a more general matching of rhetorical manner with regard to some words, for example, the FE dedication has


“Yet whatsoever is here done, is done to him and to him only. For whom and whose sake I will not forget to remember any friendly respects to you, or to any of those that have loved him for himself, and himself for his deserts.”


There is a great deal of repetition in Shakespeare in general, but in this particular case the repetition in connection with the word “respects” seems to amplify the solemnity of the occasion. Elsewhere Shakespeare seems to use repetition with “respects” in a similar manner, to amplify the seriousness of the speaker’s intent. For example:


Sonnet 49 1-9


Against that time, if ever that time come,

When I shall see thee frown on my defects,

When as thy love hath cast his utmost sum,

Call'd to that audit by advised respects;

Against that time when thou shalt strangely pass

And scarcely greet me with that sun thine eye,

When love, converted from the thing it was,

Shall reasons find of settled gravity,—

Against that time do I ensconce me here


[repetition of “against that time”, “that time”, “when” and “that”]


Merry Wives of Windsor 5.5.4-11


O powerful love! that, in some

respects, makes a beast a man, in some other, a man

a beast. You were also, Jupiter, a swan for the love

of Leda. O omnipotent Love! how near the god drew

to the complexion of a goose! A fault done first in

the form of a beast. O Jove, a beastly fault! And

then another fault in the semblance of a fowl; think

on 't, Jove; a foul fault!


[repetition of “man”, “beast”, “love”, “fault”, “Jove”, “foul/fowl”]


All’s Well That Ends Well 2.5.58-69


You must not marvel, Helen, at my course,

Which holds not colour with the time, nor does

The ministration and required office

On my particular. Prepared I was not

For such a business; therefore am I found

So much unsettled: this drives me to entreat you

That presently you take our way for home;

And rather muse than ask why I entreat you,

For my respects are better than they seem

And my appointments have in them a need

Greater than shows itself at the first view

To you that know them not.


[repetition of “not”, “I”, “you”, “my”, “entreat”, ”them”]


The repetition in the FE dedication matches closely the compressed repetition in the Lucrece dedication, e.g., “What I have done is yours, what I have to do is yours, being part in all I have, devoted yours.”, “without end”/”without beginning” etc., and also in the dedication to Venus and Adonis, e.g., “...I leave it to your Honorable survey, and your Honor to your heart’s content, which I wish may always answer your own wish....”, “world” etc.


Have there been any recent publications promoting Shakespeare’s authorship of part or all of “A Funeral Elegy”?


Jim Carroll

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