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Sunday, 12 June 2011


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"one slip could lead to the scaffold": aren't you overegging the pud?

"My Lord, I had quite forgot the fart."

Parsing Shakespeare is tricky but parsing DM is seriously difficult! No, is my reply to your question, DM, but the relevance of the last line, presumably a quote from 'Carry On Up the Avon', escapes me.

"Of course, I am approaching his words from my century and my background and my personality and try as might (and I don't try that hard) I cannot step outside of myself."

Why not slip into your sarong?

Gosh, JK, you say that to all the girls!

Not parsing, Duffers, construing: do not fall into the lamentable American habit of misusing "parsing".

"My Lord, I had quite forgot the fart" is the payoff line of a famous tale from the court of Good Queen Bess. My point was that although life there could be arbitrary and cruel it was not always a gore-filled melodrama. King Jamie was likewise no Stalin.

Yeah, I knew that was the wrong word but I was being summoned from 'below stairs' and I couldn't think of the right word.

As to life in Shakespeare's time, I agree it was not 'Stalinist' but if you were able to ask the Catholics what they thought at the time you might get a different answer! Also, if WS was accused of insulting God (M for M) or suggesting there was no God (Lear) then he would have had everyone up in arms against him from the Catholics to the Puritans. Quite apart from the danger to his neck, it would have been very bad for business, an aspect of theatrical life never far from his mind, I reckon.

King Jamie went south intent on placating the Roman Catholics; his reward was the attempt to kill King, Lords and Commons. And still no great purge was launched. Remarkably tolerant, all considered.

If you had a bicycle you could still go to Twickenham and do your theatrics there and enjoy some exercise at the same time.
Killing two birds with one stone and all that.

Do I detect a touch of Caledonian cameraderie going on here, DM? Anyway, Will lived most of his life under 'good' Queen Bess when life for Catholics was somewhat more, er, stringent, shall we say. As for atheists or agnostics, they would have been a target for everyone. Remember, for example, church attendence on Sundays was a punishable legal requirement in 'olde merrie' England.

Andra, after reading your comment I was forced to go and lie down!

"Do I detect a touch of Caledonian cameraderie going on here, DM?" Not especially; I just think the contrast between, for instance, the treatment of Roman Catholics in England and of Protestants in France (or, indeed, Protestants under Bloody Mary) might lend a sense of proportion.

But I don't do "sense of proportion", DM, you should know that by now!

By the by, I didn't realise you were matey with Donald Pittenger. He's a good man and his blog is terrific.

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