Caps mine below.
As a decrepit father takes delight
To see his active child do deeds of youth,
So I, MADE LAME by Fortune's dearest spite,
Take all my comfort of thy worth and truth;
For whether beauty, birth, or wealth, or wit,
Or any of these all, or all, or more,
Entitled in thy parts, do crowned sit,
I make my love engrafted to this store:
So then I am not lame, poor, nor despis'd,
Whilst that this shadow doth such substance give
That I in thy abundance am suffic'd,
And by a part of all thy glory live.
Look what is best, that best I wish in thee:
This wish I have; then ten times happy me!
Say that thou didst forsake me for some fault,
And I will comment upon that offence:
Speak of MY LAMENESS, and I straight will halt,
Against thy reasons making no defence.
Thou canst not, love, disgrace me half so ill,
To set a form upon desired change,
As I'll myself disgrace; knowing thy will,
I will acquaintance strangle, and look strange;
Be absent from thy walks; and in my tongue
Thy sweet beloved name no more shall dwell,
Lest I, too much profane, should do it wrong,
And haply of our old acquaintance tell.
For thee, against my self I'll vow debate,
For I must ne'er love him whom thou dost hate.
Tired with all these, for restful death I cry,
As to behold desert a beggar born,
And needy nothing trimm'd in jollity,
And purest faith unhappily forsworn,
And gilded honour shamefully misplac'd,
And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,
And right perfection wrongfully disgrac'd,
And strength by LIMPING sway disabled
And art made tongue-tied by authority,
And folly, doctor-like, controlling skill,
And simple truth miscall'd simplicity,
And captive good attending captain ill:
Tir'd with all these, from these would I be gone,
Save that, to die, I leave my love alone.
How oft when thou, my music, music play'st,
Upon that blessed wood whose motion sounds
With thy sweet fingers when thou gently sway'st
The wiry concord that mine ear confounds,
Do I ENVY THOSE jacks THAT NIMBLE LEAP,
To kiss the tender inward of thy hand,
Whilst my poor lips which should that harvest reap,
At the wood's boldness by thee blushing stand!
To be so tickled, they would change their state
And situation with those dancing chips,
O'er whom thy fingers walk with gentle gait,
Making dead wood more bless'd than living lips.
Since saucy jacks so happy are in this,
Give them thy fingers, me thy lips to kiss.
The Passionate Pilgrim, XII
Crabbed age and youth cannot live together:
Youth is full of pleasance, age is full of care;
Youth like summer morn, age like winter weather;
Youth like summer brave, age like winter bare.
Youth is full of sport, age's breath is short;
Youth is nimble, AGE IS LAME;
Youth is hot and bold, age is weak and cold;
Youth is wild, and age is tame.
Age, I do abhor thee; youth, I do adore thee;
O, my love, my love is young!
Age, I do defy thee: O, sweet shepherd, hie thee,
For methinks thou stay'st too long,
Or, merely coincidences in poetic usages?
I always thought he wrote good, no lame stuff there
If you go by frequency, he's more Gay than he is Lame
And, while I am ruminating, does anyone know why the Passionate Pilgrim (1590) is said to have only poems by WS, but #20 at the bottom of the page linked below seems to be by Chris Marlowe?
And I think the "As It Fell Upon A Day", #21, was by Richard Barnfield, to further complicate matters.
Shakes is wicked lame.
Dogs don't know it's not Bacon
Sinatra don't know it's not shaken
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/24/2005 06:36PM by Satirical.
Hugh, it seems that someone didn't finish their homework before putting up the site lol.
Interesting question, Hugh! I don't recall anyone raising it before.
The author of a Shakespeare-was-DeVere essay (at [www.everreader.com]) seems to think Shakespeare WAS physically lame. But he also thinks Shakespeare was the Earl of Oxford.
Hey , I'M the Earl of Oxford
no wait.....I'm Baron of Greymatter
After reading that and thinking about it, alls I gots to says is anyones can writes an opinion, just because they may be able to seem authentic donts makes it any more than thats.
Perhaps, Shakespeare was lame, and perhaps, Shakespeare was a woman. If shakespeare was a woman would she have been able to get her plays out under her own name - I don't think so. Its a crazy thought, but that is what i think. (Maybe, Anne Hathaway wrote those plays and took her husband's name.)
But then again - every one wants to claim Shakespeare for their own. I remember reading a book where the author was certain Shakespeare was Irish.
Maybe, Shakespeare was born in Bombay.
Not so far fetched, stranger things have happened. I heard a guy talk about being a CIA agent, but he was inept, turns out he was a CIA agent. This was from CSI by the way, but still, pretty amazing, right?
The Edward De Vere was Shakespeare hypothesis is tempting, but EDV died in 1604, and the many of Shakespeare's plays are known to have been written after that date, so it cannot be true.
The argument against Anne Hathaway as the author would be the same as that against Will: lack of sufficient education to have acquired the enormous amount of knowledge the works show that their creator possessed.
Unfortunately, Will also used the word lame in his plays in contexts other than leg-related:
Othello, The Moor of Venice - Act 1, Scene 3
BRABANTIO Ay, to me;
She is abused, stol'n from me, and corrupted
By spells and medicines bought of mountebanks;
For nature so preposterously to err,
Being not deficient, blind, or lame of sense,
Sans witchcraft could not.
Same Act 2, Scene 1
DESDEMONA O most lame and impotent conclusion!
Pericles, Prince of Tyre > Act III, scene IV
GOWER: ... Post on the lame feet of my rhyme ...
maybe he had a club foot like that guy in Of Human Bondage who got kicked around by women instead of the other way around like you'd think, what with the Club Foot and all
Maybe he was a preemie as well.
Richard III, Act 1, Scene 1
But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks,
Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;
I, that am rudely stamp'd, and want love's majesty
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
I, that am curtail'd of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
Deformed, unfinish'd, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable
That dogs bark at me as I halt by them;
Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pass away the time,
Unless to spy my shadow in the sun
And descant on mine own deformity:
And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,
To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
I am determined to prove a villain
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
Hugh’s intriguing question has prompted me to Google ‘Shakespeare’ combined with ‘lame’ or ‘lameness’ or ‘limp’, which has led me to the interesting writings of Joe Sobran. Sobran is not alone in maintaining that the literary works attributed to Shakespeare were all written by the highly talented Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, who for social and political reasons did not want to publish under his own name. Incidentally, though with some diffidence lest it detracts from his main thesis, Sobran also argues that Lord Oxford was the real author of about a thousand sonnets published under a variety of other pseudonyms.
See for example:
I have not hitherto paid much attention to the Shakespeare authorship controversy. I approached Sobran’s writings with a predilection against overturning orthodox literary belief, especially with respect to such a supreme icon as WS.
I must admit however that the circumstantial evidence against Will Shakspere of Stratford-upon-Avon being the real author is extensive and persuasive, while the evidence in his favour (the most striking being Ben Jonson’s poetic tribute in the First Folio published long after WS’s death) is remarkably slight and is capable of alternative explanation.
So if WS wasn’t the author, who was? Sobran makes a powerful case for Oxford, as by far the most likely of some 80 candidates . As Hugh points out, this has been objected to on the entirely logical ground that Oxford died in 1604 before some of the WS plays were written. That logic however presupposes that we know when they were written. Sobran argues well that the orthodox chronology is based on guesswork and circular reasoning, not on conclusive evidence. The fact that Oxford died before some of the plays were first performed does not disprove his authorship.
I don’t think this controversy will go away any time soon!
Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 09/25/2005 10:12PM by IanB.
There is evidence to prove everything except that Shakespeare is still alive (unlike Elvis):
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/25/2005 02:02PM by lg.
I think a monkey, given enough time and patience could reproduce Hamlet. Others agree with this thesis:
Probably couldn't reproduce Falstaff, though.
Dogs don't know it's not Bacon
Johnny, dogs are smarter than that. If zillions of people believe that the moon is made of green cheese, that proves nothing to dogs.
Les, that monkey thesis suffers from FATAL FLAWS [doomish drum rolllll..!]. It rests on assumptions that all the world's typewriters won't wear out first, and that mankind's knowledge of the text of Hamlet will also last long enough to check against the simian efforts - sadly an increasing improbability given the way modern literary education appears headed.
That anonymous article in the British Theatre Guide would make a good text for analysis in a clear thinking class (if they have such classes nowadays).
First, strip away the explicit and implicit expressions of ridicule, including the exclamation marks, and the author's attempt to gain credibility by claiming humility. They aren't arguments. Indeed their presence suggests that the author was short of substance to rely on.
Likewise delete the accusation of snobbery, because it's just a sneer, and rests on a distortion of the arguments doubting WS's authorship.
For the purpose of weighing the evidence in favour of de Vere, strip away all the references to other candidates. The weaknesses in the arguments for them are irrelevant.
Don’t be misled by the purported use of Occam's Razor and by the trumpeting of it as ‘stretching right back’ to mediaeval times [irrelevant] and ‘scientific’ [it isn’t; it’s not a substitute for scientific investigation and proof, just a practical approach that saves headache and works well enough a lot of the time when the evidence is confusing or inconclusive].
< the simplest explanation which meets the facts is usually the right one >’
A fair enough paraphrase of William of Occam’s principle, but ‘usually’ doesn’t mean always, and the principle is, as it says, subject to the facts.
The BTG author obviously isn’t interested in stating accurately and examining any of the many facts, arguments and explanations that Sobran has assembled which cast doubt on the writing achievements of William Shakspere of Stratford. It follows that he has no interest in any evidence supporting the thesis that de Vere was the real genius who (for readily explicable reasons) used a pseudonym for most of his writing, either borrowing the surname of WS of Stratford, using a slightly different spelling (perhaps in return for money which WS of Stratford is known to have been greedy for), or independently using the name Shakespeare which was a common English name, and was, as Sobran points out, a fitting nom de plume for de Vere, who was known at the royal court as 'spear shaker' because of his skill in tournaments and his family crest showing a lion brandishing a spear, and who as early as 1578 was described in an official address before the court as one whose 'vultus tela vibrat' - his 'will shakes speares'. Sobran presents such a quantity and variety of evidence in support of the de Vere theory, that it is difficult to dismiss it all as coincidence. The BTG author is rather applying the Billy Ocker principle of ‘Don’t confuse me with facts when I’ve made up my mind’.
The BTG author tries hard to give the impression that there are contemporary historical records showing beyond sensible question that WS of Stratford was an acknowledged poet and playwright who wrote what has been attributed to him.
In fact, though there is evidence that WS of Stratford was an actor and made money out of investing in the Globe Theatre, and there are documents referring to William or Will Shakespeare [i.e. to whoever was writing under that name] as a poet, there is an astonishing lack of all the kinds of contemporary evidence you would expect to find of the writing ability and activities and reputation of WS of Stratford, if he was the one who wrote the plays and the poetry. For instance there's no evidence that he ever claimed to be their author. No book owned by him, or authenticated manuscript in his handwriting has ever been found (his Will was written out for him by a law clerk). In the half dozen signatures that we have purporting to be his, all on legal documents, he never spelled the first syllable of his name Shake. Some experts have concluded that the signatures were actually written for him by a law clerk, as was then permissible for an illiterate client. Though WS of Stratford became very wealthy in his 30s, he was born of illiterate parents and had married an illiterate wife. His daughters apparently grew up illiterate. One of them could only sign with an X when she got married. Contemporary documents in which you would expect WS of Stratford to be identified if he was known as a writer fail to do so. For instance his son-in-law's detailed diary never mentions it, though it refers to theatrical events and other writers. Unlike what happened when other well known writers of the time died, there was no contemporary eulogy or public report or notice whatsoever when WS of Stratford died in 1616.
On the other hand, there are numerous correspondences between de Vere's life (uniquely) and the contents of the poetry and the plays, which are very hard to explain if he was not the author.
The best evidence the defenders of WS of Stratford can produce is the preface to the First Folio, published 7 years after his death, in which Ben Jonson praised ‘Shakespeare’ in extravagant terms and referred to him as 'Sweet Swan of Avon' who had trod the stage, and one L.Digges referred to 'thy Stratford Moniment' [a monument to WS of Stratford had been erected there shortly before the First Folio was published, though a contemporary etching shows that when first built it depicted WS of Stratford as a grain trader, not a writer]. Those facts do take some explaining away by anyone who thinks someone other than WS of Stratford wrote the plays. The explanations are necessarily speculative, which doesn't mean one of them can't be true.
Sobran argues that the facts are consistent with the aristocratic publishers of the First Folio being well aware of their good friend and relative de Vere having used the pseudonym Shakespeare and deciding to continue that use, out of respect for his and his family's wish to shield his real name from publicity inappropriate for an earl. Writing poetry and plays for the general public was at that time considered infra dig for an English aristocrat. Moreover de Vere had been plagued enough by scandal during his life without adding to that by associating him publicly with material in the ‘Shakespeare’ sonnets which reflected scandalously on their author.
The argument depends on WS of Stratford being used as a convenient smokescreen, and on Jonson being in on this, either voluntarily or as a quill for hire putting out the spin he was paid to write. The preface to the First Folio can be read as containing subtle double entendres, cleverly written to be understood differently by two separate readerships: the general public who would believe WS of Stratford was being referred to, and de Vere's family and close friends who knew that de Vere was the real author of the plays.
Is the use of a pseudonym in a collected works publication so unlikely? We accept works being attributed to the pseudonymous Mark Twain and Lewis Carroll, for example. Someone in future, after Barry Humphries has passed on, might conceivably publish a collection of his stage sketches attributing them to Dame Edna Everage, with a tongue in cheek dedication to her; though of course his circumstances are totally different from de Vere's!
I’m open-minded about all this, but do think the facts and arguments for de Vere are worth examining, not just silly.
Edited 15 time(s). Last edit at 10/04/2005 07:05AM by IanB.
Here's a new twist, maybe a witch wrote all those plays:
I don't think being good at spelling would be enough of a qualification.
(Have to say that, before Johnny beats me to it)
"He is winding the watch of his wit; by and by it will strike."
Tempest II, 1
For the moment, sticking with the Duck
Might have been a lawyer...
SUFFOLK. Lord cardinal, the King's further pleasure is,
Because all those things you have done of late
By your power legatine within this kingdom,
Fall into the compass of a præminure,
That, therefore, such a writ be sued against you,
To forfeit all your goods, lands, tenements,
Chattels, and whatsoever, and to be
Out of the King's protection. This is my charge.
--Henry VIII, Act 3, Scene 2.
Indeed, Les. A fascinating compilation.
One of the points made by Sobran is that de Vere, after graduating from Cambridge University and then obtaining a Master of Arts degree at Oxford University, studied as a lawyer and qualified circa 1567 at one of the Inns of Court, namely Grays Inn. There is no record of WS of Stratford ever having attended college or any of the Inns of Court, which were the only places where legal training was available in Elizabethan times. The author of the plays accurately used about six hundred legal terms, many of them difficult and obscure.
I don't think that is sufficient proof agains WS being the author of these plays. He had such a skill in language, that he may have picked up a lot of legal terminology just by attending court cases, or having a friend that practised law.
I never went to the army or navy and I am using military and navy vocabulary on a daily basis for my work. Correctly I hope :-)
"he would not have been able to use and apply law terms of a purely technical character in the manner appearing in his compositions, without considerable knowledge of that abstruse and mighty science, the law of England."
or he explained what he wanted to say to a lawyer friend who gave him the correct term?
I must honestly say I don't care one way or another whether Shakespeare wrote all the plays, half of them or none. But I find the evidence in this case far-fetched.
You are right Desi. We have the plays and the poetry, and for the literary appreciation of those it doesn't matter who 'Shakespeare' was.
The interest in that issue is as a 'whodunit' of monumental proportions. It probably appeals to people who like detective stories. There are so many improbabilities and anomalies in the facts that the traditionalists would have us believe, it seems clear something odd or covert was going on about the authorship. I hadn't realized before I started looking at some of the investigative material what an enormous amount of it there is, and what a diversity of opinions the investigations have generated.
Having edited my long post to correct a few statements I made which may have been misguided, I think I had better let the issue rest, at least in this thread.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/27/2005 10:29PM by IanB.
This month a new candidate is going to be revealed:
Brenda James and William Rubinstein are publishing a book "The truth will out": unmasking the real Shakespeare.
Apparently Brenda James coincidentily found some code in the dedication of the first edition and found Henry Neville to be the true author and then came up with of course numerous more proof. I believe this dedication has been deciphered long ago, and a dedication does not mean it is the name of the author. On the contrary, which author dedicates his book to himself?
Anyway, I think it is again a far-fetched story, but for those of you that are interested, have a look at the book when it is published.
Desi, it will be interesting to see how this book is received, and what new facts it cites. A Google search of the title reveals only smatterings, not enough to assess. The publishers’ interest at this stage is just to whet the appetites of book buyers.
Over the last few hundred years there have reportedly been more than 1,700 books published on the Shakespeare authorship question, and more than 80 candidates put forward as the real author! I’m not aware that Sir Henry Neville has been one, though he may have been. As you’d expect, many of the theories have been far fetched. Sensible commentators agree that only about half a dozen of the candidates deserve to be taken seriously. It will take some good evidence to add HN to that group.
The issue is twofold. First, are there enough grounds to conclude that the man from Stratford didn’t write the poetry and plays published under the name William Shakespeare? Then if he didn’t, who did?
Those who reject any doubts about the man from Stratford are known as Stratfordians or Strats. Their position is supported by popular belief. It accords with the lore presented to generations of uncritical school children: the iconic First Folio portrait of the man from Stratford, his youthful marriage to Ann Hathaway, his involvement with the Globe theatre, his supreme genius with words, etc, etc. Those who support a prominent alternative are named after their candidate. Thus the supporters of de Vere are dubbed Oxfordians; and there are Marlovians (supporters of Marlowe) and Baconians.
Anyone who reads with an open and clear mind the materials put out by the Stratfordians can hardly fail to be struck by the amount of invective and other irrelevancies with which they try to bolster the defence of their man. (That British Theatre Guide article which I commented on earlier is a small example). The implication is that they don’t have much of substance to draw on. It seems they won’t concede any point, or even state accurately the arguments of their opponents, for fear it will assist heresy to prevail. When university professors behave like that, I assume careers are at stake.
From what I have read, the evidence supporting the man from Stratford is surprisingly thin, and the evidence against him (though mostly circumstantial) strong enough to raise very serious doubts about his authorship. It will be interesting to see whether the new book adds anything to that particular debate.
My present view, pending what the new book says, is that the Oxfordian case is much the strongest of the alternatives. That view is based partly on the Sobran writings to which I gave links previously, but mainly on an e-book by Edward Furlong called ‘The Shakespeare Identity Problem’, available on the Internet at
Furlong took a degree in English at Oxford (reading a lot of Shakespeare), and has had a career conducting evidentiary research and investigations for the Supreme Court of Ontario and the Ontario Institute of Chartered Accountants. After becoming interested in the problem of Shakespeare’s identity some 10 years ago, he decided to examine and weigh all the evidence and arguments about it with professional objectivity using his skills as an investigative auditor. His 560-page book is the result. It is a marvellous resource, very thorough in its compilation of the relevant details. His conclusion is that de Vere is the only candidate fitting the evidence.
If ‘The Truth Will Out’ brings new evidence to light, Furlong will have to add that to his book and if necessary reconsider his conclusion.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/05/2005 07:37PM by IanB.
Wow, what a lot of stuff to read when one does not visit the forum regularly!
I don't really have much to add to the discussion, except to also link the usenet forum below, where the participants have vicious battles about this particular subject all the time, including the current Truth Will Out publication:
I once posted there my critique of Sonnet 130, where I argue that a bestial Will wrote it to an unattractive cow, just to see if I would get the anticipated rise from the group. A successful troll, as anticipated.
Hugh, how've you been? Well, we hope.
Yeah, when it comes to Shakespeare I doubt there's much that hasn't been debated by now, unless he was a closet transvestite.
Of COURSE he was a trannie, although unlikely in the closet. All women's parts were played by men way back when doncha know. And look at 12th Night, for example. A disguise or cross-dressing for sport?
Warning - pdf file. Click it from here if it fails to load:
I'm not really a fan of Shakespeare's. The only thing I like by him is "As You Like It."
Well, if he called it "As you HATE it", then you probably wouldn't like it so much