67. 27 May 1995 [ES] (Hugh Calvert; RS II; Greek; Ann Geneva's book on Astrology; Yashdip Bains's book on MRA)

previously unpublished; © the estate of eric sams and beatrice cazac (Mrs. Mathew’s letters)

Dear Hayat,

   I'm sure you're right about that tonic effect. As the poet sings,    


Wine comes in at the mouth

and love comes in at the eye;

that's all we can know for truth

before we grow old and die.


   Before Hugh Calvert did, I knew him; and I have his book. But I don't have a favourite Dark Lady now, not even personally. My nearest approach was a setting of 'My mistress' face is nothing like the sun', in my sonnet-setting days, as distinct from my sun-setting days.

   Well, I'm not so sure about Richard II. Surely Shakespeare felt that Elizabeth was a tyrant? If only because she was one, and how. The feeling is still quite strong in the English shires that those at whose command one's relatives are tortured, hanged, castrated and disembowelled are decidedly personae non gratae, especially when acting as defenders of the wrong faith.

   For the rest, I'm fairly fallow; but there are articles and review in various very costive pipe-lines, such asHamlet Studies and Notes and Queries. Otherwise I'm quite busy haranguing captive audiences in Wigmore Hall lectures and Guildhall master-classes, as well as putting more of Vol. 2 on disc. Today I did the Mountjoy story, 1604-12; there are still a few points to be made here and there, I reckon. That clerk wrote down what Shakespeare said to him, perhaps at dictation speed. The marriage that was 'consumated and solemnized', in that order, is surely his own voice, as in the canon passim.

   I've also been brushing up my non-existent Greek, δοροv is good for the -spear part; so, in some sense, is μυλλω, as in μυλλδορ (ov). I think Reed is more bowdlerising than baudelairising about this expression, which I see from Liddell (incidentally the father of Lewis Carroll's Alice) and Scott means in Greek, as in English, fam. not to say vulg. grind. That's about right for the simple passionate shepherd that Shakespeare seemed to his contemporaries, and it incidentally conveys a quite new sense of the word Shakespeare itself, which must surely have amused those coarse Tudor groundlings with its undeniable aptness. No doubt Falstaff meant the opposite. But I digress.

   I've been reading Astrology, and the  Seventeenth Century  Mind by Ann Geneva, due to be published soon by Manchester University Press. I'm sure you'd find much of interest in it, apart from the Bacon bits (which I'll send you in photocopy if you like, though I'm sure you'll be entirely familiar with them). I get a kind mention or two; Ann and I share several friends and interests, such as historical shorthand and cipher systems.

   Here's a book for you. Yashdip (sic, or probably Sikh) Bains saw clear through the emperor's clothes of memorial reconstruction some – years ago. He teaches English in America, but he's sufficiently detached from the system to stand back and see that much of it is naked folly and posturing. Perhaps that should be called the Alexander method. It would be nice if other dissenting voices were heard inside the citadel. I think mine may be the first from any University Press; I'd hope that others won't have to rely on publication in Copenhagen, like Everitt, or in Simlah, like Bains.