2a. The Personal Shakespeare


previously unpublished; © the estate of eric sams


(Numbers in bold refer to the Documents section and bibliographical citations refer to the Bibliography of The Real Shakespeare II, on-line edition)



Identifiable features will then emerge, as already delineated. Here is a further selection of new points. Join the dots and see the picture. As before, it begins, like Shakespeare himself, in Stratford upon Avon, a fact which Oxfordians and Baconians wisely leave unexplained. Leonard Digges mentions the dramatist's 'Stratford Moniment'; Ben Jonson memorably addressed him as 'sweet Swan of Avon?' (502), Thus his local habitation is coupled with his name.

   So in the plays. At the outset of The Taming of the Shrew, the hostess of an Italian alehouse threatens to fetch an English policeman the 'headborough" to deal with the drunken tinker Christopher Sly. He quotes or anticipates what Edgar says as poor Tom (LrIII.iv.48); 'go to thy bed and warm thee', a tag that identifies their shared English vagrancy Next (in. 2.18f) the unlikely pedlar in Padua reveals himself as 'old Sly's son of Burton-heath', a village some twenty miles south of Stratford upon Avon. 'Old Sly' recalls sly old Edmund Lambert, who had married a sister of Shakespeare's mother Mary and lived at Barton on the Heath. He was twice arraigned by the Shakespeare family, in 1589 and 1597 (235), for appropriating the house and land at Wylnecote which they had unwisely made over to him for – as they thought – a short term. On Edmund's death, nine years later, his son John Lambert inherited and retained that property. Sly continues: 'Ask Marion Hacket, the fat ale-wife of Wincot (=Wylnecote), if she knows me not'. These Warwickshire names, places and pronunciations plainly derive from the poet's boyhood background (cf Warton 1770, 1790, as cited in Chambers 1930, ii, 288-9). They culminate in a roll-call of Cecily Hacket, Stephen Sly, John Naps, Peter Turph and Henry Pimpernel (Shr 2.89, 93, 94) – which even orthodox editors are disposed to accept as the actual names of real people.

   Among the closest to home is one 'William" a tongue-tied yokel (AYL V.I.) who was Freudianly born in the Forest of Arden – the maiden name of Shakespeare's mother. The tailor who told tales to the smith (KJ IV.ii.193f) could have been seen from Shakespeare's birthplace; those two Stratford tradesmen owned adjacent premises in the same street, 'Hamlet' too was a Stratford (not Danish) forename and surname. Many etymologists (e.g. Onions 1911, iv) have identified rural terms including Warwickshire words. Not everyone believes that a wounded deer weeps 'big round tears' (AYL I.i.38; cf. 'Let the stroken deer go weep (Ham III.ii.271). But the deer-poacher Shakespeare says so, and he was well placed to know.

   A history play incorporates Gloucestershire worthies and locations, such as 'William Visor of Woncot' (=Woodmancote) and 'Clement Parkes a 'th 'Hill' (2H4 V.i.39). But was Tewksbury mustard as famous for its thickness in Henry the Fourth's day (2H4 II.iv.241) as in Elizabeth's? It looks as if Tudor England is everywhere, and everywhere is Tudor England. That is the setting in which Shakespeare places his hundred kinds of manual workman, who wield some forty separate tools. Never mind the wheres and whens of geography and history; everything is here and now. Such trade-names as Bottom the weaver, Flute the bellows-mender, Quince the carpenter, Snout the tinker, Snug the joiner and Starveling the tailor.1

 must have been even rarer (MND I.ii. etc.), and 'nine men's morris' (ibid. 98) much less practised in Athens than in the shires. Similarly such depictive surnames as Belch and Atguecheek (TN) were largely unknown in Illyria. Many other foreigners (e.g. Abhorson and Froth in Vienna, Dogberry in Messina) are festooned with English names, as if they had all been naturalised and issued with theatre work-permits. Dogberry himself (Ado) was modeled on a local constable whom Shakespeare had met in Grendon, Buckinghamshire (608).

   This preoccupation with places and people relates to an innate obsession (not too strong a word) with the natural scene. Thus Shakespeare names more than 250 land animals, 100 birds, 40 fish, 50 insects, 50 trees, 50 flowers, 30 fruits, 30 herbs and so forth – far more, whether absolutely or pro rata, than any other dramatist. Fittingly, his specific Tudor allusions include animals; the roasted Manningtree ox (1H4 II.iv.377), the baited bear Sackerson (MWW I.i.295), the dancing horse of John Banks (LLL I. ii.53), the so-called 'wild-mares' ridden in schoolboy games (2H4 II.iv.246), and so forth.

   Horses travel and travail. Young colts rage (R2 II.i.70); so do other beasts (Ado IV.i.61) such as the boar (ShrI.ii.202) and the bull (3H6 II.v.126). Rages associate with eyes (KJ IV.iii.49, 1H6 IV.vii.11, Luc 1398), and eyes with rolling (LLL V.ii.764, MND III.ii.369, Oth V.ii.38, KJ IV.ii.9, Sonn 20.5); all three can cluster together, as inLuc 1398 or, famously, in MND V.i.12 (frenzy = rage).

  The flora can be as rough as the fauna. Not everything in the garden is rosy; far from it. Weeds choke wholesome flowers (R2 III.iv.44, Rom II.iii.8, Mac V.ii.30, Sonn 69.12) and corn (Luc 281, LLL I.i.96, Lr IV.iv.5,EI 1343). Such realistic recurrent contrasts are also expressed in proverbs; thus 'roll' is linked with the 'stone' upon which Fortune is precariously perched (H5 III.vi.29, 36, EI 771, 1063). Proverbs also provide titles, which recur in the text; thus Helena, the heroine of All's Well that Ends Well, twice uses that key phrase (IV.iv.35, V.i.25).

   The husbandman keeps a weather eye open, for dear life as well as livelihood. Shakespeare's nature images, 'always the most frequent', are drawn from 'the sky, clouds, rain, sunshine and the seasons' (Spurgeon 1935, 16, 44, etc,). Bad weather typically frowns and lowers (R3 V.iii.283, EI 1059). Titania's catalogue of meteorological disasters (MND II.i.88f.) sounds like a recognisable description of English events in 1594. England also experienced an earth tremor in 1580; so the Nurse's comment 'tis since the earthquake now aleven years' (Rom I.i.43) might helpfully date that play to 1591 and locate it in London rather than Verona. Such devices would be as characteristically Shakespearean as his peculiar spellings (e.g. 'a leuen' for 'eleven'); so the 'earthquake' in AWWl I.iii.87) could also refer to an actual event, on 24 December 1601. Perhaps a 'blazing star' (ibid.; and cf. EI 1714) was also a sign of the times. Even orthodoxy accepts that 'these late eclipses in the sun and moon' (Lr I.ii.102, 141, 146) were of the moon (partial) on 27 September 1605 and the sun (total) five days later. Similarly 'the coal of fire upon the ice' (Cor I.i.173) has often been related to the severe winter of 1607-8, when the Thames was frozen over; as ever, the real setting is Tudor London, not classical Rome or any other time or place.

   In any ambiance, the country background gets into the blood, and vice versa. Thus more than thirty of the hundred instances of the word 'wash' and its derivates among nearly a million other words, are concerned with the washing of blood, usually from one's hands (R2 III.i.5, etc,). There are after all many other things to wash off or from. But Shakespeare, like his soldiers (H5 V.ii.59-60), meditates on blood. On the textual evidence, it was not only Macbeth but his creator who was worried about having blood on his hands (Mac II.ii.57). Quite independently, in a different context, a modern editor (Hibbard 1967, 240) finds that 'calves were closely associated with butchers in [Shakespeare's] mind, as in LLL V.ii.253-5 and 2H6 III.i.210-2, IV.ii.26)'.

   There is an odder association with the word 'wash', namely 'tears' (as in R2 V.i.10 etc.). Perhaps the train of thought runs from tears to wash via salt, sea and water, which is a far likelier liquid. The same links occur inIronside: wash/tears (1502), salt tear (1924), water...tears (665, 667), brinish tears...sea (1102-3).

   That play has 'in vain', four times' followed by 'a vain vein' (1669). Punning was there from the first; thus the play on 'hate away' = Hathaway (Sonnet 145.13) belongs to the early 1580s. Such quips and quibbles are highly personal; so are antithesis, bawdry, chiasmus, and the whole lexicon of Shakespeare's style as listed by editor after editor over the ages. These too are personal attributes; who else habitually wrote and thought thus? So other characteristics may well be identificatory. According to Wordsworth, Shakespeare 'unlocked his heart' in the Sonnets, where modern analysis will hardly allow him to unlock his lips, let alone speak in his own voice. However disembodied and ventriloquial, though – might it not be Shakespeare himself, speaking in his own person, who 'requires promiscuity in the mistress in order to be sexually aroused' (Sonnet 352), yet hates her as 'the bay where all men ride' (137.6). This realisation is said to be horrifying (Vendler 1997, 643). But other critics seem quite blasé about the proclivities of the real-life Shakespeare, whose 'fascination for the sexual initiatives of women', such as Venus, Titania, Rosalind or Helena' is 'possibly autobiographical' (Honan 1998, 174). Indeed; 'when a woman woos, what womans sonne/will sourely leave her till he haue prevailed', as the speaker rhetorically enquires in Sonnet 41.7-8.

   The fair friend of those poems can be identified more directly, without much need for the Razor. 'Small show of man was yet upon his chin', as the speaker describes the youth in A Lover's Complaint (92); Southampton possessed 'androgynous beauty', like Adonis and Helen together (Vendler 1997, 259). He was also a believing Christian addressed by a freethinking poet (Vendler 1997, 25, 445, etc.). But the latter can also, when occasion serves, be identified as Shakespeare himself using his 'native language', such as the 'peculiar interfusion of spaniels and candy once noticed by Caroline Spurgeon' (1935, 34) This was surely noticed much earlier still, by Shakespeare himself as well as attentive playgoers and readers over the centuries, such as Walter Whiter (1794, 139). Such clear-cut keys could easily open the sonnets, and the entire works, to sympathetic scrutiny.

   So could further analysis of other personal associations, such as the 'odd connection – through the idea of sharpness – of love-appetite to a knife with a potentially blunted edge' (Vendler 1997, 271). The same idea recurs elsewhere (e.g. MM I.iv.60, Ham III.ii.250, Luc 9). Male readers may find it less odd; but on any analysis, Freudian or other, such symbolism is related to everyday experience.

   So is the immediate physicality of other allusions. Thus fires break out all over the plays, often in association with the words 'bosom' or 'breast'. Taylor and Jackson (1988, 576) cite 'so hot a summer in my bosom' (KJV.vii.30), 'kindling coals that fires all my breast' (3H6 II.i.83), 'bosoms..hot coals of vengeance' (2H6 V.ii.36), 'bosom burns/with an incensed fire' (2H4 I.iii.13-14). The typical collocation is indeed noteworthy; so is the parallel association between 'burn' and 'heart', as in 'quench my furnace-burning heart' (2H6 II.i.80) or 'burn the heart' (Titus II. iv.37), etc. Cf also 'quench the burning choler of my heart' and 'burn my heart' (EI 209, 1461).

   Other features are equally prominent. Thus the young Shakespeare can hardly ever use the word 'defiance' without relating it to some part of the face or head, whether ears (Rom I.i.110), eyes (2H4 III.i64), face (E3 92,EI 719), mouth (Jn I.i.21, IH4 III.ii.116) teeth (1H4 V.ii.42, JC V.i.64) and throat (E3 93-4); cf also The True Tragedy of Richard III (defiance/face, 717) and Troublesome Reign (defiance/throat, 680). Yet editors and commentators often deny or deride what they also accept and affirm, namely that Shakespeare's art, in the plays as in the poems, is often intensely personal. Thus E. K. Chambers (1930, i, 66) jeers at 'imaginative biography, bent on its search for the topical' yet admits 'numerous topical and literary allusions'. Both remarks relate toLove's Labours Lost (ibid. I, 335); all allusions are perforce biographical and hence never wholly imaginative.

   That play's first edition (1598) is generally reckoned to have been printed from copy in its author's own hand. One might have thought that his actual spelling and vocabulary would be of some interest; but apparently not. Perhaps they are too biographical. Even Vendler's brilliant exegesis of the Sonnets relies on the original 1609 spellings without ever treating them as authorial. Other individual traits, such as his handwriting and his Protean variability of orthography and speech-prefix, as also evidenced in the three-page insurrection scene from Sir Thomas More, have hardly been seriously studied in modern times. Shakespeare's word-links have been investigated mainly by distinguished amateurs (Hobday 1965, Slater 1973, 1975, 1977, 1978) with results which have been generally accepted and cited by the profession - except when they support Shakespeare's authorship of Ironside (Slater 1988, 57-8).

   The present age would be exceptionally well equipped, with its computers, concordances and thesauruses, to approach Shakespeare's hand and mind via every available avenue. But these are taxing tasks; and anyhow he is now officially gagged and bound, even though he regularly and recognisably spoke and gestured to audiences and readers from the platform of his own plays. Thus the epilogue to 2H4 promises that 'our humble author will continue the story with Sir John in it', which not only declares an intention but gets it wrong. Like an ordinary human being, Shakespeare changed his mind; in fact, Falstaff is written out of, not into, Henry V. Instead, the dramatist himself appears there in person (ep. 1-13), modestly mentioning his own past achievements: 'Thus far, with rough and all-unable pen, /Our bending [=humble] author hath pursued the story...'. He continues it in other submissions to 'fair beholders' (Tro pr. 24), or, with the same show of humility, 'here stooping to your clemency/We beg your hearing patiently' (Ham III.ii.151-2).

   He always looked up to his paying public and never talked down to them, not even from the raised stage, Puck and Rosalind treat them as real companions in a real world: 'Give me your hands, if we be friends' (MND V.i.437); 'When I make curtsey, bid me farewell' (AYL ep. 23-4). In other words, please applaud my play. The King of France, no less, says the same (AWW ep. 1-6). Those actors and those characters have not stepped out of the frame; the dramatis personae often speak for the dramatist in propria persona.

   So there can be no rational objection to interpreting Prospero's final renunciation (Tmp V.i.33f), and his intention of retirement (ibid. 311), as the poet's own farewell to the stage. Even the greatest actors in the greatest masterpieces are presented as actual people, who change their characters with their costumes. When Polonius says that he had played Caesar in a university production, and complains that Brutus killed him (HamIII.ii.99-104) there too, the audience could see the author advertising his own recent Julius Caesar, and indeed anticipating another stabbing of the same victim (Heminges?) by the same hand (Burbage).

   Again, the characteristics of Shakespeare and his fellow-actors helped to shape and indeed create their characters. Physical reality and metaphysical imagination go hand in hand. Thus one company was very short, another very tall; so they effectively tragi-comical contrast as the 'puppet' Helena (MND III.ii.288, 296). The players of Titus and Marcus could hardly have exceeded the average height of Tudor males, or they would not have described themselves as 'shrubs, no cedars...No big-bon'd men...' (Titus IV.iii.46-7). Shakespeare himself was remembered as having acted the part of the Ghost in Hamlet, who is often disembodied, and old Adam in As You Like It, who has to be carried on stage; perhaps the latter's own lameness (II.vii.131) and in the Sonnets (89.3) was actual, not (pace a whole host of sonnet-commentators) merely metaphorical. The villain Edricus inIronside certainly affected lameness (1680f), while the hero Edmund was stronger than his enemy Canute (1966). Conversely the actor John Sinklo was a small thin man, tailor-made for such parts as the Tailor in The Taming of the Shrew or A Midsummer Night's Dream. The Folio text, by inadvertently printing his name in the former play (ind. 1.88), also in effect presents him to the audience, which no doubt gave him a round of applause, as the actor who so successfully played the part of Soto in Fletcher's Women Pleas'd (Sams 1985, 41).

By 1600 Shakespeare had become accustomed to equating his actors2 with their roles. Thus Sinklo himself is named in the 1600 Quarto of 2 Henry IV (IV.iv). The Folio Ado specifies the Cowley, while the Folio Shrew adds William Parr (IV.ii.71) and perhaps Nicholas Tooley ('Nicke', III.i.80), 'Enter Will Kemp' inadvertently identifies that famous comedian in the second edition of Romeo and the first of Ado, where he played Peter and Dogberry respectively. Similarly Shakespeare's colleague the clown Richard Tarleton, whose death in 1588 was much lamented, can be colourably claimed as a prototype of Yorick in Hamlet c.1600 (V.i.184).

   There is further clear evidence that Shakespeare incorporated real people into his artistic creations. Thus Christopher Marlowe is still readily recognisable to many playgoers as the 'dead shepherd' whose famous phrase 'whoever lov'd that lov'd not at first sight?' is cited from his Hero and Leander, published in 1598, by the shepherdess Phebe (AYL III.v.81-2), No one would claim that she had been studying recent pastoral poetry; everyone can hear Shakespeare's own voice speaking in real regret and apparent agreement.

   The same applies to Touchstone's complaint (ibid. III.iii.15) that the goatherd Audrey's failure to understand him 'strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little room'. This brief utterance contains two separate allusions to Marlowe; 'infinite riches in a little room', from The Jew of Malta, and that poet's death after a quarrel about the 'reckoning' or supper-bill. Some commentators find such a reference wholly implausible (Chambers 1930, 403); some editors (Latham 1975, xxxiii) think the association valid but subconscious. Nobody (except Nicholl 1992, 74) mentions the manifest meaning3 that Marlowe was maltreated in 1599.

   So is Shakespeare, then and now. He offers so many references to Marlowe that a selection (from Sams 1988) must suffice here. They all relate to his own deep human involvement and interrelation, utterly at variance with his own art as currently interpreted, save for a few salutary exceptions (Bloom 1998, 257 etc). The best-known common ground is 'The Passionate Shepherd4 to his Love, sung in MWW III.i.17f and printed as Shakespeare's own poem.5

   Elsewhere, however, Marlowe is deliberately guyed. Thus the audience is meant to be actively amused by the rhetorical reference to 'pack-horses and hollow pampered jades of Asia, which cannot go but thirty miles a day' (2H4 II.iv.159-60). The parody is manifest, whether the misquotations of Marlowe's 'Hella, ye pampered jades of Asia, /What, can ye draw but twenty miles a day?' are Pistol's or Shakespeare's.

   The same ironic intent is apparent in the 'silly‑stately..tedious style' of 'the Turk that two and fifty kingdoms hath' (1H6 IV.vii.163-4); even the mere 'hundred and thirty kingdoms' ruled by the Turk, again in Tamburlaine, inspire the same inflation. Similarly Shakespeare's reference to Helen as a 'pearl/ whose price hath launched above a thousand ships' borrows a famous line from Dr. Faustus, a play also alluded to in 'how now, Mephistophilus' and 'set spurs and away, like three German devils, three Doctor Faustuses' (MWW I.i.123, IV.v.64-5). Indeed, when Shakespeare sought a suitable model for the fustian diction of his Player King ('with the wind and whiff of his fell sword/the unnerved father falls' (Ham II.ii.494-5) he turned instinctively to Marlowe's description of how Pyrrhus 'whisked his sword about/and with the wind thereof the king fell down'.

   One early play, The Taming of A Shrew, is notorious for its deliberate quotation and parody of Marlowe, which could help to explain why the rival playwright Greene, in his 1592 Groatsworth of Wit, overtly warned Marlowe against Shakespeare's actual or potential plagiarism, That attack on Shakespeare as 'an upstart crow, beautified with our feathers' may well have provoked the 'vulgar scandal' mentioned in the Sonnets (112.2) with the request to 'ore-greene my bad' (112.4), or the complaint of Polonius that 'beautified' is 'an ill phrase, a vile phrase' (Ham II.ii.109, 111). Again, Ironside asks its audience to 'trust a mother-wit' (1149), which looks like a well-deserved riposte to Marlowe's slighting reference to 'jigging mother-wits' in his prologue to Tamburlaine.

   But the later Shakespeare admires Marlowe, who muses "tis sweet..heaven...wear a crown...kingly joys' (1 Tamburlaine II.v.55-60); cf. 'how sweet it is to wear a crown/within whose circuit is Elysium/and all that poets feign of bliss and joy' (3H6 I.ii.29-31). The two poets chiefly concerned are Marlowe and Shakespeare himself. Amazingly, their interrelation remains largely unexplored.

Similarly other actual writers and their works act as influences or stimuli. Slender (MWW I.i.199) bewails the lack of his 'book of Songs and Sonnets', probably Tottel's Miscellany of 1577. A manuscript reading c 1590 of Spenser's Faerie Queene is surely remembered in the Ironside allusion (1070) to 'Braggadochios' (II.iii.argt.) or (1299) to 'death is the end of woe(s)' (I.ix.47). Similarly 'the thrice three Muses mourning for the death/Of learning' proposed for the entertainment of Theseus (MND V.i.52-3) may well be an affable and amusing nod in the direction of Spenser's The Early Tears of the Muses, which lamented the lack of patronage for the arts. It has been noticed (Bloom 1998, 255) that Richard II c.1597 enunciates elaborate conceits in the style of John Donne; it should also be noted that in the same year Donne became secretary to Sir Thomas Egerton, the legal luminary to whom the Shakespeare family applied for redress in that same year, in their lawsuit about land ownership(235). Again, a book (which has tragically disappeared) was advertised in 1600 as Amours by J.D., with certain other sonnets by W.S.

   Both Don Armada (LLL I.ii.183) and Mercutio (Rom II.iv.25) had studied The Book of Honour and Arms (Segar 1590). The rural swain Costard (LLL V.ii.577) seems surprisingly familiar with the 1591 second edition of Gerard Legh's Accedens of Armorie Edgar in King Lear (IV.i) drew the names of devils from his reading of Harsnett'sDeclaration of Egregious Popish Impostures (1601), several centuries before that work was published. Maria in Illyria (TN III.ii.79-80) has seen 'the new map with the augmentation of the Indies', published in London c. 1601.

   Shakespeare also drew on earlier plays, and his contemporaries' books. Both sources took total precedence aver the supposed venue. Thus the Herod who was out-Heroded (Ham III.ii.14), or the old Vice with his dagger of lath (TN IV.ii.124f), had appeared in the miracle or mystery plays performed at Coventry and elsewhere in England, but were unknown in Denmark or Illyria. Similarly Falstaff, despite his pledge to 'speak in passion...in King Cambyses' vein' (1H4 II.iv. 387) could not have heard of Thomas Preston's bombastic play The Lamentable Tragedie mixed full of pleasant mirth containing the Life of Cambises, King of Persia (1569), the title of which was already guyed in the 'very tragical mirth' of Pyramus and Thisbe (MND V.1.57). Bottom in Athens could hardly have seen the play of Hercules, to whom he refers as Ercles (MND I.ii.23, 40). Nor could Pistol, despite his plain allusion (2H4 II.iv.179) or his twofold enquiry 'have we not Hyren here?' (ibid. 159, 175), have been familiar either with George Peele's Battle of Alcazar or his lost play about Hyrin the Fair Greek; nor was it Suffolk in Contention (lines 1568-9) who had read Robert Greene's Menaphon or Penelope's Web and quoted their orotund reference to 'Abradas the great Macedonian Pirate'.

   The playwright and poet Thomas Lodge, who outlived Shakespeare, must have known that his novel Rosalynde(1590) had served as a source for As You Like It. But Lodge's friend and collaborator Greene was long dead before the latter's novel Pandosto provided the plot of A Winter's Tale; so was Sir Philip Sidney, before his Arcadia was used for the Edmund sub-plot of King Lear; so was Thomas Nashe, before an episode in his Unfortunate Travellerappeared as the Parolles sub-plot in All's Well that Ends Well; so was George Gascoigne, before his play Supposes, adapted from Ariosto, provided the Bianca sub-plot in The Taming of the Shrew. The same applies a fortiori to Chaucer, whose Troilus and Criseyde was a main source for the Troy scenes in Shakespeare's own treatment of that tale. The poet John Gower, contemporary and friend of Chaucer, acts as Chorus in Pericles, no doubt for the personal reason that he lies in effigy, to this day, in the church of St. Saviour's, Southwark, which was well known to Shakespeare. Chaucer himself, in Troilus and Criseyde, supplied a source for the Shakespeare play on that theme, while The Knight's Tale reappears in The Two Noble Kinsmen.

   Of course Shakespeare's main sources were Sir Thomas North's version of Plutarch's Lives for the Greek and Roman tragedies and Holinshed's Chronicles for much of the English history plays as well as Macbeth and part ofCymbeline. North writes better, and is followed more closely (as in the description of Cleopatra's barge, AntII.ii.191-7) but Holinshed had also been carefully gleaned for such added pickings as the name Iago and the 'prick-eared cur of Iceland' (H5 II.i.42).

   Aspects of other contemporary writers also helped in the construction of characters and incidents. Whether or not Malvolio in Twelfth Night has Ben Jonson's 'surliness and vulnerability to lampooning' (Bloom 1998, 245). Thomas Nashe is surely brushed aside as Moth in a play which includes other allusions to his diminutiveness and even a parody of his prose style (LLL III.i.10f). A prose work by Nashe was also the source of the Parolles sub-plot (AWW IV.i. etc.); and that braggart soldier, like the rival sonneteer Longaville (LLL I.i. etc.) presents many facets of the soldier-sonneteer Barnaby Barnes. Both Nashe and Barnes sought the patronage of Southampton.

   John Florio was already on Southampton's pay-roll, as his Italian tutor. It is 'probably true' (Jenkins 1982, 304) that the murder enacted by the players in Hamlet was indeed an 'extant story...' written in very choice Italian' (III.ii.263); if so, Florio was much more likely to have known about that source than Shakespeare. The same applies to other Italian sources, such as the 1558 book by Ser Giovanni, about a merchant of Venice (Honan 1997, 258). Florio's original home was in North Italy; so he was well placed to comment on such locations as Verona, Padua and Venice. His Second Fruits (1591), an anthology of Italian mottoes, has an introductory sonnet sometimes ascribed to Shakespeare (Halliday 2/1964, 168); it is ascribed to 'Phaeton' who was the son of fair-haired Apollo, god of the sun and of poetry, who (according to the epigraph to Venus and Adonis) inspired Shakespeare. The sonnet is headed 'to my friend Florio'.

   Many of the Italian phrases found in Florio's Giardino di Recreazione (also 1691) are quoted in Willobie his Avisa(1594), an anonymous satire about the love-rivalry of H.W. and W.S. Those initials, in that year, seem sufficiently identificatory; perhaps Florio is cited as a member of the same circle. But any warm feelings soon cooled. Thus Florio is said to have been caricatured as the pedant Holofernes (a quasi-anagram: Iohn Flor...=Holnfirn...) in Love's Labour's Lost. Anagrams may seem eccentric; but 'There is always something cryptographic in Shakespeare's' [sonnets] - sometimes literally so, as in the anagrams of 7, or the play on vileand evil in 121' (Vendler 1997, 32). Besides' Caliban(n) is an obvious anagram of 'cannibal'; and Gonzales' ideal commonwealth (Imp II.i.148-165) draws upon the essay 'Of Cannibals' in John Florio's 1603 translation of Montaigne – the British Library copy of which is inscribed 'Willm Shakspere'Perhaps there was something about Florio which suggested a twisting of names and ideas. He is said to have been planted as a Protestant spy in the Catholic Southampton household; hence perhaps the later unflattering appellation 'suborn'd informer' (Sonnet 125.13).

   At least Florio was prima facie known to Shakespeare over a period of many years. So, therefore, was Southampton. Actual personalities and personages also occur in the oeuvre; and a fictitious earlier Earl of Southampton appears as an impressively brave and stubborn English character in Ironside, where the actual town is twice mentioned (lines 476-7) as the site of an imaginary wedding. Shortly thereafter, 'Bevis of Southampton' is an invented hero in Contention (909) and the French Queen Margaret is awarded an unhistorical landing at that port in True Tragedy. The real Earl himself had familial as well as religious connections with Shakespeare. Even setting aside the Sonnets, there is some evidence that these ties continued unbroken over the years.

   Thus Cordell or Cordelia Annesley, in 1603, strove to defend her ageing father Brian against her two sisters' charges of lunacy. In Shakespeare's own unwritten Lear that monarch would be mad, though sane in all the sources. 'A helpful case, but one wonders if the poet needed to know any of it to think of Lear's madness' (Honan 1997, 337). But the point is that any close acquaintance of Shakespeare would know of his interest in the subject, dating from his Queen's Company days. He might well have acted in their play (359), first published in 1605, about that old king and his three daughters, one of whom was named Cordella. He had started his own later version c. 1605. Someone who knew him and the Annesleys would have told him their story; and Southampton stood at that crossroads. One of his co-conspirators in the recent Essex rebellion had married Cordell's sister; and his own stepfather Sir William Harvey was a close friend of old Annesley, and later married Cordell herself.

   Even more certainly, The Tempest draws on an unpublished letter dated 15 July 1610 describing a shipwreck on the Bermudas en route for the English colony in Virginia. And the letter writer, in a 1612 book, admiringly names the Earl of Southampton as having financed expeditions to that same colony, which could provide a safe haven for Catholics.

   Shakespeare's own cradle Catholicism can surface unexpectedly. Thus his saucy choice of the Protestant hero and martyr Sir John Oldcastle as the original name for Falstaff was surely partisan (as Fuller said, 586 and 594). So was the devout Helena's repeated references to the shrine of IV.iii.49, 163) at Compostella, though her knowledge of its actual location in north-west Spain seems rather hazy.

   Shakespeare's own beliefs have been much discussed, most recently by Harold Bloom, who ingeniously avers that Richard the Second's self-comparison with Jesus (IV.i.169-70, a trait first noted in the hero of Ironside, 1644-5) though disconcerting is not blasphemous, since 'both are God's anointed'. But most Christians will detect a distinct difference.

   Another recent analyst says that the 'speaker' of the Sonnets, though closely familiar with the Bible, is no Christian (Vendler 1997, 25, 62, 332, 446, 532), and indeed a blasphemer (ibid. 293). However, he is unlikely to have adopted such a persona just to write sonnets; so the rational inference is that he had lost his faith. That would not inhibit his recollection of the Latin liturgy (ibid. 371); and he tells his handsome young friend and patron that 'mine is not a different religion, it's just like yours' (ibid. 445), meaning that the speaker too is steeped in Christian theology,6 which he is now detached enough to represent ironically, almost parodistically, as 'fair, kind and true' (Sonnet 105 passim) in one triune deity, 'a God in love' (Sonnet 110.12).

   Shakespeare paid far less homage to his actual sovereign, who was also his employer, the Protestant Queen Elizabeth the First. Of course any Tudor writer would be expected to hail her as 'our earth's wonder' or the like (Err III.ii.32). There is 'obvious flattery' of the Virgin Queen (Chambers 1930, i, 358) in the allusion to 'a fair vestal throned by the west' (MND II.i.158), though 'withering on the virgin thorn' (I.i.77) sounds like a sharp corrective. But the later passage about being tongue-tied in the presence of royalty (V.i.93f) echoes an actual experience of Elizabeth's.

   The most famous victory of her reign was the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588; and of course Shakespeare plainly alludes to this event, for example in his anachronistic reference (KJ III.iv.1-3) to an 'armado' 'scattered' by a 'roaring tempest on the flood'. As the English knew, the Armada had been thus overcome; the medal struck to commemorate its defeat bore the inscription 'Deus afflavit et dispersi sunt' (God blew and they were scattered). All the other mentions of 'Armado' are equally deliberate; this is Shakespeare's preferred word' as also in Err IIl.iii.137, E31106-7, 1111 and the character Don Armado in LLL passim. That last play was selected for a royal command performance; and it contains yet another obeisance' in its scene of deer-shooting (IV.i.11).

   A constant feature of Elizabeth's reign was religious dissent and the consequent continuous threat of Armada-like attack from Catholics without and the corresponding fear of rebellion among Catholics within. Thus the famous patriotic peroration of King John is directly addressed to a modern Tudor audience, exhorting them to stay true to England, whatever their religious persuasion, even in the face of an invasion from the 'three corners of the world', namely the Catholic powers of the Pope, France and Spain. Shakespeare was well placed to know about divided allegiance, a topic also adumbrated, even more anachronistically, in Ironside 377-80.

   No wonder then that the death of Elizabeth was universally dreaded as the prelude to civil strife and indeed world war; no wonder either that there was national and international relief when her realm of England was peacefully united with Scotland under its reigning sovereign James. So she was 'doubtless' (Chambers 1930, i, 563) the 'mortal moon' of Sonnet 107, in 1603.

   Elizabeth is prayed for, by name, in 2H4 ep. 17; she is posthumously eulogised (H8 V.iv.3f). There is no reason to reject the anecdote (related by Ryan 1825) that when Shakespeare was acting the part of a King she crossed the stage and deliberately dropped a glove, which he duly retrieved with the added lines


'And though now bent on this high embassy

Yet stoop we to take up our Cousin's glove!'


   Incorporating reality into imagination was his specialty; he is recorded as having played 'some Kingly parts' (406); and though no courtier he was by nature courteous. It is irrational (pace Craik 1989 5-6 and Honan l998 223) to dispute that the Queen commissioned The Merry Wives of Windsor to show Sir John in love, just as John Dennis (627) and Nicholas Rowe (632) testified. She would certainly be well placed and perhaps well pleased to appreciate that play's amusing allusions, such as 'cousin garmombles' in the first edition, to her unsuccessful suitor the Count of Mömpelgart (Chambers l930, i, 427-8, 431). The various references to the Garter, an order of chivalry which the Count craved, would not have been lost upon her; and no play with a Fairy Queen could have failed to remind any literate spectator of Spenser's epic tribute to her. The talking-point of the time circumscribed her like a Court Circular. When Shylock is roundly told that his 'currish spirit/governed a wolf...hanged for human slaughter' (MV IV.i.133-4) the audience is surely being invited to infer an allusion to the Jew Lopez (lupus = wolf) who had given the Queen a jewel (which she wore all her life) but was executed in 1594 for an alleged attempt to poison her; cf also 'thronéd queen...jewel...the stern wolf' (Sonnet 96, 5, 6, 9).

   In 1696-7 her theatre director and Lord Chamberlain was William Brooke Cobham, whose personal influence and family pride no doubt required the alteration of Ford's assumed name of Brooke to the inept Broome throughout the Folio text of The Merry Wives. The Cobhams also, as descendants of the historical Sir John Oldcastle, insisted on the change of that first name for Falstaff. However, Shakespeare retracted no syllable of his typical quips and lampoons on Sir Thomas Lucy, to whose malfeasances (again pace Craik 1989, 6-7) much of the first scene of The Merry Wives is devoted; it all derives from boyhood reminiscences of deer-poaching on land claimed by that anti-Catholic witch-finder who died in 1600. Among the Queen's guests of honour in the following year was the Duke Orsino, whose name 'it would be natural for [her company's chief playwright] to remember…and use for his leading character' in Twelfth Night (Mahood 1968, 24).

   Shakespeare may also mention another sovereign, Henri IV, in such obscure phrases as 'saved by merit...heresy in fair, fit for these days...detested crimes' of which 'glory grows guilty for fame's sake, for praise' an outward part' (LLL IV.i.27f). This is interpreted by one editor (Wilson 1969,153) as 'a direct allusion' to that monarch's conversion to Catholicism. Again, the King of France unhistorically hails the ruler of Austria as 'our dearest friend' (AWW I.ii.7), an alliance which was perhaps recalled from an earlier play (KJ II.i.). More certainly,Macbeth was written in homage to Elizabeth's successor King James the Sixth of Scotland, whose over-optimistic practice of affecting to heal scrofula by royal touch is duly commended (IV.iii.141); and James is no doubt the 'well-wished king' of MM II.iv.27.

   There were special reasons for that adulation, as also for the performance and perhaps the composition of A Midsummer Night's Dream 1594, about noble nuptials, to celebrate the second marriage of the Countess of Southampton, mother of Shakespeare's patron, with Sir Thomas Heneage, in 1594. Twelfth Night contains direct references to two other knights, the brothers Sir Anthony and Sir Robert Shirley, and the favours they had received in 1599 from the Shah of Persia, then known as the Sophy; the former was awarded 'a pension of thousands to be paid from the Sophy' (TN II.v.181) and the latter was charged to reform the Persian army, as in effect 'fencer to the Sophy' (ibid. III.iv.279).

   Shakespeare may have intended to pay tribute to the Shirleys' patron the Earl of Essex (who also claimed to have discovered the Lopez poisoning plot mentioned above); and perhaps even to contrast their triumph s with the latter's tragedy. Essex too was a skilled swordsman, who had been placed at the head of a national army by a monarch in need of advice and support. In 1599, the year of the Shirleys' expedition, Shakespeare had incautiously eulogised Essex as 'the general of our gracious empress', i.e. once again Queen Elizabeth (H5 V. pr.30), who had just appointed him to subdue the Irish. Even if he had succeeded in that assignment, his sovereign would not have been as thrilled as her playwright at the prospect of a triumphant Essex marching home again: 'how many would the peaceful city quit/to welcome him', cheered through London by the populace. Before long his adherents were again arranging private performances of Richard II, about a dethroned and assassinated monarch, with whom Elizabeth was openly identified. The guilty successor, Bolingbroke may well have been 'modelled on Essex's public manners' (Harrison 1937, 215, quoting R2 I.iv.23-36). More obliquely, the success of an Essex expedition to Cadiz that had plundered the beached galleon San Andreas is admiringly recalled in Antonio's feigned ownership of the 'wealthy Andrew' (MV I.i.27), a play written at that time. 'Gobbo', as its clown are called, means hunchback in Italian the word was applied in 1596 to an enemy of Essex, 'who can only be the hunchbacked Robert Cecil', Elizabeth's trusted adviser (Chambers 1930, i, 372). But what if that were also Shakespeare's own intention at the time?

   Much earlier, c. 1591, he had written a history play (later published as 1H6) in which the English forces unhistorically besiege Rouen, at the time when Elizabeth's army under Essex was doing exactly that. The admiration thus evidenced would have pleased the Earl of Southampton, who worshipped Essex. Later that fervour would cool, in the shadow of the scaffold. But Essex's story is strikingly paralleled in much of Troilus and Cressida, as no one at the time could have failed to notice (so says the Elizabethan expert G. Harrison 1937, 217f and 347). At the actual time, however, the Essex-Southampton rebellion of 1601 was dismissively called 'the late innovation' (Ham II.ii.233); and one of its immediate consequences – unsurprisingly, in view of the treasonable use made of the treasonable use made of Richard II - was a ban on play performance in London. That reference must be topical and deliberate; Shakespeare had no need to explain why a theatre company was on tour unless he was treating ancient Denmark as an allegory of his own modern England. And this is obviously his intention, since he instantly proceeds to discuss the child actors then engaging the public's attention (Ham II.ii.391). This too would be evident to his Tudor audience. So, therefore, would the references to a protracted struggle for a 'little patch of ground' (Ham IV.iv.18f), which apparently applies to the contemporary siege of Ostend, But only a few intimates would appreciate the amusing allusions to the duties of a sonnet-writing poet-secretary in Edward III (II.i.), or the gracious reception afforded to strolling players by a stage-struck nobleman (Ham II.ii, Shr ind.i., as also in A Shrew).

   Shakespeare famously lacked Latin (RS1 17-19, 82455588594608632) and hence schooling in general. That explains his own description of his own lines as 'unpolisht' in Venus and Adonis and 'untutored' inThe Rape of Lucrece. There are limits to his or anyone's self-abasement, even in addressing a noble patron. His telling the truth entails that the Latin sources of his poetry had been recommended to him by a skilled and experienced mentor. Hence his genuine indebtedness at having his ignorance alleviated (Sonnet 786.14).

   In Titus Andronicus (II.i.135) it is Shakespeare, not Demetrius, who misquotes Seneca's 'per Styga, per aranes igneos amens sequar [through Styx and through the rivers of fire I'll madly follow] as 'per Stygia, per manes vehor' [through the Stygian regions and the realm of shades I'll be borne] (II.i.135). Again, it is Shakespeare who ironically cites (IV.ii.20-­21) Horace from a Tudor primer: 'Integer vitae, sceleris gurus non eget Mauri jaculis nec arcu' [the man who is upright in his life and free from wickedness has no need of the javelins or bow of the Moor]. This distich, turned into a jesting pun on Aaron the Moor, is again spoken by Demetrius and greeted by his brother Chiron with 'O, 'tis a verse in Horace, I know it well, /I read it in the grammar long ago'. All three characters are anything but upright and free from wickedness; and the reference to Lily's Latin Grammar, a textbook which Chiron could never have seen, is a typical anachronism. But Shakespeare had; and perhaps he played the part of Chiron. That name would suit a horseman and archer (Spurgeon 1935, 108-9) who sought the aid of Apollo, which is how the centaur Chiron figures in Ovid's Metamorphoses (ii. 676-7): 'flebat opemque tuam frustra Philyreus herds/Delphice, poscebat' , the heroic son of Philyra called on thee for aid, O lord of Delphi. Who had explained that obscure allusion? Perhaps the same Apollo whose aid Shakespeare had solicited in the epigraph to Venus and Adonis.

   Again, it would be the dramatist, not his character Lavinia, who had construed the Metamorphoses, though it is brought on stage as her property, not his.7 But it was no doubt the book that had forged Shakespeare's persistent and peculiar linkage between horses and fire, as in 'fiery steed(s)' (AWW II.iii.283, R2 V.ii.8, 3H6II.vi.12), 'fiery-footed steeds' (Rom III.ii.1), 'fiery Pegasus' (1H4 IV.i.109), 'fiery race' (Sonnet 51.11); cf also 'fiery horses' (TN II.ii.19) and 'fire-breathing steeds' (EI 1345). These are surely the horses of the sun-god Apollo (Metamorphoses II.119f), which are first seen breathing forth fire, The epithet 'fiery-footed' is also applied' to those same steeds (Rom III.ii.1).

   One of those steeds was called Aethon (Metamorphoses II.152); cf RS1 85, 108. They were being driven by Phaeton, who had taken over the reins of the chariot belonging to his father, the sun-god Apollo. So perhaps there would also be a direct reference to Southampton. That name is specified four times in Henry V (II.pr.30, 35, 42, iii.46), and nine times in Ironside, where its imaginary Earl figures as an impressively brave and stubborn English character and the actual town is twice mentioned, as (lines 476-7) the site of a fictitious wedding. Again, 'Bevis of Southampton' is an invented hero in Contention (909) and the French Queen is awarded an unhistorical landing at that port in True Tragedy

   Other anachronisms include the mention of Cato the Censor in Coriolanus (I.iv.57) some 250 years too early, or of Aristotle in Troilus and Cressida (II.ii.166) some eight centuries before he was born, or of Giulio Romano (d. 1546) in The Winter's Tale, a play set in the pre-Christian era. Similarly the Bastard in King John is taken fromTroublesome Reign, not from actuality, while Arthur is made much younger (KJ IV.ii.100 etc.), and Audley much older (E3 1446, 1609) than their real-life counterparts. Even whereabouts are feigned; thus Arthur was never taken to England, pace KJ IV.i., nor was King David of Scotland ever brought to France, pace E3 1796, 2415, 2599 and H5 I.ii.162).

   Some of these solecisms have become famous; thus clocks strike in JC II.i.192, and also in Cym V.v.153, and a game of billiards is proposed (Ant II.v.3) long before either had been invented. But the practice is ubiquitous. Whole scenes are shipped back home: thus in Cor II.i., set in ancient Rome, Shakespeare 'draws extensively on his knowledge and observation of London life'. The houses and buildings described are wholly English, the crowd is a London crowd, and the tribunes are depicted as self-important City magistrates' (Hibbard 1967, 206). The anomalies occupy time as well as space; thus Tudor Londoners were likely to be far more familiar with Fish Street (2H6 IV.viii.1) than Jack Cade was in the mid-15th century; only the latent pun on cade of herring links the two. It has been said (Boyce 1990, 135) that Coriolanus's metaphor for treachery, 'he'll turn your current in a ditch/and make your channel his' (III.i.95-6) may relate to a well-known English canal construction scheme in 1609.

   However this may be, the pattern is consistent; Shakespeare observes no rules save those of the unity he shares with his late Tudor or early Stuart public. That dye colours the fabric of all his works; the following examples relate solely to a small selection of such subjects (card-games, coins, diseases, dress, law, politics and religion, songs, the stage, tapestries and weapons).

   The games that included 'cutting cards' (EI 616) were surely Tudor pastimes unknown in the eleventh century; so 'the cooling card' (1H6 V.iii.84, as also in Troublesome Reign 814, King Leir 938 and The True Tragedy of Richard III 745), may well be analogously anachronistic. So may the daunting 'card of ten' supposedly played out in Padua (Shr II.i.406). The Dutch doit, worth half an English farthing, would not have been legal tender in ancient Rome or olden times pace Cor IV.iv.17., V.iv.517, Tim I.i.212, Per IV.ii.51. Similarly, the more valuable Dutch or German guilder was not current in Latin lands, pace Err I.i.8, IV.i.4. All Shakespeare's many references to the scourge of syphilis or 'French disease', the AIDS of its day (MM I.ii.33-4, 38-9, 43, 51) relate to the names, symptoms and remedies used in his own times, such as 'Neapolitan bone-ache' or 'incurable bone-ache' (TroII.iii.19, V.i.22) or 'the dryness of his bones' (Ant I.iv.27) or the hair loss of a 'French crown' (AWW II.ii.22) or the collapse of the nasal septum (EI 688-9), with treatment by 'the powd'ring-tub of infamy' (H5 II.i.75). Similarly all Shakespeare's limitless bawdry, about which whole books have been written (Partridge 1947) is preoccupied with his own times and its terms, which everyone knew. Contemporary dramatists were notoriously vulnerable to the pox; Greene and Peele both died of it. Shakespeare himself fears, or indeed knows, that his married mistress, the Dark Lady of the Sonnets, his 'bad angel', is suffering from a venereal disease (Sonnet 144.14). One of the best-known anecdotes about him (306) tells of his encounter with a prostitute. His plays are replete with references, whether frank or guarded, to sexuality; hence Bowdler's 'Family Shakespeare' in 1818 and school editions now. But other authors of the time exhibit no such characteristics in such frequency; only Shakespeare writes thus.

   But he habitually describes everything in terms of his own preoccupations and perceptions. He sees hats, for example, everywhere he looks, especially in inclement weather; but hats were not much favoured in ancient Rome, pace Cor II.iii.99, 167. Again, doublets had been worn from the 14th century, but not in Roman times,pace Martius (Cor I.v.6, where the hangmen are also Jacobean or Elizabethan, or JC I.ii.265).

   Again, many legal allusions are anachronistic; thus the Tudor court of the Star Chamber appears in Edward III(990) and the contemporary court of 'equity' as distinct from law in Ironside. Even a Danish gravedigger displays familiarity with the Canterbury case of Hales v. Pettit heard in 1560 and recorded as Trinity Term, 3 Eliz. Rot. 921 (Ham V.i.10-20). Similarly the words and music of the gravediggers' songs (ibid. V.i.61f), and Ophelia's (IV.v), and many others, also stemmed from English sources, whatever the setting of the play.

   The divided allegiances of Tudor England, with its separately aligned factions of Catholic and Protestant, are famously found in plays set long before that era, as images of self-wounding (KJ V.vii.11, R2 II.i.65-6, EI 379-80). And it is surely Shakespeare the English actor in London, rather than Hamlet the Danish prince in Elsinore, who has had the more cause to complain about jigs and clowns (II.ii.500, III.ii.39); cf also 2H6 III.i.356-65, IV.vii.18-122 (Honan 1998, 121). Again according to Honan (ibid. 22), the Rape of Lucrece couplet 'whofears a sentence or an old man's saw/shall by a painted cloth be kept in awe' embodied a recollection of wall-hangings, depicting biblical or classical scenes, found in the Wilmcote home of Shakespeare's grandfather Arden. The same poem, more famously, describes (1366f) a painting of the flight of Aeneas from burning Troy, as in the tapestry that still adorns Rufford Old Hall in Lancashire.

   Finally, Shakespeare's weapons mostly seem to derive from some Tudor arsenal. Thus Demetrius could hardly have imported the non-existent French rapier (Titus II.i.54, IV.ii.85), as he calls it; similarly cannon‑shot frequently precedes the European use of gunpowder (KJ I.i.26, II.i.210, 251, etc.)

   Some of the many local or topical allusions are now lost to (though they were then not lost on) the audience. Thus 'Mistress Mall's picture' was rightly described as 'like to take dust' (TN I.iii.127); it is now unrecognizable. And who was 'the lady of the Strachy', who 'married the yeoman of the wardrobe' (TN II.v.40)? Neither can now be identified.

   What was once known is forgotten. But this confirms that Shakespeare always aimed at immediacy, though he sometimes missed the mark. Though surely well aware of his own anachronisms, he remained entirely untroubled by them. He was for all time because he was for his own age; an intensity so fierce that it illuminates the foreseeable future. He remains real because he spoke so truthfully of, from and for his own experience, in his own person. That touch of nature suffuses his work throughout its various aspects and genres, whether comedy, history or tragedy, poetry or prose.

   This view may be rejected as 'Romantic'; but such labels merely obscure the container instead of analysing the contents. That analysis proves the paramount importance of the Earl of Southampton for Shakespeare' work, for much longer than and at a far deeper level than it is usually conceded. That interrelation will be a main theme of this book.



1The first four mean respectively ball of thread, nozze, wedge (dialect form of quine or quoin) and spout (OED 4); joints are snug (a sense antedating OEDAld by some three centuries) and Tudor tailors wee proverbially lean and slight. Cf. also Stitch the cobbler in Ironside


2and perhaps musicians too; thus the Folio Ado mentions one Wilson.

3 In that year, Marlowe's translation of Ovid'sAmores had been banned and burned by archiepiscopal edict; the same passage of As You Like It, written at about the same time, also mentions Ovid, a familiar Shakespearean theme


4 Hence 'dead shepherd', as cited above.


In The Passionate Pilgrim, 1599 (270). That mistake would be easy to make if the publisher had seen a performance of The Merry Wives; or if a manuscript miscellany in Shakespeare's writing, including poems by others that he had copied out for his own pleasure, had come into a publisher's hands, perhaps in all good faith. Why assume dishonesty?


like Southampton: a 'very large proportion' of the books he donated to the library of his Cambridge college, St. John's, are 'folios of theological controvery' (Wallis 1954-8, 226).


7 See 609. The Bodleian copy, attributed to and putatively signed by Shakespeare is discussed and reproduced in Schoenbaum 1981, 100-1; nobody else has published anything about it for the last eighty years.