ShakeDic: quean

June 13th, 2017 → 5:57 am

“‘Tis strange.  A threepence bowed would hire me,
Old as I am, to queen it.”  – Henry VIII

So Shakespeare didn’t actually write the word “quean” here -Â meaning a prostitute or an ill-behaved girl – but my Shakespeare text (David Bevington, 4th edition) notes that speakers of this passage would imply “quean” where “queen” is written, in a kind of wink-wink to the audience.  (“bowed” could also be pronounced as “bawd”).  Now I’m wondering how many other times in Shakespeare when I see the word “queen,” might an actor pronounce it to imply prostitute!
(I’m also thinking how sad it is there is no parallel for “king.”)

Filed under: Blog & Other

ShakeDic: vainglory

June 9th, 2017 → 2:51 pm

“Have I lived thus long…
A woman, I dare say without vainglory…”  – Henry VIII

vainglory – inordinate pride in oneself or one’s achievements; excessive vanity

I love this word – so many gems out there that have gone out of use!  Too bad!  I can think of at least one orange-haired dude to whom this word could be applied every single day.

Filed under: Blog & Politics/Politicians & Stupid/Evil People

One Love Manchester

June 5th, 2017 → 10:44 am

“Once I sat upon a promontory,
And heard a mermaid, on a dolphin’s back,
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath,
That the rude sea grew civil at her song,
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres,
To hear the sea maid’s music.”  – A Midsummer Night’s Dream

A shout out to Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, Liam Gallagher, and all the other musicians (and fans!) who came out for One Love Manchester.  The terrorists will never win.

Filed under: Blog & Literature/Theatre/Art

Back to Work

May 31st, 2017 → 5:35 am

“My nature is subdued
To what it works in, like the dyer’s hand.”  – Sonnet 111

I’m back from a brief family vacation.  Trying to get back into work again.  I sat at my desk all day yesterday subdued…quiet…pensive, like the professor I am.

Filed under: Blog & Self/My Life

Trump & Wolsey

May 18th, 2017 → 5:25 am

“He was a man
Of an unbounded stomach, ever ranking
Himself with princes; one that by suggestion
Tied all the kingdom.  Simony was fair play.
His own opinion was his law.  I’ the presence
He would say untruths, and be ever double
Both in his words and meaning.  He was never,
But where he meant to ruin, pitiful.
His promises were, as he then was, mighty;
But his performance, as he is now, nothing.”  – Henry VIII

In this passage Katherine of Arragon is describing Cardinal Wolsey after his fall.  It is impressive the similarities to Donald Trump.  Both men were fat (“unbounded stomach”), egotistical (“ranking himself with princes”), chaotic (“tied all the kingdom”), corrupt (“simony was fair play”), narcissistic (“his own opinion was his law”), prone to lying (“he would say untruths”), pitiful (“pitiful”), and eventually, nothing (“his performance, as he is now, nothing”).  I only wonder what will be Donald Trump’s end.

Filed under: Blog & Politics/Politicians & Stupid/Evil People


May 14th, 2017 → 5:56 am

“Do you know me, Father?
Do you not know me, Father?
It is a wise father that knows his own child.”  – The Merchant of Venice

The next two weeks are family time.  In-laws come to visit, then a quick trip to Legoland with a six year old.  We’ll see who knows who by the end of it…

Filed under: Blog & Self/My Life

Teachers’ Day

May 10th, 2017 → 5:47 am

“I can easier teach twenty what were good to be done
than be one of the twenty to follow mine own teaching.”  – The Merchant of Venice

Apparently yesterday was national teacher’s appreciation day, or Teachers’ Day.  I didn’t realize this until a student reached out to me to thank me.  I’m always so humbled by that.  Especially as it is easier to be the teacher, than the student sometimes.  Shakespeare clearly understood that.

Filed under: Blog & Other

Singular or Plural?

May 6th, 2017 → 5:29 am

“These news are everywhere; every tongue speaks ’em.” – Henry VIII

Apparently in the 16th century ‘news’ was considered a plural noun.  Today, it is “singular in construction.”  When did that happen?  I often forget whether ‘data’ is considered singular or plural.  Politics?  Economics?  They can be both.  It’s exhausting, this protean nature of language!

Filed under: Blog & Literature/Theatre/Art


May 2nd, 2017 → 5:28 am

“To climb steep hills
Requires slow pace at first.”  – Henry VIII

I wasn’t familiar with this pithy aphorism before reading it in Shakespeare the other day.  (Warning, I’m currently re-reading Henry VIII, so I’ll likely be quoting it a lot in the next few weeks.)  It is true, though:  to get something big done, pace yourself.

Filed under: Blog & Other

ShakeDic: niggard

April 28th, 2017 → 5:08 am

“…the devil is a niggard.”  – Henry VIII

If you type “niggard” into Google, it auto-corrects into “niggardly,” neither word of which has anything to do with blackamoores (the primary term for Blacks in Tudor England).  It means, simply, a stingy person.

Filed under: Blog & Literature/Theatre/Art