The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #59418 Message #1813096
Posted By: Amos
18-Aug-06 - 01:21 PM
Thread Name: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
Subject: RE: BS: The Mother of all BS threads
An essay from a crypto-cryptographer:
..."The exact form of the inscription on Shakespeare's gravestone, which lies flat on the floor in Holy Trinity Church in Stratford, has been the subject of some controversy.
In 1656 Sir William Dugdale published The Antiquities of Warwickshire ; included was an engraving showing the lettering on the stone as he, or someone in his employ, had recorded it:
Good freind for Iesus sake forbeare
To digg the dust inclosed here
Blest be the man that spares these stones
And curst be he that moues my bones
The poem itself is a source of embarrassment to most conventional scholars because, according to an ancient rumor often granted credence by literary historians, it was authored by the Bard himself. This verse can only be characterized as four lines of doggerel ostensibly composed to cast a mighty curse on sextons tempted to disturb his sacred remains. The poet has been excused for this vulgarity in the footnotes of knowing writers; they advise us that within this church, behind a door just to the left of his monument , was a vast charnel-house to which the bones of slumbering forgettables were often hastily removed.
The verse on Shakespeare's grave marker has been curiously provocative. M. H. Spielmann, writing in the Studies ( supra ), tells us that there was agitation in the 1880's to exhume the poet's body. By then much doubt had been cast upon the image depicted by Droeshout in the First Folio engraving and the art critics wanted to find out what the poet really looked like. "And yet," wrote Spielmann sympathetically, "the proposal was not by any means a novel one." King Edward I, Schiller, Charles I and others had all been disinterred and found to be in a fine state of preservation, especially when the soil was damp as it is around Stratford. But because of the curse on "He that moves my bones," willing sextons were impossible to find. Then someone suggested, ingeniously, that women should undertake the task, but still no volunteers came forward. In this Stratford church wives were often buried with their husbands but Shakespeare's daughters feared the imprecation and buried their mother a respectful distance away."