[from the siggimus glory days of editoring bog bulletin, a widely known & hugely popular magazine published in the english department of the university of iceland]
Extra! Extra! Read all about it!
As usual, there has to be an editorial, and in fact, as We have been browsing through old BB’s of this winter, they seem to stand out, as the best things about them (the BB’s). Well, this one is out fairly close to the last one, but there are reasons: First of all, there is of course the NYHT; Second, there is a new mammoth discovery, which might change the way people look at literature, especially Shakespeare.
You are in luck, in fact in great luck, as We, the siggi, the underwritten, etc., was in the forefront of the research done on a sonnet that was recently discovered in a barn on a farm in the vicinity of the hamlet of Stratford-on-Avon. It came to pass that the farmers, the brothers Titus and Ronicus, and their sister, Cymbeline decided to renovate their barn, which will not come as a surprise, as it was almost unchanged from the day it was actualized, which is believed to be around April 23, ca. 1564. Well, they decided to renovate, and in the midst of said renovation, on April 23 to be exact, 1994, they discover, in a haystack which seems to have stood untouched for a few centuries, a yellow, faded and worn scroll of papyrus that contains a sonnet, later proven to be one of Shakespeare’s.
This has been confirmed by specialists in handwriting, who say that it matches Shakespeare’s to a dot and a doodle. Even the ink is of the kind found in all his diaries, and the papyrus also matches. Thanks to modern technology, and a few psychics who have yet to be proven hustlers, it dates from April 23, 1580, which happens to be Shakespeare’s sixteenth birthday. As mentioned before, this throws a new light on Shakespeare, and his already dubious sexual preferences. We at BB’s headquarters were so incredibly fortunate as to be in the forefront of the research done on this monumental find, and are considering renaming BogBull “Shakespeare Studies,” but that of course depends on how much time We have to do more studies on this genius of all times, and of equivocal sexual preferences.
In addition to Us geniuses, here at BB hq, We of course have our beloved Shakespeare specialist, Martin Regal, close at hand, and have had the good favour of his invaluable assistance in our research.
I think you best hold on to something, or have a comfortable seat, or both, afore you read this long lost sonnet, and I fear that I have to warn you beforehand that this gives us yet another and new perspective of Shakespeare’s sexual preferences. Besides the already known interest in the genus of homo sapiens, of any gender whatsoever, it seems he, at least in his youth, had a liking for the genus of ruminant mammals. It will be interesting to observe the impact this recent discovery will have on the world of literature, and Shakespeare fanclubs. Following are short, learnéd pieces by two acknowledged Shakespeare specialists; one Martin Regal, who is currently working on a book on the old master; and Helgi Hálfdánar, who actually thinks he is Shakespeare. Well, here goes, and I hope all you fans out there are firmly seated:
Lambkins -the sonnet:
As Phoebus fair thine eyes appear to me,
The galaxy grows dark whene’er they close.
Bouquet of reddest rose seems pale to be
At thy lush lips. I say, who need’st a rose?
Thy hallow mounts of breasts I do declare,
Are pure and white as snow that doth not melt.
Of hair hast thou enough, ‘tis as, I say dare;
The golden fleece, no better have I felt.
How thine aromatic exhalations,
Sweeter than the purest perfume’s scenting,
As thou utter’st musical exclamations,
Floating as a Naiad o’er th’earth, quothing:
Baa, baa, baa, baa, baa, baa, baa, baa, baa, baa.
Baa, baa, baa, baa, baa, baa, baa, baa, baa, baa.
-William F. Shakespeare
Shakespeare the youth (this has all the signs of a beginner, the rhythm is not up to Shakespeare’s standards later on) has here obviously borrowed a wee bit from Edmund Spenser’s “Lambekins”:
How I doe Love thy sweete breathe!
Your dayntye pale Snoute.
Thy poyntye, harde Hornes
Betwixt thine softe Eares
Youre woollene complecksione!
We all know of Spenser’s fondness for shepherds and their profession, but this is ridiculous! Besides all the connotations it adds to the phrase pastoral poetry…
Martin Regal’s comments:
The preoccupations of the Bard are echoed in every sound, every word, every phrase of this newly-discovered sonnet. Clearly what Shakespeare is attempting to say here is that his ‘beloved’ is like a blind sheep. This theme, as most of you know, runs all the way through the major tragedies from Titus Andronicus to Timon of Athens, reaching its highest expression in Macbeth (cf. “Macbeth hath murdered sheep”), but here Shakespeare provides a fascinating new perspective on that theme by combining the concept of blind love with metamorphosis. Moreover, by imagining his ‘beloved’ as a sheep (that is, as Ovine) and internalising the transition between sheep and human, Shakespeare is obviously alluding to a poet who had a major influence on him, namely Ovid. I would not agree with the the editor (siggi, editor’s note) as to the influence of Spenser. Both poems seem to me to originate from the same source: a little known work entitled “Oh, Pointy, Pointy Bird.”
But how does the sonnet work? The carefully balanced octet is descriptive, establishing a metaphorical analogy between the species and the individual. Whether the ‘beloved’ is a man or a woman is difficult to assess, although the “hallow mounts of breasts” would certainly indicate a female sheep. The brilliant sestet seems as if it is about to continue this metaphorical analogy and then abruptly changes into a sophisticated onomatopoeic display that deftly reifies the concept of ‘sheepness’. One last point and one that has, perhaps, escaped the editor’s (siggi, editor’s note) notice. The controversy over Mr. W.H. is finally settled by the discovery of this sonnet. Who else could Shakespeare be referring to if not Mr (Ms). Woolly Highland?
Helgi W.S. Hálfdánar’s comments:
“This is nothing but a crummy forgery!! I most certainly… er… Shakespeare positively did not write this!! This is merely a cheap plot of the editor’s (siggi, editors note) to achieve renown in the world of literature!! I shall see to it that this man (siggi, editors note) shall never work in this town again!! Slandering my venerable name like that (by now, he was blue in the face, with anger) is not something I will sit idly by and watch!! I’ll do you for heresy!!” Now the poor man fell to the floor, convulsing and foaming at the mouth…
siggi’s comments on their comments:
Firstly, I would like to thank Martin ‘too sexy’ Regal for the time he has put into this, and let you know that were it not for his help, there would be a lot less learnéd material on the sonnet. As for the point that I did not notice the “Oh, Pointy, Pointy Bird” reference, there is a simple reason: I missed his course last spring on ‘Warm-blooded egg-laying vertebrate, characterized by a body covering of feathers and forelimbs modified as wings in the poetry of the late 1490’s’, unfortunately. So, not having done this essential course, I had not read said poem. My loss. And for the discovery of the reference to the mysterious W.H., it takes more than a genius of my stature, it takes a genius of Martin’s stature.
Needless to say, both of these points will be mentioned in the article I am working on for Shakespeare Studies, and Martin given due credit. And should more of you wish to contribute to my researches, you can either give me your ideas while groping and fondling me (Freudian slip of the keyboard) in the halls of Aragata, or mail it to me on e-mail. Address: [a long gone e-mail address has been removed from here, publisher’s note]
Note: the address is not meant only for this purpose, any material can be submitted thus.
As for Helgi W.S. Hálfdánar, well RIP…
A wee look at The Harvard(?)Concordance to Shakespeare (the really big, heavy book downstairs with his warped picture on the front page) will prove my (siggi, editor’s note( and Martin Regal’s opinion that the Bard was all his life obsessed with this theme of the ruminant mammals, and his love for them. Mr. Hálfdánar will soon find himself alone with his old-fashioned idea that Shakespeare was God. What is to be expected from the man who claims that the hitherto, thanks to martin only hitherto and not henceforth, mysterious W.H. person is Welgi Hálfdánar? Well, enough about that, you shall find two or three photocopied bits on the sheep and lambs sections at the back of this issue. If we take for instance a quote from Henry IV, part two: “sir John, thy tender lambkin now is king;” Shakespeare’s obsession with sheep and being dominated by them shines through, like the sun through a glassless window. As Freud would have said: ‘Ze Bard eez obviouzly trying to repress heez affektions for ze zpecies, but zey all kom out een heez zlips of ze pen-iz.’ I (siggi, editor’s note) couldn’t have phrased it better myself.
a hand in this publication had the following:
-siggi, BOGed, poet, author, literary critic, philosopher, (of world stature in all of the above).