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Bardolatry in the Bud

martes, 15 de octubre de 2013

Bardolatry in the Bud

John Weever tiene la distinción de ser el primer autor que dedicó una obra a Shakespeare, sea crítica o artística, que las dos cosas es este soneto publicado en 1599, cuando Shakespeare era aún un novedoso autor de 35 años. Lo más interesante es que muestra hasta qué punto la bardolatría o veneración a Shakespeare se remonta hasta la década de 1590... la década misma en que se ganó la fama—pues la primera referencia a Shakespeare como autor de nada es de 1592. Las obras a que se refiere el soneto son de los años 1593-94, y el soneto bien podría ser anterior a la fecha de publicación, de mediados de los 90; no deja de recordar al primer diálogo de Romeo y de Julieta la analogía erótica entre el amor de los lectores a Shakespeare y el de los devotos a los santos. Considerémoslo, pues, como el documento inaugural de la Bardolatría. El texto y las notas vienen del Norton Shakespeare editado por Stephen Greenblatt.

[This sonnet, which follows the "Shakespearean" rhyme scheme, was published in a collection entitled Epigrammes in the oldest Cut, and newest Fashion. Like many of the other references to Shakespeare's writings in this period, Weever's poem pays less attention to the plays than the narrative poems, which were of higher literary status and (to judge, for example, from the Parnassus plays) popular among young men of fashion. Weever (1576-1632) was himself a student at Cambridge not long before this poem was published. The text is from [E. K. Chambers, William Shakespeare: A Study of Facts and Problems. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1930], vol. 2]. 

Ad Gulielmum Shakespeare.

Honie-tongued Shakespeare when I saw thine issue
I swore Apollo got them (1) and none other,
Their rosie-tainted features cloth'd in tissue, (2)
Some heaven born goddesse said to be their mother:
Rose-checkt (3) Adonis with his amber tresses,
Faire fire-hot Venus charming him to love her,
Chaste Lucretia virgine-like her dresses,
Prowd lust-stung Tarquine seeking still to prove (4) her:
Romea Richard; more whose names I know not,
Their sugred tongues, and power attractive beuty
Say they are Saints althogh that Sts they shew not
For thousands vowes to them subjective dutie: (5)
They burn in love thy children Shakespeare het them,
Go, wo thy muse more Nymphish brood beget them. (6)

1. when . . . them: Shakespeare's poetic productions ("issue") are so perfect they seem to have been created (begotten) by the patron of poets, Apollo, himself. The identification of Shakespeare's muse as goddess (line 4) or nymph (line 14) continues the trope of divine inspiration.

2. Rich fabric. tainted: tinted.

3. Cheeked.

4. Attempt.

5. Their . . . dutie: Shakespeare's characters are so compelling that they have elicited the devotion ordinarily given to saints. Their actions may not be saintly ("Sts they show not"), but "thousands" have given to them the devotion a subject gives a sovereign.

6. They burn . . . them: the antecedent for "they" is "thousands" in line 12; with modern spelling and punctuation, the couplet might read: "They burn in love; thy children, Shakespeare, het [heated] them. / Go woo thy muse, more nymphish brood beget them."

To the Memory of Shakespeare

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