February 10, 2012


Man, nothing's darker than Shakespeare in a foul mood.  From Pericles, Act IV:

Pandar.  Boult!

Boult.  Sir?

Pandar.  Search the market narrowly; Mytilene is full of gallants. We lost too much money this mart by being too wenchless.

Bawd.  We were never so much out of creatures. We have but poor three, and they can do no more than they can do; and they with continual action are even as good as rotten.

Pandar.  Therefore let's have fresh ones, whate'er we pay for them. If there be not a conscience to be used in every trade, we shall never prosper....

Bawd.  Thou sayest true: 'tis not our bringing up of poor bastards,—as, I think, I have brought up some eleven—

Boult.  Ay, to eleven; and brought them down again. But shall I search the market?

Bawd.  What else, man? The stuff we have, a strong wind will blow it to pieces, they are so pitifully sodden.

Pandar.  Thou sayest true; they're too unwholesome, o' conscience. The poor Transylvanian is dead, that lay with the little baggage.

Boult.  Ay, she quickly pooped him; she made him roast-meat for worms. But I'll go search the market.

The 'bastards' are likely the illegitimate children of the brothel.  'Little baggage' are prostitutes.  'Pooped' = defeated or overcame in this context, probably means she gave him syphilis.  What a Transylvanian is doing in London, er Mytilene, I have no idea.

Oh, this is comedy, by the way, child prostitution and social diseases played for laughs.  It was a hit in its day.

Some notes on the brothel scenes here.  Nicholl argues, brilliantly, that the virgin Marina who falls in with these monsters is based on the French bride in the lawsuit, who had to move into a bawdy house following a dispute with her father.  Since the guy running that bawdy house wrote the first two acts of Pericles, it's not a stretch.  Her name was Maria.


Blogger Laird of Madrona said...

Shakespeare is awesome.

February 10, 2012 at 9:22 AM  
Blogger The Other Front said...

I've looked for an opportunity to use my favorite Shakespearian insult:

Thou crusty bunch of nature!

But I think most of my friends would take it as a compliment.

February 10, 2012 at 3:51 PM  

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