News Flash: Shakespeare’s Bawdy. (No kidding.)

We interrupt our usually scheduled entry on Hamlet for this breaking news:

Shakespeare has some bawdy stuff in it… and more than we realized just a few months ago.

Live Science ran a piece yesterday on how researchers have found another piece of bawdy embedded in Love’s Labor’s Lost.

Digital facsimile of the Bodleian First Folio of Shakespeare's plays, Arch. G c.7 URL: http://firstfolio.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/book.html
Digital facsimile of the Bodleian First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays, Arch. G c.7
URL: http://firstfolio.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/book.html

Turns out that a single word “Concolinel” (what the character Moth says/sings in response to Armado’s request for his servant to “warble”) is not some fragment of a lost Shakespearean lyric, but rather a reference to “Quand Colinet” a bawdy French song of the day, one about a certain part of the male anatomy being “too soft and too small.” And this would be perfect for the Fool-ish Moth to sing to the foolish Armado.

L’ancienne chanson populaire en France (16e et 17e siècle) avec préface et … By Jean-Baptiste Weckerlin [https://books.google.com/books?id=sCVftPARY84C&pg=PA407&img=1&zoom=3&hl=en&sig=ACfU3U1pH1QBeWrDv9bpwl71GTF8Ik0p0w&ci=152%2C314%2C596%2C1034&edge=0]
It’s like an episode of “Two Broke Girls” (a sitcom with no problem bringing the bawdy) having “Baby Got Back” tossed in. (Not exactly, but you get my drift.)

And given Love’s Labor’s Lost already has one of the “greasiest” bawdy sections in all of Shakespeare, finding a dirty French ditty in it does not surprise me in the least.

If you’re wondering why I reference Live Science but do not link to it, well… Live Science got their info (but did not, from what I could tell, actually CITE it) from an article in the latest issue of Shakespeare Quarterly, entitled “‘Concolinel’: Moth’s Lost Song Recovered?” by Ross W. Duffin.

Tomorrow, back to Hamlet

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