Sunday 10 June 2012

Haywood Confusing Garth for Harvey and Juvenal

Over the last couple of weeks I have been editing the text of Marriage A-la-Mode: An Humorous Tale (1746; Foxon M110; ESTC: t61540) for my eighteenth-century unit ATS3487 "Mayhem and Madness in the Age of Reason: English Literature 1698-1798."

The poem—"in Six Cantos in Hudibrastic Verse"—is the only poetic gloss of one of Hogarth's series to have been reprinted in the last century. It appears as an appendix in Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, Hogarth on High Life, trans. Arthur S. Wensinger with W. B. Coley (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1970), 131–47. I scanned it, proofed the OCR text, and am now adding a few extra glosses to those supplied by W. B. Coley.

Reading through the text I was struck by a few quotes that I recognised as Haywood's favourites. The first is this one (Canto 6, ll.21–24):

"On Wings immortal Scandals fly,
Whilst good Deeds are but born and die:”
Says Garth: — By This ’twas plainly shewn,
For soon ’twas spread thro’ all the Town

Coley notes "Not located" before explaining who Sir Samuel Garth was.

* * * * *

A bit of digging online (this is the sort of thing the internet was made for from an editing point of view) turned up something interesting. Garth did not write these words, but Haywood quotes them at least twice, and on one occasion, attributed them to Garth. In Ab.64 Epistle for the Ladies (1748; Epistle 112, "From Cleora to Ardelia, on the Wickedness of Scandal") Haywood writes

I replied, that I had always observed the left Hand Trumpet of Fame was more sonorous than the Right; that the fatal Blast, once sounded, reached through every Quarter, and with repeated Echoes, silences the softest Notes of Gentleness and Humanity.—As one of the best of our English Poets justly expresses it:

On Eagles Wings immortal Scandals fly,
While virtuous Actions are but born, and die.

Haywood had quoted, and named, "one of the best of our English Poets" twenty-four years earlier in Ab.18 Bath-Intrigues (1724), 18:

how fond is every one of censuring and condemning her! Which admirably well verifies what the late inimitable Doctor Garth says in his Dispensary on that Occasion:

On Eagles Wings immortal Scandals fly,
While virtuous Actions are but born and die.

Interestingly, the motto on the title-page to Bath-Intrigues, also attributed to Garth, reads:

There is a Lust in Man, no Awe can tame,
Of loudly publishing his Neighbour’s Shame.

The two quotes go together, and both of them are from Stephen Harvey's translation of Juvenal, specifically "The Ninth Satyr of Juvenal" in The Satires of Decimus Junius Juvenalis. Translated into English Verse … By Mr. Dryden and Several other Eminent Hands (London: J. Tonson, 1693), p.184, ll.193–96. (Online here.)

So, the attribution to Sir Samuel Garth is an error. It is not clear whether Haywood was alerted to the fact that it was an error but the whole quote (ll.193–96) appears as the motto to third volume of the Dublin editions of her Female Spectator. In Ab.60.3 and Ab.60.4, the first and "third" Dublin editions, the text reads:

There is a Lust in Man no Charm can tame,
Of loudly publishing his Neighbour’s Shame:
On Eagles Wings immortal Scandals fly,
While virtuous Actions are but born to die.
Harv. Juv.

* * * * *

So, here's the thing. No one else seems to have made Haywood's 1724 mistake of attributing a chunk of Harvey's translation of Juvenal's Ninth Satire to Garth. So, either the anonymous author of Marriage A-la-Mode: An Humorous Tale made the same mistake (coincidence) or they were indebted to Haywood's Bath-Intrigues for the quote.

Of course, there is a third possibility—common authorship—but that is a long bow, and not even my enthusiasm for The Hunger Games will make me pick it up. It can stay in the cornucopia while I run for the hills.

* * * * *

BTW: in the Pickering & Chatto edition of Ab.64 Epistle for the Ladies, edited by Alexander Pettit and Christine Blouch, the verse is not identified. The relevant footnote reads:

The lines are prefaced to Richardson Pack, "To Mr. Addison, Occasioned by the News of the Victory" (1719), where they are credited to "Dryd. Juv." They do not, however, appear in Dryden's translations of Juvenal or, evidently, elsewhere in Dryden's work.

The Pickering & Chatto edition was published in 2000, back in the before time, the long-long-ago. When the internet was young and you had to read whole books to find a quote, or miss one, as the case may be. Oh how far we have come in only a decade …

Saturday 9 June 2012

When Shall We Three Meet Again?

As you can see in the pictures above and below, this phrase "When Will We Three Meet Again?" or "When Will We 3 Meet Again?" was some kind of meme from about 1890 to 1910.

The reference is to the first lines of Shakespeare's "Macbeth" (i.e., Act 1, Sc. 1, ll.1–5), spoken by the three witches (full scene at the end of this post):

"When shall we three meet again?
In thunder, lightning, or in rain?"
"When the hurlyburly's done,
When the battle's lost and won."
"That will be ere the set of sun."

Presumably the answer to this quote-question is "soon" or "when the job is done" or "after the battle" (for a soldier I guess).

But what has me puzzled is why is there always a donkey/mule/ass in the picture? Any suggestions?

(And FWIIW, I am not the only person puzzled!)


* * * * *

{Thunder and lightning. Enter three WITCHES.}

First Witch
  When shall we three meet again?
  In thunder, lightning, or in rain?

Second Witch
  When the hurlyburly's done,
  When the battle's lost and won.

Third Witch
  That will be ere the set of sun.

First Witch
  Where the place?

Second Witch
  Upon the heath.

Third Witch
  There to meet with Macbeth.

First Witch
  I come, Graymalkin!

Second Witch
  Paddock calls.

Third Witch

  Fair is foul, and foul is fair:
  Hover through the fog and filthy air.


* * * * *

A colleague at Monash writes:

"I think it's a comic insult: the general form seems to be that two donkeys invite the reader to join them, thus implying that the reader is also a donkey. As a catchphrase it might have originated in one of the many travesties of Macbeth that were so unaccountably popular in the C19."

Terry L. Meyers writes:

“The third donkey, as your collegue suggests, is surely the reader—and he has found an excellent example of a postcard which has a reflective panel in it, which makes this very clear.

Terry has also found a reference to this meme from 1868 in a journal/annual called The Child’s Friend

If we look into a photograph shop window we are sure to see somewhere a picture of two poor donkeys, and underneath we read the startling question, ‘When shall we three meet again?’ What a take-in, is it not? What does it mean—that we are to be ashamed of being like a donkey? Why do people say ‘What a donkey you are!’ when you have done some very stupid thing? Because donkeys are supposed to be stupid. I will tell you a little about our four-footed friends, and then you can judge for yourself about poor Neddy and his vices.


Let us remember that to give poor Neddy kind words and good treatment is to help him up in the world, and that the sooner he is helped up the sooner we shall cease to think of him as all that is stubborn and stupid, and the sooner we shall lose the reason for minding the old saying—‘When shall we three meet again?’

[Cousin Louise, “The Donkey,” The Child’s Friend 4 (1868): 41–42.]

Of course, this doesn't really answer the question of why the question asked by Shakespeare's first witches involves donkeys, but if this meme was "old" in 1868 it does suggest the answer lies earlier in the nineteenth century than I thought.

MORE UPDATES! Clare G. and Ken R. have come to my rescue. Both point out that there is a reference to the "We Three" joke in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. So, a lot earlier than the nineteenth century! As Clare explained, there is a reference to it Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable:

We three. "Did you never see the picture of We Three?" asks Sir Andrew Aguecheek (Shakespeare: Twelfth Night, II, iii) – not meaning himself, Sir Toby Belch, and the clown, but referring to a public-house sign of Two Loggerheads with the inscription, 'We three loggerheads be," the third being the spectator.

I don't know why I didn't go straight to Brewer's. The internet has made me lazy, Brewer's Dictionary was my first stop for anything like this for years: I have three editions, spanning a century of revisions and alterations, all very well-worn! But they are at work, of course, and it is a long weekend, and, like I said, the internet has made me lazy. But the answer he gives pretty-well nails it.

Now that I know the meme exists in the Shakespeare cannon there should be no difficulty chasing up the folk and literary traditions. Everything in fact. I'll just go straight to the latest Arden edition of Twelfth Night.

* * * * *

But the thing that still puzzles me is the conflation of Macbeth and Twelfth Night. It is a witch who asks "When Will We Three Meet Again?" A witch talking to two other witches. No donkeys in the entire play. No suggestion that the other two are donkeys, donkey-like or donkey-headed (like Bottom in A Mid-Summer Night's Dream). So, what gives?

Perhaps the conflation can be explained only by the appropriateness of the question (unrelated in any way to context of Macbeth) to the "we three" meme. The fact that the quote has been detached from its context in this way is kind-of interesting. Lots of Shakespeare quotes have been detached in this way.

I can't help wondering if it possible to identify the point at which the detaching and conflation occurred, but I don't really have the time to try to track it down, so it looks like this will remain one of life's little mysteries!

Wednesday 6 June 2012

Blogging and the Academy

This evening I read Marcy Willard and Dean Leffingwell's "Blogging to Accelerate Peer Review of Doctoral Dissertations" from e-Research Collaboration: Theory, Techniques and Challenges (2010). A search on Google for this chapter-title suggests nobody has either read it or commented on it. I am not really very surprised.

It is hard to imagine who the article is intended for. It is part new-tech. boosterism and part how-to guide. If you are a blogger already (like me) the how-to guide is not a lot of use and the boosterism will just raise a smile. (The same is probably true if you are a Web 2.0 and social-media technophobe, but the smile will mean "not in a thousand years.")

The only person the chapter might be useful to is someone about to start a PhD, but the boosterism seems to be intended to win over skeptical supervisors, rather than curious PhD students. Weird.

And, of course, as a regular blogger, Willard and Leffingwell's reference to articles from 2005 and 2007 seem pretty dated already. It is a bit like watching Mr Burns demanding that Marge "Fill up" his ancient automobile "with petroleum distillate, and re-vulcanize my tires!" And the boosterism just seems naïve.

Still, it is good to see something on blogging. I have plenty of colleagues, who will spend all day on email and web-searches, but would never dream of publishing a blog or setting up a Facebook page.

"How do you find the time?" I was asked recently. (How indeed.) "What is the point?" I guess now I have a chapter to give them which attempts an explanation. Peer-reviewed, in a book, with references (albeit, some of them already dated), so that you know that it is the real deal …

FWIIW this looks like a much more useful article on "Informal Writing, Blogging and the Academy."