That aphorism was cited in the movie "Iris" (excellent, btw...) and was unfamiliar to me. It was not unfamiliar to Edward deVere:
“If it be true that good wine needs no bush,The Oxford University Press Blog expands upon the subject:
'tis true that a good play needs no epilogue;
yet to good wine they do use good bushes,
and good plays prove the better by the help of good epilogues.”
― William Shakespeare, As You Like It
As early as 1873, Walter W. Skeat wrote authoritatively (as was his wont) that bush in the saying good wine needs no bush “is well known to be that which was tied to the end of an ale-stake.” Perhaps so (though we will see that what is well-known may not be indubitable), but there was a Latin proverb sounding suspiciously like its English analog: “Vino vendibilis suspensa hedera [“ivy”] non (or nihil) opus est.” As Shakespeare’s Taverner explains at the close of As You Like It: “Wine that is saleable and good needeth no bushe or garland of yvie to be hanged before.” This aphorism, in the Latin form cited above, has been attributed to Erasmus. In any case, it is “modern” and apparently had no currency in England before Shakespeare’s or at least Camden’s time...I favor the sense that "bush" refers to "enhancement" rather than "advertisement," but it's a matter of little import. More at the link.
I would like to refer to a note by R. R. Sharpe in Athenæum/2 for 1888, p. 260. In a document going back to 1350, he found evidence that it had been customary to place a bunch or bush of rosemary or other herb in a drinking vessel, either to give a particular flavor to the beverage or, as he remarked, to disguise the inferior quality of the wine. “Of bush in this sense it is clear that good wine stands in no need.” Sharpe’s conjecture sounds convincing (and, if so, the traditional reference to the pole is the product of folk etymology).
Pic: rosemary in white sangria with blackberries. See also in champagne.
I'm curious to your thoughts on the attribution of the first quote to Shakespeare. It's not a criticism, rather something I’ve observed in many places. It seems to me that, while it may be true that Shakespeare wrote the words, would it not be more accurate to attribute them to Rosalind, as they were of her character and not necessarily the opinion of the author himself? It's probably a pedantic point, however, Shakespeare wrote many characters, some quite reprehensible, and seems incorrect to attribute the thoughts and motivations of character to their author. Apologies for the long question.ReplyDelete
When I see attributions like that, I reflexly read them as "author, publication" not speaker.Delete
To cite the speaker, I think it would need to be constructed in the form of "Winston Churchill, in Manchester, The Last Lion."
I was a bit too quick to delete a comment from an anonymous person who said "A good blogger need not delete comments." That is totally incorrect. Bad bloggers don't delete the spam and trash talk and inane irrelevancies that clutter up comment threads. Good bloggers curate the comments to enhance the experience for subsequent readers. The comments on this blog have been extensively curated for ten years and that policy will continue.ReplyDelete
As a long time reader, just wanted to say that your efforts are truly appreciated.Delete
me too, but....Delete
I think I've mentioned this before, but the big problem with Shakespeare couldn't have written the plays because he wasn't an English major is that there have been millions of English majors since he died (more than 50,000 per year in the US) and no new Shakespeares. Also, De Vere died in 1604. According to Shapiro's book, Shakespeare (Stratford man) began putting on the later plays indoors at Blackfriars six years after De Vere died using effects that couldn't have been done outdoors at the Globe. Contested Will 246-251Delete
This is just silly - nine people neglected to gush that they had met the author of the plays because they knew he hadn't written them implies that everyone in England knew who had really written the plays but, that De Vere was the real author was such common knowledge, that no one bothered to write it down.
When independent scholars David Kathman, Tom Veal and Terry Ross looked at the evidence, they pointed out a good deal that Stritmatter's dissertation committee had apparently failed to notice. For starers, the conclusion that the underlining matched biblical allusions in Shakespeare was unwarranted since, "only about 10 percent of Shakespeare's Biblical allusions are marked in the Bible, and only about 20 percent of the verses marked in the Bible are alluded to in Shakespeare. ...Doubts had already been raised after Alan Nelson, the lading expert on Oxford's handwriting, examined the marginalia and concluded that the "hand is simply not the same hand that wrote [Oxford's] letters." Contested Will, pages 214-215
This site pretty much drives a spike through the De Vere theory - "Other written works by Edward de Vere have also aided his undoing as a possible authorship candidate for Shakespeare’s works. In a computer analysis trying to determine how close various claimed potential authors are to Shakespearean style of writing have dealt quite a blow to this group of theorists. An examination of Shakespeare’s works using a computer revealed strong patterns in word use, or non-use among the works. Comparison of Oxford’s word use to these works indicated that Edward de Vere was not even close to being the author of Shakespeare’s works. Oxford’s skill was also found to be four grades below Shakespeare’s writing grade, and other scholars have pointed out the inferiority of Oxford’s works in comparison to Shakespeare’s masterpieces."
It's late, so I didn't look into this one - it appears to be a group of interested amateurs suffering from confirmation bias. Shakespeare was active in the London Theater scene for 25 years, was by far the best selling author of his day and is known to have collaborated with numerous other playwrights. The idea that it wouldn't have come out that he was an illiterate hack from the sticks fronting for the noble De Vere is risible.
You might want to look into the Jesus never existed theory if you're really interested in conspiracy theories. It's a lot more believable than Shakespeare didn't write Shakespeare.
i think the bush might refer to something entirely different.ReplyDelete
in austria, inns serving new wine (from that year's harvest) mark the fact that it has arrived by putting a bush on a stick outside the inn.
(example see https://austria-forum.org/attach/Wissenssammlungen/ABC_zur_Volkskunde_%C3%96sterreichs/Buschenschank/Buschenschank_gr.jpg ). the name for these inns is Buschenschank (bush-inn). the custom is documented from at least 1281 a.d.
the bush may therefor be considered advertisement for (new) wine...
The amount of pine resin, herbs, and other adulterants ancient peoples put in wine is kind of distressing.ReplyDelete