Saturday, April 2, 2011

Parallel - Hang-hog is Latin for Bacon


Evans:   (Testing  William's Latin):   "I pray you have remembrance child, accusativo hing, hang, hog"    [i.e. a mispronunciation of the Latin hinc,hanc,hoc].

Mistress Quickly:   "Hang-hog" is Latin for Bacon, I warrant you."
  The Merry Wives of Windsor 4.1.39-41

Bacon:  Francis Bacon in his Apothegms tells the following joke reputedly cracked in real life by his own father: Sir Nicholas, when sitting as a judge, had a prisoner before him, named Hog, on a capital offence. Pleading for his life, Hog said: "Why, if it please you, my Lord, your name is Bacon and mine is Hog, and in all ages hog and bacon have been so near kindred that they are not to be separated" "Ay but", Sir Nicholas replied, "you and I cannot be kindred except you be hanged, for a hog is not bacon till it is well hanged".
    Apothegms (1625)

Comment: This charming Elizabethan joke may have had some oral circulation, especially in Sir Nicholas's lifetime. But is Shakspere, who was 14 when Sir Nicholas died in 1579, likely to have heard of it? There can be little doubt, as some Stratfordians recognise, that it prompted the lines by Evans and Mistress Quickly.

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