Sunday, May 1, 2011

Promus - 29 Romeo and Juliet - logger-blockheads; Albada

Part 2 - Parallels between Bacon's Promus and Romeo and Juliet
(with special emphasis on Promus Folio 112)

Part 2W

R&J  4.4.3-4  & 14-22

(It is the night before Juliet's proposed marriage to Count Paris, and the Capulet household is feverishly making preparations):

Lord Cap:  Come, stir, stir, stir, the second cock hath crowed!
                The curfew bell hath rung, 'tis three o'clock.
                Make haste, make haste! Sirrah, fetch drier logs!  
                Call Peter, he will show you where they are.
2 Servant:  I have a head, sir, that will find out logs
                  And never trouble Peter for the matter.
Lord Cap:  Mass and well said! A merry whoreson, ha.
                  Thou shalt be loggerhead!
                        Good faith! 'Tis day!
                [Music plays]
                  The County will be here with music straight
                  For so he said he would. I hear him near.

Now from Bacon's Promus entry 1211 (Folio 112):

"The cock, the lark". (The Lark is mentioned in Act 3.5.2)

Promus entry 1221 (Folio 112):

"Block heads and clock heads"

Promus entry 1207 (Folio 112):

"Albada; golden sleep"

Comment: Lord Capulet, fussing about the time, is in a sense a clock head - the expression links up with the previous Promus Folio 112 entry (1220): "You have an alarm in your head". The 2nd servant is a loggerhead, i.e. a block head. It is a striking coincidence that a block head and a clock head should both appear too in the short Shake-Speare passage.

We have seen "golden sleep" earlier. "Albada" is a Spanish word from "alba", "the dawning". Albada was music with which young men serenaded their lady-loves at the break of day. That is what Count Paris is about to do to Juliet - it is the music referred to in the text.

[Note: Shake-Speare uses "blockhead" once in Coriolanus 2.3.28, and "clocks" for "heads" derisively several times. He also associates "block" and "clock" in Measure For Measure 4.2.50-1: "Provide your block and your axe tomorrow four o'clock".] [In "Block heads and clock heads" in Bacon's Promus, this probably reflects the distinction he had in mind between restless careworn brains "clock heads" and dull carefree brains "block heads". See also a similar contrast in 2 Henry IV 3.1.15-17 where Henry laments that the humble can sleep while Kings cannot.]

[Note on "Albada": In Cymbeline 2.3.11-12 Cloten woos his beloved with a morning serenade. In King Lear 2.2.1 Oswald greets the Earl of Kent in the early morning with "Good dawning to thee friend". This seems to be the only known instance of the salutation "Good dawning". "Albada" here, from a folio with other morning salutations, may be the source. It would be typical of Bacon to invent a new salutation - as on the same Folio (112) he invents "good matens" - entry 1193.]

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