Shakespeare's King John, The Tragical History, Guy Earl of Warwick, and Mucedorus

Philip Sparrow: A riddle in King John leads to Guy, Earl of Warwick.
BASTARD. James Gournie, wilt thou give us leave a while?
GOURNEY. Good leave good Philip.
BASTARD. Philip, sparrow, James,
         There's toys abroad, anon I'll tell thee more.
Toys is used to confirm games, abroad to journey. [1] James Gournie: an anagram of Game's Journey.
[1] give us leave: to have some private talk; let readers to have some private lines.
[2] Good leave: to bless the bastard Philip venturing with King John; good for readers to leave and venture into Guy.
[2] good Philip: from Bible, "The day following, Iesus woulde goe into Galile, and founde Philip, and said vnto him, Followe me" (John 1:43, Geneva).
[3] Philip, sparrow: the bastard Philip does the same as Philip Sparrow in Guy.
[3] James: indicating the patron saint, saying that Philip Sparrow acts like a patron in his game's journey in Guy.
[4] toys abroad: a hint to solve "game's journey."
[4] tell thee more: the author will tell readers more in Guy.


Both Philip Sparrow and Mouse (a name within Mucedorus) bring "mirth" to plays. They are not meant to mock W. Shakespeare.

Philip Sidney is praised by Gabriel Harvey as a bird, "Sidney, sweet cygnet" via sound play. Sparrow can be used as a term of endearment (1600, OED). Philip Sparrow is borrowed from John Skelton, so Wilton poets need to add some words to seal names. Here a single "minded" does the job.

The "minded sparrow" (minde_ s_ar___) can spell Mary Sidney or just Sidney, that makes the sparrow a Sidney. In the play Guy, Philip Sidney is both Guy and Sparrow. He dies in the field and lives in Wilton's fictional world (Arcadia), where his Game's Journey (James Gourney) never dies.

Hermit and Emmet

Hermit is one-letter-short to spell Herbert. This type of wordplay appears both in the play of Guy and Mucedorus. They all turn Hermit to emmet. Emmet is a one-way anagram of Hermit.

In Guy:
GUY.
Ye cowardly Rogue wilt thou kill a Hermit?
SPARROW.
An Emmet quotha, 'tis one of the foulest great Emmets that ever I saw.
In Mucedorus:
MUCEDORUS.
I am a hermit.
MOUSE.
An emmet? I never saw such a big emmet in all my life before.
Mucedorus's lover Amadine is a perfect anagram of a-maiden to hint at the identity of Mucedorus. The two names together can spell "Mary Sidney, a maiden."  Mucedorus, the Prince of Valencia can spell Philip Sidney. The author makes alive Mary's brother on the stage to please the countess.


In following lines, Mucedorus shortens one letter with intention, from rusher to usher, and stable to table.
MUCEDORUS.
Oh, master mouse, I pray you what office might you bear in the court?
MOUSE.
Marry, sir, I am a rusher of the stable.
MUCEDORUS.
O, usher of the table.

No comments:

Post a Comment