· 29 October 2015 ·
[A little-known clue to the correct dating of ‘Hamlet’]
Manet is Latin for Remains, as in
‘Everyone exits the stage but Hamlet remains.’
Truth: I wrote Oh that this too too solid Flesh, would melt, Thaw, and resolve itself into a Dew after I discovered one morning that I could no longer lace my favourite doublet. The line was a bit of self-indulgent howling at the moon. In the years following the injury I took from Knyvet’s sword in ’82, the pain in my bad leg made staying active a challenge. At one point Doctor Lopez suggested I lose a stonestone n. A unit of mass equal to 14 lbs, about 6.4 kg. Used to measure the weight of people, animals, cheese, wool, etc. by eating and drinking less. The advice was easier to hear than to follow.
For those of you with figuring skills, yes, my weight showing up in Hamlet means I wrote the play before that occasional maniac Essex had Lopez executed for treason in ’94, on charges that the doctor was plotting with Spain to poison Queen Elizabeth. What a crock. Essex was out for revenge because Lopez blabbed about treating him for the pox, as if that news surprised anyone under heaven.
The whole business smelled of something rotten. Lopez was the queen’s own personal physician, and Elizabeth was never convinced of his guilt. It didn’t matter. Essex threw one of his petulant tantrums, Bess gave in, and Lopez died a traitor’s death.
Seven years later Essex’s tantrum trick finally failed, and it was his turn.
Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex,
loses his head for the last time. That’s not
Tower Green, and don’t ask me what the
priest is doing there. Essex was a Protestant
but the picture is French, what can you do.
Stratfordolators can’t agree among themselves when Hamlet was written, “sometime between 1598 and 1601”. They’re all wrong.