To make of this a section, it is necessary to include the merely coarse and vulgar element, and even that element has to enlist several words and phrases that are vulgarisms only in the philological sense. Shakespeare was not a Rabelais: he took very little pleasure in the anatomical witticism and the functional joke unless they were either witty or sexual. Scatology he disdained, and non-sexual coprology he almost entirely avoided; if one may essay a fine, yet aesthetically important distinction, Shakespeare may have had a dirty mind, yet he certainly had not a filthy mind. But then Keats as well as Byron, Tennyson as well as Swinburne, had dirty minds, and I have yet to hear someone say that Keats, Byron, Tennyson, and Swinburne were the worse poets for having been dead neither above the ears nor below the waist. Dryden was no mealy-mouth; Pope had a sexually malicious mind (that of the frustrated weakling); the austere Milton could, in the Sin-Chaos-Night verses in Book II of Paradise Lost, emulate the Sycorax-Caliban material in The Tempest; the Poets' Poet, in The Faerie Queen, permitted himself some highly suggestive passages.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Shakespeare's Bawdy. Contributors: Stanley Wells - Author, Eric Partridge - Author. Publisher: Routledge. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 2001. Page number: 9.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.