Post by Jim F. Post by Morten St. George Post by Jim F.
Do you agree that
Merlin Sparrowhawk to William Shakespeare, and
Armel Plesgeth to Mar-prelate,
are two simple one-way anagrams?
Jim, I have no problem following the mechanics of these anagrams, but to convince me that this is what the author intended you have to tie it to a specific objective, such as,
a) to identify or explain one of Merlin’s prophecies, or
b) to identify members of their secret society.
All the word games that I have so far encountered apply to one or the other of those objectives.
You "have no problem following the mechanics of these anagrams" is enough,
for I solve all characters in _The Birth of Merlin_ via "the mechanics,"
that can't be just a coincidence, right?
However, the true difficulty in Shakespeare isn't anagrams but hidden riddles.
Why the gentlewoman comes with a jewel, an artificial crab, to Uter?
Not just for seducing Uter. Shakespeare is better than that.
[Enter Waiting Gentlewoman with a Jewel.]
GENTLEWOMAN. The noble Prince, I take it sir?
PRINCE UTER. You speak me what I should be, Lady.
GENTLEWOMAN. Know by that name sir, Queen _Artesia_ greets you.
PRINCE UTER. Alas good vertue, how is she mistaken!
GENTLEWOMAN. Commanding her affection in this Jewel, sir.
She binds my service to her: ha! a Jewel 'tis a fair one trust me,
and methinks it much resembles something I have seen with her.
GENTLEWOMAN. It is an artificial crab, Sir.
PRINCE UTER. A creature that goes backward.
GENTLEWOMAN. True, from the way it looks.
PRINCE UTER. There is no moral in it aludes to her self?
It's nice to know that there's someone besides me interested in the Merlin play. I've known for a couple of years that Merlin's prophecies strongly influenced the Shakespearean plays and when I found a play called The Birth of Merlin on a list of apocrypha, I went to check it out.
According to Wikipedia, there is unambiguous evidence that The Birth of Merlin was written in 1622. That leaves, perhaps, just enough time to get it included in the First Folio, but it's not there.
Laraine made an interesting comment a couple of months ago:
« I've heard that some think that Timon of Athens almost didn't make it into the First Folio, but ended up taking the place of Troilus and Cressida there.»
It is speculated that Troilus (a play of 29 pages or 30 with Prologue) originally occupied the 31 blank pages that precede Julius Caesar (which begins on page 109 with the other plays occupying 77 pages in total), but for reasons unknown, it was deleted and replaced by Timon of Athens (a play of 21 pages or 22 pages with Actors). But then they changed their mind about Troilus and stuck it in the front of the Tragedies section unnumbered. Needless to say, all this makes little sense.
I see that Dominick typeset The Birth of Merlin on to 31.5 pages, two columns per page, similar to the First Folio in font and layout, but with roughly seven more lines per column and a dozen fewer characters per complete row, which could work out precisely to the missing 31 pages due to lots of short rows. I would not rule out the possibility that the Merlin play was originally planned for inclusion in the First Folio but then a problem arose; for example, perhaps they couldn't suppress Wikipedia's evidence that it was written in 1622.
In his Last Will and Testament, John Florio writes:
«Moreover I entreat my deare wife that if at my death my servant Artur [space left] shall chance to be with mee … »
The "[space left]" was written in by Clara Longworth in her transcription of Florio's will, published in 1921.
What Englishman called Artur had no last name?
«All future times shall still record this story,
Of Merlin's learned worth and Arthur's glory.»
Why is Artur spelled without the letter "h" in the middle?
You pick up the "h" from Meres' Jo(h)son or from Carew's Shakesp(h)eare.
Wikipedia notes that Florio "had three children, Joane Florio, baptised in Oxford in 1585; Edward, in 1588 and Elizabeth, in 1589." Two of them apparently died young and, in Florio's will, we see that the surviving daughter has magically changed her name: "I give and bequeath unto my daughter Aurelia ..."
What masculine name does Aurelia remind you of?
Who was the leading character of The Birth of Merlin, the first named in the Drammatis Personae?
Aurelius, King of Brittain
You're right, Jim F., The Birth of Merlin really is a Shakespearean play.