I won't bother with an introduction, other than to say that there are precious few dwellers of the United States worthy of mention by name, and one of those is Samuel Clemens.
[Date, 1601.] CONVERSATION, AS IT WAS BY THE SOCIAL FIRESIDE, IN THE TIME OF THE TUDORS.
YESTERNIGHT toke her maiste ye queene a fantasie such as she sometimes hath, and had to her closet certain that doe write playes, bokes, and such like, these being my lord Bacon, his worship Sir Walter Ralegh, Mr. Ben Jonson, and ye child Francis Beaumonte, which being but sixteen, hath yet turned his hand to ye doing of ye Lattin masters into our Englishe tong, with grete discretion and much applaus. Also came with these ye famous Shaxpur. A righte straunge mixing truly of mighty blode with mean, ye more in especial since ye queenes grace was present, as likewise these following, to wit: Ye Duchess of Bilgewater, twenty-six yeres of age; ye Countesse of Granby, thirty; her doter, ye Lady Helen, fifteen; as also these two maides of honor, to-wit, ye Lady Margery Boothy, sixty-five, and ye Lady Alice Dilberry, turned seventy, she being two yeres ye queenes graces elder.
Last night, her majesty the queen took a fancy as she sometimes has, and invited some of those that write plays, and books, and such. These being the lord Bacon, Sir Walter Raleigh, Ben Jonson, Francis Beaumont (who, in spite of being only 16 years oldi nevertheless translated Latinii masters into English with great arbitrarietyiii and to much applause. Also came with these the famous Shakespeare. A very strange mixing of truly blue blood with commoniv, especially as her grace was present, and with her the following : duchess of Bilgewaterv, aged 26 ; the countess of Granby, 30 ; her daughter, lady Helen, 15vi; as also these two maids of honor, Lady Margery Boothy, 65 and lady Alice Dilberryvii, 70 (and two years older than the queen).
I being her maites cup-bearer, had no choice but to remaine and beholde rank forgot, and ye high holde converse wh ye low as uppon equal termes, a grete scandal did ye world heare thereof.
In ye heat of ye talk it befel yt one did breake wind, yielding an exceding mightie and distresfull stink, whereat all did laugh full sore, and then—
Ye Queene.—Verily in mine eight and sixty yeres have I not heard the fellow to this fart. Meseemeth, by ye grete sound and clamour of it, it was male; yet ye belly it did lurk behinde shoulde now fall lean and flat against ye spine of him yt hath bene delivered of so stately and so waste a bulk, where as ye guts of them yt doe quiff-splitters bear, stand comely still and rounde. Prithee let ye author confess ye offspring. Will my Lady Alice testify?
I, being her majesty's cupbearer, had no choice but to remain and observe rank being forgotten, and the high converse with the low as if they were on equal terms, which would have been a great scandal had the world heard of it. In the middle of it one was heard to break wind, yielding an excessively strong and sickening aroma, at which they all laughed and then -
The Queen Really in my 68 years I have not heard a fart like this. It seems to me, by its loudness that it was male ; yet the belly it was inside should now be seen flat against the spine of whoever delivered such a statelyviii and wasteful bulk, whereas the guts of they still holding in their puffsix would still stand comely, and round. Let the author please confess the offspring. Will my lady Alice confess ?
Lady Alice.—Good your grace, an' I had room for such a thunderbust within mine ancient bowels, 'tis not in reason I coulde discharge ye same and live to thank God for yt He did choose handmaid so humble whereby to shew his power. Nay, 'tis not I yt have broughte forth this rich o'ermastering fog, this fragrant gloom, so pray you seeke ye further.
Ye Queene.—Mayhap ye Lady Margery hath done ye companie this favor?
Lady Margery.—So please you madam, my limbs are feeble wh ye weighte and drouth of five and sixty winters, and it behoveth yt I be tender unto them. In ye good providence of God, an' I had contained this wonder, forsoothe wolde I have gi'en 'ye whole evening of my sinking life to ye dribbling of it forth, with trembling and uneasy soul, not launched it sudden in its matchless might, taking mine own life with violence, rending my weak frame like rotten rags. It was not I, your maisty.
Lady Alice Your good grace, had I room for such a thunderburst within my ancient bowels, it's unthinkable I could discharge such and live to thank God for having chosen such a humble handmaiden to show his power. No, it's not me that brought forth this rich overpowering fog, this fragrant gloom, so please ask another.
The Queen Maybe the lady Margery has done the company this favour ?
Lady Margery At your pleasure madam, my limbs are feeble with the weight and droughtx of sixty-five winters, and I'm stuck being nice to them. In the good providence of God had I contained this wonder, for sure I'd have given a whole evening of my sinking life to dribble it forth, with trembling and uneasy soul, not launched it suddenly in its matchless might, taking my own life with violence, rending my weak frame like rotten rags. It wasn't me, your majesty.
Ye Queene.—O' God's name, who hath favored us? Hath it come to pass yt a fart shall fart itself? Not such a one as this, I trow. Young Master Beaumont—but no; 'twould have wafted him to heaven like down of goose's boddy. 'Twas not ye little Lady Helen—nay, ne'er blush, my child; thoul't tickle thy tender maidenhedde with many a mousie-squeak before thou learnest to blow a harricane like this. Wasn't you, my learned and ingenious Jonson?
Jonson.—So fell a blast hath ne'er mine ears saluted, nor yet a stench so all-pervading and immortal. 'Twas not a novice did it, good your maisty, but one of veteran experience—else hadde he failed of confidence. In sooth it was not I.
Ye Queene.—My lord Bacon?
Lord Bacon.-Not from my leane entrailes hath this prodigy burst forth, so please your grace. Naught doth so befit ye grete as grete performance; and haply shall ye finde yt 'tis not from mediocrity this miracle hath issued.
The Queen In God's name, who has favoured us ? Has it yet come to pass that fart which farts itself ? Not such a fart as this, I would propose. The young scholar Beaumont - but no, it would have wafted him to the upper atmosphere like down off a goose. It wasn't the little lady Helen - no, don't blush my child; you'll trickle your tender virginal seal with many mousie squeaks before you learn to blow a hurricane like this. Wasn't it you, my learned and ingenious Jonson ?
Jonson Such deadly blast never saluted my ears, nor yet a stench so all-pervading and immortal. It was not a noob, your majesty, but one of veteran experience - else his confidence would have failed him. I promise it was not me.
The Queen My lord Bacon ?
Lord Bacon Not from my lean entrails has this prodigy burst forth, if it so please your grace. Nothing fits greatness as well as great performance, and you will likely find it's not from mediocrity this miracle issued.
[Tho' ye subjct be but a fart, yet will this tedious sink of learning pondrously phillosophize. Meantime did the foul and deadly stink pervade all places to that degree, yt never smelt I ye like, yet dare I not to leave ye presence, albeit I was like to suffocate.]
Ye Queene.—What saith ye worshipful Master Shaxpur?
Shaxpur.—In the great hand of God I stand and so proclaim mine innocence. Though ye sinless hosts of heaven had foretold ye coming of this most desolating breath, proclaiming it a work of uninspired man, its quaking thunders, its firmament-clogging rottenness his own achievement in due course of nature, yet had not I believed it; but had said the pit itself hath furnished forth the stink, and heaven's artillery hath shook the globe in admiration of it.
[Although the subject's but a fart, this tedious pothole of learning philosophises ponderously. In the meanwhile the foul and deadly stink pervaded all places to such degree, you've never smelled anything comparable, but I still did not dare leave those present albeit I was likely to suffocate.]
The Queen What says the worshipful master Shakespeare ?
Shakespeare In the great hand of God I stand and so proclaim my innocence. Though the sinless hosts of heaven had foretold the coming of this most desolating breath, proclaiming it a work of the uninspired man, its firmament-clogging rottenness his own achievement in due course of nature, yet had not I believed it. But if the pit of Hell itself had furnished this stink, then heaven's artillery would have shaken the globe in admiration of it.xi
[Then was there a silence, and each did turn him toward the worshipful Sr Walter Ralegh, that browned, embattled, bloody swashbuckler, who rising up did smile, and simpering say,]
Sr W.—Most gracious maisty, 'twas I that did it, but indeed it was so poor and frail a note, compared with such as I am wont to furnish, yt in sooth I was ashamed to call the weakling mine in so august a presence. It was nothing—less than nothing, madam—I did it but to clear my nether throat; but had I come prepared, then had I delivered something worthy. Bear with me, please your grace, till I can make amends.
[Then delivered he himself of such a godless and rock-shivering blast that all were fain to stop their ears, and following it did come so dense and foul a stink that that which went before did seem a poor and trifling thing beside it. Then saith he, feigning that he blushed and was confused, I perceive that I am weak to-day, and cannot justice do unto my powers; and sat him down as who should say, There, it is not much yet he that hath an arse to spare, let him fellow that, an' he think he can. By God, an' I were ye queene, I would e'en tip this swaggering braggart out o' the court, and let him air his grandeurs and break his intolerable wind before ye deaf and such as suffocation pleaseth.]
[Then there was silence, and each turned toward the worshipful Sir Walter Ralegh, that browned, embattled, bloody swashbuckler, who rising up smiled, and said simperinglyxii,]
Sir Walter Ralegh Most gracious majesty, it was me that did it, but indeed it was so poor and frail a note compared to those I tend to provide, that I was ashamed to call the weakling mine in such august company. It was nothing - less than nothing, madam - I did it but to clear my nether throat. But had I come prepared, then I would have delivered something worthy. Bear with me, if it pleases your grace, until I can make amends.
[Then he delivered himself of such a godless and rock-shivering blast that all were trying to cover their ears, and in its wake came such a dense and foul stench that whatever came before seemed a poor and trifling thing by comparison. Then he said, blushing and pretending to be confused, "It seems I am weak today, and can not play in my own league" and he sat down as if to say "There, it is not much, yet he that has a butt to spare, let him equal this much, if he thinks he can". By God, were I the queen, I would've thrown this swaggering braggart out of the court, and let him air his grandeurs and break his intolerable wind before the deaf and whoever enjoys suffocation.]
Then fell they to talk about ye manners and customs of many peoples, and Master Shaxpur spake of ye boke of ye sieur Michael de Montaine, wherein was mention of ye custom of widows of Perigord to wear uppon ye headdress, in sign of widowhood, a jewel in ye similitude of a man's member wilted and limber, whereat ye queene did laugh and say widows in England doe wear prickes too, but betwixt the thighs, and not wilted neither, till coition hath done that office for them. Master Shaxpur did likewise observe how yt ye sieur de Montaine hath also spoken of a certain emperor of such mighty prowess that he did take ten maidenheddes in ye compass of a single night, ye while his empress did entertain two and twenty lusty knights between her sheetes, yet was not satisfied; whereat ye merrie Countess Granby saith a ram is yet ye emperor's superior, sith he wil tup above a hundred yewes 'twixt sun and sun; and after, if he can have none more to shag, will masturbate until he hath enrich'd whole acres with his seed.
Then the discussion went on to the customs and manners of various people, and Shakespeare spoke of the book of the sieur Michael de Montaine, wherein it was mentioned of the custom of widows in Perigordxiii to wear on their hats, in sign of widowhood, a jewel similar to a penis at rest, at which the queen laughed and said that widows in England also wear pricks, but between the thighs and not so very wilted, either, at least until coition does them in. Master Shakespeare did likewise observe how the sieur de Montaine had also spoken of a certain emperor of such mighty prowess that he eased the virginity off ten girls in the same night, while his empress entertained twenty two lusty knights between her sheets, and was still not satisfied. At which the merry countess Granby said that a ram is still the emperor's master, because he will lay over a hundred ewes from morn to morn. After which, if he can have no more to shag, will masturbate until he had enriched whole acres with his seed.
Then spake ye damned windmill, Sr Walter, of a people in ye uttermost parts of America, yt capulate not until they be five and thirty yeres of age, ye women being eight and twenty, and do it then but once in seven yeres.
Ye Queene.—How doth that like my little Lady Helen? Shall we send thee thither and preserve thy belly?
Lady Helen.—Please your highnesses grace, mine old nurse hath told me there are more ways of serving God than by locking the thighs together; yet am I willing to serve him yt way too, sith your highnesses grace hath set ye ensample.
Ye Queene.—God' wowndes a good answer, childe.
Lady Alice.—Mayhap 'twill weaken when ye hair sprouts below ye navel.
Lady Helen.—Nay, it sprouted two yeres syne; I can scarce more than cover it with my hand now.
Ye Queene.—Hear Ye that, my little Beaumonte? Have ye not a little birde about ye that stirs at hearing tell of so sweete a neste?
Beaumonte.—'Tis not insensible, illustrious madam; but mousing owls and bats of low degree may not aspire to bliss so whelming and ecstatic as is found in ye downy nests of birdes of Paradise.
Then the damned windmill, Sir Walter, spoke of a people in the farthest parts of America, who only copulate after the age of 35 (the men) and 28 (the women), doing it only once every seven years.xiv
The Queen How does my little lady Helen like that ? Shall we send you there to preserve your belly ?
Lady Helen If it please your highness, my old nurse told me there are more ways of serving God than by locking the thighs together. Still, I am willing to serve him this way too, should your grace set the example.
The Queen You wind a good answer, child.
Lady Alice Maybe it will weaken once hair sprouts below her navel.
Lady Helen No, it sprouted two years ago, I can hardly cover it with my palm by now.
The Queen You hear that, my little Beaumont ? Do you not have a little bird about you that stirs at hearing tell of so sweet a nest ?
Beaumont It is not insensible, illustrious madamxv, but mouse-eating owlsxvi and bats of low degree may not aspire to bliss so whelmingxvii and ecstatic as is found in the downy nests of birds of Paradise.
Ye Queene.—By ye gullet of God, 'tis a neat-turned compliment. With such a tongue as thine, lad, thou'lt spread the ivory thighs of many a willing maide in thy good time, an' thy cod-piece be as handy as thy speeche.
Then spake ye queene of how she met old Rabelais when she was turned of fifteen, and he did tell her of a man his father knew that had a double pair of bollocks, whereon a controversy followed as concerning the most just way to spell the word, ye contention running high betwixt ye learned Bacon and ye ingenious Jonson, until at last ye old Lady Margery, wearying of it all, saith, 'Gentles, what mattereth it how ye shall spell the word? I warrant Ye when ye use your bollocks ye shall not think of it; and my Lady Granby, be ye content; let the spelling be, ye shall enjoy the beating of them on your buttocks just the same, I trow. Before I had gained my fourteenth year I had learnt that them that would explore a cunt stop'd not to consider the spelling o't.'
The Queen By God's gullet, that's a neatly turned compliment. With such a tongue as yours, lad, you'll spread the ivory thighs of many a willing maid in your time, and your cod-piece'll be as handy as your speech.
Then the queen recounted how she met old Rabelais when she had just turned fifteen, and he told her of a man his father knew that had a double pair of balls, at which point controversy arose as to the proper spelling of that word, the contention running high between the learned Bacon and the ingenious Jonson, until at last the old lady Margery, getting tired of it, said "Gentlemen, what does it matter what's it spelled ? I warrant [and represent] that when you use 'em you won't think of spelling, and my lady Granby, content yourself to let the spelling be - you will enjoy their beating on your buttocks just the same, I'm sure. Before I was 14 I had learned that they who would explore a cunt don't stop to consider how it's spelled.
Sr W.—In sooth, when a shift's turned up, delay is meet for naught but dalliance. Boccaccio hath a story of a priest that did beguile a maid into his cell, then knelt him in a corner to pray for grace to be rightly thankful for this tender maidenhead ye Lord had sent him; but ye abbot, spying through ye key-hole, did see a tuft of brownish hair with fair white flesh about it, wherefore when ye priest's prayer was done, his chance was gone, forasmuch as ye little maid had but ye one cunt, and that was already occupied to her content.
Then conversed they of religion, and ye mightie work ye old dead Luther did doe by ye grace of God. Then next about poetry, and Master Shaxpur did rede a part of his King Henry IV., ye which, it seemeth unto me, is not of ye value of an arsefull of ashes, yet they praised it bravely, one and all.
Sir Walter Ralegh In fact, when a cock's turned up, delay is not conducive to congress. Boccaccio had a story of a priest who lured a young girl into his cell, and then he knelt to offer his prayer in thanks for the tender morsel the Lord had sent him ; but the abbot, spying through the keyhole, saw a tuft of brownish hair with white flesh about it, and so by the time the priest's prayer was done, his chance was gone, inasmuch as the little maiden had only one cunt, already occupied to her content.
Then they talked or religion, and of the mighty work that the dead old Luther did by the grace of God. Then next about poetry, and Master Shakespeare read a part of his King Henry IVth, the value of which is not enough to pay for a buttfull of ashes, and yet they praised it highly, one and all.
Ye same did rede a portion of his "Venus and Adonis," to their prodigious admiration, whereas I, being sleepy and fatigued withal, did deme it but paltry stuff, and was the more discomforted in that ye blody bucanier had got his wind again, and did turn his mind to farting with such villain zeal that presently I was like to choke once more. God damn this windy ruffian and all his breed. I wolde that hell mighte get him.
The same then read a portion of his Venus and Adonis, which was greatly admired, but which I, being sleepy and tired with it all, deemed it as paltry stuff, and then was even more bothered by the old buccaneer, who got his winds again and started farting with such villainous zeal that I was just about to choke again. God damn this windy ruffian and all his ilk. I wish that hell might get him.
They talked about ye wonderful defense which old Sr. Nicholas Throgmorton did make for himself before ye judges in ye time of Mary; which was unlucky matter to broach, sith it fetched out ye quene with a 'Pity yt he, having so much wit, had yet not enough to save his doter's maidenhedde sound for her marriage-bed.' And ye quene did give ye damn'd Sr. Walter a look yt made hym wince—for she hath not forgot he was her own lover it yt olde day. There was silent uncomfortableness now; 'twas not a good turn for talk to take, sith if ye queene must find offense in a little harmless debauching, when pricks were stiff and cunts not loathe to take ye stiffness out of them, who of this company was sinless; behold, was not ye wife of Master Shaxpur four months gone with child when she stood uppe before ye altar? Was not her Grace of Bilgewater roger'd by four lords before she had a husband? Was not ye little Lady Helen born on her mother's wedding-day? And, beholde, were not ye Lady Alice and ye Lady Margery there, mouthing religion, whores from ye cradle?
They talked about the wonderful defense which old Sir Nicholas Throgmorton made of himself before the judges in the time of Mary, which was a dubious topic that the queen closed with "Pity yet that he, having so much wit, still did not have enough to preserve his daughter's virginity for her marriage bed". And the queen gave the damnable Sir Walter such a look it made him wince - for she had not forgot he had been her own lover in the old days. Silence was now uncomfortable, and not the best turn for talk to take, since if the queen must find offense in a little harmless debauching, when pricks were stiff and cunts not disinclined to take that stiffness out of them, who of this company was sinless. Wasn't master Shakespeare's wife four months with child when she stood before the altar ? Was not her grace of Bilgewater fucked by four lords before she had a husband ? Was not the little lady Helen born on her mother's wedding day ? And weren't the ladies Alice and Margery, mouthing religion there, whores from the cradle ?
In time came they to discourse of Cervantes, and of the new painter, Rubens, that is beginning to be heard of. Fine words and dainty-wrought phrases from the ladies now, one or two of them being, in other days, pupils of that poor ass, Lille, himself; and I marked how that Jonson and Shaxpur did fidget to discharge some venom of sarcasm, yet dared they not in the presence, the queene's grace being ye very flower of ye Euphuists herself. But behold, these be they yt, having a specialty, and admiring it in themselves, be jealous when a neighbor doth essaye it, nor can abide it in them long. Wherefore 'twas observable yt ye quene waxed uncontent; and in time labor'd grandiose speeche out of ye mouth of Lady Alice, who manifestly did mightily pride herself thereon, did quite exhauste ye quene's endurance, who listened till ye gaudy speeche was done, then lifted up her brows, and with vaste irony, mincing saith 'O shit!' Whereat they alle did laffe, but not ye Lady Alice, yt olde foolish bitche.
In time they came to discuss Cervantes, and the new painter, Rubens, that is beggining to be heard of. Fine words and daintily formed phrases from the ladies now, one or two of them being, in older days, pupils of that poor ass Lille. And I noticed that Jonson and Shakespeare were fidgeting to discharge some venomous sarcasm, but didn't dare in the presence, her grace the queen being the very flower of Euphuistsxviii herself. These two, having a specialty, and being proud of it, are jealous when a neighbour tries it, and can't long abide it quietly. But the queen was soon noticeably displeased, and as the grandiose speech belaboured out of lady Alice's mouth came to a close, the queen exhausted lifted her brows and with vast irony said mincingly "O shit!" at which everyone lost it in laughter, except for lady Alice, the foolish old bitch.
Now was Sr. Walter minded of a tale he once did hear ye ingenious Margrette of Navarre relate, about a maid, which being like to suffer rape by an olde archbishoppe, did smartly contrive a device to save her maidenhedde, and said to him, First, my lord, I prithee, take out thy holy tool and piss before me; which doing, lo his member felle, and would not rise again.
And now Sir Walter started on a tale he once heard related by the ingenious Margrette of Navarre, about a maid which, being about to suffer rape by an old archbishop, came up with a smart device to save her virginity by saying to him, "First, my lord, I beg you, take out your holy tool and piss before me", which he did. But in so doing his prick softened, and then he couldn't get it up again.———
- Note that the tender age is no impediment for his presence in this context, on the grounds of his achievements. This is exactly how I have lived too, at that age, and how healthy people I am persuaded always live. If you are meritous enough, "no" may not be said to you. [↩]
- Note that Latin takes a capital, where the mere queen does not. To not even mention "majesty". [↩]
- That is what discretion means there : that he proceeded at his own whim. This is the most important part of any competence, one's whim, individual arbitrarierty.
Never forget, ye bureaucratic rats. The reason your names will not be recorded, except as lists to illustrate the snuff you perforce must amount to before it's all done is because you have given away the one thing that matters, that thing which means man is man rather than nameless beast. If your work has no arbitrary in it, your destiny is common with that of beast of chase and of warren : you all are to be made salami. [↩]
- This is the original, and the important meaning of "mean" : that which is not noble. And this is the meaning I chiefly use. [↩]
- Bilge water is the water that accumulates at the bottom of any ship. It is a distilled selection of piss, sweat, fungus, rain water that's washed all the successive layers of the ship and so on. A more objectionable concoction can scarcely be devised. [↩]
- For girls, merit is also the criteria. Except their merit is not recorded in the applause of others, but directly visible to inspection.
Note and remember that there is nothing wrong with teenaged girls of any age being taught anything, as long as they take to it. Anything. Deep throat, how to curse, how to take it in the rectum, riding atop or under the horse, shooting, sailing, what have you. [↩]
- I suspect the names are themselves suggestive, but I don't readily recognise the implication. Unless, of course, the dingleberry was originally merely a dilberry. [↩]
- Perhaps the only proper use of an adverb derived of the State, united or otherwise, is to describe superlative farts. [↩]
- This is a difficult spot. A quiff is a puff, as of air, which is how the hairdo ended up called that. "Doe[s] quiff-splitters bear" is quite unclear a construction however. [↩]
- Actually drouth is still well established, and the older form. [↩]
- That Shakespeare, the "biggest" pen present, comes out instead as the most contrived is the sure sign of posterity. Obviously Shakespeare did not make his fame on the strength of being dull. Nevertheless the common misrepresentation of hierarchy that in simple minds ripens into the fart of "State" requires and encourages this pious fraud whereby "great" just means "bureaucratingly extensive". "Seinfeld Is Unfunny" is not this (when the great is recast as merely tedious in retrospect), but actually the reverse (when the tedious appeared for a moment great through temporary lack of competition). [↩]
- Synonym of pusillanimously. [↩]
- One of the best places in France, on account of Talleyrand-Perigord. [↩]
- But for the blessed panties, there go the Mormons. [↩]
- He called her madam har har narf. [↩]
- Like this :
- You know, one degree below overwhelming. [↩]
- The extremely verbose, contrived style of the late 1500s. [↩]