"Hamlet: Lady, shall I lie in your lap?
Ophelia: No, my lord.
Hamlet: I mean, my head upon your lap?
Ophelia: Ay, my lord.
Hamlet: Do you think I meant country matters?
Ophelia: I think nothing my lord.
Hamlet: That's a fair thought to lie between maid's legs.
Ophelia: What is, my lord?
Hamlet: Nothing." ~Shakespeare
My sister word whores blew me away this week with their euphemistic prowess. I had thought myself reasonably well versed in sexual verbiage and repartee until I read their varied and educational posts. Every day this week I found myself staring at the computer screen, mouth ajar, eyes crossed, realizing just how sheltered I have apparently been all my life.
As the week progressed, my sense of doom and foreboding grew. I was going to have to write a post myself. I thought about offering up an excuse - that there are only so many good euphemisms to begin with, and they'd all been taken by the time we got around to Saturday. Only, I have to admit that even if I'd had the first post I'd still have come up empty.
Clearly I needed a little help, so I turned to the Master of sexual innuendo and repartee - the one and only Bard of Avon - Mr. William Shakespeare himself. Strictly speaking, the samples I've chosen from his work aren't exactly euphemisms. I'm afraid you'll have to humor me. Whether it's euphemism or innuendo or word play, you've got to admit he was a pro.
Here's another one from Hamlet:
- Hamlet: My excellent good friends! How dost thou Guildenstern? Ah, Rosencrantz! Good lads, how do you both?
Rosencrantz: As indifferent as children of the earth.
Guildenstern: Happy in that we are not overhappy; on Fortune's cap we are not the very button.
Hamlet: Nor the soles of her shoe?
Rosencrantz: Neither, my lord.
Hamlet: Then you live about her waist, or in the middle of her favours?
Guildenstern: Faith, her privates we.
Hamlet: In the secret parts of Fortune? O, most true! She is a strumpet. What's the news?
Who knows not where a wasp does
wear his sting? In his tail.
In his tongue.
Yours, if you talk of tails: and so farewell.
What, with my tongue in your tail? nay, come again,
Good Kate; I am a gentleman.
Next, from the poem Venus and Adonis:
Graze on my lips; and if those hills be dry, stray lower, where the pleasant fountains lie.
- William Shakespeare
And then there is this well known phrase from Othello:
"I am one, sir, that comes to tell you your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs."
Interestingly enough, Shakespeare appears to have lifted this from a much earlier source, Rabelais, circa 1532:
"In the vigour of his age he married Gargamelle, daughter to the King of the Parpaillons, a jolly pug, and well-mouthed wench. These two did oftentimes do the two-backed beast together, joyfully rubbing and frotting their bacon 'gainst one another."
I think "frotting their bacon" is a lovely image with which to end this week. If anybody else has any favorite quotes from Shakespeare or beyond, I'd be delighted to see them.