April 26, 2010

Cardiff University’s Medieval and Early Modern Research Initiative

The next MEMORI lecture will be on Thursday April 29th. Andrew J. Johnston (Freie Universität Berlin) will be speaking on:

‘The Art of Degeneration: The Classical and the Oriental in Chaucer’s Knight’s Tale and Squire’s Tale‘.

5.15pm in room 2.03, Humanities Building

MEMORI is funded by the School of English, Communication and Philosophy.


  1. re Shakespere and Wales

    see ‘As You Like it’Act 2 Sc 5 line 47 “Ducdame,ducdame,ducdame”. Note that in the original text (the ‘First Folio’ of 1623, page 192)this was spoken by Amiens. However, this attribution does look like a printer’s error, where three consecutive speeches are attributed to “Amy”. As “Amy” asks “What’s this Ducdame?” and Jaques replies “‘Tis a Greek invocation, to call fools into a circle…” it is more likely that Jaques said the line. Calling…into a circle is consistent with the Welsh “Dewch gyda mi” which is Welsh for ‘Come with me’. The presence of ‘D..c’,’da’ and ‘me’ in the original is very close to the Welsh phrase as above. Note that it is not ‘come to me’ but ‘come with me’. This echoes Jaques final words in his song, “And if he will come to me”.The implication is that the repeated word was said in Welsh on the stage and then represented in the text phonetically.

    This can be seen as the only piece of Welsh represented in a text of a Shakespearean play. There are other instances where Welsh is spoken and sung in his plays but they are not present in the printed text.

    It is very likely that the actor who played Jacques, on which Shakespeare’s original text was based, was Welsh-speaking. Was Augustine Phillips Welsh speaking? Two other members of his troupe with apparently Welsh names were Robert Goughe and John Rice.

  2. PS ‘As You Like it’ and “Ducdame”

    On second thoughts, the compositor of the original ‘First Folio’ might well have been right in attributing this line and the song in which it appears to Amiens. It is he who seems to do most of the singing and leading the musicians.. Jaques is not a musical type; he is a weary commentator and spectator rather than someone who originates and does.

    We know that Augustine Phillips was there in 1593 under Alleyn when they were both sponsored by Ferdinando Strange. He was one of the original Chamberlain’s Men in 1594; he left a thirty shilling gold piece in his will to William Shakespeare and a number of musical instruments to two apprentices. (see Halliday p367). It is entirely possible that he played Amiens in the original performances.

    It seems prety certain that he was in charge of the music and dancing in the plays’ performances. In ‘As You Like It’ there are a number of players of musical instruments, singers and possibly dancers – described by Jaques as “fools” (notice the plural)- on the stage. They are invoked to ‘come with me’ (ducdame – dewch gyda me) and they exit, playing and singing, together.

    Phillips could well have been a Welsh speaker. His theatrical musicians and singers could also have been, to an extent, Welsh speakers. Phillips’s use of the language might have been an advantage in recruiting them.

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