Shakespeare Goes to Montgomery

Mr. Shakespeare Goes to Montgomery

. . .as told to Bob Nazak

Though the word “dog” appears 151 times in the works of Shakespeare, the only dog to ever appear in a Shakespearean play was a small dog in The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Sporting the name of Crab, he was owned by Valentine’s servant Launce. Though no breed is identified, the Oxford Companion to English Literature states that Crab appears to be a small lap dog, whose name suggests the size and sourness of a crab apple, clearly he was not a Kerry Blue. Contrary to rumors heard under the grooming tent, there is no evidence that crab was ever entered in an Elizabethan Dog Show. In fact, there is no record of dog shows being held in the late 16th century (though there are some obtuse and vague references on the MB-F Website). Sadly, Mr. Shakespeare could not have attended a Dog Show in his lifetime.

But then in October 2002, fate played a fortuitous trick when an unusual conjunction of the planets created a major rift in the time-space continuum, resulting in narrowly focused juxtaposition of the years 1602 and 2002. As luck would have it, the effect was centered in southeastern Pennsylvania and took place in early October — Montgomery weekend. Through good fortune and relativistic chance, we found ourselves staying in the same Holiday Inn as “The Bard”. Recognizing the unique opportunity to correct the 400-year-old defect in Mr. Shakespeare’s education, we invited him to the show. After we explained what a Dog Show was, he eagerly accepted. (In truth, it may have been the promise of lunch under the tent — Chicken a la King with a glass of rare wine — that convinced him.)

As we strolled about the show site, we were quick to recognize the historic significance of the occasion, and realized that it was important to record Mr. Shakespeare’s observations for the fancy to share and learn. His every word was recorded digitally. While I have not completed the translation of his Elizabethan era phrases, a preliminary review shows that he quickly grasped the concepts and intricacies of the Dog Show world. Eager to share his impressions, I present a partial translation and interpretation of the highlights found in a quick review of the recording. The actual quotation of “The Bard” is noted by Q, the modern translation is marked as T.

Q “Mastiff, grey-hound, mongrel grim,
Hound or spaniel, brach or lym,
Or bobtail tike or trundle-tail,
Tom will make them weep and wail:”
King Lear, Act 3, Scene 6
T Let’s be honest now, old Tom is one hell of a groomer!

Q “How now! Where’s that mongrel?”
King Lear, Act 3, Scene 7
T Hold on now, just because it’s our first litter is no reason to get nasty!

Q “How now, you dog!”
King Lear, Act 3, Scene 7
T Well Casey, are you going to show for me today?

Q “They flattered me like a dog; and told me I
had white hairs in my beard ere the black ones were there.”
King Lear, Act 4, Scene 6
T He definitely has color.

Q “Unmanner’d dog! stand thou, when I command …”
King Richard III, Act 1, Scene 2
T
Must be a Kerry in the obedience ring.

Q “Stay, dog, for thou shalt hear me.”
King Richard III, Act 1, Scene 3
T The long stay is tough with a Kerry.

Q “That dog, that had his teeth before his eyes …”
– King Richard III, Act 4, Scene 4
T He must be an import.

Q “Talks as familiarly of roaring lions
As maids of thirteen do of puppy-dogs!”
King John, Act 2, Scene 1
T She looks quite mature for a junior handler.

Q “Nay, it perchance will sparkle in your eyes;
And like a dog that is compell’d to fight,
Snatch at his master that doth tarre him on.”
King John, Act 4, Scene 1
T You never spar with an import in the ring!

Q “I am the fellow with the great belly, and he my dog.”
King Henry IV, Part ii, Act 1, Scene 2
T Have you met my handler?

Q “For the fifth Harry from curb’d licence plucks
The muzzle of restraint, and the wild dog
Shall flesh his tooth on every innocent.”
King Henry IV, Act 4, Scene 5
T I’ve been in that ring!

Q “’Solus,’ egregious dog?”
King Henry V, Act 2, Scene 1
T I told you, this Judge only picks handlers!

Q “Let gallows gape for dog; let man go free
And let not hemp his wind-pipe suffocate…”
King Henry V, Act 3, Scene 6
T Wow! Talk about a rough Bench Show Committee.

Q “Which, as I take it, is a kind of puppy to the old dam, treason,–“
King Henry VIII, Act 1, Scene 1
T Yea, Old Treason was a great brood bitch.

Q “I think Crab, my dog, be the sourest-natured dog that lives..”
The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act 2, Scene 3
T He just doesn’t want to show today.

Q “I am the dog: no, the dog is himself, and I am the dog—
Oh! the dog is me, and I am myself; ay, so,so.”
The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act 2, Scene 3
T You’ve really got to get a life!

Q “Now the dog all this while sheds not a tear nor
speaks a word; but see how I lay the dust with my tears.”
The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act 2, Scene 3
T Take it easy Sam, you can’t expect to win them all. Besides — it’s only a Dog Show.

Q “Why, he that’s tied here, Crab, my dog.”
The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act 2, Scene 5
T I just hate holding someone’s dog ringside.

Q “Ask my dog: if he say ay, it will!
if he say no, it will; if he shake his tail
and say nothing, it will.”
The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act 2, Scene 5
T How do you think you’ll do with this Judge?

Q “Gone to seek his dog; which tomorrow, by his master’s command, he must carry for a present to his lady.”
The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act 4, Scene 2
T She is supposed to pick him up at the grooming tent.

Q “I have taught him, even as one would say
precisely, ‘thus I would teach a dog.’”
The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act 4, Scene 4
T The new handler works well with Casey.

Q “I would have, as one should say,
one that takes upon him to be a dog indeed,
to be, as it were, a dog at all things.”
The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act 4, Scene 4
T CH, CDX, CGC, AX, AXJ, HX, ME, MXJ, TDX, UDX …… I’m impressed Sam!

Q “’Out with the dog!’ says one:
‘What cur is that?’ says another:
‘Whip him out’ says the third:”
The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act 4, Scene 4
T I thought having three Judges for the Futurity would eliminate these outbursts.

Q “’Friend,’ quoth I, ‘you mean to whip the dog?’”
The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act 4, Scene 4
T That’s going to get you suspended.

Q “Marry, she says your dog was a cur, and tells you currish thanks is good enough for such a present.”
The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act 4, Scene 4
T I don’t think she considers him to be the “pick of the litter”.

Q “.. and then I offered her mine own, who is a dog as big as ten of yours, and therefore the gift the
greater.”
The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act 4, Scene 4
T I told you not to breed to that line.

Q “O Buckingham, take heed of yonder dog!” !
King Richard III, Act 1, Scene 3
T Come on Judge, give us a break

Q “I would not lose the dog for twenty pound.” shakespeare at the kennels
The Taming of the Shrew, Prologue, Scene 1
T I don’t think that pup is for sale.


Q
“Trust me, I take him for the better dog.”
– The Taming of the Shrew, Prologue, Scene 1

T That’s not the one that I would have picked!

Q “Where’s my spaniel, Troilus?”
The Taming of the Shrew, Act 4, Scene 1
T I get annoyed with these all-breed handlers at a big show.

Q “She had transform’d me to a curtal dog and made me turn i’ the wheel.” The original picture was done by the artist Persis Kirmse in 1934.
The Comedy of Errors, Act 3, Scene 2
T I told you, always be careful when walking the dog on a bike path!

Q “Out, dog! Out, cur! Thou drivest me past the
bounds Of maiden’s patience.”
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 3, Scene 2
T Talk about a picky Judge.


Q
“This man, with lanthorn, dog, and bush of thorn, presenteth Moonshine”
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 5, Scene 1
T Sam, you’ve just got to work harder at conditioning Moonshine’s coat.

Q “… and this dog, my dog.”
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 5, Scene 1
T Now that was a great breeding!

Q “There are a sort of men whose visages
Do cream and mantle like a standing pond,
And do a wilful stillness entertain,
With purpose to be dress’d in an opinion
Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit,
As who should say ‘I am Sir Oracle,
And when I ope my lips let no dog bark!’”
-- The Merchant of Venice, Act 1, Scene 1
T Couldn’t he just say ‘Please control your dogs’?

Q “’Hath a dog money? is it possible
A cur can lend three thousand ducats?’”
The Merchant of Venice, Act 1, Scene 3
T That much just to take him into the ring at Montgomery?

Q “O, be thou damn’d, inexecrable dog!”
The Merchant of Venice, Act 4, Scene 1
T Down, Casey!


Q
“’Tis your fault, ’tis your fault; ’tis a good dog.
The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act 1, Scene 1
T That does it! I’m getting a new handler!

Q “Sir, he’s a good dog, and a fair dog: can there be more said?”
The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act 1, Scene 1
T I think my breeding program speaks for itself.


Q
“I’ll have my brains ta’en out and buttered, and give them to a dog for a new-year’s gift.”
The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act 3, Scene 5
T I’ve had it with dog shows!

Q “An he had been a dog that should have howled
thus, they would have hanged him: and I pray
God his bad voice bode no mischief.”
Much Ado About Nothing, Act 2, Scene 3
T No point in arguing with a Judge.

Q “Get you with him, you old dog.”
As You Like It, Act 1, Scene 1
T Hurry, the Veteran’s class is next.


Q
“An you love me, let’s do’t: I am dog at a catch.”
Twelfth Night, Act 2, Scene 3
T Come on! Toss the ball again.

Q “Lay hands on him; a dog!”
Cymbeline, Act 5, Scene 3
T Judge, the AKC rep says we need to speed things up a bit!

Q “A pox o’ your throat, you bawling, blasphemous, incharitable dog!”
The Tempest, Act 1, Scene 1
T Not on my new rug!

Q “Hang, cur! hang, you whoreson, insolent noisemaker!”
The Tempest, Act 1, Scene 1
T That barking is driving me nuts!


Q
“I shall laugh myself to death at this puppy-headed monster.”
The Tempest, Act 2, Scene 2
T I take it that you don’t really like her little bitch.

Q “Ay, like a black dog, as the saying is.”
Titus Andronicus, Act 4, Scene 2
T But Judge, he’s still a puppy!

Q “Away, inhuman dog!”
Titus Andronicus, Act5, Scene 3
T He disqualified the dog!

Q “A dog of the house of Montague moves me.”
Romeo and Juliet, Act 1, Scene 1
T I might consider breeding to him.

Q “ … and dog will have his day.”
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, Act 5, Scene 1
T He might have a shot at Group.

Q
“O inhuman dog!”
Othello, The Moor of Venice, Act 5, Scene 1
T I can’t believe he did that in the ring.

Q “Thy mother’s of my generation: what’s she, if I be a dog?”
Timon of Athens, Act 1, Scene 1
T I don’t think you should go there Harry!


Q
“Away, unpeaceable dog, or I’ll spurn thee hence!”
Timon of Athens, Act 1, Scene 1
T I don’t think you should show to him again.

Q “Thou art a slave, whom Fortune’s tender arm
With favour never clasp’d; but bred a dog.”
-- Timon of Athens, Act 4, Scene 3
T I tell you, there’s no money in breeding.

Q “’Tis, then, because thou dost not keep a dog,
Whom I would imitate: consumption catch thee!”
Timon of Athens, Act 4, Scene 3
T You can’t be a Kerry owner unless you were a Kerry owner, got it?

Q “I understand thee; thou hadst some means to keep a dog.”
Timon of Athens, Act 4, Scene 3
T Yes I have a fenced yard. Does that mean I can have the puppy?

Q “Away, thou issue of a mangy dog!”
Timon of Athens, Act 4, Scene 3
T I told you, I only breed show dogs!

Q “Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg and owlet’s wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.”
– Macbeth, Act 4, Scene 1
T I’ve really had it up to here with these fad diets from California. What’s wrong with good old Purina Dog Chow?

Q “Turn, hell-hound, turn!”
Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 8
T Sorry Judge, I’ll face my dog in the other direction.

Q “Patience is Scottish, and impatience does
Become a dog that’s mad:”
Antony and Cleopatra, Act 4, Scene 15
T Interesting choices in the Group ring today.


Q
“Against him first: he’s a very dog to the commonalty.”
Coriolanus, Act 1, Scene 1
T I’m really not impressed by the Winners Dog.

Q “He like a thievish dog creeps sadly thence;”
The Rape of Lucrece, Stanza 106
T Number 23 seems just a bit shy to me.


Q
“My curtail dog, that wont to have play’d
Plays not at all, but seems afraid;”
The Passionate Pilgrim, Sonnet 18, XVIII.
T Some dogs just will not spar.

Fin

Last Updated: 03/02/2003, 3:29 pm