Shakespeare Solved ®


Shakespeare Solved ® is a forthcoming series of novels that covers the Bard's entire life and work.

These novels solve the mysteries surrounding Shakespeare by transporting us back in time, to walk in his shoes, and see his world through his eyes.

Only when we see Shakespeare in his original historical context can we understand what his plays and poems really mean.

This blog explains some of my ideas and discoveries, to prepare for this series of novels.

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Friday, July 31, 2015

Shakespeare's Lost Bawdy Song Found


Recently a discovery was made about Love’s Labour’s Lost that reveals just how bawdy Shakespeare could be.



In the play, Don Adriano De Armado asks his servant, Moth to sing. As it is written Moth simply says the word “Concolinel” and begins to sing.

This has baffled scholars ever since.

But Ross Duffin, a music professor has discovered the exact song Moth would have sung.

“Concolinel” as actually a French song from the same period called “Quand Colinet.”

The song is very bawdy, involving a man and his penis, and Shakespeare seems to have chosen this song in order for Moth to mock De Armado’s sexual shortcomings.

You can read more about this discovery here:


This song gives us a good idea of how the play was performed in the 1590s — and it seems likely that the audience would know the song and might sing along with Moth, while jeering and de Armado. 

Since an English audience in the mid-1590s (when England and Spain were warring against each other) would hate the Spanish, they would relish the opportunity to mock and insult them, and Shakespeare happily gives them a chance here.

I found the lyrics to the song online and with my limited French and some help from my family, here is a rough translation of the song.

But I warn you that the song is rather lewd, and may not be for everyone.

Quand Colinet faisot l'amour (bis)
Avec sa toque de velours (bis)
Et sa belle jaquette,
Qui n'a faict, qui n'a dit:
Colinet, mon amy,
Et sa belle jaquette,
Vray Dieu qu'il est joly:

When Colinet made love (repeat)
With his velvet hat (repeat)
And his beautiful jacket,
Who has not done it, who has not said it:
Colinet, my friend,
And his beautiful jacket,
Really God, isn’t he pretty:

Hélas! Guillaume,
Sur le vert, sur le gris, sur le jaune,
Hélas! Guillaume, t'y lairray-tu mourir!

Alas, Guillaume,
On the green, on the grey, on the yellow,
Alas! Guillaume, You would leave yourself to die!

(I sense that this means "on the grass, on the dirt, on the beach")

Colinet s'en va pourmener (bis)
Avec sa maitresse à Ducler, (bis)
Pour se donner carrière;
Qui n'a faict, qui n'a dit:
Colinet mon amy,
Pour se donner arrière, 
Est-il pas bien joly!

Colinet goes for a promenade or for a walk (rep)
With his mistress to Ducler, (rep)
To give himself a career (or “prestige” or “status”)
Colinet my friend,
To give himself back,  (or give himself more“airs” )
Isn’t he very pretty!

Hélas! Guillaume,
Sur le vert, sur le gris, sur le jaune,
Hélas! Guillaume, t'y lairray-tu mourir!

Quand Colinet, revient des champs (bis)
Il veut qu'on frotte son galand  (bis),
C'est pour afin qu'il entre,
Qui n'a fait, qui n'a dit:
Colinet mon amy, 
C'est pour afin qu'il entre
Dedans le pertuis

When Colinet, returns from the fields (rep)
He wants his member to be rubbed (rep)
So that it will enter,
Who has not done it, who has not said it:
Colinet my friend,
So that it will enter
Inside the hole (well?)

Hélas! Guillaume,
Sur le vert, sur le gris, sur le jaune,
Hélas! Guillaume, t'y lairray-tu mourir!

Quand Colinet veut s'aprocher (bis)
Sa femme ne faict que gronder (bis),
Luy disant que son membre
Qui n'a faict, qui n'a dit:
Colinet mon amy,
Luy disant que son membre
Est trop mol et petit:

When Colinet wants to approach (rep)
His wife only scolds (rep),
Telling him that his member
Who has not done it, who has not said it:
Colinet my friend,
Telling him that  his member
Is too soft (limp) and small:

Hélas! Guillaume,
Sur le vert, sur le gris, sur le jaune,
Hélas! Guillaume, t'y lairray-tu mourir!

Par la morguoy sera vendu (bis)
Et couppé rasibus du cul, (bis)
En dépit de ma femme,
Qui n'a faict, qui n'a dit:
Colinet mon amy,
En dépit de ma femme,
Qui dit qu'il est trop petit:

By the morgue it will be sold (rep)
Cut right up to the ass (rep)
Despite my wife,
Who hasn’t done it, who hasn’t said it
Despite my wife,
Who says it's too small:

Hélas! Guillaume,
Sur le vert, sur le gris, sur le jaune,
Hélas! Guillaume, t'y lairray-tu mourir!

Vendons, brebis, vendons moutons (bis),
Vendons tout ce que nous avons,
N'y vendons pas ce membre,
Qui n'a faict, qui n'a dit:
Colinet mon amy,
N'y vendons ce membre
Qui faict la paix du lit:

Let us sell the ewes, let us sell the sheep (rep)
Let us sell all that we have,
Don't sell this member,
Who has not done it, who has not said it:
Colinet my friend,
Don’t sell this member
Which makes peace in bed:

Hélas! Guillaume,
Sur le vert, sur le gris, sur le jaune,

Hélas! Guillaume, t'y lairras-tu mourir.


Cheers,



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