12.0382 Touchstone for content analysis

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Fri, 29 Jan 1999 22:40:58 +0000 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 12, No. 382.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

Date: Fri, 29 Jan 1999 22:39:09 +0000
From: Jim Marchand <marchand@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu>
Subject: Shakespeare and the modern scene

One often hears the complaint that the "Literature" course is devoted to
DWEMs and has no application to modern things. As I sit glued to my TV
watching the proceedings of l'affaire Clinton, trying to use my skills in
content analysis to make sense out of them, I am forcibly reminded of
Touchstone's grand classification. Were he here today, he could remind us
of The Hyperurbanism Ubiquitous (That's between he and his wife; between the
President and she); The PC-Pronoun Rampant (If a person does that, they
should ...). Anyway, I know that everybody has a Shakespeare, but I append
Touchstone for those who can't readily locate it on the shelf:

As You Like It, Act V, Scene IV


JAQUES. There is, sure, another flood toward, and these couples are
coming to the ark. Here comes a pair of very strange beasts which
in all tongues are call'd fools.
TOUCHSTONE. Salutation and greeting to you all!
JAQUES. Good my lord, bid him welcome. This is the motley-minded
gentleman that I have so often met in the forest. He hath been a
courtier, he swears.
TOUCHSTONE. If any man doubt that, let him put me to my purgation.
I have trod a measure; I have flatt'red a lady; I have been
politic with my friend, smooth with mine enemy; I have undone
three tailors; I have had four quarrels, and like to have fought
JAQUES. And how was that ta'en up?
TOUCHSTONE. Faith, we met, and found the quarrel was upon the
seventh cause.
JAQUES. How seventh cause? Good my lord, like this fellow.
DUKE SENIOR. I like him very well.
TOUCHSTONE. God 'ild you, sir; I desire you of the like. I press in
here, sir, amongst the rest of the country copulatives, to swear
and to forswear, according as marriage binds and blood breaks. A
poor virgin, sir, an ill-favour'd thing, sir, but mine own; a
poor humour of mine, sir, to take that that man else will. Rich
honesty dwells like a miser, sir, in a poor house; as your pearl
in your foul oyster.
DUKE SENIOR. By my faith, he is very swift and sententious.
TOUCHSTONE. According to the fool's bolt, sir, and such dulcet
JAQUES. But, for the seventh cause: how did you find the quarrel on
the seventh cause?
TOUCHSTONE. Upon a lie seven times removed- bear your body more
seeming, Audrey- as thus, sir. I did dislike the cut of a certain
courtier's beard; he sent me word, if I said his beard was not
cut well, he was in the mind it was. This is call'd the Retort
Courteous. If I sent him word again it was not well cut, he would
send me word he cut it to please himself. This is call'd the Quip
Modest. If again it was not well cut, he disabled my judgment.
This is call'd the Reply Churlish. If again it was not well cut,
he would answer I spake not true. This is call'd the Reproof
Valiant. If again it was not well cut, he would say I lie. This
is call'd the Countercheck Quarrelsome. And so to the Lie
Circumstantial and the Lie Direct.
JAQUES. And how oft did you say his beard was not well cut?
TOUCHSTONE. I durst go no further than the Lie Circumstantial, nor
he durst not give me the Lie Direct; and so we measur'd swords
and parted.
JAQUES. Can you nominate in order now the degrees of the lie?
TOUCHSTONE. O, sir, we quarrel in print by the book, as you have
books for good manners. I will name you the degrees. The first,
the Retort Courteous; the second, the Quip Modest; the third, the
Reply Churlish; the fourth, the Reproof Valiant; the fifth, the
Countercheck Quarrelsome; the sixth, the Lie with Circumstance;
the seventh, the Lie Direct. All these you may avoid but the Lie
Direct; and you may avoid that too with an If. I knew when seven
justices could not take up a quarrel; but when the parties were
met themselves, one of them thought but of an If, as: 'If you
said so, then I said so.' And they shook hands, and swore
brothers. Your If is the only peace-maker; much virtue in If.
JAQUES. Is not this a rare fellow, my lord?
He's as good at any thing, and yet a fool.
DUKE SENIOR. He uses his folly like a stalking-horse, and under the
presentation of that he shoots his wit:

Jim Marchand.

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