A Post Stratfordian Shake-speare Blog
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Category — Spenser

Apparel Makes the Man

In The Wisdom of Doctor Dodypoll (anonymous 1600) A peasant changes clothes with the ‘drowned’ prince, Alberdure, who awoke from unconsciousness. Albedure was made “mad” by the potion of Doctor Dodypoll.  The play is set in Saxony. The name Alberdure evokes the name of the great German artist of 100 years earlier, Albrecht Durer.  Perhaps this prince is a great artist as well.

“ALBERDURE: Yonder is one, Ile inquire of him.
Fellow, ho? Peasant?

PEASANT: Aie me, the mad man againe, the mad man.

ALBERDURE: Say, whither fliest thou?

PEASANT: Pray let me go sir, I am not Hyanthie,
In truth I am not sir.

ALBERDURE: Hyanthie villaine, wherfore namest thou her?

PEASANT: If I have any scarres in my belly,
Pray God I starve sir.

ALBERDURE: The wretch is mad I thinke. …

PEASANT: Not I sir, but you be not madde,
You are well amended sir.

ALBERDURE: Why tellest thou me of madnesse?

PEASANT: You were little better then mad even now sir,
When you gave me such a twitch by the beard.

ALBERDURE: I can remember no such thing, my friend.

PEASANT: No sir, but if you had a beard your self you wold.

ALBERDURE: What place is this? how ar am I from court?

PEASANT: Some two myles, and a wye byt sir.

ALBERDURE: I wonder much my friends have left me thus, …
Peazant; I pray thee change apparrell with mee.

PEASANT: Change apparrell, I’faith you wil lose by that sir.

ALBERDURE: I care not: Come I pray thee, letts change. (IV,i)

What kind of prince doesn’t care if he’s dressed in peasant clothes? (rhetorical question)

Haunce, the servant, who stands for Shaksper,  then buys the prince’s clothes from the peasant, promising to pay him later. He reneges on that agreement. Haunce returns to court where he tries to pass himself off as the Duke’s son, i.e. the missing mad and presumed drowned prince Albedure.

“[Enter Haunce in the Princes apparrell.]

HAUNCE: Beholde your sonne:
Blessing noble Father.

HARDEN: Malapart knave, art thou the Princes sonne?

HAUNCE: Aye sir, apparrell makes the man.”  V.ii

A malapert is a presumptuous person. Haunce (Shaksper) is presuming to be the prince. His argument rests solely on the basis that he’s wearing the princes clothing. Here is the same subterfuge we saw in The Gentleman Usher where the Shaksper figure, Mendice, falsely claimed to be a nobleman, Medice. We have two examples of this mendacity now. One account is hearsay, two accounts are journalism.  The phrase also echoes Polonius from Hamlet; “For the apparel oft proclaims the man.” I, iii.

The stunning point here though, is that this is a simple authorship argument from 400 years ago offered by Shaksper himself, that is precisely the same as the authorship argument offered today by the tourist interests. Haunce is wearing the prince’s clothes, therefore he must be a prince, regardless of all other evidence . Shaksper’s name is on those plays, therefore he must be the poet, regardless if the evidence points elsewhere. This debate is not new.

Plus ça change, plus c’est même chose.


The previous blog post here presented evidence from both Spenser’s Teares of the Muses and Dodypoll that Shakespeare had absented himself from theater in a depressed state. The account in Dodypoll alludes to a change in the status of the acceptability for the nobleman’s participation in the theater, and that Shakespeare had lost interest in part because it was no longer forbidden.  When did Shakespeare take his leave of the theater?   The account below shows extant records of Oxford’s Players on tour. The records end abruptly at 1586, the year Oxford was granted an enormous pension from Queen Elizabeth.  A single record for 1594 exists after than.  Nelson’s Monstrous Adversary contains an eyewitness account of posted playbills for Oxford’s Players in London in 1587. The documentary evidence reveals a stoppage in Vere’s theatrical activities consistent with the literary evidence from both Muses and Dodypoll.


click to enlarge

Oxford’s Players were in Lancashire, likely in the summer of 1583. This fact brings to mind the final reveal scene in Jonson’s The New Inn, which Rambler has brought to our attention here. (That link retrieves all Rambler posts mentioning Frampul.)

“…I am Lord Frampul,
The cause of all this trouble? I am he
Have measured all the shires of England over:
Wales, and her mountains, seen those wilder nations,
Of people in the Peak, and Lancashire,
Their pipers, Fidlers, rushers, puppet-masters,
Jugglers and gipsies, all the sorts of canters,
And colonies of beggars, tumblers and ape-carriers
For to these savages I was addicted,
To search their natures, and make odd discoveries!” (V, i)

Lord Frampul, a nobleman, had toured with an acting company (gypsies) along with Fly.  “Fly was my fellow gypsy.” This evidence is quite specific.

I think Vere was on that 1582-83 tour with his players that visited Lancashire.

At the end of The New Inn, Frampul (Vere) gives the Inn to Fly (Shaksper).  At the end of The Gentleman Usher, Mendice (Shaksper) tells us they made him “King of Gypsies.”

“…My lord, when I was young, being able-limb’d,
A captain of the gipsies entertain’d me,
And many years I liv’d a loose life with them;
At last I was so favour’d that they made me
The King of Gipsies;” (V,iv)

One account is hearsay, two accounts are journalism.

May 8, 2014   No Comments