O, a pit of clay for to be made For such a guest is meet.

Another thing about clay – aside from being a sort of dirt that’s good for putting dead people in the ground – is that clay really can help with the smell.
If you’re burying a decomposing body, a place that helps reduce odors is a really good idea. They put clay in natural deodorant – why wouldn’t you put your smelly decaying dead guest in a clay pit? It’s a great way to reduce body odor.

But age, with his stealing steps, Hath claw’d me in his clutch And hath shipped me intil the land, As if I had never been such.

I guess no one of us really sees age coming until he has us in his clutch. My 40s caught me entirely by surprise. I thought I would be 30 forever. I thought I was 30 for years before I was 30, since my childhood, really, when I was continually horrified by the indignities of childhood. So since I was basically always 30, I found turning 30 to be quite a relief – like, finally, I am the age I’ve always felt myself to be. And all the numbers following thirty were still just thirty, just varieties of 30. But forty! My god I was not prepared. Not at all.

And now I am confronted with all the things that start to happen with age – medical tests that seemed so far in the future, a cloak of invisibility on the street, the way I don’t look my age in the exact reverse I used to get in my teens. I used to look older, now I look younger.
And even though I am likely to be in the exact middle of my life, I start to consider the end in a way that I never did before. I have a tab open on my browser to remind me to write a will. So…yeah. Age suddenly has me in his clutch. He will likely be my constant companion now for the second half of my life.

In youth, when I did love, did love, Methought it was very sweet, To contract, O, the time, for, ah my behove, O, methought, there was nothing meet.

This song that the gravedigger sings is based on poem called “The Aged Lover Renounceth Love” by Second Baron Vaux of Harrowden Thomas, Lord Vaux. I wish we could get a copy of the Billboard Hot 100 charts of the Renaissance to find out if there was indeed a popular song of the times based on this poem. Two verses hew pretty close to the poem but the third is tailored to the gravedigger – it’s almost a parody verse. I suspect that would be all the funnier if the audience knew the song.
Like, if the gravedigger sang two normal verses of “Don’t Stop Believin’” and then added one about gravediggers.

Fetch me a stoup of liquor.

Ah yes – and here’s where knowing other plays comes in a bit handy. Because Sir Toby Belch calls for a stoup of wine – and this makes me see the clown/gravedigger in relationship to Sir Toby. Perhaps they might have been played by the same actor.

Stoup isn’t used much in the plays – it is here, with a “drunken lout” in 12th Night and two villains in the plays, Iago and, later in this play, Claudius.

I wonder if there’s some association to be made between these characters who share a common word usage. Certainly Hamlet sees Claudius as a bit of a drunken relative when he observes the drinking revel ritual early in the play.

Go, get thee in.

I made the mistake of trying to be helpful on the Feldenkrais practitioners Facebook page and was instantly confronted with someone’s hate. I think she literally used the word “hate.” And, you know, everyone’s entitled to their opinion – but when talking with strangers on the internet, it might be nice to hold back your hate. If all you’ve got to say is that you hate something, you can just get thee in. We don’t need you out here hating.

And when you are asked this question next, say ‘a Grave-maker,’ the houses he makes last till doomsday.

The first clown thinks he’s so smart – like this is the most brilliant riddle but…gravemakers don’t really “build” do they? I think there are a lot of fallacies in this riddle. The second clown’s answer is actually better. Because a gallows is built. A grave is dug. It is more an act of destruction than construction.

Cudgel thy brains no more about it, for your dull ass will not mend his pace with beating.

I’ve always heard this as the first clown calling the second a dull ass. But I think now that this dull ass is a metaphorical ass – an analogy – not specifically the dull ass belonging to the second clown – but your dull ass as a generic kind of ass.
This is supported by his use of “thy brains” but the dull ass is “your dull ass” and the generic your is a speech pattern of the clown as in “your water” and “your whoreson dead body” – neither the water nor the dead body belong specifically to the man he’s talking to – but are a kind of colloquial way to describe a thing.

I mean, yes, he is likely comparing the second clown’s brains to a dull ass – but I think it might have less to do with how stupid he perceives the Second Clown to be and more to do with ceasing the efforts of trying to think. He has, after all, already liked his wits so he’s not entirely disrespectful of his fellow gravedigger’s intelligence. Anyways – this may be a dull ass that I’m cudgeling but I think this line is often why the Second gravedigger is played as the dumb one. It’s a facile choice based on the appearance of “dull ass” in a sentence.

To’t.

The day this line appears is known as Indictment Day. All day on Twitter – folks have been wishing each other Merry Indictment Day. Last night they recommended leaving cookies for Mueller and looking for him in the sky as he sailed.

Today many are saying this process is proceeding the same way prosecutors normally tackle mafia cases. That it starts with the little fish and the net gets bigger and bigger until they catch the whale.
To’t, y’all. To’t.
This is the first moment I have felt even cautiously optimistic in a year.
To’t.
*
Ah, the sweet sweet hope of this moment. The indictments have come and gone and while we watched many dominos fall – none of them saved us. None of them.

Ay, tell me that and unyoke.

A life in Shakespeare can sometimes yield some funny crossovers. I learned Titania’s “forgeries of jealousy” speech to perform for my friend’s students. So a week later, I see “unyoke” in this line and I’m instantly with the ox who has stretched his yoke in vain. So the ox and the second clown become sort of merged in my mind, just because of the commonality of yoking. Which – I’ll be honest – I don’t have much other experience of, or have much occasion to talk about.