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Shakespeare's "from whose bourn no traveller returns."???

 
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 May, 2003 03:45 pm
Mr Stillwater wrote:
OK, the Shorter OED attirbutes the modern usage of boundary to Shakespeare, although they say that the interpretation is probably 'frontier or pale'. It also crops up in the 'Merry Wives of Windsor'.


Given that Shakespeare (or Bacon, if you subscribe to that contention) invented other words, or uses for existing words, were it not possible that such a quote embodies yet another Shakesperian(/Baconian?) neologism?
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oldandknew
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 May, 2003 03:46 pm
There is a small town not far from where I live in England that is called BOURNE , BOURNE is also my wife's maiden name. Other than that I know nothing of the word's history
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 May, 2003 03:47 pm
And working backward from the place name Bournemouth, it must also be a river, or other considerable stream . . .
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Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 May, 2003 05:16 pm
What I'm pondering is whether bourn is a homonym for born. If it is, then the audience would hear the word bourn and interpret it as bourn or born.
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 May, 2003 12:39 pm
After doing some searching, both in books and on the web, I do believe bourn means the grave. One definition cites bourn as being a stream that only flows in the winter months.That would metaphorically refer to old age and the word "stream" symbolic of (as Deb mentioned) the river Styx. In a Google search I found one item from the Book of Mormon, no less, that claims Shakespeare plagiarized the expression. Shocked
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 May, 2003 12:57 pm
Ah, the book of Mormon, texts given to Joseph Smith by the angel, Maroni (You gotta know how to pony, like Phoney Maroni)--now there's a source, Jesus went to Mexico, and the fun began . . .
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 May, 2003 01:01 pm
Well, Setanta,

Jesus was also an American Indian, 'ya know. Rolling Eyes
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 May, 2003 01:03 pm
I jus' love fairy tales . . . don't you ?
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 May, 2003 01:10 pm
Yeah, Irish. I really do. Especially the ones by the Bro's Grimm. Razz

Embarrassed Sorry, didn't mean to get off thread. (rowing boat gently down stream)
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Letty
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 May, 2003 09:15 am
Anyone ever come to a consensus on this?
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shamoo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 May, 2013 11:36 pm
rivers are sometimes used as boundrys and/or destinations. Seems to me like if I was traveling I would stop and camp at a river, or follow a river to civilization. In our times, undiscovered country makes me think about the afterlife, but back then the world was undiscovered. As above so below, as we begin to know ourselves we descover our boundaries and our destinations, we begin to know the universe and G.O.D. The river of time flows on and on and we can never go back.
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Eberheld
 
  2  
Reply Wed 28 Sep, 2016 01:42 pm
@Roberta,
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveller returns Ham.III.1.79-80


URL: http://able2know.org/topic/7735-1

Shakespeare's meaning is crystal clear to me. The "country" of death has a "border", just as all countries do. The image is so clear in his choice of words. I am a Mason and when I heard this phrase during the master mason degree it caused me a jolt of recognition because of Hamlet's use. I think that the Masonic writing borrowed from the Bard. It is such a picturesque way to depict the afterlife.
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izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Fri 30 Sep, 2016 08:54 am
@Roberta,
Which reminds me of a news story from earlier in the year.

Quote:
A host of William Shakespeare’s puns, rhymes and rhythms are completely lost on modern audiences due to changes in pronunciation, a linguists expert has said.

David Crystal has dedicated 12 years to studing original pronunciation (OP) productions of Shakespeare plays, where actors pronounce their lines in what research suggests would have been the accent used in Shakespeare’s time.

1. Romeo and Juliet, Prologue:

"From forth the fatal loins of these two foes,

A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life."

The word ‘loins’ would originally have been pronounced the same as ‘lines’.

This pun refers to the fatal blood lines of Romeo and Juliet – the families that they descended from are the reason for their death, as well as their ‘loins’ (their physical relationship).

2. As You Like It, Act 3, Scene 3:

Touchstone: "I am here with thee and they goats, as the most capricious poet, honest Ovid, was among the Goths."

In Shakespeare’s time, ‘goats’ and ‘Goths’ would have sounded the same.

The Goths were a group of early Germanic Christians, at whom this line seems to be making a subtle dig.

3. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 5, Scene 1:

Demetrius: "No die, but an ace for him."

‘Ace’ here refers to one (as in the number one on a single dice), but at the time would have sounded like ‘ass’, as in donkey.

4. Sonnet 116:

"If this be error and upon me proved,

I never writ, nor no man ever loved."

In Shakespeare’s time, ‘proved’ would have been pronounced to rhyme with ‘loved’, making this sonnet end with an elegant rhyme.

5. Troilus and Cressida, Act 1, Scene 2:

Thersites: "But yet you look not well upon him; for, whomsoever you take him to be, he is Ajax."

Thersites is insulting Ajax just by saying his name. At the time, ‘Ajax’ would have been pronounced ‘a jakes’, a word that meant ‘sh*thouse’ in Shakespeare's time.


http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/theatre-dance/five-shakespeare-puns-ruined-by-modern-english-a6876931.html

Btw, bourn could reference the river Styx.
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marla
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Oct, 2016 10:17 pm
@5PoF,
In Greek mythology, the boundary between Earth and the Underworld was the river Styx. It could be referring to this?
marla
 
  1  
Reply Sun 9 Oct, 2016 10:21 pm
@dlowan,
The origins of Masonry go back to Egypt.
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izzythepush
 
  2  
Reply Mon 10 Oct, 2016 01:50 am
@marla,
Wow you're smart, something dawns on you immediately after I point it out.
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Grynin
 
  0  
Reply Wed 26 Oct, 2016 09:47 am
The undiscovered country is Heaven.
Grynin
 
  -2  
Reply Wed 26 Oct, 2016 09:49 am
@5PoF,
The destination is universal for a travelers . Death and hence Heaven.
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izzythepush
 
  2  
Reply Wed 26 Oct, 2016 10:03 am
@Grynin,
That is your belief. It is not what Shakespeare wrote, he left it vague. This is a thread about Shakespeare's language, not your belief in the afterlife. There's plenty of other threads for that.
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Gary-Betsworth
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Dec, 2016 02:52 am
@Roberta,
"From whose bourn no traveller returns."

Burn is a Scots word for stream or river.

We can find it in Robert Burns' famous poem Auld Lang Syne - 1788.
Although the first verse was merely transcribed by Burns,
the remaining text is thought to be his creation, including the fourth verse:

We twa hae paidl'd in the burn,
frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar'd
sin' auld lang syne.

- Even Burns uses the burn (river) to represent time:
- the passage of morning to evening.
- the water image as the concept of distance through time: "seas between us."

Shakespeare uses the term traveler; certainly, paddling a boat in a stream is a means of travel."

What comes to my mind is more the concept of current.
Water (and electricity) is linear - just like time.
Don't worry, I'm not a physicist, lol.
But even the commonest groundling would relate to the river current idea.

Similarly,
The idea of the outgoing tide can be metaphoric for death.
Specifically, the image of Arthur's body going out to sea to find Avalon
strikes me as another example of current.

Certainly, a groundling would understand even the most basic concept of an undertow.

So, there we have an argument for the Scottish "burn," or river, for one of Shakespeare's original meaning.

- Gary Betsworth


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