Posted on 23rd May, 2022

I have been looking again at Robert Graves's 1926 essay Lars Porsena (later revised) about the history of swearing (something with which he was familiar from trenchant voices in the Great War). He cites Middleton and Rowley's play A Fair Quarrel, written a year after Shalespeare's death.


We could revive this great dismissal of those out of our favour: "you rusty piece of Martlemas bacon, away!"


It is followed by the innuendo of "may thy roll rot, and thy pudding drop in pieces, being sophisticated with filthy urine".


Matter for another day, the etymology of "sophisticated".

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