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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Four P's (Fourth P Not Shown)

Here's a title-page woodcut from John Heywood's play, The Foure PP (written 1520, printed c.1545), which I happened to be browsing today (don't ask why). As you can see, it's a "newe [i.e., 486-year-old] and a very mery enterlude of A palmer. A pardoner. A potycary. A pedler." Hence the four P's.

Who is which P? Which P is missing from the image, and why?

Any thoughts?

File this one under "stuff I should know but don't."

  • At 7/12/2006 10:04:00 AM, Blogger Simplicius wrote…

    I'm guessing here...

    A palmer (sans palm branch), a potycary (disguised as a paynim--that's some sword he's carrying, which of course would be highly useful in creating fine-grained herb and powder concoctions), and a pardoner (what's he toting?).

    The woodcut figures clearly do not correspond to the four PP of the title, do they? Do you know what Luborsky has to say on the matter?


  • At 7/12/2006 12:36:00 PM, Blogger jw wrote…

    I just appreciate that a potycary is so high he's levitating.


  • At 7/12/2006 01:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote…

    my word verification this time is CQUEER. how very mery!


  • At 7/13/2006 06:42:00 PM, Blogger Pamphilia wrote…

    Well, if we go by orthography, it should be the 'Potycary who is not pictured, since he's really an "A" and not a "P." Unless there's some sort of pun on "Potty-Carry" going on here. Maybe he hangs out with Arsemetricians.

    More importantly, why are they all dressed in fashions from the previous century.

    I wish Ruth Luborsky were still alive. She was great.


  • At 7/14/2006 09:08:00 AM, Blogger Adam wrote…

    maybe it's the old joke: the fourth person, named but not shown, is the reader.like all those woodcuts of 'four rogues', showing three rogues, plus (ho ho ho) the reader.

    my word verification was ieyyd: a small, hairless creature, somewhat like a stoat.


  • At 7/14/2006 12:03:00 PM, Blogger Hieronimo wrote…

    maybe it's the old joke: the fourth person, named but not shown, is the reader

    Hey Adam, thanks for the comment. Would that make the reader the "peddler"? Or perhaps the fourth person is the stationer selling the book?

    Still haven't checked my copy of Luborsky--sorry all; will do.


  • At 7/16/2006 04:48:00 PM, Blogger Pamphilia wrote…

    I think Adam is totally right. I think it's like the line from 'Twelfth Night," "Did you ever see the picture of We Three?" which is really a reference to a picture of two Asses, if I remember correctly. The third being the viewer, another sort of ass . . .


  • At 7/28/2006 12:20:00 AM, Blogger Inkhorn wrote…

    I love the picture of we three. I've somehow managed always to hide that fact from my students, who I somehow feel wouldn't appreciate it the way I do.


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