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Sometimes children unintentionally write the most scurrilous filth. This is mainly facilitated by the English language’s continuing insistence on the existence of homonyms that allow the development of ambiguity, as evidenced by the imposing cock in the image below.

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My Year 7 classes (11 year olds) used to have to do a Shakespeare project called ‘Journey to the Globe’ in which they wrote a first person narrative about a peasant’s journey to London from the countryside in order to see a Shakespeare play. They had to research elements of Jacobean/Elizabethan life and include parts of these in their narrative. Unfortunately (or fortunately if you like cheap giggles), one of the most popular pass-times in London was watching and gambling on cock-fighting. Needless to say, the name of the sport, coupled with the innocence of the children led to some sentences that under any normal circumstances wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Real Wive’s story section in a particularly grotty porn mag. The following quotations were all written by Year 7s in formal test conditions (though in some cases I have altered punctuation due to the ongoing allergy that children have to dividing main and subordinate clauses correctly):

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“The crowd stood waiting excitedly, and then it happened. The champion stepped into the ring with his massive cock in his hands, proudly showing it off for all to see. The crowd roared with excitement…”

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“The two contestants stood facing each other. All they could do was wait and do their best to try and hold back their mighty cocks…”

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“Then they took their cocks out. The gentlemen all nodded their heads in respect and when the cocks started fighting the women were gasping, and couldn’t take their eyes away from the action…”

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As well as dubiously named sports, there were several scourges on playgoers in Shakespeare’s time; one of these was the cutpurse. These unsavoury characters were vile rogues who would use a blade to slit the bottom of a purse or to cut the cord that attached it to a belt. Cutpurses led to the following sentence (to give a little context, the playgoer in this example had just won a fortune betting on bear-baiting and had a particularly hefty purse):

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“I was stood in line at The Globe, waiting to see Shakespeare’s classic Romeo and Juliet, when something peculiar happened. I felt something pulling at my belt and when I turned around I saw a black-hearted villain with his filthy hands all over my bulging purple sack. He pulled and tugged frantically until he took out a blade…”

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At first I thought that the solution to this was simply to change the subject matter: change the time, change the place, change the topic.  Eradicate the cocks and the smut would surely end. I was wrong. In a short horror story, a perfectly nice and normal Year 7 girl once again contrived to craft smutty slithers of ’50 Shades of Greyesque’ muck.

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“I finally set eyes upon the Earl. When I saw his fine clothing, and his dashing hat I could definitely believe the rumours that his were the biggest and most magnificent balls in all of England”

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Any gems of your own? Let me know in the comments…

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7 thoughts on “Bard Taste – A Story Of Sacks, Cocks and Shakespeare

  1. Love the story about the wife of a professional golf player who was being interviewed on a TV chat show. The host asked her if her husband had any superstitions before a tournament. She answered earnestly, ‘Yes, of course, before each game I always kiss his balls’. The chat show host then made the wonderful reply… ‘Really? His golf balls I presume?’…..

    Like

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