Monday, August 19, 2013

An Anecdote from History

John Aubrey (1626-1697) was an English writer, philosopher and pioneer archaeologist who is best remembered as the author of Brief Lives, a collection of brief biographical pieces.

In it he records that Edward de Veere (1550-1604), the 17th Earl of Oxford, had a bodily malfunction when he bowed low to Queen Elizabeth 1: he broke wind. Humiliated, he traveled abroad for 7 years, eventually returning and being again introduced to Elizabeth, prompting her to remark “My Lord, I had forgotten the fart.”

Dramatis Personae:

John Aubrey

Queen Elizabeth 1

The Earl of Oxford

The Earl of Devon’s passage in Brief Lives:

"The Earl of Oxford, making of his low obeisance to Queen Elizabeth happened to let a Fart, at which he was so abashed and ashamed that he went to travel, seven years. On his return the Queen welcomed him home and said, 'My Lord, I had forgot the Fart’ .”

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