Wednesday, June 18, 2008
John Fowke...makes constant-stream'd engines for extinguishing fires, 1726
In my quest to trace everything back to the Renaissance, I have once again discovered the antecedent of a popular rap lyric (here is the last one I did). I found this one in none other than Shakespeare. Although he doesn't quite capture the simple exuberance and delicate lyricism of Rock Master Scott & the Dynamic Three's "the roof (x3) is on fire!", this speech Hamlet gives is pretty okay too I guess. In the 1603 quarto, Rosencrantz actually interjects to tell Hamlet to "let the motherfucker burn" in an effort to restore his mirth, but being the "bad quarto" scholars have largely ignored it.
I can't find much out about the John Fowke this publication mentions, but he made a super awesome water pump and apparently everyone was very impressed. The text read like an advertisement for the pump, but the illustrator gains bonus points for accurately representing the "foul and pestilent congregation of vapours."