Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Fooles Bolt is soone shot, 1630



This is some pretty cool perspective for a woodcut, eh? You wouldn't want to run into this guy in a filthy alleyway -- especially because he's wearing a chicken on his head for some reason.

A Fooles Bolt is soone shot is a cautionary tale about the inevitability of a violent death at the hands of a criminal assassin. Here's the original subtitle:
Good Friends beware, I'me like to hit yee,
What ere you be heer's that will fit yee;
Which way soever that you goe,
At you I ayme my Bolt and Bowe.
Of course I replaced with a 70's action movie quote, but the sentiment is basically the same. The moral of this ballad is basically "I'm gonna get  you, sucka." Each stanza focuses on a different type of person who needs comeuppance, and ends with the phrase "at him I make a shot." I also really like the name of the tune, "Oh no no no not yet." Sounds like a hit to me!

That phrase, "A fool's bolt is soon shot," is actually from16th century author and proverb-master John Heywood. This guy wrote every pithy epigrammatic one liner or cliche you've ever said. Seriously, look. This one in particular is about waiting for the opportune time to do whatever it is you want to do. It shows up in Shakespeare, too, in Henry V and As You Like It.

Remember that part in Dirty Harry after the famous quote, when Harry dry fires his gun and we're all like, "OMG he did fire six times!" and it's great? Well, that kinda happens in this ballad too:
And if that any have escap'd,
and saies I did not hit them,
It is because my Bolts are spent,
but Ile have more to fit them.
Anyway, apparently Dirty Harry was inspired by the Zodiac Killer, but I think we both know where the idea really came from.



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