My friend Dan makes the point that almost every idea communicated in Shakespeare’s plays gets said in the suavest possible way. The dramas’ unprecedented range of vocabulary has a lot to do with this. We were watching the musical version of Love’s Labours Lost with Kenneth Branagh, Alicia Silverstone, etc. the other night and came to a scene where Berowne is angry that someone had warned the ladies of the French court about the scholars’ prank. I’m a pretty educated guy and I can think of two words off the top of my head for this kind of behavior: tattletale (for kids) and snitch (for grown-ups). Here’s how Berowne describes the man who ruined their fun.
“Some carry-tale, some please-man, some slight zany,
Some mumble-news, some trencher-knight, some Dick“
Tell me, how is “mumble-news” not a part of our everyday language?