Shakespeare on bagpipe and bagpipes, musical taste, likes and dislikes

bagpipe and bagpipes, likes and dislikes and musical taste“Some men there are love not a gaping pig;

And others, when the bagpipe sings i’ the nose
Cannot contain their urine.”

(Merchant Of Venice, act 4, sc. 1)

Tips for use.  Perfect repartee should you dislike the subject instrument and be asked about your related opinion. With some artistic license you can apply the same caustic aspersion to any dis-likeable music – e.g. “…there are some, when the hard-rock band begins to play, cannot contain their urine.” Hard-rock lovers, be not dismayed – it was just an example.
The bagpipe was already a popular instrument in the Roman army, according to the Latin historian Procopius. And Nero was equally one of its practitioners.  Tradition says the it was the very same Roman army that introduced the bagpipe into England. A 15th century Welsh poet had the pleasure of hearing it by played at a Saxon wedding. The poet was not impressed,

“Each roared with throat at widest stretch
For Will the Piper – low born wretch
He stares – he strives the bag to sound:
He swells his maw – and ogles round;
He twists and turns himself about –
With fetid breath his cheeks swell” out… etc.

The bagpipe was usually played in rural areas. It reached its height of popularity when Madame Pompadour (mistress of King Louis XV), played its French bellows version called the musette – an instrument that became the harbinger of much French popular music, even today.

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In the play. Shylock finds arguments (with Bassanio), to have his forfeit paid, the famous pound of flesh culled from Antonio. He wants flesh because it is his whim, much as likes and dislikes are arbitrary, witness the bagpipe example  

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