A literal-minded Oxfordian (is there any other kind?), insists that the author of the sonnets is using the word 'lame' in the literal sense to describe himself. The evidence for Oxford's literal incapacity is lame but his tendency for self-pity is real enough. In this list of uses of the word lame, taken from the plays (with the offending sonnet), our Oxfordian friend counted only four metaphorical uses of 'lame' (later, after a chorus of the giggles, 'adjusted' to seven and one 'arguable').

How good is his eye for a figure of speech?

1

As You Like It
[I, 3]

Celia

411

No, thy words are too precious to be cast away upon curs;
throw some of them at me; come, lame me with reasons.

2

As You Like It
[II, 3]

Adam

682

But do not so. I have five hundred crowns,
The thrifty hire I sav'd under your father,
Which I did store to be my foster-nurse, When service should in my old limbs lie lame,

3

As You Like It
[III, 2]

Rosalind

1279

Ay, but the feet were lame, and could not bear themselves
without the verse, and therefore stood lamely in the verse.

4

Coriolanus
[IV, 7]

Tullus Aufidius

3223

I cannot help it now,
Unless, by using means, I lame the foot
Of our design.

 5

Henry VI, Part II
[II, 1]

Winchester

836

What, art thou lame?

6

King John
[III, 1]

Constance

958

If thou, that bid'st me be content, wert grim,
Ugly and slanderous to thy mother's womb,
Full of unpleasing blots and sightless stains,
Lame, foolish, crooked, swart, prodigious,
Patch'd with foul moles and eye-offending marks,

7

Love's Labour's Lost
[V, 2]

Boyet

2204

They will, they will, God knows,
And leap for joy, though they are lame with blows:
Therefore change favours; and, when they repair,

8

Othello
[I, 3]

Brabantio

397

Ay, to me;
She is abused, stol'n from me, and corrupted
By spells and medicines bought of mountebanks;
For nature so preposterously to err,
Being not deficient, blind, or lame of sense,
Sans witchcraft could not.

9

Othello
[II, 1]

Desdemona

949

O most lame and impotent conclusion! Do not learn
of him, Emilia, though he be thy husband. How say
you, Cassio? is he not a most profane and liberal
counsellor?

 10

Sonnet 37

Shakespeare

 

As a decrepit father takes delight
To see his active child do deeds of youth,
So I, made lame by fortune's dearest spite,
Take all my comfort of thy worth and truth.
` For whether beauty, birth, or wealth, or wit,
Or any of these all, or all, or more,
Entitled in thy parts do crowned sit,
I make my love engrafted to this store:
So then I am not lame, poor, nor despised,
Whilst that this shadow doth such substance give
That I in thy abundance am sufficed
And by a part of all thy glory live.
   Look, what is best, that best I wish in thee:
   This wish I have; then ten times happy me!    

11

Passionate Pilgrim

Shakespeare??

158

Crabbed age and youth cannot live together:
Youth is full of pleasance, age is full of care;
Youth like summer morn, age like winter weather;
Youth like summer brave, age like winter bare.
Youth is full of sport, age's breath is short;
Youth is nimble, age is lame;
Youth is hot and bold, age is weak and cold;
Youth is wild, and age is tame.
Age, I do abhor thee; youth, I do adore thee;
O, my love, my love is young!
Age, I do defy thee: O, sweet shepherd, hie thee,
For methinks thou stay'st too long,

12

Pericles
[IV, 0]

Gower

1493

I do commend to your content:
Only I carry winged time
Post on the lame feet of my rhyme;

13

Rape of Lucrece

Shakespeare

948

'When wilt thou be the humble suppliant's friend,
And bring him where his suit may be obtain'd?
When wilt thou sort an hour great strifes to end?
Or free that soul which wretchedness hath chain'd?
Give physic to the sick, ease to the pain'd?
The poor, lame, blind, halt, creep, cry out for thee;
But they ne'er meet with Opportunity.

14

Romeo and Juliet
[II, 5]

Juliet

1375

The clock struck nine when I did send the nurse;
In half an hour she promised to return.
Perchance she cannot meet him: that's not so.
O, she is lame! love's heralds should be thoughts,
Which ten times faster glide than the sun's beams,

15

Tempest
[II, 2]

Trinculo

1101

What have we here? a man or a fish? dead or alive? A fish:
he smells like a fish; a very ancient and fish-
like smell; a kind of not of the newest Poor-
John. A strange fish! Were I in England now,
as once I was, and had but this fish painted,
not a holiday fool there but would give a piece
of silver: there would this monster make a
man; any strange beast there makes a man:
when they will not give a doit to relieve a lame
beggar, they will lazy out ten to see a dead
Indian. Legged like a man and his fins like
arms!