Saturday, August 1, 2020

Billy Budd as the Best Part of Shakespeare

Jonson, Poetaster

Ovid Jr.

...The suffering plough-share or the flint may wear;
     But heavenly Poesy no death can fear.
     Kings shall give place to it, and kingly shows,
     The banks o'er which gold-bearing Tagus flows.
     Kneel hinds to trash: me let bright Phoebus swell
     With cups full flowing from the Muses' well.
     Frost-fearing myrtle shall impale my head,
     And of sad lovers I be often read.
     Envy the living, not the dead, doth bite!
     For after death all men receive their right.
     Then, when this body falls in funeral fire,
     My name shall live, and MY BEST PART ASPIRE.

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Venus and Adonis - Shakespeare:

Vilia miretur vulgus: mihi flavus Apollo
Pocula Castalia plena ministret aqua.

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"There is another reason that excuseth B [note - Ben Jonson]., which is, that is one be allowed to love the natural issue of his body, why not that of the brain, which is of a spiritual and more noble extraction?" (note- not marked in Melville's copy of Hazlitt)

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Captain Edward Fairfax Vere - Master of Man-o-war Bellipotent/Indomitable

Melville's Testament of Acceptance
E. L. Grant Watson


...Here is Melville at his very best, at his deepest, most poetic, and therefore at his most concentrated, most conscious. Every image has its significant implication: the very roll of the heavily-cannoned ship so majestic in moderate weather - the musket in the ship armourer's rack; and Billy's last words are the triumphant seal of his acceptance, and they are more than that, for in this supreme passage [note - God Bless Captain Vere] a communion between PERSONALITY at its purest, most-God-given form, and CHARACTER, hard-hammered from the imperfect material of life on the battleship Indomitable, is here suggested, and one feels that the souls of Captain Vere and Billy are at the moment STRANGELY ONE.

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Strong's Concordance

tupos: a figure, model, type
Original Word: τύπος, ου, ὁ
Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine
Transliteration: tupos
Phonetic Spelling: (too'-pos)
Definition: typically
Usage: (originally: the MARK of a BLOW [note- Billy's fist], then a stamp struck by a die), (a) a figure; a copy, image, (b) a pattern, model, (c) a type, prefiguring something or somebody.

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Shakespeare's Man-o-War Body:

From 'The Dramatic Works of William Shakspeare. Life. New facts regarding the life.

...But from some cause or other, which it is not our present business to explore, each of these editors, in his turn, has disappointed the just expectations of the public; and, with an inversion of Nature's general rule, the little men have finally prevailed against the great. The blockheads have hooted the wits from the field' and, attaching themselves to the mighty body of Shakspeare, like barnacles to the hull of a proud MAN-O-WAR, they are prepared to plough with him the vast ocean of time; and thus, by the only means in their power to snatch themselves from that oblivion to which Nature had devoted them. It would be unjust, however, to defraud these gentlemen of their proper praise. They have read for men of talents; and, by their gross labor in the mine, they have accumulated materials to be arranged and polished by the hand of the finer artist. - Some apology may be necessary for this short digression from the more immediate subject of my biography. [Dr. Symmons, Intro., p. xxv]

(Italicized words marked with a line in the margin in Melville's copy)

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Book/Heir/Foundling


Billy Budd/Beauty - noble foundling

'Yes, Billy Budd was a foundling, a presumable by-blow, and, evidently, no ignoble one. Noble descent was as evident in him as in a blood horse.' (Melville, _Billy Budd_)

There was “something in the mobile expression and every chance attitude and movement, something suggestive of a mother eminently favoured by Love and the Graces” (235-6)


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Budd/Spirit/Beauty

1850: "Hawthorne and His Mosses" by Herman Melville

"Would that all excellent BOOKS were FOUNDLINGS, without father or
mother, that so it might be we could glorify them, without including
their ostensible authors."

“I know not what would be the right name to put on the title-page
of an excellent book, but this I feel, that the names of all fine
authors are fictitious ones, far more than that of Junius,-- simply
standing, as they do, for the mystical, ever-eluding SPIRIT of all
BEAUTY, which ubiquitously possesses men of genius. Purely imaginative
as this fancy may appear, it nevertheless seems to receive some
warranty from the fact, that on a personal interview no great author
has ever come up to the idea of his reader. But that dust of which our
bodies are composed, how can it fitly express the nobler intelligences
among us?”

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Melville - a “virtue went out of” Billy and “sugared” the crew.

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Hazlitt - from Melville's Library. Lecture II. On Shakespeare and Jonson 

Extract from Howel's Letters (From a supper with Ben Jonson)
From James Howel, Esq., to Sir Thomas Hawk, Kt.
Westminster, 5th April, 1636
Sir,
I was invited yesternight to a solemn supper by B.J., where you were deeply remembered; there was good company, excellent cheer, choice wines, jovial welcome: one thing intervened, which almost spoiled the relish of the rest, that B. began to engross all the discourse, to vapour extremely by himself, and, by vilifying others, to magnify his own Muse. T. Ca (Tom Carew) buzzed me in the ear, that though Ben had barrelled up a great deal of knowledge, yet it seems he had not read the ethics, which, among other precepts of morality, forbid self-commendation, declaring it to be an ill-favoured solecism in good manners. It made me think upon the lady (not very young) who, having a good while given her guest neat entertainment, a capon being brought upon the table, instead of a spoon, she took a mouthful of claret, and spouted into the hollow bird: such an accident happened in this entertainment: you know -  propria, laus sordet in ore: be a man's breath ever so sweet, yet it makes one's praise stink, if he makes his own mouth the conduit-pipe of it. But, for may part, I am content to dispense with the Roman infirmity of Ben, now that time hath snowed upon his pericranium. You know Ovid and (your) Horace were subject to this humour, the first bursting out into - 

Jamque opus exegi, quod nec Jovis ir nec ignis, etc.

The other into- 

Exegi monumentum aere perennius, etc.

As also Cicero, while he forced himself into this hexameter: O fortunatum natam me consule Romam! There is another reason that excuseth B., which is, that if one be allowed to love the natural issue of his body, why not that of the brain, which is of a spiritual and more noble extraction?" (note- not marked in Melville's copy of Hazlitt)

*********************************
E. L. Grant Watson
(snip)
All the grim setting of the world is in the battleship Indomitable; war and threatened mutiny are the conditions of her existence. Injustice and inhumanity are implicit, yet Captain Vere, her commander, is the man who obeys the law and yet understands the truth of the spirit.
(snip)
In Captain Vere we find a figure which may interestingly be compared to Pontius Pilate. Like Pilate, he condemns the just man to a shameful death, knowing him to be innocent, but, unlike Pilate, he does not wash his hands, but manfully assumes the full responsibility, and in such a way as to take the half, if not more than the half, of the bitterness of the execution upon himself. We are given to suppose that there is an affinity, a spiritual understanding between Captain Vere and Billy Budd, and it is even suggested that in their partial and separate existences they contribute two essential portions of that larger spirit which is man. Such passages as that quoted lie on the surface of this story, but they indicate the depths beneath. There are darker hints: those deep, far-away things in Vere, those occasional flashings-forth of intuition - short, quick probings to the very axis of reality.

(See 'Melville's Billy Budd and the Disguises of Authorship', Stritmatter, Anderson and Stone - shows how Grant Watson took this description of Vere from Melville's description of Shakespeare in 'Hawthorne and his Mosses' - deep faraway things..)

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Melville's edition Shakespeare:
'The Dramatic Works of William Shakspeare. Life. New facts regarding the life.


So exquisite, indeed, appears to have been his relish of the quiet, which was his portion within the walls of New Place, that it induced a complete oblivion of all that had engaged his attention, and had aggrandized his name, in the preceding scenes of his life. Without any regard to his literary fame, either present or to come, he saw with perfect unconcern some of his immortal works brought, mutilated and deformed, before the world, in surreptitious copies; and others of them, with an equal indifference to their fate, her permitted to remain in their unrevised or interpolated MSS. in the hand of the theatric prompter. There is not, probably, in the whole compass of literary history, such another instance of a proud superiority to what has been called by a rival genius, 

"The last infirmity of noble minds,"

As that which was not exhibited by our illustrious Dramatist and Poet.

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Melville (of Vere)  - 'The spirit that spite its philosophic austerity may yet have indulged in the most secret of all passions, ambition, never attained to the fulness of fame.' 

Said of Vere in Billy Budd. Look at Symmons essay that describes Shaksberd's complete disregard for fame of any of the 'offspring of his brain'. Also quotes Milton's Lycidas 'ambition the last infirmity of  noble minds

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Captive Good Attending Captain Ill:

Symmons essay in Melville's Shakespeare mention Dr. Johnson's criticism of Sh. Johnson faulting him for 'sacrificing virtue to convenience'. Essays describing Vere's sacrifice of Billy to the rules and  'measured forms' of the warship tend to emphasize how Vere sacrifices truth and 'morality' for the sake of political expediency.

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"Billy Budd, Foretopman" and the Dynamics of Canonization
Hershel Parker 

...E.L Grant Watson, a British naturalist and literary man, published in 1930 in the New England Quarterly a reading of Pierre which for decades stood as the most sensitive tribute to that book. He followed it in the same journal with a 1933 article on Billy Budd as "Melville's Testament of Acceptance" - with "testament" carrying the sense of last will but also in the scriptural sense, for he saw the work as Melville's "gospel story." Melville himself, Watson said, in Billy Budd is "no longer a rebel," nor is Billy. Rather, the "supreme quality of acceptance" marks Billy, and Captain Vere as well. Drawing some phraseology from Melville's essay on Hawthorne's Mosses from an Old Manse, Watson stressed the provocative, haunting qualities of the work: "There are darker hints: those deep, far-away things in Vere, those occasional flashings-forth of intuition - short quick probings to the very axis of reality"
(snip)
By 1940 in his article in the University of Toronto Quarterly on Melville's "metaphysics of evil" R.E. Watters could loftily hold up *the power of love in Billy Budd as a pattern man imprints on the blackness of the cosmos.*
(snip)
Detailed academic criticism, what we think of as "close reading" of the text, began with great appropriateness, in the quintessentially New Critical journal, The Explicator (December 1943). There T.T. E. observed that in Ch. 6 the narrator speaks admiringly of Vere's disinterested mental processes, but later makes Vere's arguments at the trial hinge on the "practical consequences" if Billy is not hanged at once. T.T.E asked: "Are we to regard this disparity as an oversight or as one of the essential ambiguities in the story? Does it perhaps point the way to regarding the novel as more concerned with social repercussions and less concerned with personal ethics than is customary? In this respect the 'Preface' deserves especial note". Ironically, this first piece of academic criticism demonstrated the problematic nature of the characterization of Vere, evident when anyone pays close attention to the words in any text, not just the Weaver text; (snip)

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Prospero, Tempest

...But this rough magic
I here abjure, and when I have required
Some heavenly music, which even now I do,
To work mine end upon their senses that
This airy charm is for, I’ll break my staff,
Bury it certain fathoms in the earth,
And deeper than did ever plummet sound
I’ll drown my book.

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Melville, Billy in the Darbies

...But me they’ll lash me in hammock, drop me deep.
Fathoms down, fathoms down, how I’ll dream fast asleep.
I feel it stealing now. Sentry, are you there?
Just ease these darbies at the wrist,
And roll me over fair.
I am sleepy, and the oozy weeds about me twist.

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Milton, Lycidas
 Alas! what boots it with incessant care
To tend the homely, slighted shepherd's trade,
And strictly meditate the thankless Muse?
Were it not better done, as others use,
To sport with Amaryllis in the shade,
Or with the tangles of Neæra's hair?
Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise
(That last infirmity of noble mind)
To scorn delights and live laborious days;
But the fair guerdon when we hope to find,
And think to burst out into sudden blaze,
Comes the blind Fury with th'abhorred shears,
And slits the thin-spun life. "But not the praise,"
Phoebus replied, and touch'd my trembling ears;
"Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil,
Nor in the glistering foil
Set off to th'world, nor in broad rumour lies,
But lives and spreads aloft by those pure eyes
And perfect witness of all-judging Jove;
As he pronounces lastly on each deed,
Of so much fame in Heav'n expect thy meed." 
(snip)
Weep no more, woeful shepherds, weep no more,
For Lycidas, your sorrow, is not dead,
Sunk though he be beneath the wat'ry floor;
So sinks the day-star in the ocean bed,
And yet anon repairs his drooping head,
And tricks his beams, and with new spangled ore
Flames in the forehead of the morning sky:
So Lycidas sunk low, but mounted high
Through the dear might of him that walk'd the waves;
Where, other groves and other streams along,
With nectar pure his oozy locks he laves,
And hears the unexpressive nuptial song,
In the blest kingdoms meek of joy and love.
There entertain him all the Saints above,
In solemn troops, and sweet societies,
That sing, and singing in their glory move,
And wipe the tears for ever from his eyes.
Now, Lycidas, the shepherds weep no more:
Henceforth thou art the Genius of the shore,
In thy large recompense, and shalt be good
To all that wander in that perilous flood. 

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Billy/Fair youth

But be contented when that fell arrest
Without all bail shall carry me away;
My life hath in this line some interest,
Which for memorial still with thee shall stay.
When thou reviewest this, thou dost review
The very part was consecrate to thee;
The earth can have but earth, which is his due,
My spirit is thine, the better part of me;
So then thou hast but lost the dregs of life,
The prey of worms, my body being dead,
The coward conquest of a wretch’s knife,
Too base of thee to be remembered;
The worth of that, is that which it contains,
And that is this, and this with thee remains

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Billy Budd -answer to Shakespeare authorship and solution to Phoenix and Turtle (Beauty and Truth) 

William Shakespeare - offspring of the 'chaste' marriage of the true minds of Phoenix and Turtle. Vere's compliment to the Queen. 


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Shakespeare
If my dear love were but the child of state,
It might for Fortune's bastard be unfathered,
As subject to Time's love or to Time's hate,
Weeds among weeds, or flowers with flowers gathered.
No, it was builded far from accident;
It suffers not in smiling pomp, nor falls
Under the blow of thralled discontent,
Whereto th' inviting time our fashion calls:
It fears not policy, that heretic,
Which works on leases of short-number'd hours,
But all alone stands hugely politic,
That it nor grows with heat, nor drowns with showers.
   To this I witness call the fools of time,
   Which die for goodness, who have lived for crime.








Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The (Droeshout) Face as the Figure of Figuration

The face is the "figure for figuration" -- Wendy Beth Hyman


This Figure, that thou here feest put,
It was for gentle Shakespeare cut:
Wherein the Grauer had a strife
with Naure, to out-doo the life:
O, could he but haue dravvne his vvit
As vvell in brasse, as he hath hit
Hisface; the Print vvould then surpasse
All, that vvas euer in brasse.
But, since he cannot, Reader, looke
Not on his picture, but his Booke.
B.J.
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Donne
Though all her parts be not in th'usuall place
She hath yet an Anagram of a good face.


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Wendy Beth Hyman
Impossible Desire and the Limits of Knowledge in Renaissance Poetry --

A Bawd for Figure

The intellectual history that we have been considering here is reflected not only in these heterogeneous source materials, but also in underlying etymologies that presume and enable the interposition of (poetic) figuration and (human) embodiment. That ubiquitous term "figure," variously used to refer to bodies, alphabetic characters, and verse itself, is especially relevant to the complexity involved in theorizing poetic matter, as it contains components of both maker and made, of both materiality and intangible metaphoricity. It suggest that these paradoxical components are always involved in acts of poetic making, and illuminates that inscrutable "thingness" of poetic language: or why one can say "it figures" that human figures compose written figures to form the figurative language of poetry.

At its most basic level, of course, a "figure" is a body, a form, an outline, or a palpable shape. Here, the dense materiality of the term seems moost evident, consistent with linguistic evolution more generally, insofar as physical objects (nouns) are often points of origin which only later become metaphorized, or conscripted for verbal action or adjectival use. Even in this original form, "figure is internally contradictory, for it refers at once to a solid shape or body and yet also to its mere outline. The idea of "figure" as a ghostly trace or photographic negative is, therefore, not far behind. A similar complexity can be seen in the more metaphorical derivations of the word. Many of the earliest meanings apply this concept of bodily shape to seemingly non-bodily forms: alphabetic letters, mathematical signs, symbols for musical notation. The analogy between human body and letterform, or human body and semiotic symbol, is therefore an ancient one, and has several resonances. More purely linguistic valences of "figure" present it as even more immaterial, although all related at least tangentially to shape, structure, or form. A "figure of speech" conveys the sense of common knowledge, shaped or molded into sententiousness. "Figurative" language might be thought of as literal language that has been reshaped for multiple signification, with poetry in particular as "a manner of utterance more eloquent and rhetoricall than ordinarie prose...because it is decked and set out with all maner of fresh colours and figures. (Quote?) In its verb form, likewise, "to figure" is to conceptualize by forming shapes in one's own mind, almost an inverse of the dictum ut pictura poiesis: to think is to "figure," or to draw mental pictures.

Bodily shapes, written characters, metaphorical language, cogitation: these various meanings, related and yet in tension with each other, remind us just hoe fully this word "figure" - like its cousins "shape" and "form" and "body" - signifies both the thing made, and the act of making, both the palpable material and the immaterial idea. One might sense some duplicity in this shape-shifting power of figure. And indeed, much as it is both the shape and the ghostly trace, "figure" is both the real and the fake. In the terms presented by the OED, "figure," on the one hand, is an "embodied (human) form." But it is, on the other, and "imaginary form" or a mere "artificial representation of the human." Again, its inextricable relationship to the body - and , as we will see, *the blazoned face* in particular - is inseparable from its complex semiosis.  Julian Yates, citing anthropologist Michael Taussig's reflections on Levinas, considers the human face as "the figure of appearance, the appearance of appearance, the figure of figuration." This dual nature of the figural is not the product of critical ingenuity, but was surprisingly NATURALIZED WITHIN EARLY MODERN RHETORICAL THEORY. As Blount remarked of metaphor - the most figurative of figures - "A METAPHOR is pleasant because it enriches our knowledge with two things at once, the Truth, and a Similitude." (note - Thomas Blount, The Academy of Eloquence).

If figure could be both "truth" and "similitude," it was because it had a disconcerting power to make, unmake, and recombine form. It built things where none had been before, and its recombinatory power was essentially infinite. Such and understanding of language's elemental power might have been encouraged through the invention of movable metal type, as mentioned previously. But, again, it also had a crucial point of origin in Lucretius' repeated analogy: "as all words share one alphabet, so too/ Many things may be made from the same atoms." And once atomism had, as Michail Vlasopoulos puts it, "reduced everything to an array of indivisible units," then "all forms - from microscopic constituents to larger and more complex structures - became understood as architectures, which is to say actualizations with the same capacity to be combined, shuffled and scattered." Language, in this derivation of materialism, was essentially raw matter waiting for a framing hand - a poet's framing hand.

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Shake-speare

No, Time, thou shalt not boast that I do change:
Thy pyramids built up with newer might
To me are nothing novel, nothing strange;
They are but dressings of a former sight.
Our dates are brief, and therefore we admire
What thou dost foist upon us that is old;
And rather make them born to our desire
Than think that we before have heard them told.
Thy registers and thee I both defy,
Not wondering at the present nor the past,
For thy records and what we see doth lie,
Made more or less by thy continual haste.
   This I do vow and this shall ever be;
   I will be true despite thy scythe and thee.

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Jonson, Cynthia's Revels

TO THE
SPECIAL FOUNTAIN of MANNERS,
The Court.
T
Hou art a Bountiful and Brave Spring, and waterest all the Noble Plants of this Island. In thee the whole Kingdom dresseth it self, and is ambitious to use thee as her Glass. Beware then thou render Mens Figures truly, and teach them no less to hate their Deformities, than to love their Forms: For, to Grace, there should come Reverence; and no Man can call that Lovely, which is not also Venerable. It is not Powd'ring, Perfuming, and every day smelling of the Taylor, that converteth to a Beautiful Object: but a Mind shining through any Sute, which needs no False Light, either of Riches or Honours, to help it. Such shalt thou find some here, even in the Reign of C Y N T H I A, (a C R I T E S and an A R E T E.) Now, under thy P H œ B U S, it will be thy Province to make more: Except thou desirest to have thy Source mix with the Spring of Self-love, and so wilt draw upon thee as welcom a Discovery of thy Days, as was then made of her Nights.
Thy Servant, but not Slave,          
BEN. JOHNSON.

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Amorphus/Oxford

Cynthia's Revels, Jonson

Cupid: What's he [note - Amorphus], Mercury?

Mercury: A notable Smelt. One, that hath newly enter-
tain'd the Begger to follow him, but cannot get him to
wait near enough. 'Tis Asotus, the Heir of Philargyrus;
but first I'll give ye the others Character, which may
make his the clearer. He that is with him is Amorphus
a Traveller, one so made out of the mixture and shreds
of forms, that himself is truly deform'd.

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The face is the "figure for figuration" -- Wendy Beth Hyman

BEN. JOHNSON - Cynthia's Revels
Act II.    Scene III.
Amorphus, Asotus, Cos, Prosaites, Cupid. Mercury.
C
Ome Sir. You are now within regard of the Pre-
 sence, and see, the privacy of this Room, how
sweetly it offers it self to our retir'd intendments. Page,
cast a vigilant, and enquiring Eye about, that we be
not rudely surpriz'd, by the approach of some ruder
stranger.
   Cos. I warrant you, Sir. I'll tell you when the Wolf
enters, fear nothing.
[column break]
   Mer. O, what a mass of benefit shall we possess, in be-
ing the invisible Spectators of this STRANGE SHOW now to
be acted.
   Amo. Plant your self there, Sir: and observe me. You
shall now, as well be the Ocular, as the Ear-witness,
how clearly I can refel that paradox, or rather pseudodox;
of those, which hold the Face to be the Index of the
mind, which (I assure you) is not so, in any politick
Creature: for instance; I will now give you the parti-
cular, and distinct face of every your most noted species
of Persons, as your Merchant, your Schollar, your
Soldier, your Lawyer, Courtier, &c. and each of these
so truly, as you would swear, but that your Eye shall
see the variation of the Lineament, it were my most
proper and genuine aspect. First, for your Merchant,
or City-face, 'tis thus, a dull, plodding Face, still look-
ing in a direct line, forward: there is no great matter
in this Face. Then have you your Students, or aca-
demique Face, which is here, an honest, simple, and
methodical Face: but somewhat more spred than the
former. The third is your Soldiers Face, a menacing,
and astounding Face, that looks broad, and big: the
grace of this Face consisteth much in a Beard. The anti-
face, to this, is your Lawyers Face, a contracted, sub-
tile, and intricate Face, full of quirks, and turnings,
a labyrinthæan Face, now angularly, now circularly, e-
very way aspected. Next is your statist's Face, a seri-
ous, solemn, and supercilious Face, full of formal, and
square Gravity, the Eye (for the most part) deeply and
artificially shadow'd: there is great judgment required
in the making of this Face. But now, to come to your
Face of Faces, or Courtiers Face, 'tis of three sorts,
according to our subdivision of a Courtier, Elementary,
Practick, and Theorick. Your Courtier Theorick, is
he, that hath arriv'd to his farthest, and doth now
know the Court, rather by speculation, than practice;
and this is his Face: a fastidious and oblick Face, that
looks, as it went with a Vice, and were screw'd thus.
Your Courtier Practick, is he, that is yet in his Path,
his course, his way, and hath not toucht the puntilio,
or point of his hope; his Face is here: a most promi-
sing, open, smooth, and over-flowing Face, that seems
as it would run, and pour it self into you. Somewhat
a northerly Face. Your Courtier Elementary, is one
but newly enter'd, or as it were in the alphabet, or ut-re-
mi-fa-sol-la of Courtship. Note well this Face, for it is
this you must practice.
   Aso. I'll practice 'em all, if you please, Sir.
   Amo. I, hereafter you may: and it will not be alto-
gether an ungrateful study. For, let your Soul be as-
sur'd of this (in any rank, or profession whatever) the
more general, or major part of Opinion goes with the
Face, and (simply) respects nothing else. Therefore,
if that can be made exactly, curiously, exquisitely,
thorowly, it is enough: But (for the present) you shall
only apply your self to this Face of the Elementary
Courtier, a light, revelling, and protesting Face, now
blushing, now smiling, which you may help much with
a wanton wagging of your Head, thus, (a Feather will
teach you) or with kissing your Finger that hath the
Ruby, or playing with some String of your Band, which
is a most quaint kind of melancholy besides: or (if a-
mong Ladies) laughing lowd, and crying up your own
Wit, though perhaps borrow'd, it is not amiss. Where
is your Page? call for your Casting-bottle, and place
your mirrour in your Hat, as I told you: so. Come,
look not pale, observe me, set your face, and enter.
   Mer. O, for some excellent Painter, to have tane the
Copy of all these Faces!

********************************
Jonson, on Shakespeare

Triumph, my Britain, thou hast one to SHOW
To whom all SCENES of Europe homage owe.
He was not of an age, but for all time !

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TOTEM AND TABOO IN THE TRIBE OF BEN: THE DUPLICITY OF GENDER AND JONSON'S SATIRES
BY VICTORIA SILVER
Thus the epigram "On Something, that Walks Somewhere" (Epigrams XI)equates "brave" or ostentatious dress with the activity of "SEEMING" good, substantial and duly paternal -- namely, "a statesman" (1-2).This configuration of effects or signs typifies the presumptive courtier and fashionable man-about-town in such satires as "On the New Motion," "On Don Surly," "To Mime," or supremely "On the Town's Honest Man," one of Jonson's attacks on Inigo Jones, the author of "shows, shows, mighty shows" ("An Expostulation with Inigo Jones" [39]). And because they commit this fraud to acquire illegitimate status and power (an argument usually taken up in the verse epistles like "To a Friend, to Persuade Him to the Wars" [Underwoods XV]), the effeminate invariably break the grand taboo of insurgency against the status quo, in the process becoming prodigious and deformed. Accordingly, to the moral imposture of statesmanship manufactured from clothes, title and grave looks, Jonson's little epigram adds the concomitance of sexual disfigurement and monstrosity, simultaneously neutering and denaturing the courtier with his choice of pronoun and the command to "walk dead still" (8). If one may return again to Epicoene, the synergy of moral imposture and artificial display is the argument made by Clerimont's song ("Still to be neat, still to be dressed"): the presumption that especially where "art's hid causes are not found, / All is not sweet, all is not sound" (4-6). Every vice in Jonson's satires involves a similar practice of deceit, especially of the EYE, and is exposed to the shrewd observer by the sort of excessive display put on by the lady here: "Still to be neat, still to be dressed, / As you were going to a feast; / Still to be powdered, still perfumed" (1-3). The iteration of "still" conveys a further quality of the semblances of vice, which is that they involve an immense activity merely to "appear" like virtue. The vicious are thus singularly mobile in Jonson, an image of their seditious and epidemic pictorial energy. And the shrubs, the courtlings, the Captains Hungry and Surly, the Guts and Groins, my Lords Ignorant, the plagiarists and censors, the spies, the Fine Lady Would-be's, Court Pucell's, all in one way or another follow this same pattern. They each undertake to create an illusion that Jonson detects in the very excess or ostentation, the virulent energy of its display, whether this illusion is created by speech, by dress, by title, by profession, or in the case of Sir Voluptuous Beast, by panoramic sex.

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(Added July 11)

To the L A D Y most deserving Her N A M E and B L O O D,

      Mary Lady Wroth. MADAM,

IN the (A)ge of Sacrifices, the Truth of (R)eligion was not in the Greatn(E)ss and Fat of the Offerings, bu(T) in the Devotion and Zeal of th(E) Sacrificers: Else what could a Handful of Gums have done in the sight of a Hecatomb? Or, how might I appear at this Altar, except with those Affections that no less love the Light and Witness, than they have the Conscience of your *VER(tu)E*? If what I offer bear (A)n acceptable Odour, and hold the first St(R)ength, it is your Value of it, which rememb(E)rs where, when, and to whom it was kindled. O(T)herwise, as the Times are, there comes rar(E)ly forth that Thing so full of Authority or Example, but by Assiduity and Custom grows less, and loses. This, yet, safe in your Judgment (which is a SIDNEYS) is forbidden to speak more, lest it talk or look like one of the Ambitious FACES of the Time, who the more they PAINT, are the less themselves.

Your Ladiships *TRUE* Honourer, BEN. JOHNSON.   

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to START FORTH, and SEEM. -- Jonson
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Jonson, on Shakespeare

Look how the father's FACE
Lives in his issue, even so the race
Of Shakspeare's mind and manners brightly shines
In his well turned and true filed lines;
In each of which he *SEEMS* to shake a lance,
As brandisht at the *EYES* of IGNORANCE.

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Jonson
Staple of News, Prologue for the Court

The P R O L O G U E for the C O U R T.
A
Work not smelling of the Lamp, to night,
But fitted for your Majesty's Disport,
And writ to the MERIDIAN of Your Court,
We bring; and hope it may produce Delight:
The rather, being offered as a Rite,
To Scholars, that can judge, and fair report
The Sense they hear, above the VULGAR SORT
Of Nut-crackers, that only come for SIGHT...

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Essential Oxford and Elizabeth Incorporated in Shake-speare

I have had a most rare vision. I have had a dream, past the wit of any man to say what dream it was. Man is but an ass if he go about to expounds this Dream.
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In a magnanimous gesture (and a desperate hope to have his estate repaired?) Oxford presented Shake-speare to Queen Elizabeth as the shared posterity of their respective minds - their 'marriage of true minds'.

Phoenix and Turtle -

The bird of loudest lay becomes Shakespeare's poetry, rising from the ashes of the love from which it draws inspiration - Mutual Flame, Wilson Knight

Mutual Flame/ Oxford and Elizabeth/Marriage of True Minds
Shake-speare - Marston's wondrous creature incorporating minds of Oxford and his Queen.

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Ascending the elements - earth, water, air, fire, quintessence/Ens/Mind

Phoenix and the Turtle

With what a spirit did the Turtle fly
Into the fire, and cheerfully did die.
He looked more pleasant in his countenance
Within the flame, than when he did advance
His pleasant wings upon the natural ground
True perfect love has so his poor heart bound.

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Shake-speare as Marston's 'Creature' in Love's Martyr:

[Marston's] "Perfectioni hymnus": begins:

What should I call this creature
That now is grown unto maturity?

[He] ends with a witty adaptation of a Senecan sententia - "the difference between gods and mortals: in ourselves, mind is the best part indeed; but for the gods, there is mind alone, nothing else: - which Marston gives as
no Suburbs, all is mind
As far from spot as possible defining. (From Love's Martyr, Walter Oakshotte)

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Exchanging Visions: Reading A Midsummer Night's Dream
David Marshall

...Hazlitt's and Lambs views about the fitness of A Midsummer Night's Dream for stage representation may or may not be persuasive, but they can teach us that one way to see the play is to recognize in this comic moment a *figure for the possibility of the play's impossibility. This would allow us to realize the senses in which the play is about the problems of representation and figuration: not only whether the play can be staged but also what it means to present a vision or an image to someone else's mind, to ask another person to see with one's eyes, to  become a spectator to someone else's vision. Such questions themselves raise questions about the conditions of theater: the power to enchant and transform vision; the possibility of autonomous minds or imaginations sharing dreams and fantasies; the difference between picturing a text in private reading and attending a public, collective spectacle. A Midsummer Night's Dream asks us to take seriously the dilemma of joining poetry and the stage. In adopting this perspective we will find ourselves considering yet another question: the possibility of what Shakespeare elsewhere called "the marriage of true minds."

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Theseus - Stir up the Athenian youth to merriments,/Awake the pert and nimble spirit of mirth,/Turn melancholy forth to funerals,/The pale companion is not for our pomp'"

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Marshall, con't.
This struggle over vision and imagination also characterizes the dispute between Oberon and Titania. Oberon's response to Titania's denial of his question, "Am I not thy lord?" is to seek control over her sight, to steal the impression of her fantasy. His strategy and revenge is to "streak her eyes/And make her full of hateful fantasies". With his magic he dictates how she will look and love, enthralling her eyes to Bottom's deformed shape until the moment he decides to "undo/This hateful imperfection of her eyes" and let her "See as thou wast wont to see". The changeling boy is ostensible the object of contention between Oberon and Titania, an occasion for both jealousy and disobedience. But it also represents and impression of Titania's fantasy that has been stolen from Oberon; when he says, " I'll make her render up her page to me" , we can hear a play on words which resonates in the context of the images and figures we have been juxtaposing. Just a Egeus insists on imprinting his own figures upon Hermia, Oberon wants to be the author of Titania's page. Egeus says that Hermia is to "render", Oberon is determined to make Titania render up the blank page of her imagination, surrender the rival image impressed on her fancy. It is with his power to replace the image of her love with the disfigured head of Bottom, to command her sight and fancy, to "leave the figure, or disfigure it" As a god, by the authority of his magic, Oberon enacts literally what Egeus and Theseus can perform only figuratively (or by coercion) when they tell Hermia to "fit your fancies to your father's will".


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A Midsummer Night's Dream

“Injurious Hermia! most ungrateful maid! Have you conspired, have you with the contrived To bait me with this foul derision? Is all the counsel that we two have shared, The sisters' vows, the hours that we have spent, When we have chid the hasty-footed time For parting us,-O, and is all forgot? All school=days' friendship, childhood innocence? We, Hermia, like two artificial gods, Have with our neelds created both one flower, Both on one sampler, sitting on one cushion, Both warbling of one song, both in one key; As if our hands, our sides, voices, and minds, Had been INCORPORATE. So we grew together, Like to a double cherry, seeming parted, But yet an union in partition; Two lovely berries moulded on one stem; So, with two seeming bodies, but one heart, Two of the first, like coats in heraldry, Due but to one, and crowned with one crest, And will you rent our ancient love asunder, To join with men in scorning your poor friend? It is not friendly, 'tis not maidenly: Our sex, as well as I, may chide you for it, Though I alone do feel the injury.”

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Marshall, con't.

...We can further measure the seriousness of these images, as well as what they say about the conditions in which we find the play's characters, if we recognize in Helena's portrayal of an 'ancient love" and subsequent state of loss a picture of the emblem and story of love which Plato has Aristophanes present in The Symposium. Aristophanes' myth (which was extensively summarized in Ficino's popular commentary on The Symposium, proposes that we live in a fallen state, each of us a half of an original whole person frim which we have been severed. Love, then, both heterosexual and homosexual, " restores us to our ancient state by attempting to weld two beings into one...this is what everybody wants, and everybody would regard it as the precise expression of this desire...that he should melt into his beloved, and that henceforth they should be one instead of two. (...) Here Christian, classical and mythic imagery seem to come together to figure Helena's perception that what had been joined together in her ancient love has been put asunder.

(snip)

Wall acts as visual metaphor, a 'translation of a metaphor in its literal sense" (to borrow Schlegel's description of Bottom's transmutation).

(snip)
The magic of the play is that separate minds appear to be transfigured together; dreams (or what seem like dreams) appear to be shared.(...) The marriage of true minds that is the dream of theater presents the double prospect that it might mar us as it mends us, steal as it restores. What does the theater's figuring or disfigureing add up to ? Can theater's "transfiguring" mediate between or synthesize figuring and disfiguring? What do we exchange for our visions?

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Marshall VI -
We have seen that A Midsummer Night's Dream dramatizes an economy of exchange, as if, like the Sonnets, its figures marked various registers with the expenses of loss and possession. The terms and imagery of theft are set down in the first scene, which pictures the "traffic in women" (to use Emma Goldman's phrase) upon which men for so long have founded their societies; and throughout the play, characters are figured as merchandise or stolen goods. (Hermia, Lysander, Helena, Demetrius, Egeus, Oberon, and Titania each "steal" or are stolen from or are stolen in the course of the paly.) The figure for these character-commodities is the child who rival Hermia as the most contested "property" in the play: the changeling boy that Titania is accused of having "stolen".  (According to folk tales, fairies stole lovely children and left deformed "changelings" in exchange; this boy is the changeling the fairies took, not left behind.) When Titania insists to Oberon that "the fairyland buys not the child of me" , she is perpetuating rather than rejecting terms that inscribe people in a system of economic relations. Her monologue pictures the boy as "merchandise" which his mother's womb, like a trader's ship, was "rich with". The changeling comes to represent all of the characters in the play who are traced or fought over as property. It also shows us that the other characters are changelings in the sense that the play's plot revolves around their exchanges: their substitutions and their interchangeability. Demetrius, Lysander, Hermia, and Helena all exchange one another (are exchanged for one another) in almost every possible switch and combination. Bottom, too, is "changed" and "translated". In becoming a disfigured substitute for Titania's changeling boy, he becomes both a changeling for himself (a  monster left in his own place) and a changeling for the changeling (which Titania has been tricked into exchanging). The changeling boy is mysteriously absent in A Midsummer Night's Dream, but in a sense he is everywhere, the play casts its characters as changelings.
We also could say that the play is performed by changelings because that is what actors are. For Shakespeare's spectators, the term "changeling" would have been a synonym for someone Protean who would not stay the same from one moment to the next. This is precisely the "ontological subversiveness" (as Jonas Barish has called it) that actors were condemned for in Elizabethan England. Actors take other's parts and places: they exchange themselves for others, substitute others for themselves. This is further compounded in A Midsummer Night's Dream because characters often seem to be changed into actors: as parts and partners are exchanged and mixed up, individual characters seem reduced to parts or roles. We watch changelings portray changelings.
   In another sense, changelings are everywhere in the play because they fill its pages and dialogue: they are its figures of speech. The figures that Titania employs to tell the changeling's story enact and figure exchange in various senses. Describing herself on the shore with the woman who is pregnant with the boy, she tropes the ships to see their "sails conceive/ And grow big-bellied with the wanton wind:. Then the metaphor doubles or reverses - it is exchanged-  as Titania tropes the woman to see her "rich" with her own human cargo, just as the woman tropes herself to "imitate" the ships and "sail upon the land/ To fetch me trifles, and return again, / As from a voyage, rich with merchandise. The woman and the hsips stand for each other, exchanging properties in a double sense. If we recognize the act of carrying and trading cargo performed by these literal and figurative ships to be transport (as in metapherein) then we see that these double metaphors both dramatize and figure metaphor as they transfer, transfigure, exchange, and carry across. Born of this mirror of metaphors, destined to be switched, substituted, and exchanged, the changeling is also a trope for tropes. It makes sense, then, that in The Arte of English Poesie, published in 1589l, Puttenham invents a rhetorical category called "Figures of Exchange" and names on of thos figures "the Changeling." Puttenham refers to exactly the sort of constructions the mechanicals make - "a play with wordes, using a wrong construction for a right, and an absurd for a sensible, by manner of exchange: - but we can see that in a sens all tropes act and changelings. The changeling figures figures.

Tha Puttenham uses "changeling" to mean something ill-formed which appears in the place of something fair (note Amorphus for Oxford?) reminds us that in A Midsummer Night's Dream the changeling is not the disfigured child. Appropriately, the play ends with a blessing by Oberon, who has authored many of the play's exchanges and deformations in pursuit of his page, to insure for the newly married couples that

the blots of Nature's hand
Shall not in their issue stand.
Never mole, hairlip, nor scar,
Nor mark prodigious, such as are
Despised in nativity,
Shall upon their children be. (V, i, 398-403)

Prefacing Puck's appeal for our blessing and his promise of amends, Oberon's reprise of the figure of the changeling might remind us of the questions facing us at the end of the play. We might wonder again if we who have rendered up the pages of our imaginations in exchange for the play leave the theater free (or freed) from blots or disfigurement. This is what worried us as we let the play imprint its figures on us, risking change and amending. Have we been stolen and left as changelings?

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Patrick Cheney, Sublime

Amorphus is a figure of transport, and is composition, made up of ‘forms’ that are ‘deformed’, takes us into what we have previously described as Kantian territory. Amorphus is that sublime figure of form that has none (curiously akin to Marlowe’s Helen of Troy), accommodated to the Jonsonian public sphere...

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Patrick Cheney
English Authorship and the Early Modern Sublime

     ...Sources of the sublime identified by Longinus appear in Hotspur’s speeches : ‘great thoughts’; inspired emotion’; heightened figuration; ‘noble diction’; and elevated word-arrangement’ (Longinus, On Sublimity 8.1: 149). Naturally, the actor of Shakespeare’s lines would perform the noble diction and elevated word-arrangement with inspired emotion, taking the character’s – the author’s – own cue: ‘Oh, the blood more stirs.’ Hotspur’s ‘elevated…figures of speech’, too, represent great thoughts, for, in his defence of ‘honor’, he imagines himself TRANSPORTED: his imagination travels across the horizontal coordinates of ‘east unto the west’, ‘north to south’, and up the vertical coordinate of the moon and down to the ocean-bottom – the ocean being, for Longinus, one of the principal images of the sublime. [full fathom five] Such transport is the premier trajectory that the sublime tracks. In his 1589 Art of English Poetry, George Puttenham calls ‘Metaphora’ the ‘figure of transport’, because the word ‘metaphor’ means to carry across, ‘a kind of wresting of a single word from his own right signification, to another not of natural. But yet of some affinity or convenience with it’ (Vickers). Sublime transport is the ultimate figuration, and Hotspur speaks it.
‘Imagination’ is the word Shakespeare uses in line 198, when the father says of the son, ‘Imagination of some great exploit/Drives him beyond the bounds of patience’. Unlike Guiderius in Cymbeline, the idea of a ‘great exploit’ does not lead Hotspur into action but, like Arviragus – yet dangerously – into ‘imagination’, which Northumberland contrasts with the rational principle of ‘patience’. ‘Beyond the bounds’ is as succinct a definition of the sublime as we might wish to find.

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Melville’s Sublime uneventfulness. Toward a phenomenology of the Sublime –
Ruud Welten

The sublime is something strange, beyond our imagination, uncanny even. The term is of great importance to Herman Melville. Moby Dick, the whale, is sublime because of its terrifying existence. This chapter investigates the consequences of a phenomenology of the sublime as a prime condition for consciousness itself. Sublimity is not a property of objects, but of subjective experience alone. Philosophic language and poetic language presume that subjectivity is overwhelmed by the experience of the sublime. As one tries to describe, it radically exceeds its parameters. The chapter is an attempt to specify the particular phenomenological characteristics of this transgression. The conclusion of the chapter includes some phenomenological suggestions to understand the sublime as not only an aesthetic category, but as the experience of the unveiling of the meaning of life.

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Billy Budd/Beauty - noble foundling/changeling/Love's Martyr

'Yes, Billy Budd was a foundling, a presumable by-blow, and, evidently, no ignoble one. Noble descent was as evident in him as in a blood horse.' (Melville, _Billy Budd_)

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Patrick Cheney

In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare helps us see that the ‘poet’ is sublime because he – perhaps pre-eminently he – can solve the Kantian problem, the problem that the Western sublime aesthetic poses: how can the mind confront the formless, the boundless, and the ineffable, and not be defeated? Only the poet can use his ‘imagination’ to ‘body …forth/The form of things unknown’. By taking forms we cannot ‘know’ and ‘giving them shape’, the poet performs a miracle; he crosses the boundary from the divine to the human, and makes the human divine. The image of the poet – the actor on the stage – incarnates the deity, for the simple reason that to pen and stage it, the author has to do more than ‘glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;: he must cross the bourn from which few travellers return, and sing it at her death.

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 Tom O'Bedlam

With a host of FURIOUS FANCIES
Whereof I am commander,
With a burning spear and a horse of air,
To the wilderness I wander.
By a knight of ghostes and shadowes
I summon'd am to tourney
Ten leagues beyond the wild world's end.
Methinks it is no journey.

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Patrick Cheney, Sublime

Amorphus is a figure of transport, and is composition, made up of ‘forms’ that are ‘deformed’, takes us into what we have previously described as Kantian territory. Amorphus is that sublime figure of form that has none (curiously akin to Marlowe’s Helen of Troy), accommodated to the Jonsonian public sphere...

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Jonson’s Cynthia’s Revels has been discussed as belonging to the group of plays that make up the Poetomachia, or Poets' War, but what has not been noticed (as far as I can tell) is that a line spoken by the Italianated ‘Signior’ Amorphus, the ringleader of the 'vicious' courtiers, not only identifies him with the literary earl Edward de Vere but also serves to contextualize Jonson's criticisms of the 'airy’ (note - elements) and sublime  forms of a  fashionable 'knot of spiders' that inhabit Cynthia's Court.

In the play, Amorphus, described by Jonson as 'the Deformed',  views the passing form of Crites/Criticus, and wonders aloud at Cynthia's apparent preference for the severe Jonson figure:
...And there's her minion, Crites: why his advice more than
Amorphus? Have I not invention afore him? Learning to better
that INVENTION above him? and INFANTED with PLEASANT TRAVEL –

These lines may have been somewhat infamous in contemporary literary circles as they had previously been selected by Puttenham in his Art of English Poesy as an example of the rhetorical vice soraismus, known in English as the mingle-mangle. That this line was spoken by the traveller and 'master of courtship' Ulysses-Politropus-Amorphus as self-description is unsurprising, since Jonson had already characterized Amorphus as the very figure of soraismus:

He that is with him is Amorphus
a Traveller, one so made out of the mixture and shreds
of forms, that himself is truly deform'd. (CR, Act ii, Sc. III)

In the world of the play, Amorphus' inability to perceive the viciousness inherent in his own self-description is a function of his own self-love, which blinds him to the rules of 'virtuous' or worthy composition; virtue in the world of the play being (irritatingly) coextensive with Jonsonian values and neoclassical practice.

The original author, or translator of the line 'And of an ingenious INVENTION, INFANTED WITH PLEASANT TRAVAILE.' was John Southern in his 1584 Pandora; and it was taken from a prefatory poem that had been dedicated to the 'honour' of Edward de Vere.  In 1589 Puttenham had singled out Southern, describing him as a 'minion', selecting this line and others as examples of the 'intollerable' vice of affectation (and plagiarism).

Puttenham, Arte of English Poesy:

...Another of your intollerable vices is that which the Greekes call SORAISMUS, and; we may call the [mingle mangle] as when we make our speach or writinges of sundry languages vsing some Italian word, or French, or Spanish, or Dutch, or Scottish, not for the nonce or for any purpose (which were in part excusable) but ignorantly and affectedly as one that said vsing this French word Roy, to make ryme with another verse, thus.

O mightie Lord or ioue, dame Venus onely ioy,
Whose Princely power exceedes ech other heauenly roy.

The verse is good but the terme peeuishly affected Another of reasonable good facilitie in translation finding certaine of the hymnes of Pyndarus and of Anacreons odes, and other Lirickes among the Greekes very well translated by Rounsard the French Poet, andapplied to the honour of a great Prince in France, comes our minion and translates the same out of French into English, and applieth them to the honour of a GREAT NOBLE MAN in ENGLAND (wherein I commend his reuerent minde and duetie) but doth so impudently robbe the French Poet both of his prayse and also of his French termes, that I cannot so much pitie him as be angry with him for his iniurious dealing (our sayd maker not being ashamed to vse these French wordes freddon, egar, superbous, filanding, celest, calabrois, thebanois and a number of others, for English wordes, which haue no maner of conformitie with our language either by custome or deriuation which may make them tollerable. And in the end (which is worst of all) makes his vaunt that neuer English finger but his hath toucht Pindars string which was neuerthelesse word by word as Rounsard had said before by like braggery. These be his verses.

And of an ingenious INVENTION, INFANTED WITH PLEASANT TRAVAILE.
Whereas the French word is enfante as much to say borne as a child, in another verse he saith.
Southern had employed the line to praise the noble substance and ingenious invention of his patron Edward de Vere, and presumably Amorphus' adoption of the phrase as self-description in the play implies that he is unable to to distinguish true praise from flattery:

From the Ode to Oxford in John Southern’s Pandora, The Music of the Beauty of his Mistress Diana.(1584)

Epode
No, no, the high singer is he
Alone that in the end must be
Made proud with a garland like this,
And not every riming novice
That writes with small wit and much pain,
And the (God’s know) idiot in vain,
For it’s not the way to Parnasse,
Nor it will neither come to pass
If it be not in some wise fiction
And of an ingenious INVENTION,
And INFANTED with PLEASANT TRAVAIL,
For it alone must win the laurel,
And only the poet well born
Must be he that goes to Parnassus,
And not these companies of asses
That have brought verse almost to scorn.

Curiously, the phrase appears in a recognizable but slightly abbreviated form in the 1601 Quarto (while Oxford was alive) - but does appear in full in the 1616 and 1640 editions of Jonson's 'Works'.
This line not only serves to identify the affected courtier Amorphus (The Deformed) with Edward de Vere (a traveller known for his predilection for foreign styles), but I will suggest that its deployment in Jonson's 'most Ovidian' play echoes Jonson's objections to a monstrous 'Shakespearean' style, linking/exchanging the figures of Amorphus/Vere and William Shakespeare through a rhetorical figure of linguistic extravagance and disorder.

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Sonnet CXXIV - Shake-speare

If my dear love were but the child of state,
It might for Fortune's bastard be unfathered,
As subject to Time's love or to Time's hate,
Weeds among weeds, or flowers with flowers gathered.
No, it was builded far from accident;
It suffers not in smiling pomp, nor falls
Under the blow of thralled discontent,
Whereto th' inviting time our fashion calls:
It fears not policy, that heretic,
Which works on leases of short-number'd hours,
But all alone stands hugely politic,
That it nor grows with heat, nor drowns with showers.
   To this I witness call the fools of time,
   Which die for goodness, who have lived for crime.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Humors Antique Faces

HVMORS
ANTIQVE
FACES.
Drawne in proportion to his seuerall
Antique Iestures.
LONDON
Imprinted for Henry Rockett, and are to bee
solde at the long Shop vnder S. Mildreds Church
in the Poultrie. 1605.

(Anonymous - attributed to Samuel Rowlands)


To the Reader.
HE that to please all humors doth intend,
May well begin but neuer make an ende:
S•nce euerie humor hath his seuerall vaine,
Which in themselues strange obiects doe retaine
I then will write at random: HIT AS T'WILL,
If some be pleas'd, of some be impleased still.
To him that likes it best, to him I send it,
Mislike it not till you your selfe can mend it.
Then if my humor hath done humors wrong
Ile rather mend it or else hould my tongue.
Meane while comment but rightly on the text
I will present strange fashions to you next.

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Disproportionate Droeshout FACE


XI. — ON THE PORTRAIT OF SHAKESPEARE.   JONSON
TO THE READER.
This figure that thou here seest put,
It was for gentle SHAKSPEARE cut,
Wherein the graver had a strife
With nature, to out-do the life :
O could he but have drawn his wit
As well in BRASS, as he has HIT
His FACE; the print would then surpass
All that was ever writ in BRASS :
But since he cannot, reader, look
Not on his picture, but his book.

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Metaphors of Mind: An Eighteenth-Century Dictionary
By Brad Pasanek

BRASS and BRONZE
Bronze and brass are two “BASE” ALLOYS put to figurative use in the eighteenth century. Johnson notes that “brass” does not strictly differentiate brass from bronze but is used “in popular language for any kind of metal in which copper has a part” (“BRASS” and “BRONZE”). Brass is a metal of impudence so that “BRAZEN” is defined by Johnson, in this case without comment on the term’s figurative or literal status, as “impudent.” Brass has a bright luster but not the heft of a precious metal: it is SHOW without value, glister without the gold.

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John Chamberlain, who himself regularly reported masques and masquing, illustrates how they became news, explaining to Dudley Carleton:
For lacke of better newes here is likewise a ballet or song of Ben lohnsons in the play or shew at the lord marquis at Burley, and repeated again at Windsor.... There were other songs and deuises of BASER ALAY, but because this had the vogue and general applause at court, I was willing to send it.
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Ascham, Schoolmaster
"It is a bold comparison indeed to think to say better than that is best. Such turning of the best into the worse is much like the turning of good wine out of a fair sweet flagon of silver into a foul musty bottle of leather, or to turn pure gold and silver into foul brass and copper."


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Jonson, To the Memory of My Beloved (Shakespeare)

From thence to honour thee, I would not seek
For names; but call forth thund'ring Aeschylus,
Euripides and Sophocles to us;
Pacuvius, Accius, him of Cordova dead,
To life again, to hear thy buskin tread,
And shake a stage; or, when thy socks were on,
Leave thee alone for the comparison
Of all that INSOLENT Greece or HAUGHTY Rome
Sent forth, or since did from their ashes come.
Tri'umph, my Britain, thou hast one to SHOW

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Rowlands, Humors Antique Faces
Prologue.
VNder the shadowe of the gloomy night,
When silent sleepe arrests each mortall wight,
When fayrie Oberon and his night Queene
In Cinthias honor friskes ore euerie greene.
Sleepe, parting from mee, gaue inuention light
To finde some subiect for my pen to wright
When musing how the world I best might fit,
I saw how Poets humor'd out their wit.
Nay then thought I write all of what they list,
Once in my daies ile proue a humorist.
When on the Sudden as I thought the thing,
I was encountred by the Fayrie King.
Mortall (quoth hee) I charge thee to ingage,
Thy pen to scourge the humors of this age,
Thou shalt not neede to make a long relation,
What thou canst get by tediouse obseruation.
Fayries haue left their lowe infernall places,
The seuerall formes of humors in their faces.
Take what, and where thou list while it is night,
But send them home before the day be light.

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Cynthia's Revels, Ben Jonson
Act II.    Scene III.
Amorphus, Asotus, Cos, Prosaites, Cupid. Mercury.
C
Ome Sir. You are now within regard of the Pre-
 sence, and see, the privacy of this Room, how
sweetly it offers it self to our retir'd intendments. Page,
cast a vigilant, and enquiring Eye about, that we be
not rudely surpriz'd, by the approach of some ruder
stranger.
   Cos. I warrant you, Sir. I'll tell you when the Wolf
enters, fear nothing.
 Mer. O, what a mass of benefit shall we possess, in be-
ing the invisible Spectators of this strange Show now to
be acted.
   Amo. Plant your self there, Sir: and observe me. You
shall now, as well be the Ocular, as the Ear-witness,
how clearly I can refel that paradox, or rather pseudodox;
of those, which hold the Face to be the Index of the
mind, which (I assure you) is not so, in any politick
Creature: for instance; I will now give you the parti-
cular, and distinct face of every your most noted species
of Persons, as your Merchant, your Schollar, your
Soldier, your Lawyer, Courtier, &c. and each of these
so truly, as you would swear, but that your Eye shall
see the variation of the Lineament, it were my most
proper and genuine aspect. First, for your Merchant,
or City-face, 'tis thus, a dull, plodding Face, still look-
ing in a direct line, forward: there is no great matter
in this Face. Then have you your Students, or aca-
demique Face, which is here, an honest, simple, and
methodical Face: but somewhat more spred than the
former. The third is your Soldiers Face, a menacing,
and astounding Face, that looks broad, and big: the
grace of this Face consisteth much in a Beard. The anti-
face, to this, is your Lawyers Face, a contracted, sub-
tile, and intricate Face, full of quirks, and turnings,
a labyrinthæan Face, now angularly, now circularly, e-
very way aspected. Next is your statist's Face, a seri-
ous, solemn, and supercilious Face, full of formal, and
square Gravity, the Eye (for the most part) deeply and
artificially shadow'd: there is great judgment required
in the making of this Face. But now, to come to your
Face of Faces, or Courtiers Face, 'tis of three sorts,
according to our subdivision of a Courtier, Elementary,
Practick, and Theorick. Your Courtier Theorick, is
he, that hath arriv'd to his farthest, and doth now
know the Court, rather by speculation, than practice;
and this is his Face: a fastidious and oblick Face, that
looks, as it went with a Vice, and were screw'd thus.
Your Courtier Practick, is he, that is yet in his Path,
his course, his way, and hath not toucht the puntilio,
or point of his hope; his Face is here: a most promi-
sing, open, smooth, and over-flowing Face, that seems
as it would run, and pour it self into you. Somewhat
a northerly Face. Your Courtier Elementary, is one
but newly enter'd, or as it were in the alphabet, or ut-re-
mi-fa-sol-la of Courtship. Note well this Face, for it is
this you must practice.
   Aso. I'll practice 'em all, if you please, Sir.
   Amo. I, hereafter you may: and it will not be alto-
gether an ungrateful study. For, let your Soul be as-
sur'd of this (in any rank, or profession whatever) the
more general, or major part of Opinion goes with the
Face, and (simply) respects nothing else. Therefore,
if that can be made exactly, curiously, exquisitely,
thorowly, it is enough: But (for the present) you shall
only apply your self to this Face of the Elementary
Courtier, a light, revelling, and protesting Face, now
blushing, now smiling, which you may help much with
a wanton wagging of your Head, thus, (a Feather will
teach you) or with kissing your Finger that hath the
Ruby, or playing with some String of your Band, which
is a most quaint kind of melancholy besides: or (if a-
mong Ladies) laughing lowd, and crying up your own
Wit, though perhaps borrow'd, it is not amiss. Where
is your Page? call for your Casting-bottle, and place
your mirrour in your Hat, as I told you: so. Come,
look not pale, observe me, set your face, and enter.
   Mer. O, for some excellent Painter, to have tane the
Copy of all these Faces!
   Aso. Prosaites.
   Amo. Fie, I premonish you of that: In the Court,
Boy, Lacquey, or Sirrah.
   Cos. Master, Lupus in ——— O, 'tis Prosaites.
 Aso. Sirrah prepare my Casting-bottle, I think I must
be enforc'd to purchase me another Page, you see how
at hand Cos waits here.
   Mer. So will he too, in time.
   Cup. What's he, Mercury?
   Mer. A notable Smelt. One, that hath newly enter-
tain'd the Begger to follow him, but cannot get him to
wait near enough. 'Tis Asotus, the Heir of Philargyrus;
but first I'll give ye the others Character, which may
make his the clearer. He that is with him is Amorphus
a Traveller, one so made out of the mixture and shreds
of forms, that himself is truly deform'd. He walks
most commonly with a Clove or Pick-tooth in his
Mouth, he is the very mint of Complement, all his Be-
haviours are printed, his Face is another Volume of
Essayes; and his Beard an Aristrachus. He speaks all
Cream skim'd, and more affected than a dozen of wait-
ing Women. He is his own Promoter in every place.
The Wife of the Ordinary gives him his Diet to main-
tain her Table in discourse, which (indeed) is a meer
Tyranny over the other Guests, for he will usurp all
the talk: Ten Constables are not so tedious. He is no
great shifter, once a year his Apparel is ready to revolt.
He doth use much to arbitrate Quarrels, and fights him-
self, exceeding well (out at a Window.) He will lye
cheaper than any Begger, and lowder than most Clocks;
for which he is right properly accommodated to the
Whetstone his Page. The other Gallant is his Zani, and
doth most of these Tricks after him; sweats to imitate
him in every thing (to a Hair) except a Beard, which is
not yet extant. He doth learn to make strange Sauces,
to eat Anchovies, Maccaroni, Bovoli, Fagioli, and Ca-
viare, because he loves 'em; speaks as he speaks, looks,
walks, goes so in Cloaths and Fashion: is in all as if he
were moulded of him. Marry (before they met) he
had other very pretty sufficiencies, which yet he re-
tains some light impression of; as frequenting a dan-
cing School, and grievously torturing strangers with In-
quisition after his grace in his Galliard. He buys a
a fresh acquaintance at any rate. His Eyes and his
Raiment confer much together as he goes in the Street.
He treads nicely like the Fellow that walks upon Ropes;
especially the first Sunday of his Silk-stockings; and
when he is most neat and new, you shall strip him
with Commendations.

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Rowlands, Humors Antique Faces
Epigram.
O By your leaue I pray you giue them vent,
Heere comes braue courtship gallant complement
Hee meetes his friend nay then he keepes a stur,
Illustrous, generous, most accomplisht Sur.
Kisses his hand and sends it to his foote
As if he ought some duetie to his boote
Phoebus bright lampe good halfe an houre might burne,
Courtly contending, each doth keepe his turne.
Vntill their Courtship pester so the way,
By comes a cart, and then dissolues the fray.
Then out comes wordes more eloquent then Hermes,
The quintessence of all your Inkchorne termes.
As we are Alians I am sorrie thoe,
Tis your defect Sir: you will haue it soe.
Moste admirable be the wordes they speake,
T' expresse their mindes plaine english is to weake.
To these strange wordes, which these braue gallants cogge,
A courtly conge is the Epilogue.
For hauing now so frankely spent their store,
Needes must they parte when they can speake no more

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Rowlands, Humors Antique Faces

Epigram.
COme my braue gallant come vncase, vncase,
Neare shall Obliuion your great actes deface.
He has been there where neuer man came yet,
An vnknowne countrie, I, ile warrant it,
Whence he could Ballace a good ship inholde.
With Rubies, Saphers, Diamonds and golde,
Great Orient Pearles esteem'd no more then moates,
Sould by the pecke as chandlers measure oates,
I meruaile then we haue no trade from thence,
O tis to far it will not beare expence.
Twere far indeede, a good way from our mayne,
If charges eate vp such excessiue gaine,
Well he can shew you some of Lybian grauel,
O that there were another world to trauel,
I heard him sweare that hee (twas in his mirth)
Had been in all the corners of the earth.
Let all his wonders be together stitcht,
He threw the barre that great Alcides pitcht:
But he that sawe the Oceans farthest strands,
You pose him if you aske where Douer stands.
He has been vnder ground and hell did see
Aeneas neare durst goe so farre a hee.
For he hath gone through Plutoes Regiment,
Saw how the Feindes doe Lyers there torment.
And how they did in helles damnation frye,
But who would thinke the Traueller would lye?
To dine with Pluto he was made to tarrie,
As kindely vs'd as at his Ordinarie.
Hogsheades of wine drawne out into a Tub,
Where hee did drinke hand-smooth with Belzebub,
And Proserpine gaue him a goulden bow
Tis in his chest he cannot shew it now.

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Rowlands, con't
*Proteus.
TIme seruing humour thou wrie-faced Ape,
That canst transforme thy selfe to any shape:
Come good Proteus come away apace,
We long to see thy mumping Antique face.
This is the fellow that liues by his wit,
A cogging knaue and fawning Parrasit,
He has behauiour for the greatest porte,
And hee has humors for the rascall sorte,
He has been greate with Lordes and high estates,
They could not liue without his rare conceites,
He was associat for the brauest spirits,
His gallant carriage such fauour merrits.
Yet to a Ruffin humor for the stewes,
A right graund Captaine of the damned crewes,
With whome his humour alwaies is vnstable
Mad, melancholly, drunke and variable.
Hat without band like cutting Dicke he go'es,
Renowned for his new inuented oathes.
Sometimes like a Ciuilian tis strange
At twelue a clocke he must vnto the Change,
Where being thought a Marchant to the eye,
Hee tels strange newes his humor is to lie.
Some Damaske coate the effect thereof must heare,
Inuites him home and there he gets good cheare.
but how is't now such braue renowned wits,
Weare ragged robes with such huge gastly slitts,
Faith thus a ragged humor he hath got
Whole garments for the Summer are to hot.
Thus you may censure gently if you please,
He weares such Garments onely for his ease.
Or thus, his creadit will no longer waue.
For all men know him for a prating knaue.

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Rowlands, con't.

Epilogue.
VAnish ye hence ye CHANGELINGS of the night,
For I descry your enemie the light:
Flye through the westerne Gate see you darke gleames,
Least in the east you meete with Phoebus beames
Descend into your Orbes I say begon,
And thanke your gentle Master Oberon.
Tell him how well your gestures fit our rime,
being roughly model'd in so short a time.
For what you see presented to your sight,
I onely write to tyer out the night,
Wherein if you delight to heere me sing
Weele haue more trafique with the fayrie King.

E. M.
FINIS.

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Amorphus/Oxford

Cynthia's Revels, Jonson
Act I.    Scene III.
Amorphus, Eccho, Mercury.

Amor. DEar spark of Beauty, make not so fast away.
   Ecc. Away.
   Mer. Stay, let me observe this Portent yet.
   Amo. I am neither your Minotaure, nor your Centaure,
nor your Satyre, nor your Hyæna, nor your Babion, but
your meer Traveler, believe me.
   Ecc. Leave me.
   Mer. I guess'd it should be some travelling motion
pursu'd Eccho so.
   Amo. Know you from whom you flye? or whence?
   Ecc. Hence.
   Amo. This is somewhat above strange! a Nymph of her
Feature and Lineament, to be so preposterously rude! well,
I will but cool my self at yon' Spring, and follow her.
   Mer. Nay, then I am familiar with the issue: I'll leave
you too.
   Amo. I am a Rhinoceros, if I had thought a Creature
of her symmetry, could have dar'd so improportionable,
and abrupt a digression. Liberal, and divine Fount,
suffer my prophane hand to take of thy Bounties. By
the Purity of my taste, here is most ambrosiack Water;
I will sup of it again. By thy favour, sweet fount.
See, the Water (a more running, subtile, and humo-
rous Nymph than she) permits me to touch, and handle
her. What should I infer? If my Behaviours had been
of a cheap or customary garb; my Accent or Phrase
vulgar; my Garments trite; my Countenance illite-
rate, or unpractis'd in the incounter of a beautiful and
brave attir'd Piece; then I might (with some change
of colour) have suspected my Faculties: but know-
ing my self an essence so sublimated, and refin'd by
travel; of so studied, and well exercis'd a Gesture; so
alone in Fashion; able to render the face of any States-
man living; and so speak the meer extraction of Lan-
guage; one that hath now made the sixth return upon
ventuer; and was your first that ever inricht his Coun-
trey with the true Laws of the duello; whose optiques
have drunk the spirit of Beauty, in some Eight score
and eighteen Princes Courts, where I have resided, and
been there fortunate in the amours of Three hundred
forty and five Ladies (all Nobly, if not Princely de-
scended) whose names I have in Catalogue; to con-
clude, in all so happy, as even Admiration her self doth
seem to fasten her kisses upon me: Certes, I do neither
see, nor feel, nor taste, nor favour the least steam, or
fume of a reason, that should invite this foolish fastidi-
ous Nymph, so peevishly to abandon me. Well, let the
Memory of her fleet into Air; my thoughts and I am
for this other Element, Water.

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Cynthia's Revels, Jonson
Act V.    Scene I.

Mercury, Crites.

IT is resolv'd on, Crites, you must do it.
   Cri. The Grace divinest Mercury hath done me,
In this vouchsafed discovery of himself,
Binds my observance in the utmost terme
Of satisfaction, to his godly Will:
Though I profess (without the affectation
Of an enforc'd, and form'd austerity)
I could be willing to enjoy no place
With so unequal Natures.   Mer. We believe it.
But for our sake, and to inflict just pains
On their prodigious Follies, aid us now:
No man is, presently, made bad, with ill.
And good men, like the Sea, should still maintain
Their noble taste, in midst of all fresh humours,
That flow about them, to corrupt their Streams,
Bearing no season, much less salt of goodness.
It is our purpose, Crites, to correct,
And punish, with our laughter, this nights sport.
Which our Court-Dors so heartily intend:
And by that worthy scorn, to make them know
How far beneath the dignity of Man
Their serious, and most practis'd Actions are.
   Cri. I, but though Mercury can warrant out
His Undertakings, and make all things good,
Out of the Powers of his Divinity,
Th' offence will be return'd with weight on me,
That am a Creature so despis'd, and poor;
When the whole Court shall take it self abus'd
By our Ironical Confederacy.
   Mer. You are deceiv'd. The better Race in Court
Will apprehend it, as a grateful right
Done to their separate merit: and approve
The fit rebuke of so ridiculous Heads,
Who with their apish Customs, and forc'd Garbs,
Would bring the name of Courtier in contempt,
Did it not live unblemisht in some few,
Whom equal Jove hath lov'd, and Phœbus form'd
Of better METAL, and in better MOULD.
   Cri. Well, since my leader on is Mercury,
I shall not fear to follow. If I fall,
My proper Vertue shall be my relief,
That follow'd such a cause, and such a chief.

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Barbarous Antiquity: Reorienting the Past in the Poetry of Early Modern England
Miriam Jacobson

note 67. According to the OED, antic first appeared in the second half of the sixteenth century and was used to describe the wild designs of decorative grotesques. In his chapter of Henry VIII, Edward Hall describes "A fountayne of embowed woorke...ingrayled with anticke woorkes, " The Union of the Two Noble and Illustrate famelies of Lancastre and Yorke (London: Richard Grafton, 1548). Fifty years later, John Florio used the adjective anticke to define the Italian work grottesca (grotesque) in his Italian-English dictionary A Worlde of Wordes (London:1598)
note 68. antic, adj. and n., OED. For antics and the danse macabre see (...) For Patricia Parker, the different inflections of antic in Shakespeare's plays, from grotesque to Death to foreignness, "suggest the blackface familiar from mumming, morris dancing and other theatricals, as well as the antic masks of carnival inversion" in "Black Hamlet: Battening on the Moor," Shakespeare Studies. Dark-skinned foreigners are described as antics in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra adn Much Ado About Nothing, Jonson's Masque of Oberon, Dekker's Troia-nova Triumphans, and Middleton's The Triumphs of Honor and Vertue (1622). See Iyengar, Shades of Difference. For antics as stage clowns and demons, as well as their connection to "antique Romans," see de Grazia "Hamlet the Intellectual" (snip)

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Othello
Had it pleased heaven
To try me with affliction; had they rain'd
All kinds of sores and shames on my bare head.
Steep'd me in poverty to the very lips,
Given to captivity me and my utmost hopes,
I should have found in some place of my soul
A drop of patience: but, alas, to make me
A fixed figure for the time of scorn
To point his slow unmoving finger at!
Yet could I bear that too; well, very well:
But there, where I have garner'd up my heart,
Where either I must live, or bear no life;
The fountain from the which my current runs,
Or else dries up; to be discarded thence!
Or keep it as a cistern for foul toads
To knot and gender in! Turn thy complexion there,
Patience, thou young and rose-lipp'd cherubin,—
Ay, there, look grim as hell!

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OTHELLO. Not I, I must be found. My parts, my title, and my perfect soul. Shall manifest me rightly.

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Moors and Natural Fools:
Moor’s Coat, “Muckender,” and “Moros”
 Hornback, Robert

...Given the wealth of evidence of associations between blackface, natural fools, and Moors, I am suggesting that Burbage in blackface as Othello, especially, as we shall see, in light of Shakespeare’s deployment of other emblems of natural folly, would have been quite as likely to call to mind the now-lost natural fool tradition of comic abuse on the Renaissance stage as the now more familiar association with evil. In addition, other obvious emblems of natural folly, such as the Moor’s standard stage apparel, would have reinforced associations between Othello and the abject, scapegoated natural fool. In “The Device of the Pageant,” for instance, Peele refers simply to a character “apparelled like a Moor, “ suggesting that Moors had a conventional, recognizable stage costume. But how were stage Moors traditionally apparelled? As is so often the case, Shakespeare’s contemporary Phillip Henslowe’s detailed records are an invaluable source for recovering Renaissance theatre practices: Henslowe’s list of properties includes a “Mores cotte,” referring to the flowing, ankle-length aljuba traditionally worn by Moors. (snip) That Othello too would actually have worn a Moor’s coat is underscored, I believe, by the emphasis on his essential strangeness, his exotic otherness and obvious lack of complete assimilation when he is characterized as “pagan”, “ Barbary” (i.e., “Barbarian” ), “rude”, “stranger” associated with exotic  “Egyptian” magic: he is, in short, emphatically an “extravagant and wheeling stranger? Of here and everywhere”. The Moor’s coat would obviously have signalled this sensational, “extravagant” otherness.
What is significant about Othello’s likely appearance in Moor’s coat is that in Henslowe’s records “we find that the fool’s gown, the Moor’s flowing aljuba, and the Levantine and Scythian caftan were all classed as coats.” Thus the English translated and transformed the long ankle-length Moorish gown into both their own idiom and their own more familiar fashion of a long coat or petticoat – a garment traditionally worn in England only by women, small children, and, most importantly, fools.
(snip)
Then main point I want to add to our understanding of Shakespeare’s long-recognized use of allegory in Othello, therefore, is that in his use of emblems of folly Shakespeare toys with audience expectations by inviting laughter at the outset to make it complicit in Iago’s abuse of Othello. Part of Shakespeare’s rationale in deploying allegorical emblems of natural folly, I argue, then, was apparently to implicate his audience in what Brooke has termed the “horrid laughter” characteristic of Jacobean tragedy – “a nightmare of complicit participation in which even the normally gently will occasionally find themselves, disgustingly involved.” Many commentators have noted that, by provoking and frustrating a desire to prevent the horror of the impending tragedy, the play functions in part as a “theatrical punishment of the observers.” On the Renaissance stage, this was partly the case because Shakespeare was able to draw on allegorical associations with “naturals” to fool his audience, intitially, into approving of and consenting to Iago’s abuse and scapegoating of Othello. Othello’s role as Moorish ALIEN and resemblance to the natural fool invited the audience to join in the abuse, or at least solicited their passive approval.
In Othello’s character Shakespeare thus created a striking palimpsest of stereotypes, of Moor and natural fool, since both Moors and naturals were stereotyped as deviant/different outsiders, and as irrational, lusty, and gullible. Whether we trace such fundamental stereotypes to ethnicity, or, as I have, to the historically parallel tracition of the abject natural fool, it is important to recognize that such stereotyping is part of intolerant “normative” humor, which ridicules and excludes the different and the supposedly deviant Other in order to bolster or define conservative social norms. Othello is constructed as both alien and other – a “Barbary”, “stranger”, an “extravagant and wheeling stranger /Of here and everywhere” – and as socially transgressive in his marriage to the white Desdemona […] In addition, in his role as “blackface clown,” Othello plays the “abject-clown function” not merely of the butt of charivari but, more broadly, the traditional, historical role of the natural fool, who is laughed at and abused because he is constructed as physically or mentally different or deficient as well as socially transgressive. The multi-faceted construction of Othello as the butt of normative comedy “encourage[s] a kind of complicity within the audience” as it “solicits…a participatory endorsement of the action.” Therefore, in Othello Shakespeare explores the “horrid” potential of normative humor by making his audience complicit in ‘the brutal jeering laughter of triumphant sadism enjoying the torture and destruction of a victim.'
(SNIP)
It is also remarkable that, far from merely serving as comic relief, a distraction or break from the tragedy for the supposedly insensitive, unrefined “groundlings,” as neoclassical critics and the modern descendants have often overtly or implicitly assumed, the comedy in Othello was originally directly germane to provoking sympathy and awaking a painful self-knowledge in the audience members that they had been fooled into laughing at sadism.

http://bringingdeformedforth.blogspot.com/2018/03/blackface-folly-and-blotting-beauty.html

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Tania Woloshyn

...Scottish artist and writer David Batchelor argues that colour has been feared and marginalised as trivial, as artifice, as “other”, throughout the history of Western civilisation. He terms this “chromophobia”, describing the prejudice against colour as operating two ways:

In the first, colour is made out to be the property of some ‘foreign’ body - usually the feminine, the oriental, the primitive, the infantile, the vulgar, the queer or the pathological. In the second, colour is relegated to the realm of the superficial, the supplementary, the inessential or the cosmetic. In one, colour is regarded as alien and therefore dangerous; in the other, it is perceived merely as a secondary quality of experience, and thus unworthy of serious consideration. Colour is dangerous, or it is trivial, or it is both.

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Colour/figure/ornament

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 Iago:
The Moor is of a free and open nature
That thinks men honest that but seem to be so,
And will as tenderly be led by th' nose
As asses are.
***********************************

Jonson on Shakespeare:
He was, indeed, honest, and of an open and free nature; had an excellent fancy, brave notions, and gentle expressions, wherein he flowed with that facility that sometime it was necessary he should be stopped. “Sufflaminandus erat,”  as Augustus said of Haterius. His wit was in his own power; would the rule of it had been too…

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Cartwright:
...Shakespeare to thee was DULL, whose best jest lyes
I'th Ladies questions, and the Fooles replyes;
Old fashion'd wit, which walkt from town to town
In turn'd Hose, which our fathers call'd the CLOWN;
Whose wit our nice times would obsceannesse call,
And which made Bawdry passe for Comicall:
Nature was all his Art, thy veine was FREE
As his, but without his SCURILITY;

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A&C - Shake-speare

Cleopatra. Farewell, and thanks.
[Exit DOLABELLA]
Now, Iras, what think'st thou?
Thou, an Egyptian puppet, shalt be shown
In Rome, as well as I. mechanic slaves
With greasy aprons, rules, and hammers, shall
Uplift us to the view; in their thick breaths,
Rank of gross diet, shall be enclouded,
And forced to drink their vapour.

Iras. The gods forbid!
Cleopatra. Nay, 'tis most certain, Iras: saucy lictors
Will catch at us, like strumpets; and scald rhymers
Ballad us out o' tune: the quick comedians
Extemporally will stage us, and present
Our Alexandrian revels; Antony
Shall be brought drunken forth, and I shall see
Some squeaking Cleopatra boy my greatness
I' the posture of a whore.

Iras. O the good gods!

Cleopatra. Nay, that's certain.

Iras. I'll never see 't; for, I am sure, my nails
Are stronger than mine eyes.