Jonsonian Gravitas and the Levitas of Certain Courtlings:
If I were consciously writing fiction I think I would nickname Oxford The Great Cavalier. Lover, Gallant, Wit, Cavalier, Tory - Court vs Country, Cavalier vs. Roundhead, Tory and Whigs - a progression of names that originally began as terms of abuse but were then adopted as descriptive titles. Oxford was a great courtier and loyal to Elizabeth. His relationship with James I was short-lived. It is impossible to disentangle the political and social aspects of his biography. Love poems were political in the Elizabethan court. Literary and sartorial styles expressed political views and allegiances.
Paul Hammer has written about the disorders of the 'nasty nineties', the last years of Elizabeth's reign. It was during the last years of Elizabeth's reign that Oxford was most exposed. The Essex uprising destabilized the court, and the fissures between the Court party and the rebels were quickly patched up for the sake of the safety of the Crown.
Essex's treason was, in a sense, 'forgotten', or a least made obscure - historians are still challenged to characterize the exact nature of his uprising and his intentions.
At the time of the Restoration, forgetting was sanctioned:
David Norbrook, Writing the English Republic
"Forgetting was officially sanctioned: The Act of Indemnity and Oblivion banned 'any name or names, or other words of reproach tending to revive the memory of the late differences thereof'. This book is one attempt to counter that process of erasure, which has had long-term effects on English literary history and, arguably, on wider aspects of political identity.. In the short term, the Act of Indemnity and Oblivion can be seen as an enlightened piece of legislation. Twenty years of bitter contention between and within families and social and religious groups needed oblivion to heal them. In the longer term, however, such forgetting has had it costs. Suppressing the republican element in English Cultural history entails simplifying a complex but intellectually and artistically challenging past into a sanitized and impoverished Royal heritage....The republic's political institutions 'continue to languish in a historiographical blind spot'; much the same applies to artistic culture. (Norbrook pp1-2.)
I believe that Oxford sacrificed/drowned his book for the sake of political order, and that this sacrifice was symbolized by Jonson in his 'Masque of Lethe' as the moment that disorderly Cupid - Blind Desire - the ensign of the Gallants/Lovers/Cavaliers - was drowned in oblivion, and replaced with the 'chaste' and 'calme' Love of the militant Protestant party.
'Shakespeare' is indeed a 'monument without a tomb'. It is an empty figure that stand in place of the true author, who remains submerged in Lethe.
Love at the name of Lethe flies.
For, in Oblivion drown'd, he dies. -- Jonson
Jonson's masque 'Lovers Made Men' was first published in 1617 and was later renamed the 'Masque of Lethe' by William Gifford. In the 1640 Folio Jonson wrote that 'the whole Maske was sung (after the Italian manner) Stylo recitativo, by Master Nicholas Lanier; who ordered and made both the Scene and the Musicke'. This would make it one of the first English operas.
The masque is concerned with communal reconciliation and redemption through memory and strategic forgetting. In the Masque of Lethe Jonson's solution to a disunited court is to simply transform the foolish 'lovers' (levitas) into men of substance (gravitas) - presumably through a small sip of Lethe water followed by a bracing draught of his own virtue and gravitas - and I think part of what was meant to be forgotten was the seductive influence of the fashionable, cosmopolitan, and courtly 'maker of manners' Edward de Vere - aka Shake-speare.
Throughout this blog I have been tracing the ideological divide that had appeared at the time of the French Marriage crisis with Burleigh and Oxford supporting the marriage and the militant Protestant Leicester/Sidney faction violently opposed to it. Evidence of such opposition was routinely suppressed or modified in an attempt to produce the appearance of a unified court.
The suppression of evidence of internal division is a symptom of stasis - a 'time of faction within the ruling body of citizens' as described by Jonathan J. Price in 'Thucydides and Internal War':
Thucydides consciously viewed and presented the Peloponnesian War in terms of a condition of civil strife - STASIS, in Greek. Thucydides defines stasis as a set of symptoms indicating an internal disturbance in both individuals and states. This diagnostic method, in contrast to all other approaches in antiquity, allows an observer to identify stasis even when the combatants do not or cannot openly acknowledge the nature of their conflict.
It is probably worth remembering at this point that of the 36 plays in Shakespeare's 1623 First Folio, only 18 had appeared before in print, and those publications (omitting Othello) had all been printed in 'quarto format' before 1611. (from Shakespeare Online). That means 18 plays had experienced some sort of suppression and, according to Heminges and Condell, even the quartos that had been published were obtained by illegitimate means:
The plays printed originally in quarto format were branded fraudulent by the editors of the First Folio, Heminge and Condell, who wrote in the Preface to their collection that fans of Shakespeare's works had been cheated by "diverse stolen and surreptitious copies, maimed and deformed by the frauds of injurious imposters that expos'd them." They believed that most of the quartos in circulation had been either stolen outright by unscrupulous printers who plagiarized the official prompt-books belonging to Shakespeare and his company or they had been horribly reconstructed from the memory of people who had seen the plays performed. (Shakespeare Online)
I am not sure if there is a credible explanation as to why so many of Shakespeare's plays would have been withheld at a time when they would have been most popular and valuable, only to be thrown to the public in a great and relatively undigested lump so many years later.
Digges, First Folio poem:
Shakespeare, at length thy pious fellows give
The world thy works. Thy works, by which, out-live
Thy tomb, thy name must. When that stone is rent
And time dissolves thy Stratford monument,
Here we alive shall view thee still. This book,
When brass and marble fade, shall make thee look
Fresh to all ages.
Levity and Greeklings - Purging the English National Character:
In his 'Speach According to Horace', Jonson had railed against the 'Tempestuous Grandlings' - the silly and vicious courtiers and aristocrats who polluted the fountain of manners at court with their affectations and humours. Chief among this type of courtly offender was another Jonsonian character named Amorphus (The Deformed), the 'master of courtship' in Jonson's Cynthia's Revels whom I have identified (perhaps) as Edward de Vere through textual evidence presented elsewhere in this blog. Appearing in Jonson's Cynthia's Revels, Amorphus was a disfiguring presence at the centre of literary court culture as well as the Poetomachia. Cynthia's Revels was an earlier attempt by Jonson to correct the manners/mores of the Elizabethan court, enacting a recurring pattern in Jonson's work - erring individuals who resist reformation and correction are to be 'cut off' so that the 'infection' of their vices cannot be communicated.
The courtiers and 'tempestuous grandlings' that are the subject of Jonson's scorn in Cynthia's Revels and his 'Speach' also appear as the tempest-tossed 'lovers' of the Masque of Lethe. Much of the vitriol that is directed at these courtiers will appear during the Civil War as Parliamentarian critiques of the 'vanities' of the Cavaliers. Attacks on sartorial and literary fashions (if fashions signify political sympathies as in the Civil War period) suggest that literary 'civil wars' alluded to by Jonson in the Masque of Lethe are not purely metaphorical.
In 'Lovers Made Men/Masque of Lethe' a group of lovers appear in the underworld at Lethe. It is soon determined that the gallants have only fantasized that they have died, and have in fact only been subjected to the disfiguring power of Love, or Cupid (cupido/desire). There are repeated references to the 'tempestuous' effects of Love - and as in the case of the 'Tempestous Grandlings' in Jonson's 'Speach According to Horace' - the insubstantial nature ('empty moulds' in the Speach) of the lordlings and courtlings figured their essential worthlessness, while their diminutive names suggest a Roman-style scorn for the 'lightness/levitas' of the Greeklings/Graeculi type. The theme of the tempestuous/destabilizing effects of the lightness of Love is also discussed in Jonson's 'Epode', which castigates sensual or passionate love, promoting a 'chaste' love that will allay the effects of the 'civil wars' that have been caused by the humorous disruptions of the lovers/courtiers:
The thing, they here call Love, is blinde Desire,
Arm'd with bow, shafts, and fire;
Inconstant, like the sea, of whence 'tis borne,
Rough, swelling, like a storme:
With whom who sailes, rides on the surge of feare,
And boyles, as if he were
In a continuall tempest. Now, true Love
No such effects doth prove;
That is an essence farre more gentle, fine,
Pure, perfect, nay divine;
It is a GOLDEN CHAINE let downe from heaven,
Whose linkes are bright, and even.
That falls like sleepe on Lovers, and combines
The soft, and sweetest mindes
In equall knots: This beares no brands, nor darts,
To murther different hearts,
But, in a calme, and god-like unitie,
The 'golden chaine' of the Epode mirrors the golden chain held by the figure of HUMANITY at the opening of the Masque of Lethe.
And could (if our great Men would let their Sons
Come to their Schools,) show 'em the use of Guns.
And there instruct the noble English Heirs
In Politick, and Militar Affairs;
But he that should perswade, to have this done
For Education of our LORDLINGS; Soon
Should he hear of Billow, Wind, and Storm,
From the TEMPESTUOUS GRANDLINGS, who'll inform
Us, in our bearing, that are thus, and thus,
Born, bred, allied? what's he dare tutor us?
Are we by Book-worms to be aw'd? must we
Live by their Scale, that dare do nothing free?
Why are we Rich, or Great, except to show
All licence in our Lives? What need we know?
More then to praise a Dog? or Horse? or speak
The Hawking Language? or our Day to break
With Citizens? let Clowns, and Tradesmen breed
Their Sons to study Arts, the Laws, the Creed:
We will believe like Men of our own Rank,
In so much Land a year, or such a Bank,
That turns us so much Monies, at which rate
Our Ancestors impos'd on Prince and State.
Let poor Nobility be vertuous: We,
Descended in a Rope of Titles, be
From Guy, or Bevis, Arthur, or from whom
The Herald will. Our Blood is now become,
Past any need of Vertue. Let them care,
That in the Cradle of their Gentry are;
To serve the State by Councels, and by Arms:
We neither love the Troubles, nor the harms.
What love you then? your Whore? what study? Gate,
Carriage, and Dressing. There is up of late
The ACADEMY, where the Gallants meet ——
What to make Legs? yes, and to smell most sweet,
All that they do at Plays. O, but first here
They learn and study; and then practise there.
But why are all these Irons i' the Fire
Of several makings? helps, helps, t' attire
His Lordship. That is for his Band, his Hair
This, and that Box his Beauty to repair;
This other for his Eye-brows; hence, away,
I may no longer on these PICTURES stay,
These Carkasses of Honour; Taylors blocks,
Cover'd with Tissue, whose prosperity mocks
The fate of things: whilst totter'd Vertue holds
Her broken Arms up, to their EMPTY MOULDS.
Lethe: Stay; who or what fantastic shades are these
That Hermes leads?
Mercury: They are the gentle forms
Of lovers, tost upon those frantic seas,
Whence Venus sprung.
Lethe: And have rid out her storms?
Lethe: Did they perish?
Mer. Drown'd by Love,
That drew them forth with hopes as smooth as were
Th'unfaithful waters he desired them prove.
Lethe: And turn'd a TEMPEST when he had them there?
Mer. He did, and on the billow would he roll,
And laugh to see one throw his heart away;
Another sighing, vapour forth his soul;
A third, to melt himself in tears, and say,
O love, I now to salter water turn
Than that I die in; then a fourth, to cry
Amid the surges, Oh! I burn, I burn.
A fifth laugh out, It is my ghost, not I.
Mer. I 'gin to doubt, that Love with charms hath put
This phant'sie in them; and they only think
That they are ghosts.
1 Fate: If so, then let them drink
Of Lethe's stream.
2 Fate: 'Twill make them to forget Love's name.
3 Fate: And so, they may recover yet.
Mer. See! See! they are themselves again.
1. Fate Yes, now they are SUBSTANCES AND MEN.
2. Fate Love at the name of Lethe flies.
Lethe. For, in Oblivion drown'd, he dies.
Chorus: Return, return,
Like lights to burn
For others good:
Your second birth
Will fame old Lethe's flood;
And warn a world,
That now are hurl'd
About in tempest, how they prove
Shadows for love.
Leap forth: your light it is the nobler made,
By being struck out of a shade.
Harvey, Oxford and Rhyming Lordinges : Speculum Tuscanismi
The Tempest, Shakespeare
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.
Henry Peacham, Minerva Brittana
Nec igne, nec vnda.
Ben Jonson: A Life
...In the winter of 1617 [Jonson] made and initial effort to improve the morals of the masquers themselves. Lord Hay...commissioned Jonson's Lovers Made Men for a private, and very lavish, reception in honor of the Special Ambassador from France, Charles Cachon, Baron du Tour. Because the King was absent, Jonson was able to devise a pattern of aesthetic and moral change that made perfect sense without reference to any external agency. His lovesick courtiers are 'made men' through the redemptive offices of art rather than the omnipotent gaze of the sovereign. The noble dancers in Lovers Made Men took the parts both of the fools in the antimasque and of the exemplary figures in the masque proper, an innovation that reinforces Jonson's claim about the educative powers of his art: for the first time, the courtiers appear in the guise of imperfect beings who are raised to a higher state of moral awareness, not by the King, but by the poet. (p.250)
Tempestuous Grandlings/Graeculi/Lordlings/Courtlings and Levitas
…The Roman attitude towards the Greeks changed in just the opposite direction. By the start of the second century BC, “no Greek could help being distressed by the almost universal contempt shown, at least in public utterances, toward his nation. In stark contrast to the identification of the Roman name with good faith among the Greeks, the term Graeca fides among the Romans came to mean uncreditworthiness. The Greek classicist Nicholas Petrochitos has made a special study of Roman attitudes toward the Greeks, and his findings fully support my argument. The Romans, he shows, soon developed a set of stereotypes about the Greeks, which centered on what they considered to be the six main failings of the Greek character: (1) volubitas, a tendency to prefer formal facility in speech to substance: (2) ineptia, a proclivity for inappropriate or excessive behaviour, a readiness to elaborate on subjects of which they knew nothing; (3) arrogantia and impudentia, related according to Cicero to “irresponsibility, deceitfulness and an aptitude for flattery”; (4) deceitfulness, singled out as a particularly unpleasant trait; (5) a weakness for excessive luxury and ostentation. But it was the sixth quality that the Romans most despised: LEVITAS. Embracing “aspects of instability, rashness and irresponsibility,” it connoted “absence of good faith, honour and trustworthiness” and was a “prominent element in the popular conception of Greek character. Cicero, in a celebrated case, tried to win support for his plea by impugning the credibility of the Greek witnesses on this basis, and Petrochitos comments that LEVITAS here is that lack of credibility which is the consequence of subordinating standards of honour and duty to personal and unworthy motives, and it is attributed by Cicero to the Greeks as a people.” The Romans made a point of contrasting the traditional Roman qualities of GRAVITAS and dignitas with the Greek LEVITAS.
Finally, it was from the relationship between Roman master and Greek slave that the diminutive graeculus came, especially from the household context in which the Greek slave performed the role of tutor. The tutor may have been admired for his intellectual excellence, but the affection was always tinged with contempt. The term graeculus seems to have suggested “Greek unmanliness” and also “general WORTHLESSNESS.” Petrochitos concludes: “Graeculus is thus a word of unique type, a diminutive formed from an ethnic name; it reflects the special quality of the relationship of Roman and Greek; by nature of being a diminutive it can express a variety of attributes from the mildly patronizing to the openly contemptuous.
Humankinds: The Renaissance and Its Anthropologies
...Published the same year in a quarto edition under the title Lovers Made Men, the text was reprinted in the 1640 Folio and later renamed by Gifford (not knowing the quarto) as the Masque of Lethe. It is this text, and the story it tells us, that concern me here, because I think they open interesting perspectives on the definition of the human. It is quite a short text - just over 140 lines of verse - and it seems to lie outside the main field of attention in what has been established as the canon of Jonsonian masques, so that critical engagements with it are rather few and far between. Yet to me and our purpose in this volume, it seems highly pertinent indeed. With Humanity presented as the opening figure, Lovers Made Men or The Masque of Lethe immediately highlights the question of the human as the framing issue of the whole performance. Like always in the genre of court masques, the particular meanings suggested by the social occasion of the original production converge on larger and more general meanings suggested by allegorical readings of this figure who, with her right hand, lavishly scatters gifts of flowers and , with her left hand, holds a catena aurea: largesse and bondage dialectically combined. In the same way, the sinister interpretation given to this GOLDEN CHAIN, i.e. that courtesy is both a 'freedom' and a 'bond', applies not just to the actual host Lord Hay but also implies the condition of the human, perpetually determined by opposing principles.
To be sure, figurative oppositions in a dialectic field of forces form the basic pattern of most Jonsonian masques, with their structural counterpart of the so-called antimasque that soon became their hall- and trademark feature in performance. This antimasque, a special piece of entertainment, usually preceded and opposed the main action with a spectacle of boisterous, licentious comedy in a binary logic, which James Loxley has described as generating 'a series of differing but structurally equivalent transgressors' - such as witches, sins, or Celts - all eventually transformed, 'tamed or banished through their encounter with Stuart power'. Such a transformation also forms the climax of The Masque of Lethe, as indicated by its printed title Lovers Made Men, a change from transgressive to normative, from somewhat deviant to fully human roles, achieved through the reconciliation of the two divine figures whose influences govern mankind in the action here presented: Mercury and Cupid. Yet interestingly, in this special case the conventional change does not really operated in a a binary logic of opposition and exclusion but rather in a mode of compromise and awkward combination. In structural terms, this compromise or symbolic continuum between the two sides is indicated by the fact that there are no separate antimasque characters who could be vanquished, tamed or banned. In fact, the antics of the antimasque are fully integrated in the main performance. As David Lindley observes, 'in this work it is essential to the argument that masque and antimasque should not be opposed in dialectical fashion, but seen as a process of redefinition' - a highly precarious process, I would add, since it involves a redefinition of the human.
What is centrally at stake here, are the dynamics of memory and oblivion - in mythological terms, of Mnemosyne and Lethe - as rival powers over humankind. This, then, is may main concern with Jonson's text: trying to explore how the lovers are "made men" again, I would like to discuss a recovery which, strikingly, is staged here in *an act of healing as forgetting*.
Yet the crucial issue raise here concerns the concept of Humanity itself. If Renaissance anthropology asks the question "what a piece of work is man?', the Masque of Lethe is a piece of entertainment urging us to rework the foundation of that question, aligning our concept of the human not principally, as might be reasonable be expected, with the force of memory, but with the forces of forgetting: "Now they're substances and men": this triumphant climax is accomplished here when humankind has drunk from Lethe's water - human substance thus recovered through oblivion. How can we account for this surprising turn? What does it suggest for our understanding of oblivion in the early modern culture of commemoration?
...the lovers in this masque are rescued from DISFIGURING FORCES OF DESIRE through FORGETTING.
There is textual evidence that Edward de Vere severed the connection between himself and his literary identity as the author 'Shakespeare'. It is difficult to believe that Shakespeare's Book could have been seen as a liability - as evidence of a falling off from virtue - but the definitions of virtue had became stricter in an atmosphere of oppositional rhetoric and political infighting. Perceived 'virtue' became the proof of the right to political power. As Shakespearean 'freedom' became reinscribed as 'license' and humour as 'bawdry' and 'easinesse' as a lack of rigour, 'Time's hate' and a fashion for gravitas seems to have turned against the author's book, which in some circles was styled trifling and 'light'. Those who admired 'Shakespeare' betrayed their own levity.
Among the worst attacks, however, must have been the appearance of Amorphus/Vere on stage as the discoverer of the fountain of self-love in Jonson's 'Cynthia's Revels'- Oxford must have endured the ridiculous fate that Shakespeare's Cleopatra had given voice to:
Cleopatra - Shakespeare
Antony too resisted having his image constructed by his adversaries. His flesh-and-blood neck may have proved 'corrigible' but his spirit did not.
...The soft inticements of the Court, the smiles
Of Glorious Princes the bewitching wiles
Of softer Ladies, and the Golden State
That in such places doth on Greatnesse waite
And all the shadie happinesse which seemes
To attend Kings and follow Diadems
Were Boy-games to his minde: to see a Maske
And sit it out, he held a greater taske
Than to endure a Siege: to wake all Night
In his cold armour, still expecting fight
And the drad On-set, the sad face of feare,
And the pale silence of an Army, were
His best Delights; among the common rout
Of his rough Souldiers to sit hardnesse out
Were his most pleasing Delicates: to him
A Batter'd Helmet was a Diadem:
And wounds, his Brauerie: Knowing that Fame
And faire Eternitie could neuer claime
Their Meeds without such Hazards:
AN ELEGIE VPON THE DEATH OF THE RIGHT NOBLE and Magnanimous Heroë, HENRY Earle of Oxford, Viscount Bulbec, Lord Samford, and Lord great Chamberlaine of England.
WHO SICKENED IN SERVICE OF HIS KING and Countrie, in defence of the States. And died at the Hagh in Holland. Aprill 1625.
By ABRAHAM HOLLAND.)
Henry de Vere failed to provide any monument for his father - to this day Oxford has no tomb or funeral monument.
Roman Gravitas/Greek Levitas
Upon the Dramatick Poems of Mr John Fletcher
by William Cartwright
Nought later then it should, nought comes before,
Chymists, and Calculators doe erre more:
Sex, age, degree, affections, country, place,
The inward substance, and the outward face;
All kept precisely, all exactly fit,
What he would write, he was before he writ.
Twixt Johnsons GRAVE, and Shakespeares LIGHTER sound
His muse so steer'd that something still was found,
...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;
HONEY-TONGUED Shakespeare, when I saw THINE ISSUE,
I swore Apollo got them and none other;
Their rosy-tinted features clothed in tissue,
Some heaven-born goddess said to be their mother:
Rose-cheeked Adonis, with his amber tresses,
Fair fire-hot Venus, charming him to love her,
Chaste Lucretia, virgin-like her dresses,
Proud lust-stung Tarquin, seeking still to prove her:
Romeo, Richard; more whose names I know not,
Their sugared tongues, and power attractive beauty
Say they are saints, although that saints they show not,
For thousands vow to them subjective duty :
They burn in love, thy children, Shakespeare het them,
Go, woo thy Muse, more Nymphish brood beget them.
John Weever. 1599. Fourth Weeke, Epig. 22.
spoylers of these Times. John Davies
...Another (ah Lord helpe) mee vilifies
With Art of Loue, and how to subtilize,
Making lewd Venus, with eternall Lines,
To tye Adonis to her loues designes :
Fine wit is shew'n therein : but finer twere
If not attired in such bawdy Geare.
But be it as it will : the coyest Dames,
In priuate read it for their Closset-games :
For, sooth to say, the Lines so draw them on,
To the VENERIAN SPECULATION,
That will they, nill they (if of flesh they bee)
They will thinke of it, sith LOOSE THOUGHT IS FREE.
And thou (O Poet) that dost pen my Plaint,
Thou art not scot-free from my iust complaint
For, thou hast plaid thy part, with thy rude Pen,
To make vs both ridiculous to men.
(ll.47-62, Complete Works, vol. II, p. 75)
Ther's difference 'twixt LIBERTY, and LICENCE. – Ben Jonson, TIME VINDICATED
Why will I view them then? my sense might ask me:
Or is't a rarity, or some new object,
That strains my strict observance to this Point?
O would it were, therein I could afford
My Spirit should draw a little neer to theirs,
To gaze on novelties: so Vice were one.
Tut, she is stale, rank, foul, and were it not
That those (that woo her) greet her with lockt Eyes,
(In spight of all the impostures, paintings, drugs,
Which her Bawd custom dawbs her Cheeks withal)
She would betray her loath'd and leprous Face,
And fright th' enamour'd dotards from themselves:
But such is the perverseness of our nature,
That if we once but FANCY LEVITY,
(How antick and ridiculous so ere
It sute with us) yet will our muffled thought
Choose rather not to see it, than avoid it:
And if we can but banish our own sense,
We act our mimick tricks with that FREE LICENSE,
That LUST, that PLEASURE, that SECURITY
As if we practis'd in a Paste-board Case,
And no one saw the motion, but the motion.
Well, check thy passion, lest it grow too lowd:
"While fools are pittied, they wax fat and proud
E P I G R A M S . Jonson
XLIX. -- TO PLAYWRIGHT.
PLAYWRIGHT me reads, and still my verses damns,
He says I want the tongue of epigrams ;
I have no salt, no bawdry he doth mean ;
For witty, in his language, is obscene.
Playwright, I loath to have thy MANNERS known
In my CHASTE book ; profess them in thine own.
Sidney, Defence of Poesie
But besides these grosse absurdities, howe all their Playes bee neither right Tragedies, nor right Comedies, mingling Kinges and Clownes, not because the matter so carrieth it, but thrust in the Clowne by head and shoulders to play a part in majesticall matters, with neither DECENCIE nor DISCRETION: so as neither the admiration and Commiseration, nor the the right sportfulnesse is by their mongrell Tragicomedie obtained. I know Apuleius did somewhat so, but that is a thing recounted with space of time, not represented in one moment: and I knowe the Auncients have one or two examples of Tragicomedies, as Plautus hath Amphitrio. But if we marke them well, wee shall finde that they never or verie daintily matche horne Pipes and Funeralls. So falleth it out, that having indeed no right Comedie in that Comicall part of our Tragidie, wee have nothing but scurrilitie unwoorthie of anie chaste eares, or some extreame shewe of doltishnesse, indeede fit to lift up a loude laughter and nothing else: where the whole tract of a Comedie should bee full of delight, as the Tragidie should bee still maintained in a well raised admiration.
The Art of Forgetting - Disgrace and Oblivion in Roman Political Culture
Harriet I. Flower
But Thou art gone: and groveling Trifles crawl
About the World, which but confirm thy Fall.
The Belgick Floud, which drank down fifty Townes,
At dead-low water shews their humble Crowns:
So, since thy flowing Brain ebb'd down to death,
Small Under-witts do shoot up from beneath.
They spread and swarm, as fast as Preachers now,
New, Monthly Poets (and their Pictures too)
Who, like that Fellow in the Moon, look bright,
Yet are but Spots because they dwell in Light.
For thy Imperiall Muse at once defines
Lawes to arraign and brand their weak strong lines,
Unmask's the Goblin-Verse that fright's a page
As when old time brought Devills on the Stage.
Knew the right mark of things, saw how to choose,
(For the great Wit's great work, is to Refuse,)
And smil'd to see what shouldering there is
To follow Lucan where he TROD AMISS.
Thine's the right Mettall, Thine's still big with Sense,
And stands as square as a good Conscience.
No Traverse lines, all written like a man:
Their Heights are but the Chaff, their Depths the Bran:
Gross, and not Great; which when it best does hit
Is not the strength but Corpulence of Wit:
Stuft, swoln, ungirt: but Thine's compact and bound
Close as the Atomes of a Diamond.
Substance and Frame; Raptures not Phrensies grown;
No Rebel-Wit, which bears its Master down;
But checks the Phansy, tames that Giant's Rage
As he that made huge Afcapart his Page.
Such Law, such Conduct, such Oeconomy,
No Demonstrator walks more steadily.
Nothing of Chance, Thou handled'st Fortune then
As roughly as she now does Vertuous men.
Yet not meer Forme and Posture, built of Slime;
'Tis Substantive with or without its Rime.
Nor were these drunken Fumes, Thou didst not write
Warm'd by male Claret or by female White:
Their Giant Sack could nothing heighten Thee,
As far 'bove Tavern Flash as Ribauldry.
Thou thought'st no rank foul line was strongly writ,
That's but the Scum or Sediment of Wit;
Which sharking Braines do into Publike thrust,
(And though They cannot blush, the Reader must;)
Who when they see't abhor'd, for fear, not shame,
*TRANSLATE their BASTARD to some Other's NAME.*
No rotten Phansies in thy Scenes appear;
Nothing but what a Dying man might hear.
Billy Budd/Beauty - Edward Vere's 'sacrificed' heir/issue (Fortune's unfathered bastard).
Billy Budd - Melville
Weep for my pardon. So it must be, for now
All length is torture: since the torch is out,
Lie down, and stray no farther: now all labour
Mars what it does; yea, very force entangles
Itself with strength: seal then, and all is done.
Eros!—I come, my queen:—Eros!—Stay for me:
Where souls do couch on flowers, we'll hand in hand,
And with our sprightly port make the ghosts gaze:
Dido and her AEneas shall want troops,
And all the haunt be ours. Come, Eros, Eros!