Or have it fashioned for him:
This Figure, that thou here seest put,
It was for gentle Shakespeare cut,
Wherein the Graver had a strife
with Nature, to out-doo the life :
O, could he but have drawne his wit
As well in brasse, as he hath hit
His face ; the Print would then surpasse
All, that was ever writ in brasse.
But, since he cannot, Reader, looke
Not on his Picture, but his Booke.
Letter 114. On style as a mirror of character
CXIV. On Style as a Mirror of Character1. You have been asking me why, during certain periods, a degenerate style of speech comes to the fore, and how it is that men's wits have gone downhill into certain vices – in such a way that exposition at one time has taken on a kind of puffed-up strength, and at another has become mincing and modulated like the music of a concert piece. You wonder why sometimes bold ideas – bolder than one could believe – have been held in favour, and why at other times one meets with phrases that are disconnected and full of innuendo, into which one must read more meaning than was intended to meet the ear. Or why there have been epochs which maintained the right to a shameless use of metaphor. For answer, here is a phrase which you are wont to notice in the popular speech – one which the Greeks have made into a proverb: "Man's speech is just like his life." 2. Exactly as each individual man's actions seem to speak, so people's style of speaking often reproduces the general character of the time, if the morale of the public has relaxed and has given itself over to effeminacy. Wantonness in speech is proof of public luxury, if it is popular and fashionable, and not confined to one or two individual instances. 3. A man's ability cannot possibly be of one sort and his soul of another. If his soul be wholesome, well-ordered, serious, and restrained, his ability also is sound and sober. Conversely, when the one degenerates, the other is also contaminated. Do you not see that if a man's soul has become sluggish, his limbs drag and his feet move indolently? If it is womanish, that one can detect the effeminacy by his very gait? That a keen and confident soul quickens the step? That madness in the soul, or anger (which resembles madness), hastens our bodily movements from walking to rushing?
best mark the Play, and let him alone.
Dam. I care not for marking the Play: I'll damn it,
talk, and do that I come for. I will not have Gentle-
men lose their Privilege, nor I my self my Prerogative,
for ne'er an over-grown or superannuated Poet of 'em
all. He shall not give me the Law: I will censure,
and be witty, and take my Tabacco, and enjoy my
Magna Charta of Reprehension, as my Predecessors have
done before me.
Boy. Even to licence, and absurdity.
Anagrammata in Nomina Illustrissimorum Heroum (1603) By Francis Davison
The word PRODIGIALITER apparently refers to that fictitious monster, under which the poet allusively shadows out the idea of absurd and inconsistent composition. The application, however, differs in this, that, whereas the monster, there painted, was intended to expose the extravagance of putting together incongruous parts, without any reference to a whole, this prodigy is designed to characterize a whole, but deformed by the ill-judged position of its parts. The former is like a monster, whose several members as of right belonging to different animals, could by no disposition be made to constitute one consistent animal. The other, like a landscape which hath no objects absolutely irrelative, or irreducible to a whole, but which a wrong position of the parts only renders prodigious. Send the boar to the woods, and the dolphin to the waves; and the painter might show them both on the same canvas.
Each is a violation of the law of unity, and a real monster: the one, because it contains an assemblage of natural incoherent parts; the other, because its parts, though in themselves coherent, are misplaced and disjointed.
The applause? Delight? The wonder of the Stage.
Nature her selfe, was proud of his designs
And joy'd to weare the dressing of his lines,
The learned will confess his works as such
As neither man, nor Muse can praise to much
For ever live thy fame, the world to tell,
Thy like, no age, shall ever paralell (1641 Folio)
Letter 114. On style as a mirror of character
CXIV. On Style as a Mirror of Character
From 'To the Deceased Author of these Poems' (William Cartwright)
by Jasper Mayne
... For thou to Nature had'st JOYN’D Art, and skill.
In Thee Ben Johnson still HELD SHAKESPEARE'S QUILL:
A QUILL, RUL'D by sharp Judgement, and such Laws,
As a well studied Mind, and Reason draws.
Thy Lamp was cherish'd with suppolied of Oyle,
Fetch'd from the Romane and the Graecian soyle. (snip)
With the meaning "free from restraint in speech or action," liberal was used 16c.-17c. as a term of reproach. It revived in a positive sense in the Enlightenment, with a meaning "free from prejudice, tolerant," which emerged 1776-88.
Fredrika H. Jacobs
Non so che, that indefinable something associated with aesthetic grace (grazia) and charming elegance (leggiadria), was the acknowledged essence of love and beauty. In I libri della famiglia Alberti describes non so che as a "certain something... which attracts men and makes them love one person more than another." Many later critics and theorists, including Lodovico Dolce, agreed. As Cropper, Sohm and other scholars have noted, Dolce's use of non so che may be understood as the ineffable beauty of Petrarch's Laura. Indeed, the indeterminate and unbounded nature of sensible beauty that is part and parcel of non so che is implicit in the term vaghezza, which is related to vagare, meaning to wander or move about without a specific destination. Equicola captures the essence of the allusive indeterminacy in his discussion of the visual apprehension of grazia.
He begins by repeating the often noted observation that perfect beauty cannot be found in one place: "la singular grazia in una non ritrovarse." It is scattered and, therefore, must be collected and combined or reconstituted.
Because la perfetta bellezza cannot be found in one place, a man of total perfection ("uomo in tutta perfezzione") is a composite whole made of diverst parts. Danti explained the preferred compositional method advocated by Renaissance writers. Seeking the assistance of nature, the artist should "make use of various men, in each of whom some particular beauty is to be seen. And having taken this and that from this and from that man, they have composed their figures with more perfection than is possible in [nature].
For what more difficult, more noble, or more magnificent task has anyone ever undertaken than our author Castiglione, who has drawn for us the FIGURE and MODEL of a courtier, a work to which nothing can be added, in which there is no redundant word, a portrait which we shall recognize as that of a highest and most perfect type of man. And so, although NATURE herself has made nothing perfect in every detail, yet THE MANNERS OF MEN exceed in dignity that with which NATURE has endowed them; and he who SURPASSES others has here SURPASSED himself and has even OUT-DONE nature, which by no one has ever been SURPASSED.
Who worship Fame, commit Idolatry,
Make Men their God, Fortune and Time their worth,
Forme, but reforme not, meer hypocrisie,
By shadowes, onely shadowes bringing forth,
Which must, as blossomes, fade ere true fruit springs,
(Like voice, and eccho) ioyn'd; yet diuers things.
in Roman Eloquence: Rhetoric in Society and Literature
(ed. William J Dominik)
If one major source of anxiety about style was the danger of effeminacy, another - and related - source was the danger of resembling an actor. The sexuality of actors was itself suspect and actors (partly on that account) suffered a diminished status as infames - much like men marked as MOLLES. William Fitzgerald has suggested that poetry, as a public performance, might have been seen as itself akin to acting, hence tending to cast a shadow on the sexual integrity of poets. Certainly this was the case for oratory; the handbooks are full of insistent disclaimers explaining how orators, though as talented as actors, though very like actors, are really not like actors at all.
Comments on the theatre by other writers explain what underlies these [caveats]. Columella, who wrote on the quintessentially Roman and manly art of agriculture in the mid-first dentury CE, begins his book with a classic locus de saeculo that includes the following comment on the theatre (1 pr. 15): 'Astonished, we marvel at the gestures of effeminates (effeminatorum), that, by womanish movement, they counterfeit a sex denied to men by nature, and deceive the eyes of the spectators.' But both dancing and the theatre were extremely popular in Roman culture, even that hero of Roman conservatism, Scipio Aemilianus, 'moved that triumphal and military body of his to a rhythmical beat' (Sen. Tranq.17.4).
If Scipio was a manly dancer, this oxymoronic state seems to have been the precarious goal of the Roman orator. Quintilian's treatment of actio ('movement') is full of cautions about lapses in masculinity. Effeminate actio repels him (Inst. 4.2.390: 'They bend their voices and incline their necks and flail their arms against their sides and act sext (lasciviunt) in their whole style of subject matter, words and composition; finally, what is like a monstrosity (monstro), the actio pleases, while the case is not intelligible.'
(see Speculum Tuscanismi for Oxford's 'bad body' - Harvey
Shakespeare - Sonnet 121
When not to be receives reproach of being;
And the just pleasure lost, which is so deemed
Not by our feeling, but by others' seeing:
For why should others' false adulterate eyes
Give salutation to my sportive blood?
Or on my frailties why are frailer spies,
Which in their wills count bad what I think good?
No, I am that I am, and they that level
At my abuses reckon up their own:
I may be straight though they themselves be bevel;
By their rank thoughts, my deeds must not be shown;
Unless this general evil they maintain,
All men are bad and in their badness reign.
Sweepings and Heaps:
Imitation and Praise in the Poems of Ben Jonson
There the poet shows an accumulated “heape” of
Another archaic definition of monster found in the OED is “to exhibit” or “to point out as something remarkable.” This usage is true to the Latin origin monstrāre, meaning “to show” or “point” (“monster”).-- Brumley, Mark Elliott
Declamation And Dismemberment: Rhetoric, The
Conceits, Clinches, Flashes and Whimzies (1639)
...Most writers, noble sire and either son,
Are, with the likeness of the truth, undone.
Myself for shortness labour, and I grow
Obscure. This, striving to run smooth,
Hath neither soul nor sinews. Lofty he
Professing greatness, swells; that, low by lee,
Creeps on the ground; too safe, afraid of storm.
This seeking, in a various kind, to form
One thing PRODIGIOUSLY, paints in the woods
A dolphin, and a boar amid the floods.
So shunning faults to greater fault doth lead,
When in a WRONG AND ARTLESS WAY WE TREAD.
Hamlet - Strict Jonsonian in taste. Anti-Shakespearean in spirit. 'Scholar' Prince with his Horatio/Horace.
you, trippingly on the tongue: but if you mouth it,
as many of your players do, I had as lief the
town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air
too much with your hand, thus, but use all gently;
for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may say,
the whirlwind of passion, you must acquire and beget
a temperance that may give it smoothness. O, it
offends me to the soul to hear a robustious
periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to
very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings, who
for the most part are capable of nothing but
inexplicable dumbshows and noise: I would have such
a fellow whipped for o'erdoing Termagant; it
out-herods Herod: pray you, avoid it.
be your tutor: suit the action to the word, the
word to the action; with this special o'erstep not
the modesty of nature: for any thing so overdone is
from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the
first and now, was and is, to hold, as 'twere, the
mirror up to nature; to show virtue her own feature,
scorn her own image, and the very age and body of
the time his form and pressure. Now this overdone,
or come tardy off, though it make the unskilful
laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve; the
censure of the which one must in your allowance
o'erweigh a whole theatre of others. O, there be
players that I have seen play, and heard others
praise, and that highly, not to speak it profanely,
that, neither having the accent of Christians nor
the gait of Christian, pagan, nor man, have so
strutted and bellowed that I have thought some of
nature's journeymen had made men and not made them
well, they imitated humanity so abominably.
your clowns speak no more than is set down for them;
for there be of them that will themselves laugh, to
set on some quantity of barren spectators to laugh
too; though, in the mean time, some necessary
question of the play be then to be considered:
that's villanous, and shows a most pitiful ambition
in the fool that uses it. Go, make you ready.
to the K I N G.
And th' Author's charge, waive you, and make my
To the Supremest Power, my Lord, the King;
Who best can judge of what we humbly bring.
He knows our weakness, and the Poets faults;
Where he doth stand upright, go firm, or halts;
And he will doom him. To which Voice he stands,
And prefers that, 'fore all the Peoples Hands.