The Hereditary Recorder of Stratford-upon-Avonand
The Bumpkinification of Oxford
The act of turning into a pumpkin; usually in jocular opposition to deification.
Greville, __A Dedication to Sir Philip Sidney_
“I conceived an Historian was bound to tell nothing but the truth, but to tell all truths were both justly to wrong, and offend not only princes and States, but to blemish, and stir up himself, the frailty and tenderness, not only of particular men, but of many Families, with the spirit of an Athenian Timon.”
Fulke Greville - Life of Sidney
...Neither am I (for my part) so much in love with this life, nor believe so little in a better to come, as to complain of God for taking him [Sidney], and such like exorbitant WORTHYness from us: fit (as it were by an Ostracisme) to be divided, and not incorporated with our corruptions: yet for the sincere affection I bear to my Prince, and Country, my prayer to God is, that this WORTH, and WAY may not fatally be buried with him; in respect, that both before his time, and since, experience hath published the usuall discipline of greatnes to have been tender of it self onely; making honour a triumph, or rather TROPHY of desire, set up in the eyes of Mankind, either to be worshiped as IDOLS, or else as Rebels to perish under her glorious oppressions. Notwithstanding, when the PRIDE of FLESH, and power of favour shall cease in these by death, or disgrace; what then hath time to register, or FAME to publish in these great mens names, that will not be offensive, or infectious to others? What Pen without BLOTTING can write the story of their deeds? Or what Herald blaze their Arms without a blemish? And as for their counsels and projects, when they come once to light, shall they not live as noysome, and loathsomely above ground, as their Authors carkasses lie in the grave? So as the return of such greatnes to the world, and themselves, can be but private reproach, publique ill example, and a fatall scorn to the Government they live in. Sir Philip Sidney is none of this number; for the greatness which he affected was built upon true WORTH; esteeming Fame more than Riches, and Noble actions far above Nobility it self.
Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke
Fulke Greville and Sir John Coke: An Exchange of Letters on a History Lecture and Certain Latin Vers... more
Norman Farmer, Jr.
…(F)or four years beginning in 1624, Greville was deeply involved in an effort to establish what would ultimately be the first professorship of HISTORY at CAMBRIDGE. His initial choice of a scholar to fill that post was the famous Dutch historian, Gerard J. Vossius. When, however, Vossius decided after considerable correspondence to remain at Leiden, Greville selected the young Dutch lawyer Isaac Dorislaus to be the first professor of history at Cambridge, a post not unlike that previously established by William Camden at Oxford in 1622.
…As recent scholarship has shown, the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries saw the evolution in England of an increasingly sophisticated historiography. Oriented more toward the concepts of process and progress than toward adherence to mere custom, history was rapidly coming to be distinguished from simple antiquarianism at a time when many of the patriotic and theological assumptions of the Tudors were coming to be qualified by a new scepticism. As one recent writer explains it, by the seventeenth century “the crisis in intellectual life had penetrated the writing of history.” This new awareness of the past naturally manifested itself in a wide variety of ways, a remarkable number of which are clearly represented in the pattern of Greville’s own interests. For example, the foregoing chronology of events shows him to have had considerable interest in the historical aspects of genealogy and heraldry, or cartography and surveys, or divinity, of architectural restoration, of the building and presumably the stocking of libraries appropriate for research, and the provision of lecturers competent to discuss history in all of its uses and ramifications. His commitment to such a range of projects indicates a sensitivity to the developing historiography of his time as well as an activist’s dedication to the practical exploitation of theory. And if we will consider certain relevant statements that Greville makes in The Life of Sir Philip Sidney, we can obtain a useful perspective on his developing response to the intellectual change going on about him.
Although it often seems to confuse the various functions of dedication, biography, autobiography, and history, the one dominant motif in the Life that is obvious to most readers is Greville’s desire to praise an exemplary man. As an ideal seldom encountered in real life, Sir Philip Sidney had come to be regarded as a personification of public virtue and service to the state. And it was of course quite proper that the man who considered himself Sidney’s best friend (an opinion in which it would appear there was a general concurrence) should write his biography. But Greville’s praise is in fact a vehicle for moral and political instruction. He states, for example, ‘that although with SOCRATES, I professe to know nothing for the present; yet with NESTOR I am delighted in repeating old newes of the ages past; and will therefore stir my drooping memory touching this mans worth, power, wayes, and designs: to the end that in the tribute I owe him, our nation may see a Sea-mark, rais’d upon their native coast, above the levell of any private Pharos abroad: and so by a right Meridian line of their own, learn to sayl through the straits of true virtue, into a calm, and spacious Ocean of humane honour.”
Such a statement of purpose is clearly founded on the premise that “story” or history is obligated to do more than present facts. It must also supply, in accord with the accepted values of the times, a commentary on the moral implications of facts. As a prominent man of action Sidney offered an example which, it could be expected, would inspire others to strive for like eminence in virtue. And so far as Greville is concerned, his public responsibility as a biographer would be to persuade others, through examples drawn from the facts of Sidney’s life, to adopt virtuous ideals and live by them. Greville’s practice of this kind of history writing follows the pattern established in classical literature by Polybius, Livy, Tacitus, and Seneca. And it is indicative of at least part of his intention in writing the Life to see how closely he does so. First, Sidney was a man of action, a man deeply involved in the affairs of state and personally committed to the attitudes and values that shaped the state. Second, his was a personality and character guaranteed to impress and possibly inspire others; he had the charisma and attractiveness around which a popular myth could flourish. Third, Greville’s treatment of Sidney, while it appears only to extol the man, is in fact a reminder to Greville himself and an assertion to his readers that Sidney’s deeds provide a guide to life (the concept of magistra vitae is clearly apparent here). Finally, while Greville’s treatment of episodes in Sidney’s life shows a scrupulous concern for truthfulness, they are recounted with a keen appreciation of the persuasive force of proper example. In broad terms, Greville apparently considered it his responsibility as a historian to confirm, through examples drawn from the life of Sidney, the precepts of morality established by religion and philosophy.
Greville, Fulke, Baron Brooke, 1554-1628.
Title: Certaine learned and elegant vvorkes of the Right Honorable
Fulke Lord Brooke written in his youth, and familiar exercise with
Sir Philip Sidney. The seuerall names of which workes the following page
An Inquisition vpon Fame and Honour.
Then make the summe of our Idea's this,
Who loue the world, giue latitude to Fame,
And this Man-pleasing, Gods displeasing is,
Who loue their God, haue glory by his name:
But fixe on Truth, who can, that know it not?
Who fixe on ERROR, doe but write to blot.
"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, (springs,
"Which must, as blossomes, fade ere true fruit
"(Like voice, and eccho) ioyn'd; yet diuers things.
Fulke Greville. The life of the renowned Sr Philip Sidney.
THus stood the state of things then: And if any judicious Reader shall ask, Whether it were not an error, and a dangerous one, for Sir Philip being neither Magistrate nor Counsellor, to oppose himself against his Soveraigns pleasure in things indifferent? I must answer, That his worth, truth, favour, and sincerity of heart, together with his reall manner of proceeding in it, were his privileges. Because this Gentlemans course in this great business was, not by murmur among equals, or inferiours, to detract from Princes; or by a mutinous kind of bemoaning error, to stir up ill affections in their minds, whose best thoughts could do him no good; but by a due address of his humble reasons to the Queen her self, to whom the appeal was proper. So that although he found a sweet stream of Soveraign humors in that well-tempered Lady, to run against him, yet found he safety in her self, against that selfness which appeared to threaten him in her: For this happily born and bred Princess was not (subject-like) apt to construe things reverently done in the worst sense; but rather with the spirit of annointed Greatness (as created to reign equally over frail and strong) more desirous to find waies to fashion her people, than colours, or causes to punish them.
Lastly, to prove nothing can be wise, that is not really honest; every man of that time, and consequently of all times may know, that if he should have used the same freedome among the Grandees of Court (their profession being not commonly to dispute Princes purposes for truths sake, but second their humours to govern their Kingdomes by them) he must infallibly have found Worth, Justice, and Duty lookt upon with no other eyes but Lamia's; and so have been stained by that reigning faction, which in all Courts allows no faith currant to a Soveraign, that hath not past the seal of their practising corporation.
Thus stood the Court at that time; and thus stood this ingenuous spirit in it. If dangerously in mens opinions who are curious of the present, and in it rather to doe craftily, than well: Yet, I say, that Princely heart of hers was a Sanctuary unto him; And as for the people, in whom many times the lasting images of Worth are preferred before the temporary visions of art, or favour, he could not fear to suffer any thing there, which would not prove a kind of Trophy to him. So that howsoever he seemed to stand alone, yet he stood upright; kept his access to her Majesty as before; a liberall conversation with the French, reverenced amongst the worthiest of them for himselfe, and born in too strong a fortification of nature for the less worthy to abbord, either with question, familiarity, or scorn.
In this freedome, even while the greatest spirits, and Estates seemed hood-winkt, or blind; and the inferior sort of men made captive by hope, fear, ignorance; did he enjoy the freedome of his thoughts, with all recreations worthy of them.
And in this freedome of heart being one day at Tennis, a Peer of this Realm, born great, greater by alliance, and superlative in the Princes favour, abruptly came into the Tennis- Court; and speaking out of these three paramount authorities, he forgot to entreat that, which he could not legally command. When by the encounter of a steady object, finding unrespectiveness in himself (though a great Lord) not respected by this Princely spirit, he grew to expostulate more ROUGHLY. The returns of which stile comming still from an understanding heart, that knew what was due to it self, and what it ought to others, seemed (through the MISTS of my Lords PASSIONS, SWOLN with the WINDE of his FACTION then reigning) to provoke in yeelding. Whereby, the lesse amazement, or confusion of thoughts he stirred up in Sir Philip, the more SHADOWES this great Lords own mind was POSSESSED with: till at last with RAGE (which is ever ILL-DISCIPLINED) he commands them to depart the Court. To this Sir Philip temperately answers; that if his Lordship had been pleased to express desire in milder Characters, perchance he might have led out those, that he should now find would not be driven out with any scourge of FURY. This answer (like a BELLOWS) blowing up the sparks of EXCESS already kindled, made my Lord scornfully call Sir Philip by the name of Puppy. In which progress of HEAT, as the TEMPEST grew more and more vehement within, so did their hearts breath out their perturbations in a more loud and shrill accent. The French Commissioners unfortunately had that day audience, in those private Galleries, whose windows looked into the Tennis-Court. They instantly drew all to this tumult: every sort of quarrels sorting well with their humors, especially this. Which Sir Philip perceiving, and rising with inward strength, by the prospect of a mighty faction against him; asked my Lord, with a loud voice, that which he heard clearly enough before. Who ( LIKE AN ECHO, that still multiplies by REFLEXIONS) repeated this Epithet of Puppy the second time. Sir Philip resolving in one answer to conclude both the attentive hearers, and PASSIONATE ACTOR, gave my Lord a Lie, impossible (as he averred) to be retorted; in respect all the world knows, Puppies are gotten by Dogs, and Children by men.
Hereupon those GLORIOUS INEQUALITIES of FORTUNE in his Lordship were put to a kinde of pause, by a precious INEQUALITY of NATURE in this Gentleman. So that they both stood silent a while, like a DUMB SHEW in a TRAGEDY; till Sir Philip sensible of his own wrong, the forrain, and factious spirits that attended; and yet, even in this question between him, and his superior, tender to his Countries honour; with some words of sharp accent, led the way abruptly out of the Tennis-Court; as if so unexpected an accident were not fit to be decided any farther in that place. Whereof the great Lord making another sense, continues his play, WITHOUT any ADVANTAGE of reputation; as by the standard of humours in those times it was conceived.
A day Sr Philip remains in suspense, when hearing nothing of, or from the Lord, he sends a Gentleman of worth to awake him out of his TRANCE; wherein the French would assuredly think any pause, if not death, yet a lethargy of true honour in both. This stirred a resolution in his Lordship to send Sir Philip a Challenge. Notwithstanding, these thoughts in the great Lord WANDRED so long between GLORY, ANGER, and INEQUALITY of state, as the Lords of her Majesties Counsell took notice of the differences, commanded peace, and laboured a reconciliation between them. But needlesly in one respect, and bootlesly in another. The great Lord being (as it should SEEM) either not hasty *to adventure many inequalities against one*, or inwardly satisfied with the progress of his own Acts: Sir Philip on the other side confident, he neither had nor would lose, or let fall any thing of his right. Which her Majesties Counsell quickly perceiving, recommended this work to her self.
The Queen, who saw that by the loss, or disgrace of either, she could gain nothing, presently undertakes Sir Philip; and (like an excellent Monarch) lays before him the difference in degree between Earls, and Gentlemen; the respect inferiors ought to their superiors; and the necessity in Princes to maintain their own creations, as degrees descending between the peoples licentiousness, and the anoynted Soveraignty of Crowns: how the Gentlemans neglect of the Nobility taught the Peasant to insult upon both.
Whereunto Sir Philip, with such reverence as became him, replyed: First, that place was never intended for privilege to WRONG: witness her self, who how Soveraign soever she were by Throne, Birth, Education, and Nature; yet was she content to cast her own affections into the same moulds her Subjects did, and govern all her rights by their Laws. Again, he besought her Majesty to consider, that although he were a great Lord by birth, alliance, and grace; yet hee was no Lord over him: and therfore the difference of degrees between free men, could not challenge any other homage than precedency. And by her Fathers Act (to make a Princely wisdom become the more familiar) he did instance the Government of K. Henry the eighth, who gave the Gentry free, and safe appeal to his feet, against the oppression of the Grandees; and found it wisdome, by the stronger corporation in number, to keep down the greater in power: inferring else, that if they should unite, the OVER-GROWN might be tempted, by still coveting more, to fall (as the Angels did) by affecting equality with their Maker.
This constant tenor of truth he took upon him; which as a chief duty in all creatures, both to themselves, & the soveraignty above them, protected this Gentleman (though he obeyed not) from the displeasure of his Soveraign. Wherein he left an authentical president to after ages, that howsoever TYRANTS allow of no scope, stamp, or standard, but their own WILL; yet with Princes there is a latitude for subjects to reserve native, and legall freedom, by paying humble tribute in MANNER, though not in MATTER, to them.
SONNET LXXVIII. -- Greville
THe little Hearts, where light-wing'd PASSION raignes,
More easily vpward, as all frailties doe;
Like Strawes to Ieat, these follow Princes veines,
And so, by pleasing, doe corrupt them too.
Whence as their raising proues Kings can create;
So States proue sicke, where toyes beare Staple-rates.
Like Atomi they neither rest, nor stand,
Nor can erect; because they NOTHING be
But baby-thoughts, fed with time-presents hand,
Slaues, and yet darlings of Authority;
ECCHO'S of wrong; SHADOWES of Princes might;
Which glow-worme-like, by shining, show 'tis night.
Curious of fame, as foule is to be faire;
Caring to seeme that which they would not be;
Wherein CHANCE helpes, since Praise is powers heyre,
Honor the creature of Authoritie:
So as borne high, in giddie Orbes of grace,
These Pictures are, which are indeed but Place.
And as the Bird in hand, with freedome lost,
Serues for a stale, his fellowes to betray:
So doe these Darlings rays'd at Princes cost
Tempt man to throw his libertie away;
And sacrifice Law, Church, all reall things
To soare, not in his owne, but Eagles wings.
Whereby, like AEsops dogge, men lose their meat,
To bite at GLORIOUS SHADOWES, which they see;
And let fall those strengths which make all States great
By free Truths chang'd to seruile flatterie.
Whence, while men gaze vpon this blazing starre,
Made slaues, not subiects, they to Tyrants are.
Blair Worden, _The Sound of Virtue -Philip Sidney's Arcadia and Elizabethan Politics_
For Greville, TYRANNY is characterised by 'WILL, which nothing but
itself endures', and which overrides 'law'. His golden retrospection
contrasts the readiness of Queen Elizabeth to harmonise her 'own
affections' with 'her subjects' , and to govern by 'laws', with the
ways of 'TYRANTS' who allow of no scope....but their own will'. Yet in
Sidney's lifetime Greville, and Sidney too, would have been more
likely to concur with the view of Sir Francis Knollys that she
preferred 'her own will and her own affections' to 'the sound advice
of open counsel'.
'WILL' in Renaissance minds, is the enemy not only of law but of
reason, which law invokes. Languet's and Mornay's Vindiciae, Contra
Tyrannos cites Juvenal's condemnation of kings who resolve to rule by
'WILL' rather than by 'reason'. The friends of WILL are passion and
lust, when men, instead of 'reason, follow WILL, and instead of law,
use their own lust'. (p.212)
Greville - Hereditary Recorder of Stratford-upon-Avon:
Rewards of Earth -Greville
REWARDS of earth, Nobility and Fame,
To senses glory and to conscience woe,
How little be you for so great a name?
Yet less is he with men what thinks you so.
For EARTHLY power, that stands by FLESHLY WIT,
Hath banished that truth which should govern it.
Nobility, power's golden fetter is,
Wherewith wise kings subjection do adorn,
To make man think her heavy yoke a bliss
Because it makes him more than he was born.
Yet still a slave, dimm'd by mists of a crown,
Let he should see what riseth, what pulls down.
Fame, that is but good words of evil deeds,
Begotten by the harm we have, or do,
Greatest far off, least ever where it breeds,
We both with dangers and disquiet woo;
And in our flesh, the vanities' false glass,
We thus deceiv'd adore these calves of brass.