Saturday, September 5, 2009

Extravagant Shakespeare:

extravagant definition

  1. Obsolete: straying beyond bounds; wandering
  2. going beyond reasonable limits; excessive or unrestrained extravagant demands
  3. too ornate or showy extravagant designs
  4. costing or spending too much; wasteful
Etymology: ME & Anglo-Fr extravagaunt <>extravagans, prp. of extravagari, to stray <>extra, beyond + vagari, to wander < vagus: see vague

In every action it behoves the poet to know which is the utmost bound, how far with fitness, and a necessary proportion, he may produce, and determine it...For, *as a body without proportion cannot be goodly*, no more can the action, either the comedy, or tragedy, without its fit bounds. (Jonson, Discoveries)

He (Shakespeare) was, indeed, honest, and of an open and free
nature, had an excellent phantasy, brave notions, and gentle
expressions, wherein he flowed with that facility that sometimes 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 so, too. (Jonson, Discoveries)

Jonson, Cynthia's Revels
Thou 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 Men's 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.

Upon Ben Jonson, and his Zany, Tom Randolph.
"Quoth Ben to Tom, the Lover's stole,
"'Tis Shakspeare's every word;
"Indeed, says Tom, upon the whole,
"'Tis much too good for Ford.
"Thus Ben and Tom, the dead still praise,
"The living to decry;
"For none must dare to wear the bays,
"Till Ben and Tom both die.
"Even Avon's swan could not escape
"These letter-tyrant elves;
"They on his FAME contriv'd a RAPE,
"To raise their PEDANT selves.
"But after times with full consent
"This truth will all acknowledge,-
"Shakspeare and Ford from heaven were sent,
"But Ben and Tom from college."
Endymion Porter.