Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Jonson's Roman Spirit and the First Folio as Spolia Opima

Ben Jonson and the men who contributed to Jonson's memorial volume, Jonsonus Virbius, all  make much of a struggle or contest between 'Ignorance' and 'Learning' that was taking place in England - a social and political reformation. As this blog suggests, this struggle (a byproduct of the humanist learning that was being introduced to England) extended beyond stylistic choices in Poetry to affect all aspects of human social life; eventually leading to a revolution in the form of government.

But before Englishman 'rationalized' their government by cutting the head off their King - there was another battle in which a great nobleman 'lost his head' - so to speak - a contest between new Learning and humanist-style Virtue and an older, more ancient form of power and a different way of understanding the world. In order to promote new values - these older values were attacked as being backward, ignorantly unreformed, vulgar, and in some cases, were even designated vicious.

During his lifetime, Ben Jonson believed that he had won the battle with Ignorance - he was crowned 'Poet Laureate' and wore the laurels of the victor. His memorials include poems that record the victory of learning and understanding, and the subjection of Ignorance. He and his followers believed that a 'turning point' in history had been reached.

In his lifetime, Ben Jonson raised two important monuments to his victory. A monument to his own worth, his Folio of 1616, an elegant volume as precise and correct as possible.

The second monument to his victory took the form of a trophy, the spoils of war, and it was another Book: The 1623 First Folio of William Shakespeare.

Spolia opima (or "rich spoils/trophies") refers to the armor, arms, and other effects that an ancient Roman general had stripped from the body of an opposing commander slain in single combat. Though the Romans recognized and put on display other sorts of trophies--such as standards and the beaks of enemy ships--spolia opima were considered the most honorable to have won and brought great fame to their captor.

The First Folio is a monument. It is the 'monument Shakespeare', and it is dedicated to Jonson's victory over English Ignorance and barbarism.  It stands as Jonson's trophy; spoils stripped from the 'enemy' commander, the Earl of Oxford, and raised high in a public place. It is dedicated to Jonson's patron the Earl of Pembroke and his brother.

Rise, MY Shakespeare:

Trophy \Tro"phy\, n.; pl. Trophies. [F. troph['e]e (cf. It. &

Sp. trofeo), L. tropaeum, trophaeum, Gr. ?, strictly, a
monument of the enemy's defeat, fr.? a turn, especially, a
turning about of the enemy, a putting to flight or routing
him, fr. ? to turn. See Trope.]

1. (Gr. & Rom. Antiq.) A sign or memorial of a victory raised
on the field of battle, or, in case of a naval victory, on
the nearest land. Sometimes trophies were erected in the
chief city of the conquered people.

Note: A trophy consisted originally of some of the armor,
weapons, etc., of the defeated enemy fixed to the trunk
of a tree or to a post erected on an elevated site,
with an inscription, and a dedication to a divinity.
The Romans often erected their trophies in the Capitol.

2. The representation of such a memorial, as on a medal; esp.
(Arch.), an ornament representing a group of arms and
military weapons, offensive and defensive.

3. Anything taken from an enemy and preserved as a memorial
of victory, as arms, flags, standards, etc.

Around the posts hung helmets, darts, and spears,
And captive chariots, axes, shields, and bars, And
broken beaks of ships, the trophies of their wars.


4. Any evidence or memorial of victory or conquest; as, every
redeemed soul is a trophy of grace.

John Oldham on Jonson:
...Boldly thou didst the learned world invade,
Whilst all around thy pow'rful Genius sawy'd,
Soon vanquish'd Rome, and Greece were made submit,
Both were thy humble tributaries made,
And thou return'dst in Tripumph with their captive Wit.






Earle of Pembroke,&c. Lord Chamberlaine to the

Kings most Excellent Majesty.


Earle of Montgomery,&c. Gentleman of his Majesties

Bed-Chamber. Both Knights of the most Noble Order

of the Garter, and our singular good


Right Honourable,

Whilst we studie to be thankful in our particular, for the many favors we have received from your L.L. we are falne upon the ill fortune, to mingle two the most diverse things that can bee, feare, and rashnesse; rashnesse in the enterprize, and feare of the successe. For, when we valew the places your H.H. sustaine, we cannot but know their dignity greater, then to descend to the reading of these trifles: and, while we name them trifles, we have depriv'd our selves of the defence of our Dedication. But since your L.L. have beene pleas'd to thinke these trifles some-thing, heeretofore; and have prosequuted both them, and their Authour living, with so much favour: we hope, that (they out-living him, and he not having the fate, common with some, to be exequutor to his owne writings) you will use the like indulgence toward them, you have done unto their parent. There is a great difference, whether any Booke choose his Patrones, or finde them: This hath done both. For, so much were your L.L. likings of the severall parts, when they were acted, as before they were published, the Volume ask'd to be yours. We have but collected them, and done an office to the dead, to procure his Orphanes, Guardians; without ambition either of selfe-profit, or fame: onely to keepe the memory of so worthy a Friend, & Fellow alive, as was our

S H A K E S P E A R E , by humble offer of his playes, to your most noble patronage. Wherein, as we have justly observed, no man to come neere your L.L. but with a kind of religious addresse; it hath bin the height of our care, who are the Presenters, to make the present worthy of your H.H. by the perfection. But, there we must also crave our abilities to be considerd, my Lords. We cannot go beyond our owne powers. Country hands reach foorth milke, creame, fruites, or what they have : and many Nations (we have heard) that had not gummes & incense, obtained their requests with a leavened Cake. It was no fault to approach their Gods, by what meanes they could: And the most, though meanest, of things are made more precious, when they are dedicated to Temples. In that name therefore, we most humbly consecrate to your H.H. these remaines of your servant Shakespeare; that what delight is in them, may be ever your L.L. the reputation his, & the faults ours, if any be committed, by a payre so carefull to shew their gratitude both to the living, and the dead, as is

Your Lordshippes most bounden,


Trophies and Monuments-
Written to Philip Herbert after the death of his brother William:

Chaffinge, Thomas, ca. 1581-1646.

Title: The iust mans memoriall Date: 1630

My Lord, let me take the boldnesse to tell you, that the eyes of the world are fastned on you; you cannot bee hid, your actions are not done in a corner, notice will be taken of all your counsels, and your counsellors, men are big with the expectation of you, and blame them not that they should be so, especially of you, who (besides others of your Illustrious Stocke and Linage well known) have had so pious and religious an Aeneas to your brother, and so famous and valiant a Hector to your Unckle.
Et Frater Aeneas, & Avunculus excitet:

Let the piety and goodnes of the one, and the valour and Chevalry of the other, serve as so many silver Watch-bels in your eares, to awaken you to all Honourable and Noble atchievements. Miltiades Trophees would not let Themistocles sleepe. Neither let the matchless Trophees and Monuments of their glory, suffer your eyes to sleepe, or your eye-lids to slumber: but bee rather as spurres to set you forward in the couragious prosecution of all good causes for Gods Glory andthe Church. O bee not idle in the Imitation of them, whose image you not onely beare, but whose part also you are; so shall not After-ages in the storying of their glorious Annals, shut up yours, with a Degeneremq: Neoptolemum.

To live in the face of a glorious Court, where your eyes are daily fill'd, as with Magnificence, so with Vanity; yet you shall doe well, otherwise, to cast them aside from such Gorgeous Spectacles, and sticke them in the shrowds and winding-sheetes of the dead. Nothing shall more humble you then this, and so nothing life you neerer Heaven then this!

William Cartwright, a Son of Ben, records his faction's judgement of Shakespeare's 'trifles'- discriminating between worth and worthless:

Trifle \Tri"fle\, n. [OE. trifle, trufle, OF. trufle mockery,

raillery, trifle, probably the same word as F. truffe
truffle, the word being applied to any small or worthless
object. See Truffle.]

1. A thing of very little value or importance; a paltry, or
trivial, affair.

With such poor trifles playing. --Drayton.

Trifles light as air Are to the jealous confirmation
strong As proofs of holy writ. --Shak.

Small sands the mountain, moments make year, And
frifles life. --Young.

Trifle \Tri"fle\, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Trifled; p. pr. & vb. n.
Trifling.] [OE. trifelen, truflen. See Trifle, n.]

To act or talk without seriousness, gravity, weight, or
dignity; to act or talk with levity; to indulge in light or
trivial amusements.

They trifle, and they beat the air about nothing which
toucheth us. --Hooker.

To trifle with, to play the fool with; to treat without
respect or seriousness; to mock; as, to trifle with one's
feelings, or with sacred things.



Upon the Dramatick Poems of Mr. John Fletcher.

...Shakespeare to thee was DULL, whose best jest lyes
I'th Ladies questions, and the Fooles replyes; [70]
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...


These worthless trifles were considered to be far beneath the dignity of an Earl. Oxford's 'shame' and ignoble behaviours are discreetly obscured by the 'Monument Shakespeare' - the Immortal Buffoon.

_Mirth Making_, Chris Holcomb

In his Ethics, Aristotle suggests that *changes in stylistic and substantive predilections indicate advances in civilization*. While enumerating the differences between the jesting of a BUFFOON and a witty gentleman, Aristotle compares each character type to Old and New Comedy, respectively: "The difference (between a buffoon and a gentleman) may be seen by comparing the old and modern comedies; the earlier dramatists found their fun in obscenity, the modern prefer innuendo, which marks a great advance in decorum; (4.8.6). This comparison suggest that smutty humor is less civilized than the more refined humor delivered through innuendo. (footnote pp. 199-200)


Mirth Making. The Rhetorical Discourse on Jesting in Early Modern England
In the First Folio Jonson discreetly mocks his fallen opposition under the cover of a disproportionate and anticlassical [Droeshout] Figure. The First Folio's figurative language and apparent praise mock the common ways of vulgar praise (But these [common]ways/ Were not the paths I meant unto thy praise ), concealing from undiscerning readers Jonson's 'correct' criticism of Shakespeare's vulgarity and ignorant appeal to the unlearned and unrefined. Jonson's encomium to Shakespeare is a 'rhetorical Janus'.

Chris Holcomb

...Associations between social status and certain forms of jesting appear as early as the Nicomachean Ethics, where Aristotle classifies different modes of jesting according to three social types: the boor, the buffoon, and the witty man of tact. Aristotle has little to say about boorish men except that they never say "anything funny themselves and take offense at those who do" (4.8.3) Instead, Aristotle dwells on differences between the buffoon and man of wit, and in differentiating these two social types, he associates indecorous jests with those of the lower-class buffoon and decorous ones with those of a gentleman. 'Those who go to excess in ridicule are thought to be buffoons or vulgar fellows, who itch to have their joke at all costs, and are more concerned to raise a laugh than to keep within the bounds of decorum' (4.8.3). The buffoon often jests in a 'servile' and often obscene fashion (4.8.5-6), he 'cannot resist a joke,' he will 'not keep his tongue off himself or anyone else, if he can raise a laugh,' and he 'will say things which a man of refinement would never say' (4.8.10). Those 'who jest with good taste,' by contrast, will say 'only the sort of things that are suitable to a virtuous man and a gentleman; (4.8.5). They prefer to jest by way of 'innuendo, which marks a great advance in decorum,' and they will never stoop so low in their jesting as to say anything 'unbecoming to a gentleman' (4.8.6-7). The line Aristotle draws here is not simply one between the indecorous and decorous; it is also one between the lower and upper classes. And while Aristotle couches his distinctions in more or less descriptive (although elitist) terms, they do have prescriptive force. If a speaker is to show himself as a 'man of refinement,' he must limit his jesting behaviours and avoid the excesses of the buffoon.

Cicero and Quintilian adopt Aristotle's method of classifying decorous and indecorous jests along class lines, and they both use the buffoon and well-bred man of tact to define forms of jesting befitting an orator (the boor, as often happens in everyday life, is left out of their discussions of jesting). But they add to the ranks of the buffoon (or SCURRA, in Latin) a cast of characters familiar from the Roman stage, street performances, and entertainments provided at a gentleman's dinner party - characters including the mime (mimus), pantomime (ethologus), and clown (sannio). Cicero says that 'an orator must avoid each of two dangers: he must not let his jesting become buffoonery or mere mimicking (scurrilis...aut mimicus)' (2.58.239). Like Aristotle's buffoon, the Latin scurra violates proprieties of time. Cicero says he jests "from morning to night, and without any reason at all" (2.60.245). He also shows no restraint in his selection of objects of ridicule, and his jests, like a scattergun, will often strike 'unintended victims' (2.60.245). He will even turn himself into an object of ridicule if he thinks he can raise a laugh (Quintilian, 6.3.82). Most important, the scurra is a member of the lower classes, a parasite who would often perform at a gentleman's dinner party for table scraps, and his antics almost always bespoke his lowly position. For all of these reasons, especially the last, Cicero and Quintilian repeatedly insist that orators avoid all likeness to buffoons, and toward this end, they offer a set of strictures limiting the jesting practices of orators so that those practices accord with the orator's gentlemanly status. With respect to proprieties of time, Cicero says, "Regard then to occasions, control and restraint of our actual raillery, and economy in bon-mots, will distinguish an orator from a buffoon (oratorem a scurra)" (2.60.247).

As we have seen, orators should also be careful in their selection of comic butts and avoid targeting the excessively wretched or wicked and the well-beloved. Moreover, they must never turn themselves into objects of laughter for, as Quintilian says, "To make jokes against oneself is scarcely fit for any save professed buffoons and is strongly to be disapproved in an orator" (6.3.82). Presumable, orators should keep the audience's laughter off themselves and direct it only at their opponents. Above all, the orator should only jest in ways that befit a gentleman or liberalis. He should avoid obscenities in his jesting, which are 'not only degrading to a pubic speaker, but also hardly sufferable at a gentleman's dinner party (convivio liberorum)' (De oratore, 2.61.252), and 'scurrilous or brutal jests, although they may raise a laugh, are quite unworthy of a gentleman (liberali)' (Quintilian, 6.3.83). In an allusion to his famous formulation or the orator as a good man, or vir bonus, skilled in speaking, Quintilian sums up his attitudes toward buffoonery, a summation that will serve for Cicero's views on the subject as well: 'A good man (vir bonus) will see that everything he says is consistent with his dignity and the respectability of his character (dignitate ac verecundia); for we pay too dear for the laugh we raise if it is at the cost of our own integrity (probitatis)' (6.3.35). (Holcomb,pp.39-40)


The idea of ancient literary criticism

By Yun Lee

...In his treatise On Style, Demetrius declares that figured language must be employed if somebody wishes to address and to criticize eithera tyrant or a powerful individual, and he advocates this as a middle course between flattery, which is base, and direct criticism, which is dangerous. Ahl notes, in an essay entitled 'The Art of Safe Criticism', that Quintilian, Vespasian's imperial rhetorician, subsequently elaborates Demetrius' account of the political use of figured language at Institutio oratoria 9.2.66. Quintilian sets out three different occasions on which figured language, which he defines as language that is changed from its most obvious and uncomplicated usage by poetic or oratorical usage (9.1.13), may be employed. The first of these concerns when it is dangerous to speak openly; the second concerns propriety - where the Latin 'it is not fitting/suitable ('non decet' ) perhaps renders the Greek 'improper' (aprepes); while the third advocates the use of figured language where the novelty of such structures may produce delight and pleasure. Of these three occasions, the first is the most obviously political, and what Quintilian proposes is a need for the author inquestion to tread warily around authority, particularly as author and political leader may be at odds. The following section of the works suggests that the rhetorician has in mind the empire, figured as tyranny: he cites the use of rhetorical figures in school exercises which require pupils to produce speeches to instigate rebellion against despots without speaking too plainly to tyrants. (9.2.67).

disease of the Age/mountebanke

Sweet Swan of Avon ! what a sight it were

To see thee in our waters yet appear,
And make those flights upon the banks of Thames,
That so did take Eliza, and our James !

(Great English poets sing in the Thames - not the muddy backwater Avon)

Then yield thee, coward,
And live to be the SHOW and gaze o' the time.
We'll have thee, as our RARER MONSTERS are,
Painted upon a pole, and underwrit,
"Here may you see the tyrant."

TRIUMPH, my Britain
Thou hast one to SHOW

Oxford's tyrannical 'self-love', and his refusal to reform himself and his Art.


O! lest the world should task you to recite
What merit lived in me, that you should love
After my death,--dear love, forget me quite,
For you in me can NOTHING WORTHy prove.
Unless you would devise some virtuous lie,
To do more for me than mine own desert,
And hang more praise upon deceased I
Than niggard truth would willingly impart:
O! lest your true love may seem false in this
That you for love speak well of me untrue,
My name be buried where my body is,
And live no more to shame nor me nor you.
For I am shamed by that which I bring forth,
And so should you, to love things NOTHING WORTH.

Of the period after the Restoration - David Norbrook writes (In _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.)


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.


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.”

The Bumkinification of the Earl of Oxford:

Oxford hurled headlong flaming from th'ethereal Court and London, landing in a dunghill in Stratford.

Judicio Pylium, genio Socratem, arte Maronem
Terra tegit, populus moeret, Olympus habet.
Stay, passenger, why goest thou by so fast?
Read, if thou canst, whom envious death hath plast
Within this monument Shakespeare: with whom
Quick nature doed; whose name doth deck his tomb
Far more than cost; sith all that he had writ
Leaves living art but page to serve his wit.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Fulke Greville and 'Crecropian' Oxford

My #1 candidate for the mastermind of the Shakespeare 'coverup' remains Fulke Greville. Recorder of Stratford-upon-Avon, lord of Warwick Castle -  Philip Sidney's loyal 'Achates' had the means and, more importantly, the desire to ensure that Oxford's name would be wiped from history (e.g. the promotion of the reputation of his beloved friend Sidney).

Greville's Life of Sidney was written long after the deaths of Sidney and Oxford. In that book, Oxford is immortalized as the enemy of Sidney - he performs the mighty opposite to Sidney's display of 'true nobility'. The anti-Sidney. Greville provides us with an extended observation of true worth encountering 'nothing worth'. The language is loaded, and even a quick perusal of Greville's poetry reveals how critical his description of Oxford really is. Significantly, even in this text Oxford is not mentioned by name - for it is a basic tenet of reformer's values that vice does not deserve fame. Oxford is characterized as a tyrant - a loaded term for a faction that was nurtured on the Wittenberg-based values of Melanchthon and Hubert Languet. Greville's account appears to depict the tyrant Oxford encountering his David! ('Pious' Sidney would translate the Psalms of David)

(Hamlet/Amleth/Brutus/David feigned madness in the presence of the tyrant.)

Greville text may suggest why Sidney's enemy Oxford remains nameless in his Life of Sidney:

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.


Fame is the reward of the worthy.


O! lest the world should task you to recite
What merit lived in me, that you should love
After my death,--dear love, forget me quite,
For you in me can NOTHING WORTHy prove.
Unless you would devise some virtuous lie,
To do more for me than mine own desert,
And hang more praise upon deceased I
Than niggard truth would willingly impart:
O! lest your true love may seem false in this
That you for love speak well of me untrue,
My name be buried where my body is,
And live no more to shame nor me nor you.
For I am shamed by that which I bring forth,
And so should you, to love things NOTHING WORTH.


"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,
"Which must, as blossomes, fade ere true fruit springs,
"(Like voice, and eccho) ioyn'd; yet diuers things." (Greville)


Mark of Reprobation:

Publique Ill Example: Oxford appears UNNAMED as Sidney’s intemperate, humorous and insubstantial adversary (consisting of wind/shadows/echoes/reflections) in Greville’s _A Dedication to Sir Philip Sidney_(originally published as _Life of Sidney_)

...And in this freedome of heart [Sidney] 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.


Robert E Stillman gives some insight into the relationship between Sidneians such as Greville and their enemies:
[Philippe Duplessis-Mornay’s text, the De Veritate], dedicated to Hubert Languet (Mornay’s mentor and Sidney’s) and inspired by his piety, the De veritate had an enormous appeal to contemporary Philippists [followers of Wittenberg based intellectual Philip Melanchthon], as a reflection of their ecumenical piety, their disdain for theological controversy, and their intellectual regard for the value of humanistic studies to advance the cause of true religion. For both Mornay and Sidney, the embrace of knowledge, secular and sacred, was urgently required in a contemporary culture imperilled, on the one hand, by atheists and epicureans – CRECROPIAN all!s – and, on the other, by confessional divisions threatening the church’s very survival. For both, the nightmare was the same. The term "CRECROPIAN" was contemporary shorthand for "BEASTLY ENEMY OF REFORMED CULTURE." Crecropia no longer lived in ancient Athens. She had metamorphosed into the monster next door, as they (Sidney and other Philippists) knew because of their readings. Both Mornay and Sidney had read George Buchanan (that tyrant-killer from the north), both knew the epigrams of Philip Melanchthon, and both found those epigrams recently edited by another mutual friend in Viennna, Johannes Crato Von Crafftheim. Belonging to the same republic of letters meant, in no small part, reading the same books, sharing the same intellectual travels with an eye to private and public government.(Stillman, Philip Sidney and the Poetics of Renaissance Cosmopolitanism, intro. p.x)

Circe/Comus/Medea themes and Italianate Oxford:

Mark of Reprobation:
Jonson's pictorial and literary legerdemain at the front of the First Folio creates a clear impression of Shakespeare's 'character', if we take care to understand.
As Jonson's most recent biographer, Ian Donaldson remind us, the word 'character' 'had not yet acquired its familiar modern sense of 'personality', but more commonly meant simply a mark or sign: something cut or engraved or stamped or otherwise forcibly impressed. By extension, it might refer to  qualities valued and worth aspiring to, though not necessarily achieved. (Donaldson, Ben Jonson, A Life, p.11)
By extension, it might also refer to qualities unvalued and nothing worth. For a neoclassicist such as Jonson, the incongruities of the Droeshout engraving - its lack of form, order and proportion mark or brand Shakespeare as a 'beastly enemy of reformed culture' (or the Jacobean equivalent of Alexander Pope's 'literary dunce'). Or in Shakespeare/Oxford's case - the monstrous enemy of reformed culture - a Crecropian author. The two left arms of the Droeshout engraving, observed and commented upon by Vladimir Nabokov (no doubt familiar with bespoke tailoring), mark Shakespeare as an irreformable, cack-handed author incapable or 'right' or correct writing. Sidney's 'right' poet meets his mighty opposite in an ambisinister or 'wrong-handed' Shakespeare, who has been mock-immortalized by Jonson as an unruly, degenerate linguistic and ethical force that required censure and restraint so that British civilization could continue to advance along more temperate and reformed lines.


Jonson, Volpone intro:

As for the Vile and Slothful, who never affected
an Act worthy of Celebration, or are so inward with their own vicious
Natures, as they worthily fear her, and think it a high Point of
Policy to keep her in contempt with their declamatory and windy
Invectives; she shall out of just rage incite her Servants (who are
Genus iritabile) to spout Ink in their Faces, that shall eat farther
than their Marrow, into their Fames; and not Cinnamus the Barber, with
his Art, shall be able to take out the Brands; but they shall live,
and be read, till the Wretches die, as Things worst deserving of
Themselves in chief, and then of all Mankind.


Horace, of the Art of Poetrie

transl. Ben Jonson

If to Quintilius, you recited ought:
Hee'd say, Mend this, good friend, and this; "Tis naught.
If you denied, you had no better straine,
And twice, or thrice had 'ssayd it, still in vaine:
Hee'd bid, BLOT ALL: and to the anvile bring
Those ill-torn'd Verses, to new hammering.
Then: If your fault you rather had defend
Then change. No word, or worke, more would he spend
Alone, without a rivall, by his will.

Sonnet 111
O, for my sake do you with Fortune chide,
The guilty goddess of my harmful deeds,
That did not better for my life provide
Than public means which public manners breeds.
Thence comes it that my name receives a brand,
And almost thence my nature is subdued
To what it works in, like the dyer's hand:
Pity me then and wish I were renew'd;
Whilst, like a willing patient, I will drink
Potions of eisel 'gainst my strong infection
No bitterness that I will bitter think,
Nor double penance, to correct correction.
Pity me then, dear friend, and I assure ye
Even that your pity is enough to cure me.


(disease of the age/mountebank) -

Sweet Swan of Avon ! what a sight it were

To see thee in our waters yet appear,
And make those flights upon the banks of Thames,
That so did take Eliza, and our James !


_Mirth Making_, Chris Holcomb Sidney, _Defence of Poesy_: eikastike vs. phantastike

In his Ethics, Aristotle suggests that *changes in stylistic and substantive predilections indicate advances in civilization*. While enumerating the differences between the jesting of a BUFFOON and a witty gentleman, Aristotle compares each character type to Old and New Comedy, respectively: "The difference (between a buffoon and a gentleman) may be seen by comparing the old and modern comedies; the earlier dramatists found their fun in obscenity, the modern prefer innuendo, which marks a great advance in decorum; (4.8.6). This comparison suggest that smutty humor is less civilized than the more refined humor delivered through innuendo. (footnote pp. 199-200)

-- CARTWRIGHT, WILLIAM, 1647, (note - a son of Ben)

Upon the Dramatick Poems of Mr. John Fletcher.

...Shakespeare to thee was DULL, whose best jest lyes
I'th Ladies questions, and the Fooles replyes; [70]
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...


Sidney, Defense of Poesy
...But grant love of bewtie to be a beastly fault, although it be verie hard, since onely man and no beast hath that gift to discerne bewtie, graunt that lovely name of love to deserve all hatefull reproches, although even some of my maisters the Philosophers spent a good deale of their Lampoyle in setting foorth the excellencie of it, graunt I say, what they will have graunted, that not onelie love, but lust, but vanitie, but if they will list SCURRILITIE, possesse manie leaves of the Poets bookes, yet thinke I, when this is graunted, they will finde their sentence may with good manners put the last words foremost; and not say, that Poetrie ABUSETH mans wit, but that mans wit ABUSETH Poetrie. For I will not denie, but that mans wit may make Poesie, which should be EIKASTIKE, which some learned have defined figuring foorth good things to be PHANTASTIKE, which doth contrariwise INFECT the FANCIE with unWOORTHie objects, as the Painter should give to the eye either some excellent perspective, or some fine Picture fit for building or fortification, or containing in it some notable example, as Abraham sacrificing his sonne Isaack, Judith killing Holofernes, David fighting with Golias, may leave those, and please an ILL PLEASED EYE with WANTON SHEWES of better hidden matters. But what, shal the ABUSE of a thing, make the RIGHT use odious?

HAMLET. O, reform it altogether.


No, I am that I am, and they that LEVEL

At my ABUSES reckon up their own:


Sidney, Defence of Poetry:

But I have lavished out too many words of this playmatter. I do it, because as they are excelling parts of poesy, so is there none so much used in England, and none can be more pitifully ABUSED; which, like an unMANNERly daughter, showing a bad education, causeth her mother Poesy`s HONESTY to be called in question.


Sidney, Defence of Poetry

But, besides these gross absurdities, how all their plays be neither RIGHT tragedies nor RIGHT comedies (note - two left arms or the Droeshout), mingling kings and clowns, not because the matter so carrieth it, but thrust in the clown by head and shoulders to play a part in majestical matters, with neither DECENCY nor DISCRETION; so as neither the admiration and commiseration, nor the right sportfulness, is by their mongrel tragi-comedy obtained. I know Apuleius did somewhat so, but that is a thing recounted with space of time, not represented in one moment; and I know the ancients have one or two examples of tragi-comedies, as Plautus hath Amphytrio. But, if we mark them well, we shall find that they never, or very daintily, match hornpipes and funerals. So falleth it out that, having indeed NO RIGHT COMEDY in that comical part of our tragedy, we have nothing but SCURRILITY, unworthy of any chaste ears, or some extreme show of doltihsness, indeed fit to lift up a loud laughter, and nothing else; where the whole tract of a comedy should be full of delight, as the tragedy should be still maintained in a well-raised admiration.

But OUR COMEDIANS think there is no delight without laughter, which is very WRONG; for though laughter may come with delight, yet cometh it not of delight, as though delight should be the cause of laughter; but well may one thing breed both together. Nay, rather in themselves they have, as it were, a kind of contrariety. For delight we scarcely do, but in things that have a conveniency to ourselves, or to the general nature; laughter almost ever cometh of things most DISPROPORTIONED to ourselves and nature.

Disproportioned Droeshout/Shakespeare
Proportioned Jonson

The Muse's fairest light in no dark time,

The WONDER of a LEARNED AGE; the line
Which none can pass; the most PROPORTIONED wit, --
To nature, the best judge of what was fit;
The deepest, plainest, highest, clearest pen;
The voice most echoed by consenting men;
The soul which answered best to all well said
By others, and which most requital made;
Tuned to the highest key of ancient ROME,
Returning all her music with his own;
In whom, with nature, study claimed a part,
And yet who to himself owed all his art:
Here lies Ben JONSON! every age will LOOK
With sorrow here, with WONDER on his BOOK.

-- John Cleveland

Shakespeare/small latin/soul ignorant age
Jonson/soul learned age:

Lucius Cary, 2nd Viscount FALKLAND, Jonsonus Virbius

...How in an IGNORANT, and LEARN'D AGE he swaid,
(Of which the first he found, the second made)
How He, when he could know it, reapt his Fame,
And long out-liv'd the envy of his Name:


Ian Donaldson places both Jonson and Fulke Greville as part of the circle of wits and poets that gathered at the Mermaid Tavern at Bread Street. Jonson was also a client of William Herbert, and the First Folio was also dedicated to this nephew of Philip Sidney. Jonson may perform the literary magic that makes Oxford vanish in a cloud of ink and ambiguous language at the front of the First Folio, but I do not think he could have acted on his own authority.

Why the elaborate and covert criticism at the front of the First Folio  - why is Oxford criticized under cover of the figure Shakespeare (the 'bumpkinification' of Edward de Vere)? Scandalum Magnatum, perhaps - as one of the Queen's Great Officers of State, Edward de Vere could not be openly criticised or slandered without serious repercussions.

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.”


Respect for Henry de Vere, the eighteenth earl, perhaps. The name of Vere and the title belonged to a larger family. Henry's formative years spent as the companion of the militant Protestant Prince Henry, his friendship with the Sidneian/Essexian Southampton, his portrait that still hangs at Sidney-central Wilton, his military-related death in Europe all point to a man of reformed sensibilities - a man of quite a different stamp than his father.

As Peter Dickson has observed - the famous imprisonments of Southampton and the 18th Earl of Oxford for their opposition to the Spanish Match seem to have provided the sudden impetus for the publication of the First Folio. And yet the ambiguous and critical prefatory material provided by Ben Jonson suggest to me that the Folio was published without the wholehearted endorsement of those who were in control of the First Folio material.

Was the Folio published to mollify the King?
The Tempest seems a strange play for a group of militant Protestants to showcase at the front of the First Folio, given their ferocious opposition to the Spanish Match.

Letter from Count Gondomar to King Philip (while Henry de Vere was incarcerated in the Tower).

"In the letter of April 1, I said to your Majesty how the King removed the Earl Oxford as commander in chief of the armada in the Strait [Ed. note: the fleet in the Channel] because I told him to, because he [Oxford] was partial to the Dutch, and also because of the way Oxford was bad mouthing the King and me. He spoke even to the point of saying that it was a miserable situation that had reduced England's stature because the people had to tolerate a King who had given the Pope everything spiritual; and everything temporal to the King of Spain. I told King James to arrest this man and put him in the Tower in a narrow cell so that no one can speak to him. I have a strong desire to cut off his head because he is an extremely malicious person and has followers. And he is the second ranking Earl in England, and he and his followers are committed to the Puritan Faction with great passion and to the faction of the Count of the Palatinate against the service of the Emperor and your Majesty." (May 16, 1622)


1623 - figural defacement Earl of Oxford/tyrant
1649 - literal defacement King Charles/tyrant

Shakespeare - Sonnet 121

'Tis better to be vile than vile esteem'd,
When not to be receives reproach of being,
And the just pleasure lost which is so deem'd
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.

Protestant resistance theory.

Interesting that Oxford is characterized as a tyrant in Greville's 'Life of Sidney' - and Greville is careful to distinguish between the Earl's self-love and the untyrannical generousity of the Queen. Oxford is stripped of the monuments of his pen in the First Folio and mocked in effigy, a tyrant's picture raised high on a pole, so to speak, and his overthrow displayed to the world. Jonson's opima spolia - a  'monument/trophy'?

Triumph, my Britain, thou hast one to SHOW

The Folio was published in 1623. In 1649, King Charles would be dis-figured/decapitated after being refashioned by 'reformers' into a monstrous tyrant. William Shakespeare was King Charles' 'closet companion' as the King was imprisoned, as the republican Milton is careful to tell us. A corrupt and tyrannical book/author advising another tyrant as he wrote his Eikon Basilike?

Unless this general evil [the reformers] maintain,

All men are bad, and in their badness reign.

 (Added April, 2017)

In Remembrance of Master William Shakespeare
Sir William Davenant (1638)

Beware (delighted Poets!) when you sing
To welcome Nature in the early Spring;
    Your num'rous Feet not tread
The Banks of Avon; for each Flowre
(As it nere knew a Sunne or Showre)
    Hangs there, the pensive head.

Each Tree, whose thick, and spreading growth hath made,
Rather a Night beneath the Boughs, than Shade,
    (Unwilling now to grow)
Looks like the Plume a Captain weares,
Whose rifled Falls are steept i'th teares
    Which from his last rage flow.

The piteous River wept it selfe away
Long since (Alas!) to such a swift decay;
    That read the Map; and looke
If you a River there can spie;
And for a River your mock'd Eie,
    Will find a shallow Brooke.


Writing the English Republic: Poetry, Rhetoric, and Politics,

1627-1660. - Review - book review
Criticism, Spring, 2000 by Fritz Levy

Long after it was all over, Thomas Hobbes looked back at the civil war to search out the causes for an event he continued to think unnatural. How was it that men abandoned the duty owed their governors and instead followed the guidance of their own wits? Envy and ambition had a great deal to do with it, of course, Hobbes contended in Behemoth, or The Long Parliament (ed. Ferdinand Tonnies: 2nd ed. [1967]), but the critical element in promoting insubordination was attendance at the universities, where such men became persuaded that they lacked no "ability requisite for the government of a commonwealth, especially after having read the glorious histories and the sententious politics of the ancient popular governments of the Greeks and Romans, amongst whom kings were hated and branded with the name of tyrants, and popular government ... passed by the name of liberty" (23). Hobbes hammers the point time and again, concluding at last with the question: "Who can be a good subject to monarchy, whose principles are taken from the enemies of monarchy, such as were Cicero, Seneca, Cato, and other politicians of Rome, and Aristotle of Athens, who seldom speak of kings but as of wolves and other ravenous beasts?" (ibid., 158). It is easy to write off Hobbes's comments as exaggeration, and to treat the "classical republicanism" to which they refer as a minority opinion, held by a few malcontents, but of no real political importance. Easy, yes, but perhaps not altogether correct. For we have been learning that the language to which Hobbes referred was in use long before the fighting started, and was understood even by those who did not share its assumptions.

Amleth/Brutus myth


The closest myth is Roman: the story of Junius Brutus, legendary
founder of Rome, follows a similar pattern of murder and revenge.
Brutus' father and brother are killed by his uncle Tarquin; Brutus
feigns stupidity to save himself and ultimately overthrows the tyrant,
founding the Roman republic. The Scandinavian name "Amleth" and the
Latin "Brutus" both have the same meaning ("dull," or "foolish").

The Tarquins -In Roman tradition, the Tarquins were an Etruscan family that ruled
Rome from ca.657 to ca.510 B.C. The revolt that deposed the last
Tarquin was brought about by his son's rape of Lucrece and her
subsequent suicide--a subject Shakespeare chose for a long narrative


Tragicall Historie of
Prince of Denmarke

By William Shake‐speare.
As it hath beene diuerse times acted by his Highnesse ser­uants in the Cittie of London: as also in the two V­niuersities of Cambridge and Oxford, and else‐where
At London printed for N.L. and Iohn Trundell.


Languet or Mornay - Junius Brutus

HAMLET. O, reform it altogether.


Robert Devereux, 3rd Earl of Essex (11 January 1591 – 14 September 1646) was an English Parliamentarian and soldier during the first half of the seventeenth century. With the start of the English Civil War in 1642 he became the first Captain-General and Chief Commander of the Parliamentarian army, also known as the Roundheads.,_3rd_Earl_of_Essex

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Oxford, Hamlet and the Denaturing of Nobility

Critics are interested in Shakespeare's handling of the Renaissance convention that depicts friendship and love as bitter rivals, usually represented in the sundering of a close bond between two men due to their romantic interest in the same woman. In her 1983 study, Ruth Morse explores the antipathy between male friendship and romantic love dramatized in The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Morse maintains that in the play Shakespeare made liberal use of the existing conventions of romantic comedy in order to reflect the social and psychological difficulties of sacrificing an affectionate bond between two men, in this case Proteus and Valentine, in order that they might pursue their love of the same woman. Zvi Jagendorf (1991) examines the depiction of male friendship (Antonio and Bassanio) and heterosexual love (Bassanio and Portia) in The Merchant of Venice, arguing that Shakespeare's play features a strong contrast between the two: marriage promises profit and increase while friendship portends only debt and continued sacrifice.


Elizabeth Hanson considers how the Wittenberg friendship of Hamlet and Horatio intimates a modernity that will outlive, even as it is absorbed by, the codes of feudal nobility in which Hamlet is embedded: in other words, university-Hamlet survives (├╝berlebt) noble-Hamlet and noble-Hamlet survives (fortlebt) as university-Hamlet. --Jonathan Gil Harris


A fascinating essay in the summer 2011 issue of Shakespeare Quarterly: Fellow Students: Hamlet, Horation and the Early Modern University by Elizabeth Hanson.


This essay treats the friendship between Prince Hamlet and the poor scholar Horatio, both students at the University of Wittenberg, as emblematic of the uneasy interpenetration of nobility and the clerical culture of the universities in sixteenth-century England. It explores the transformation which rendered the English Universities socially heterogeneous places where intimate friendship could be forged across status boundaries, despite warnings that such contact could denature nobility. The essay then considers the way in which Hamlet exposes the prince's investment in university learning as a source of his ontological uncertainty, at the same time that it exploits the association between learning and nobility in order to cultivate an audience that prides itself on intellectual distinction.

To be, or not to be, that is the question:***************************************

Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
The heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocks
That Flesh is heir to? 'Tis a CONSUMMATION
Devoutly to be wished.



n 1: the completion of marriage by sexual intercourse
2: the act of bringing to completion or fruition

Elizabeth Hanson's essay discusses the 'attractive informality' of Hamlet's character and suggests why he has been of such interest to scholars:

In an insightful essay from the early 1960s, Patrick Cruttwell asserted that the appeal of Hamlet has always depended on its flattery of intellectuals, whether they are university men at the turn of the seventeenth century or Shakespeare critics in the twentieth. This flattery depends on the fact that Hamlet is a "student as well as a prince."47 Cruttwell's point is not merely that Hamlet possesses an identity that permits intellectual audiences to identify with him, but also that this identity manifests as a certain style of relationship, a "relaxed informality of manner" that begets in the audience members a "delusion of equality and intimacy, and they have been all the more pleased with this delusion because they remembered, at moments, whom they were feeling it for."48 Cruttwell's argument is rather different from mine: he maintains that audiences fail to recognize how coldly violent Hamlet is because of his narcissistic seduction of the kind of audiences who watch Shakespeare. However, his thesis that Hamlet's identity as a university intellectual is linked to cross-status intimacy speaks elegantly to how the designation "student" brought with it an affectively productive challenge to decorum. I will return to Cruttwell's main point—the way that Hamlet's identification as a student enables a certain kind of relationship between the play and its audience. Scholarliness is present in the play both as an object of rather precise representation and as an ethos in which the audience is invited to participate. In turn, this doubleness generates the play's principal problem for its critics: that audience response to Hamlet can be repeatedly exposed as a failure to recognize just how specifically aristocratic and even archaic the play's and the prince's concerns really are.49 First, however, we need to grasp the manner in which university culture and its style of friendship are represented in the play and serve as metonyms for a crisis of aristocratic identity.

I argue that while Hamlet begins by attempting to assert the congruence of learning and nobility, it ends by exposing learning's challenge to nobility. The vehicle for this exposure is the friendship between Hamlet and Horatio.


I have suggested that the Earl of Oxford's character was maligned by 'poor scholars' such as Jonson, Chapman and Harvey.  It seems that Oxford's understanding of the nature of his nobility may not have privileged the idea of 'learned friendship'. It is Leicester, Sidney and Essex that are on record as cultivating the friendship of learned men (Hanson discusses Sidney and Harvey) - and accounts of their public behaviour includes the 'attractive informality' of manner that characterizes Prince Hamlet.

Perhaps it was Oxford's refusal to 'play the student' - to be tutored by these 'humble scholars', that drew the ire of the scholars/laureate poets and the accusations of a prideful nature. As Shakespeare, Oxford ignored classical precepts - and as the 17th Earl of Oxford he seems to have refused the 'friendship doctrine' - the  amicitia of the civic humanists.

(Iago as the rejected 'friend'?)

Perhaps this gives some background for at least part of Chapman's description of the Earl of Oxford in _The Revenge of Bussy D'Ambois_. After apparently praising the virtues of the Earl of Oxford, Chapman qualifies his description of the Earl's character. In a prideful and intemperate outburst, the Earl refuses to observe 'common noble's fashions' (in this case reviewing the troops of Duke Casimir) - holding himself above and aloof:

Ren. Twas answer'd like the man you have describ'd.

Clermont. And yet he cast it onely in the way,105

To stay and serve the world. Nor did it fit

His owne true estimate how much it waigh'd;

FOR HEE DESPIS'D IT, and esteem'd it freer

To keepe his owne way straight, and swore that hee

Had rather make away his whole estate110

In things that crost the vulgar then he would

Be frozen up stiffe (like a Sir John Smith,

His countrey-man) in common Nobles fashions;

Affecting, as't the end of noblesse were,

Those SERVILE observations.

Chapman dedication to Essex:



now living instance of the Achilleian Vertues

eternized by divine HOMERE, the Earle

of ESSEXE, earle

Marshall &c.

...To you then (most abundant President of true Noblesse) in whose manifest actions all these sacred objects are divinely pursude, I most humblie and affectionatlie consecrate this President of all learning, vertue, valour, honor societie: who (with his owne soule) hath eternizde Armies of Kings & Princes: whose impreriall Muse, the great Monarch of the world, would say, effected more of his Conquests, then his universall power. And therefore at Achilles toombe (with most holy impression of fame, and the zeale of eternite) pronouncst him most happie, to have so firme and Eternizer as Homere.

Most true Achilees (whom by sacred prophecie Homere did but prefigure in his admirable object) and in whose unmatched vertues shyne the dignities of the soule, and the whole excellence of royall humanitie. Let not the Pessant-common polities of the world, that count all things SERVILE and simple: that pamper not their own private sensualities, burying quick in their filthie sepulchres of earth, the whole bodies and soules of honor, vertue and pitie: stirre your divine temper from perseverance in godlike pursute of Eternitie.

Interesting to note Chapman's description of Essex as the living instance of 'Achilleian Vertues'. A discussion of Achillean vices appears just before Chapman's description of Oxford in the Revenge.

Act III, Scene iv

When Homer made Achilles passionate,

Wrathfull, revengefull, and insatiate15

In his affections, what man will denie

He did compose it all of industrie

To let men see that men of most renowne,

Strong'st, noblest, fairest, if they set not downe

Decrees within them, for disposing these,20

Of judgement, resolution, uprightnesse,

And certaine knowledge of their use and ends,

Mishap and miserie no lesse extends

To their destruction, with all that they pris'd,

Then to the poorest and the most despis'd?25


Chapman dedication to Essex:

"Let not the PESSANT'COMMON POLITIES of the world, that count all things SERVILE and SIMPLE: that pamper not their own private sensualities, burying quick in their FILTHIE SEPULCHRES of earth, the whole bodies and soules of honor, vertue and pitie: stirre your divine temper from perseverance in godlike pursute of Eternitie."

Chapman, Revenge of Bussy D'Ambois


They are the breathing sepulchres of noblesse:

No trulier noble men, then lions pictures

Hung up for signs are lions. (2.1. l.154-156)


A man may well

compare them to those foolish great-spleened camels

That, to their high HEADS, begged of Jove horns higher;

Whose most uncomely and RIDICULOUS pride

When he had satisfied, they could not use,

But where they went upright before, they stooped,

And bore their heads much lower for their horns;

As these high men do, low in all true grace,

Their height being privilege to all things BASE.

And as the foolish poet that still writ

All his most self-loved verse in paper royal

Or parchment ruled with lead, smoothed with the pumice,

Bound richly up, and strung with crimson strings;

Never so blest as when he writ and read

The APE-LOVED issue of his brain, and never

But joying in himself, admiring ever,

Yet in his works behold him, and he showed

Like to a ditcher: so these PAINTED MEN

All set on outside, look upon within

And not a PEASANTS entrails you shall find

More foul and measled, nor more starved of mind.



Nashe, the APE of Greene: Greene, the APE of Euphues; Euphues, the APE of Envie, the three famous MAUMETS of the press, and my three notorious feudists, draw all in a yoke, but some scholars excel their masters, and some lusty blood will do more at a deadly pull than two or three of his yoke fellows. It must go hard, but he will emprove himself the incomparable darling of immortal vanity. Howbeit his friends could have wished he had not shown himself to the world such a ridiculous SUFFENUS or SHAKERLY to himself, by advancing the triumphal garland upon his own head before the least skirmish for the victory, which if he ever obtained by any valiancy, or bravure (as he weeneth himself the valiantest and bravest actor that ever managed pen), I am his bondman in fetters, and refuse not the humblest vassalage to the sole of his boot. Much may be done, by close confederacey, in all sorts of cozenage and legerdemain; Monsieur Pontalais in French, or Messer Unico in Italian, never devised such a nipping comedy as might be made in English of some leaguers in the quaint practices of the crossbiting art,


'Tempestuous' Grandlings - Jonson despairs at ancient nobility's abdication of their responsibilities? :

A Speech according to Horace.



...In the stead of bold

Beauchamps, and Nevills, Cliffords, Audley's old;


Insert thy Hodges, and those newer Men.

As Stiles, Dike, Ditchfield, Millar, Crips, and Fen:

That keep the War, though now't be grown more tame

Alive yet, in the noise; and still the same,

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 Lordings; 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.


Jonson, Timber

DE VERE argutis. - I do hear them say often some men are not witty, because they are not everywhere witty; than which nothing is more foolish. If an eye or a nose be an excellent part in the face, therefore be all eye or nose! I think the eyebrow, the forehead, the cheek, chin, lip, or any part else are as necessary and natural in the place. But now nothing is good that is natural; right and natural language seems to have least of the wit in it; that which is writhed and tortured is counted the more exquisite. Cloth of bodkin or tissue must be embroidered; as if no face were fair that were not POWDERED or PAINTED! no beauty to be had but in wresting and writhing our own tongue! Nothing is fashionable till it be DEFORMED; and this is to write like a gentleman. All must be affected and preposterous as our gallants' clothes, sweet-bags, and night-dressings, in which you would think our men lay in, like ladies, it is so CURIOUS.


"Caviare to the general"?:

Taste, Hearing, and Genre in Hamlet

Allison K. Deutermann

...Typically read as a critique of non-naturalistic acting, Hamlet's advice to the players can also be understood as a metadramatic inside joke.11 Through these scenes, Shakespeare references a turn-of-the-century fad for skewering a particular theatrical sound, which was becoming associated with certain kinds of plays—revenge tragedies, heroic romances, and other older but still popular forms. Shakespeare participated in this fad in A Midsummer Night's Dream, when he mocked Bottom's enthusiasm for a part to "tear a cat in."12 But its central participants were John Marston and Ben Jonson. The prince's criticism of players who "tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings" (3.2.9-10) points not only to Bottom's tear-cat speeches, but also to Marston's complaints in Jacke Drum's Entertainment (performed 1599 and 1600) about "mouldy fopperies of stale Poetry" that "torment your listning eares."13 Perhaps even more than Marston, Hamlet ventriloquizes Ben Jonson, whose comedies persistently mock older dramatic forms, particularly revenge tragedies, for their thunderous sound. Matheo, the pretentious fop of Jonson's Every Man in His Humor (first performed 1598), so admires the "fine speeches" of Thomas Kyd's Spanish Tragedy that he reads them aloud, gushing over their literary merit: "Oh eyes, no eyes, but fountains fraught with tears!—There's a conceit! Fountains fraught with tears!"14 He concludes, "Is't not simply the best that ever you heard?"15 And in Poetaster, which was first performed either the same year as Hamlet or the year after, the gruff soldier Tucca commands his servants to perform a pastiche of his favorite plays, including an unnamed (or unspecific) revenge tragedy ("Vindicta!" / "Timoria!" / "Vindicta!" / "Timoria!") and a burlesque of The Spanish Tragedy.16 He insists his servant "mouth" these lines in the very way Hamlet detests: "Now thunder, sirrah, you, the rumbling player."17 Like the players who "tear a passion to tatters," Tucca's servant bellows his rumbling speech in the manner of Hamlet's "town-crier" (3.2.3). This theatrical sound is mocked in Poetaster and other satiric comedies. It synecdochically stands for outdated, unsophisticated drama, the kind of production which, Jonson's play self-servingly suggests, is the distinct opposite of Poetaster itself—a cutting-edge play with a cutting-edge sound.18

Green's Groatsworth

Yes trust them not: for there is an vpstart Crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his Tygers hart wrapt in a Players hyde, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blanke verse as the best of you: and beeing an absolute Iohannes fac totum, is in his owne conceit the onely Shake-scene in a countrey. O that I might intreat your rare wits to be imploied in more profitable courses: & let those Apes imitate your past excellence, and neuer more acquaint them with your admired inuentions. I knowe the best husband of you all will neuer proue an Vsurer, and the kindest of them all will neuer proue a kind nurse: yet whilest you may, seeke you better Maisters; for it is pittie men of such rare wits, should be subject to the pleasure of such rude groomes.
Jonson, Timber
Poetry, in this latter age, hath proved but a mean mistress to such as have wholly addicted themselves to her, or given their names up to her family. They who have but saluted her on the by, and now and then tendered their visits, she hath done much for, and advanced in the way of their own professions (both the law and the gospel) beyond all they could have hoped or done for themselves without her favour. Wherein she doth emulate the judicious but preposterous bounty of the time' s grandees, who accumulate all they can upon the parasite or fresh-man in their friendship; but think an old client or honest servant bound by his place to write and starve.
Oxford/Shakespeare - characterized by neo-classicists as the 'eloquent barbarian'?
Iago/Othello - the rejected/slighted 'friend'/perverted Amicitia - 'I am nothing if not critical'
Shakespeare's Richard II, "Popularity," and the Early Modern Public Sphere

Jeffrey S. Doty


Recent discussions of the early modern public sphere have excluded the theater as a space where substantive political thinking occurred, focusing instead on print culture and on how high-ranking elites conjured a "public" in relation to political controversies. In this article, Doty argues that in Richard II, Shakespeare draws attention to how the commons see, judge, and participate, both cognitively and emotionally, in political life. Shakespeare raises these issues by transforming Bolingbroke into a figure of "popularity." By the mid-1590s, "popularity" was a controversial concept, signifying the cultivation of popular favor. It was also the term that elites used to talk about public opinion and fears about a public that, on the one hand, wanted to feel an intimacy with members of the ruling class, and on the other, wanted to evaluate, discuss, and read about political controversies. By exploring the contemporary phenomenon of popularity, Shakespeare invites his audience to explicate how they are positioned by elites through emotional appeals and public arguments about matters of state. In undertaking this act of explication—in which playgoers are invited to judge first Richard, Bolingbroke, and finally the commons—Shakespeare transforms the theater into a space in which playgoers could practice thinking about how power works in the political domain. Therefore, Richard II not only dramatizes the new phenomenon of popularity, but in its creation of a space in which private people explicated political content, enacts a type of popularity—or, in our critical terminology, a public sphere.

& then you he must steale Curtesy

from Heavn, & dress hymself in

sutch humillity, as he may pluck

allegiance from men harts euen in

the presence of ye Queene wch els

opinion whc must & doth oft aid help

one to a Crown will still keepe

loyall to posession ….

—Lines written in a commonplace book, circa 1596–98 1

Transcribed into a notebook carried into the Theater during the original run of 1 Henry IV, these lines explicate the political tactics that Bolingbroke used to usurp the crown from Richard II. Indeed, these lines revisit and reframe the most topical and controversial political element of Richard II: how Bolingbroke founded his usurpation on the people's love, or what early moderns were beginning to call "popularity." In this essay, I argue that Richard II reflects late Elizabethan concerns about an emergent public sphere, of which the theater was an important part. The play reveals the high degree to which elites depend upon popular support for political action and represents some of the commons as attentive spectators capable of political analysis. Shakespeare makes private people paying attention to matters of state a topic of inquiry in itself.


The second, more common use of "popularity" was to signify an individual's cultivation of popular favor for political ends. In his 1598 dictionary, John Florio defines it as "one that feeleth by all possible and flattring means to have the favour of the people." 19 This meaning was most frequently applied in conjunction with the Earl of Essex who, as Paul E. J. Hammer argues, responded to frustrations within the Privy Council by "actively [seeking] to mobilize public support for aggressive war policies which the Queen disliked and his rivals opposed." 20 Essex addressed and courted a nonelite public so that he could maneuver around a Council faction that wielded far more resources and political clout than he. If his tactics of popularity violated the secrecies of state, that principle of government sanctity was sacrificed to his greater loyalty to the queen and his idea of the Protestant nation. Consider, for example, the events surrounding his successful [End Page 189] rout of the Spanish port town of Cadiz in 1596. According to Hammer, Essex was disappointed that he was recalled by the queen but sought to capitalize on the victory—and to swell public support for the reclaiming of Calais—by seeking to publish an account of the victory under a false name. 21 Fearful of his growing popularity, Elizabeth and the Privy Council forbade any account of the campaign; Elizabeth treated Essex with suspicion. 22 Soon after, Francis Bacon wrote Essex a letter that directly addresses his popularity; it contains one of the earliest uses and explications of the term. Rather than conservatively rejecting Essex's "popular reputation," Bacon argues for its value, calling it "a thing good in itself," gained "bonis artibus" [by good craft]. His popularity is "one of the best flowers of your greatness both present and to come"—but it must "be handled tenderly." Bacon counsels Essex "to quench it verbis and not rebus. And therefore take all occasions, to the Queen, to speak against popularity and popular courses vehemently, and to tax it in all others." 23 In other words, Bacon argues that actual popularity (rebus) will assist Essex in producing a more militaristic foreign policy and in enhancing his position with the Privy Council, but only if he distances himself from the label of popularity (verbis). Popularity and publicity form, therefore, a mutually injurious dialectic: being popular confers influence and power, so long as one avoids the label of "popular."

Unfortunately for Essex, he did the opposite, maintaining a reputation for popularity while losing actual popular support. Accusations of popularity would dog Essex through his treason trial in 1601, in which he was accused of "affecting popularitie." 24 He could dispute his intentions in coming armed into London in 1601, but because he had been so frequently accused of pursuing popular favor, he could hardly contest the charge. Essex's London "uprising" in fact crystallized "popularity" as sedition itself and turned him into its cautionary figure. 25 The [End Page 190] first concerted explication of "popularity"—William Cornwallis's 1600 essay—is a thinly veiled autopsy of Essex's fall. In "Of Popularitie," Cornwallis describes it as an innovation infused with "much cunning, much danger, much applause." 26 Cornwallis argued that an aristocrat who is "bent but to winne" the people's love is not technically seditious, but in practice, such a figure almost always "abuse[s] their loues" and pursues applause and influence "immoderatly." In such cases, popularity is "an offence, for all the possessions of subjects must be limitted, his honor, offices, reuenewes, power, and so the loue of the people, the generalitie and grosse body of which is destinated onely to the Prince."
 In calling attention to how Bolingbroke's flattering "courtship" inverts hierarchy and contains seditious undertones, Richard mouths the major objections to popularity as the concept came into focus at mid-decade. Critics have long connected Richard's speech about Bolingbroke's "courtship to the common people" to Essex. 31 That there is a relation to Essex is clear. A satire from Everard Guilpin's [End Page 193] Skialetheia and a 1603 broadside ballad both refer to his hat-doffing and humble address in the streets. 32 If Essex, as these poems suggest, made a practice of appearing in public and treating regular Londoners with courtesy, then it is possible that original audience members, having personally witnessed such shows of courtesy, directly connected this speech with him. Many have argued that even if audiences did not make this direct link, they would have connected these lines to Essex by reputation. But critics debate what conclusions audiences would have drawn about Essex through this scene. Reading Richard II as a direct intervention in factional court politics, Chris Fitter argues that Shakespeare attempts to "sabotage" Essex through an "injurious representation." 33 Hammer takes a milder stance, calling these lines "public teasing (which the earl apparently took in conspicuously good humor)." 34 Both agree that "popularity"—that of the real Essex and the virtual Bolingbroke—warrants reproach and that the playgoing audience is expected to plot the depiction somewhere between a gentle but instructive ribbing and a biting, public rebuke.

The problem with interpreting this speech as an "injurious representation" or even as teasing of Bolingbroke (or Essex) is that it is spoken by Richard

Author: Greville, Fulke, Baron Brooke, 1554-1628. ]

Title: The life of the renowned Sr Philip Sidney. with the true interest of England as it then stood in relation to all forrain princes: and particularly for suppressing the power of Spain stated by him. His principall actions, counsels, designes, and death. Together with a short account of the maximes and policies used by Queen Elizabeth in her government. Written by Sir Fulke Grevil Knight, Lord Brook, a servant to Queen Elizabeth, and his companion & friend.

Date: 1651

Chapter I


…Instance that reverend Languet, mentioned for honours sake in Sir Philip's Arcadia, learned usque ad miraculum; wise by the conjunction of practice in the world, with that well grounded Theory of Books, & much valued at home; till this great Worth (even in a Gentlemans fortune) being discovered for a dangerous instrument against Rome and Spain, by some sparkles got light enough, rather to seek employment elswhere, than to tarry, and be driven out of his own Country with disparagement. In Franckford he settles, is entertained Agent for the Duke of Saxony, and an under-hand Minister for his own King. Lodged he was in Wechels house, the Printer of Franckford, where Sir Philip in travail chancing likewise to become a guest, this ingenious old mans fulnesse of knowledge, travailing as much to be delivered from abundance by teaching, as Sir Philip's rich nature, and industry thirsted to be taught, and manured; this harmony of an humble Hearer to an excellent Teacher, so equally fitted them both, as out of a naturall descent both in love, and plenty, the elder grew taken with a net of his own thread, and the younger taught to lift up himself by a thread of the same spinning; so as this reverend Languet, orderly sequestred from his severall Functions under a mighty King, and Saxonie the greatest Prince of Germany, became a Nurse of knowledge to this hopefull young Gentleman, and without any other hire, or motive than this sympathy of affections, accompanyed him in the whole course of his three years travail. By which example the judicious Reader may see, that Worth in every Nation finds her Country, Parents, Neighbours, and Friends, yea, and often, with more honour, dearnesse, and advancement in knowledges, than any pedigree of fleshly kindred, will, or can at home raise, or enlarge them unto. Nay to goe yet farther in this private instance; It may please the Reader to observe, how the same parallel of worth, in what age, or estate soever, as it hath power to win, so hath it likewise absolute power to keep. Far unlike those creations of chance, which hath other birds egges; and by advancing men out of chance or complement, lose them again as fast by neglect. Contrary to which, even when diversity of years, courses of life, and fortunes, enforced these DEAR FRIENDS to divide, there yet passed such a continuall course of intelligence by Letters from one of them to another, as in their losse (if they be lost) there be buried many delicate images, and differences, between the reall, and large complexions of those active times, and the narrow salves of this effeminate age: Because in this excellent mould of their FRIENDSHIP, the greatest businesses of Estate were so mixed with the sweet remissions of ingenuous good will, as men might easily discern in them (as unflattering glasses) that wisdome, and love, in good spirits have great affinity together. For a farther demonstration, behold even the same Languet (after he was sixty six years of age) fashioning himself a journey into England, with the DUKE CASIMIRE, onely to see that excellent Plant of his own polishing. In which loving, and unexpected meeting, I dare confidently affirm, neither side became loser. At the sea they parted, and made many mutuall tears omnious propheciers of their never meeting again.

These little sparks of two large natures I make bold the longer to insist upon, because the youth, life and fortune of this Gentleman were indeed but sparkes of extraordinary greatnesse in him: which for want of clear vent lay concealed, and in a maner smothered up. And again to bring the children of favor, and change, into an equall ballance of comparison with birth, worth, and education: and therein abruptly to conclude, that God creates those in his certain, and eternall mouldes, out of which he elects for himself; where Kings choose creatures out of Pandoras Tun, and so raise up worth, and no worth; friends or enemies at adventure. Therefore what marvail can it be, if these Iacobs, and Esaus strive ambitiously one with another, as well before as after they come out of such erring, and unperfect wombes?
In these termes Sir Francis [DRAKE] departs from Plimouth with his ships; vowed and resolved that when he staid for nothing but for a wind, the watch word should come post for Sir Philip. The time of the year made haste away, & Sr Francis to follow it, either made more haste than needed, or at least seemed to make more than really he did. Notwithstanding, as I dare aver that in his own element he was industrous; so dare I not condemn his affections in this misprision of time. Howsoever a letter comes post for Sir Philip, as if the whole fleet stayed onely for him, and the wind. In the mean-season the State hath intelligence that Don Antonio was at sea for England, and resolved to land at Plimouth. Sir Philip turning occasion into wisdome, puts himself into the imployment of conducting up this King; and under that veil leaves the Court without suspicion; over-shoots his father-in-law then Secretary of Estate in his own bow; comes to Plimmouth; was feasted the first night by Sir Francis, with a great deale of outward Pomp and complement.

Yet I that had the honor as of being bred with him from his youth; so now (by his own choice of all England) to be his LOVING, AND BELOVED ACHATES in this journey, OBSERVING THE COUNTENANCE of this gallant mariner more exactly than Sir Philips leisure served him to doe; after we were laid in bed, acquainted him with my observation of the discountenance, and depression which appeared in Sir Francis; as if our coming were both beyond his expectation, and desire. Neverthelesse that ingenuous spirit of Sir Philip's, though apt to give me credit, yet not apt to discredit others, made him suspend his own, & labor to change, or qualifie my judgement; Till within some few daies after, finding the shippes neither ready according to promise, nor possibly to be made ready in many daies; and withall observing some sparcks of false fire, breaking out unawares from his yoke-fellow daily; It pleased him (in the FREEDOM OF OUR FRIENDSHIP) to return me my own stock, with interest.

All this while Don Antonio landes not; the fleet seemed to us (like the weary passengers Inn) still to goe further from our desires; letters came from the Court to hasten it away: it may be the leaden feet, and nimble thoughts of Sir Francis wrought in the day, and unwrought by night; while he watched an opportunity to discover us, without being discovered.


Cicero's De Amicitia
The duties of friendship between persons differing in ability, rank, or position.

...But what is most remarkable in friendship is that it puts a man on an equality with his inferior. For there often are in a circle of friends those who excel the rest, as was the case with Scipio in our flock, if I may use the word. He never assumed superiority over Philus, never over Rupilius, never over Mummius, never over friends of an order lower than his own. Indeed he always reverenced as a superior, because older than himself, his brother Quintus Maximus

a thoroughly worthy man, but by no means his equal, and in fact he wanted to make all his friends of the more consequence by whatever advantages he himself possessed. This example all ought to imitate, that if they have attained any superiority of virtue, genius, fortune, they may impart it to and share it with those with whom they are the most closely connected; and that if they are of humble parentage, and have kindred of slender ability or fortune, they may increase their means of well-being, and reflect honor and worth upon them, -- as in fable those who were long in servile condition through ignorance of their parentage and race, when they were recognized and found to be sons either of gods or of kings, retained their love for the shepherds whom for many years they supposed to be their fathers. Much more ought the like to be done in the case of real and well-known fathers; for the best fruit of genius, and virtue, and every kind of excellence is reaped when it is thus bestowed on near kindred and friends.

20. Moreover, as among persons bound by ties of friendship and intimacy those who hold the higher place ought to bring themselves down to the same plane with their inferiors, so ought these last not to feel aggrieved because they are surpassed in ability, or fortune, or rank by their friends. Most of them, however, are always finding some ground of complaint, or even of reproach, especially if they can plead any service that they have rendered faithfully, in a friendly way, and with a certain amount of painstaking on their part. Such men, indeed, are hateful when they reproach their friends on the score of services which he on whom they were bestowed ought to bear in mind, but which it is unbecoming for him who conferred them to recount.

Those who are superior ought, undoubtedly, not only to waive all pretension in friendly intercourse, but to do what they can to raise their humbler friends to their own level.[l] There are some who give their friends trouble by imagining that they are held in low esteem, which, however, is not apt to be the case except with those who think meanly of themselves. Those who feel thus ought to be raised to a just self-esteem, not only by kind words, but by substantial service. But what you do for any one must be measured, first by your own ability, and then by the capacity of him whom you would favor and help. For, however great your influence may be, you cannot raise all your friends to the highest positions. Thus Scipio could effect the election of Publius Rupilius to the consulship; but he could not do the same for his brother Lucius.[2] In general, friendships that are properly so called are formed between persons of mature years and established character; nor if young men have been fond of hunting or of ball-playing, is there any need of permanent attachment to those whom they then liked as associates in the same sport. On this principle our nurses and the slaves that led us to school will demand by right of priority the highest grade.
[1 Or, as it might be rendered by supplying a "se" "so ought the humbler to do what they can to raise themselves." Some of the commentators prefer this sense; but if Cicero meant "se," I think that he would have written it.]
[2 The brother of Publius Rupilius, not his own brother.]
of affectionate regard, -- persons, indeed, who are not to be neglected, but who are on a somewhat different footing from that of friends. Friendships formed solely from early associations cannot last; for differences of character grow out of a diversity of pursuits, and unlikeness of character dissolves friendships. Nor is there any reason why good men cannot be the friends of bad men, or bad men of good, except that the dissiliency of pursuits and of character between them is as great as it can be.
The Earl of Oxford and the Denaturing of Nobility: