Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Edward de Vere and the Revenge of the Laureate Poets

"What greater and more odious infamye, for one of my standinge in the Universitye and profession abroade', writes Gabriel Harvey to Edmund Spenser toward the end of the sixteenth century, than to be classed amongst 'Inglish Rimers?' -- from Andrew Bennett, _The Author_

...howsoeuer the mistaking worlde takes it (whose left hand euer receyu'd what I gaue with my Right.) --George Chapman, to Inigo Jones


I'd  like to bring to the reader's attention to Richard Helgerson's description of a group of poets he terms 'self-crowned laureates', and attach this concept to the authorship question as a framework for understanding the motivations of certain poets who assisted in the destruction of the literary fame of the Earl of Oxford. Helgerson discusses three poets in particular - Spenser, Jonson and Milton: all three of these have appeared in the pages of this blog as poets who criticized Shakespeare/Oxford either explicitly or by adopting the classical method of critiquing a powerful man under the cover of figured language (e.g. Quintilian Institutio oratoria 9.2.66/Demetrius _On Style_). Among this number I would also include Gabriel Harvey, George Chapman and Sir Philip Sidney as poets of the ethical 'laureate' type who opposed themselves to the popular poet Shakespeare. (I'll include Sidney among this number since he was born a gentleman, not a nobleman).

Jonson, Timber

...BUT WHY DO men depart at all from the RIGHT and NATURAL WAYS of speaking? sometimes for necessity, when we are driven, or think it fitter, to speak that in obscure words, or by circumstance, which uttered plainly would offend the hearers. Or to avoid obsceneness, or sometimes for pleasure, and variety, as travellers turn out of the highway, drawn either by the commodity of a footpath, or the delicacy or freshness of the fields. And all this is called åó÷çìáôéóìåíç (eschematismene) or FIGURED LANGUAGE.


Jonson - Timber

{Topic 67}} {{Subject: AFFECTED language}}

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.

For a discussion of how 'laureate' poets (such as Jonson- above) differed from courtly amateurs such as Edward de Vere:

Anne Ferry - Review of Helgerson's 'Self-Crowned Laureates':

'...The history begins with an account of late sixteenth-century society in which Spenser and Jonson struggled to define themselves as laureates by distinguishing themselves, in ways often perilous, from both poetic amateurs and a new generation of professionals. The discussion of Spenser stresses how he did so by assimilating the conventions of the amateur lover-poets to new and high purposes, while Jonson is shown to stake out his claim by working in relatively untried poetic modes, especially satire, epigram, and comedy. The discussion of Milton is as convincing but more surprising. It argues that his work is marked by the historical situation he shared with the generation of Caroline poets, when the decline in literary autonomy was accompanied by the dimming of distinctions among amateur, professional, and laureate poets, distinctions which had given Spenser and Jonson opportunities for self-definition as laureates.


The Author by Andrew Bennett

It is...those poets of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that challenged the 'stigma' of print, who embraced, in their own ways, authorship as a profession, that may be said to have succeeded in positioning themselves at the centre of the English literary canon. There seems to be something of an uncanny literary-historical logic in such canonization, one that was to be developed and embraced into a fully-fledged 'culture of posterity' in the eighteenth century and the Romantic period: poets are memorialized in the future just to the extent that they escape the prejudices of their own time and embrace what will become the standards of posterity.


(note - it is clear that Edward de Vere's reputation did not escape the prejudices of his own time. By publishing his long poems under a pseudonym and by making no apparent effort to assemble his 'stained' works into the form of a literary monument - his memorialization remained at the mercy of the laureate poets. Poetry written by a courtly amateur had very different aims than poetry written by professional 'laureate' poets. Oxford was memorialized according to the tastes and standards of the professional poets - who used their poetic authority to grant him an 'unworthy' anti-laureate fame (Shakespeare of Stratford) that still stands as a learned correction to Shakespeare/Oxford's popularity among the unlearned vulgar. In order to increase the importance of their own projects, they had to diminish the sprezzatura and success of Oxford's 'amateur' productions. To challenge the authority of the Earl they drew on classical criticism to prove that Oxford's 'popular' writings were beneath his dignity, and that he had compromised his integrity/honesty by producing scurrilous, obscene and irregular works that were of questionable ethical and aesthetic value.

Ironically, though Oxford's reputation did not escape 'the prejudices of his own time', his orphaned Book continues to influence the 'culture and standards of posterity' and still overshadows the legacy of the laureates! When Chapman describes his own distorted exchanges with the 'mistaking worlde, whose left hand euer receyu'd what I gaue with my Right', he encapsulates the unenviable plight of the laureate poet. And when it comes to the identity of Shakespeare the gawping world, always assuming it receives Right what was given Right - STILL reaches wide with both Left hands.)

Andrew Bennett, con't.
Richard Helgerson examines the emergence of this logic of canonization in a study of the literary 'system' out of which Spenser, Jonson and Milton emerged, Self-Crowned Laureates (1983). Helgerson distinguishes between the courtly 'amateurs' of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries and those 'professionals' that he calls 'laureate poets'. 'Laureate' poets are those whose writing was itself 'a means of making a contribution to the order and improvement of the state' (Helgerson 1983:29), poets whose ambition resided in poetry alone and who embraced print technology and the potential fame and wealth it could bring. As seems to have been the case with Chaucer, Helgerson's three laureate poets, Spenser, Jonson and Milton, were all concerned with their own status and role as poets, with themselves as authors. Spenser, Helgerson comments, was 'unique' amongst his contemporaries, since he alone 'presented himself as a poet, as a man who considered writing a duty rather than a distraction', and was England's first 'professed, if not fully professional, poet' (pp.55,82). Jonson's 'work was himself', Helgerson comments, 'and he could not avoid saying so': 'No other English Renaissance poet so intrudes on his work', and he insists on 'his laureate self-presentation' to such an extent that 'sometimes the poet overwhelms the poem' (pp. 182, 183, 103). And Milton 'transcend[s] the difficulties inherent in his temporal location', his 'grandly imposing solitariness' itself figuring amongst 'the most persistent and most powerful signs of [his] laureate transcendance' (pp231,235). If Helgerson is right, the origin of the modern or Romantic sense of authorship in the English canon involves a self-conscious insistence on the poet him- or herself as poet, and idea that confirms Lawrence Lipking's more general, and more historically unspecific, idea that poets become poets precisely by meditating on what it means to be a poet: 'Every major Western poet after Homer', comments Lipking, 'has left some work that records the principles of his own poetic development' (Lipking 1981:viii). What ultimately marks out Hlegerson's 'laureate' poets is precisely that they they embrace print culture and thereby self-consciously mark themselves out, that they therefore constitute individual voices and personalities, that they make themselves into authors in a sense that can only be fully appreciated after their death. (pp. 47-49)


The Earl of Oxford belonged to the class of poets Helgerson calls 'amateurs':
'.. amateurs...who wrote for members of their own coteries rather than for publication or the stage. For them, poetry is a mark of social distinction, a pleasurable indulgence, and the medium of transactions with lovers, friends, and patrons.' 'Trial by Theater', Matthew Greenfield

The aristocratic amateur is distinct from the laureate type - for the laureate, poetry is an 'ethical instrument' and their poetry is designed to instruct as well as delight.

As Oxford pursued his own ends in writing his poetry and plays he began to draw negative attention from laureate poets who sought to 'purify' poetry and make it respectable for their own uses. These laureates drew on classical sources to support their view that the true purpose of poetry was essentially ethical.

Oxfordian/Shakespearean deformations were not the only things that were attacked - Oxford's own character came under fire. The 'unwoorthy objects' and unclassical 'monsters' his mind produced were interpreted as signs of a deformed and unworthy mind - as the laureates began to question not only the moral integrity of Oxford but the nature of his right to hold high place. For some laureates, 'unworthy Shakespeare' and 'ignoble Oxford' raised the question of true and false nobility (vera nobilitas) - as they opposed nobility based on merit and virtue to the accidental nobility of blood.

Concerned with constructing their own fame and controlling how posterity would view their productions - the laureate poets were perfectly equipped to memorialize Oxford as the clown/scurra Shakespeare after Oxford relinquished authorial control of his book. Oxford/Shakespeare's style and popularity had diminished the potential glory available to the scholars, and the fashionable nature of Shakespearean works set the tone and made 'laureate' endeavors less desirable and economically viable. These social and economic pressures incited the hostility of the laureates, who became even more careful to distinguish between Shakespeare's undiscerning and ignorant audience, and the intellectually elite audience that could 'understand' and judge their precise and studied productions. They marked out a distinct boundary between Shakespeare's work and their own - all the while attempting to educate an 'ignorant' public in the differences between their own 'right' and judicious poems and plays and Shakespeare's barbarous deformations of order and form.


To the Most generally ingenious, and our only Learned Architect, my exceeding good Friend INYGO IONES, Esquire; Surueigher of His Maiesties Workes.

ANcient Poesie, and ancient Architecture, requiring to their excellence a like creating and proportionable Rapture, and being alike ouer-topt by the monstrous Babels of our Moderne Barbarisme; Their vniust obscurity, letting no glance of their trueth and dignity appear, but to passing few: To passing few is their lest apparance to be presented. Your selfe then being a Chiefe of that View few, by whom Both are apprehended; & their beames worthily measur'd and valew'd. This little Light of the one, I could not but obiect, and publish to your choise apprehension; especially for your most ingenuous Loue to all Workes, in which the ancient Greeke Soules haue appear'd to you. No lesse esteeming this, woorth the presenting to any Greatest, for the smalnes of the woke; then the Authour himselfe hath beene helde therfore of the lesse estimation: huing obtain'das much preseruation and honor, as the greatest of Others: the Smalnesse beeing supplyed with so greatly-excllent Inuention and Elocution. Nor lacks euen the most youngly-enamor'd affection it cotaines, a Temper graue enough, to become, both the Sight and Acceptance of the Grauest. And therefore, howsoeuer the mistaking worlde takes it (whose left hand euer receyu'd what I gaue with my Right.) If you freely and nobly entertaine it, I obtaine my End: your Iudicious Loues continuance, being my onely Obiect: To which I at all partes commend.

Your Ancient poore Friend George Chapman.


vera nobilitas/virtues of the mind
noble/noscere/to know, judge

Chapman, A Coronet For his Mistress Philosophy (1595)

For words want art, and Art wants words to praise her [Philosophy] ;
Yet shall my active and industrious pen
Wind his sharp forehead through those parts that raise her,
And register her worth past rarest women.
Herself shall be my Muse ; that well will know
Her proper inspirations ; and assuage
With her dear love the wrongs my fortunes show,
Which to ray youth bind heartless grief in age.
Herself shall be my comfort and my riches,
And all my thoughts I will on her convert ;
Honour, and error, which the world bewitches,
Shall still crown fools, and tread upon desert,
And never shall my friendless verse envy
Muses that Fame's loose feathers beautify.


Benjamin - Son of my Right hand

Droeshout Engraving - two left arms/two left hands

Friday, September 23, 2011

Anne Lady Southwell and Exorbitant Shakespeare's Disgracing of Poesy

Some wanton Venus or Adonis hath bene cast before your chast eares, whose evill attyre; disgracing this beautiful Nimph [Poesye], hath unworthyed her in your opinion -- Anne Southwell

from Anne Lady Southwell:

To my worthy Muse, that doth these lines infuse. the Ladye Ridgway.

How falles it out (noble Ladye) that you are become a sworne enemye to Poetrie; It being soe abstruse an art, as it is, that I may say, The other artes are but Bases &; Pedestalles, unto the which this is the Capitall. The meere Herald of all Ideas; The worldes true vocall Harmonye, of wich all other artes are but partes, or rather, may I justly say; It is the silke thredd that  stringes your chayne of pearle; which being broken, your jewells fall into the rushes; &; the more you seeke for it, the more it falles into the dust of oblivion. You say; you affect proze, as your auncestors did; Error is not to bee affected for antiquitye. Therefore, (Noble &; wittye Ladye) give mee your hand, I will leade you upp the streame of all mankind. Your great great grandfather had a father, &; soe the last, or rather the first father, was God; whose never enough to bee admired creation, was poetically confined to 4. generall genusses, Earth, Ayre, water &; fire. The effectes which give life unto his verse, wer, Hott, Cold, Moist & Drye, which produce Choller, melancholye, Bloud &; flegme. By these just proportions, all things are propagated. Now being thus poetically composed; How can you bee at unitye with your self, &; at oddes with your own composition: It may bee, you will say, That Poesye is a fiction, &; fiction is a lye. O but, Rahabs concealing the spyes, was more to bee approved, then Doegs truth. But heerein, Poesye seemes to doe more for nature, then shee is able to doe for her selfe, wherein, it doth but lay downe a patterne what man should bee; &; shewes, that Imagination goes before Realitye. But hee is not worthy the name of a phisitian, but of an Emperick only, that gives one potion to all manner of diseases. for it is as great an error to give purges to one in a consumption, as it is to give cordialls to one in a Repletion. Therefore it is necessarye to knowe how the humor aboundes, that soe wee may the boldlyer applye. then, since all are eyther fooles, or phisitians, to escape the former I will take uppon mee to knowe, what hath so distasted your palate against this banquett of soules, devine Poesye. Some wanton Venus or Adonis hath bene cast before your chast eares, whose evill attyre; disgracing this beautiful Nimph, hath unworthyed her in your opinion &; will you, because you see a man madd, wish yourself without Melancholye, which humour is the hand of all the soules facultyes. All exorbitant thinges are monstrous; but bring them agayne to theyr orbicular forme &; motion, &; they will retayne theyr former beautyes. Our reason ought to bee the stickler in this case. who would not skornefully laugh with Micholl, to see the old Prophett daunce; but when wee knowe hee daunced before the Arke, must wee not thinke the Host of heaven was in exultation with him, as well as that of Jerusalem. To heare a Hero &; Leander or some such other busye nothing, might bee a meanes to skandalize this art. But can a cloud disgrace the sunne? will you behold Poesye in perfect beautye. Then, see the kingly Prophett, that sweete singer of Israell, explicating the glorye of our god, his power in creating, his mercye in redeeming, his wisdome in preserving; making these three, as it were the Comma, Colon, &; Period to every stanzae. Who would not say, the musicall spheares did yeeld a dadencye in his songe, &; in admiration crye out; O never enough to bee admired, devine Poesye. It is the subject, that commends or condemnes the art. But noble Ladye, I will trouble you noe further now; yett when I have your honorable word of reconciliation, I will then delineate out every limme of her, &; how shee is envelloped upp with the rest of the artes. IN the meane time I rest more then thankful for your noble loving letter, as the lover of your virtues.
Anne Southwell
vera Copia per Io.
prvto turi


All exorbitant thinges are monstrous - A.S.

Exorbitant \Ex*or"bi*tant\, a. [L. exorbitans, -antis, p. pr. of

exorbitare to go out of the track; ex out + orbita track: cf.

F. exorbitant. See Orbit.]

1. Departing from an orbit or usual track; hence, deviating
from the usual or due course; going beyond the appointed
rules or established limits of right or propriety;
excessive; extravagant; enormous; inordinate; as,
exorbitant appetites and passions; exorbitant charges,
demands, or claims.

Foul exorbitant desires. --Milton.

2. Not comprehended in a settled rule or method; anomalous.


Sidney, Defense of Poesie

Their third is, how much it abuseth mens wit, training it to wanton sinfulnesse, and lustfull love. For indeed that is the principall if not onely abuse, I can heare alleadged. They say the Comedies rather teach then reprehend amorous conceits. They say the Lirick is larded with passionat Sonets, the Elegiack weeps the want of his mistresse and that even to the Heroical, Cupid hath ambitiously climed. Alas Love, I would thou couldest as wel defend thy selfe, as thou canst offend others: I would those on whom thou doest attend, could either put thee away, or yeeld good reason why they keepe thee. 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.


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.

Gallant \Gal"lant\, a. [F. gallant, prop. p. pr. of OF. galer to

rejoice, akin to OF. gale amusement, It. gala ornament; of
German origin; cf. OHG. geil merry, luxuriant, wanton, G.
geil lascivious, akin to AS. g?l wanton, wicked, OS. g?l
merry, Goth. gailjan to make to rejoice, or perh. akin to E.
weal. See Gala, Galloon.]


Harvey, Speculum Tuscanismi

...Delicate in speech, quaint in array: conceited in all points,
In Courtly guiles a passing singular odd man,
For GALLANTS a BRAVE MIRROR, a Primrose of Honour,
A Diamond for nonce, a fellow peerless in England.
Not the like discourser for Tongue, and head to be found out,
Not the like resolute man for great and serious affairs,
Not the like Lynx to spy out secrets and privities of States,
Eyed like to Argus, eared like to Midas, nos'd like to Naso,
Wing'd like to Mercury, fittst of a thousand for to be employ'd,
This, nay more than this, doth practice of Italy in one year.
None do I name, but some do I know, that a piece of a twelve month
Hath so perfited outly and inly both body, both soul,
That none for SENSE and SENSES half matchable with them.
A vulture's smelling, Ape's tasting, sight of an eagle,
A spider's touching, Hart's hearing, might of a Lion.
Compounds of wisdom, wit, prowess, bounty, behavior,
All GALLANT VIRTUES, all qualities of body and soul.

In Courtly GUILES a passing singular odd man,

Guile \Guile\, v. t. [OF. guiler. See Guile, n.]
To disguise or conceal; to deceive or delude. [Obs.]


"Since, if the MATTER be in NATURE VILE, /How can it be made PRECIOUS

by a stile" -- Greville


Exorbitant \Ex*or"bi*tant\, a. [L. exorbitans, -antis, p. pr. of

exorbitare to go out of the track; ex out + orbita track: cf.
F. exorbitant. See Orbit.]

Chapman's _Revenge of Bussy D'Ambois_ Act III, Scene iv (just before appearance of Oxford:

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

(snip Chapman's description of Oxford)

Clermont. AND yet he [Earl of Oxford]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.

Ren. It was strange. 115

Clermont. O tis a vexing sight to see a man,
OUT OF HIS WAY, stalke PROUD as hee were in;
OUT OF HIS WAY, to be officious,
Observant, wary, serious, and grave,
Fearefull, and passionate, insulting, raging,120
Labour with iron flailes to thresh downe feathers
Flitting in ayre.
Ren. What one considers this,
Of all that are thus out? or once endevours,
Erring, to enter on mans RIGHT-HAND PATH?
Cler. These are too grave for brave wits; give them toyes;125
Labour bestow'd on these is harsh and thriftlesse. (snip)


Edwin Greenlaw Modern Language Notes © 1926

II. Spenser and Hesiod

...Chapman’s note indicates precisely the exposition of the virtue of

Temperance which is the subject of Spenser’s Legend of Guyon; the
allegory of the soul and the body, and of the place of knowledge and
of the intellectual love of God, of which Chapman speaks, are implicit
throughout the book. As to the “Pythagorean letter Y,” as ascribed to
Virgil in Spenser’s and Chapman’s time, we have Chapman’s translation,
as follows:

This letter of Pythagoras, that bears
This fork’d distinction, to conceit prefers
The form man’s life bears. Virtue’s hard way takes
Upon the right hand path, which entry makes
(To sensual eyes) with difficult affair;
But when ye once have climb’d the highest stair,
The beauty and the sweetness it contains,
Give rest and comfort, for past all your pains.
The broadway in a BRAVERY paints ye forth,
(In th’entry) softness, and much SHADE of worth);
But when ye reach the top, the taken ones
It HEADLONG HURLS DOWN, torn at sharpest stones.
He then, whom virtues love, shall victor crown
Of hardes fortunes, praise wins and renown;
But he that sloth and fruitless luxury
Pursues, and doth with foolish wariness fly
Opposed pains (that all best acts befall),
Lives POOR AND VILE, and dies despised of all.


Sunday, September 18, 2011


Droeshout's Other Engravings - 'Dr. Panurgus'
Purging Folly:

Cynthia's Revels, Jonson

The C H A L L E N G E.


BE it known to all that profess Courtship, by these Presents (from the white sattin Reveller, to the Cloth of Tissue and Bodkin,) that we, ULYSSES-POLITROPUS-AMORPHUS, Master of the noble and subtil Science of Courtship, do give leave and license to our Provost, Acolastus-Polypragmon- Asotus, to play his Masters Prize, against all Masters what- soever in this subtile Mystery, at these four, the choice and most cunning Weapons of Court COMPLEMENT, viz. the bare Accost; the better Reguard; the solemn Address; and the perfect Close. These are therefore to give notice to all comers, that he, the said Acolastus-Polypragmon-Asotus, is here present (by the help of his Mercer, Taylor, Millener, Sempster, and so forth) at his designed hour, in this fair Gallery, the present day of this present month, to perform and do his uttermost for the atchievement and bearing away of the Prizes, which are these: viz. For the bare Accost, two Wall-eyes, in a face forced: For the better Reguard, a Face fovourablyfavourably simpring, with a Fan waving: For the solemn Address, two Lips wagging, and never a wise word: For the perfect Close, a Wring by the hand, with a Ban- quet in a corner. And Phœbus save Cynthia.


Title: Cupids cabinet unlock't, or, The new accademy [sic] of complements Odes, epigrams, songs, and sonnets, poesies, presentations, congratulations, ejaculations, rhapsodies, &c. With other various fancies. Created partly for the delight, but chiefly for the use of all ladies, gentlemen, and strangers, who affect to speak elegantly, or write queintly. By W. Shakespeare.

Author: Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616,

Imprint: [S.l. : s.n., 1650?]

Date: 1641-1700

Bib name / number: Wing (CD-ROM, 1996) / C7597A

Physical description: [2], 38 p.

Notes: Not in fact by William Shakespeare. "Except for extracts from the poet, this cannot be numbered among [Shakespeare's] productions."

-- Jaggard, William. Shakespeare bibliography.

Wing dates this before 1700. In verse. Copy filmed at UMI microfilm Early English Books 1641-1700 reel 2479 lacks pages 5-6. Reproduction of original in the Folger Shakespeare Library.

William Shakespeare, a Textual Companion

By Stanley Wells, Gary Taylor, John Jowett, William Montgomery

Cupid's Cabinet Unlocked

The title-page of this undated duodecimo volume does not indicate when or by whom it was printed, but describes it as 'Cupids Cabinet unlock't, Or, THE NEW ACCADEMY OF COMPLEMENTS. Odes, Epigrams, Songs, and Sonnets, Poesies, Presentations, Congratulations, Ejaculatins, Rhapsodies, &c.' writeen 'By W. Shakespeare'. Neither STC nor Wing records this item, nor does it appear in the British Library Catalogue. WE have been able to trace only two copies, both defective: Folger C7595a lacks leaf GII, and Boston Public Library G.176.62 lacks leaves I1-3. On the basis of the signatures it would appear to be an extract from a larger work; butr no such work has yet been identified, the pagination is regular (1-38), and p. 38 concludes with a 'FINIS'. The Folger copy is a separate item. The Boston copy is bound with a work with the running title 'The New Accademy of Complements'...Both these works are bound with a fragment of The Art of Courtship. It seems likely that Cupid's Cabinet Unlocked post-dates Benson's edition of Shakespeare's POems (1640), and the title probably expoloits an allusion to the pamphlet The King's Cabinet Opened, which marked a turning-point in the Civil War. In the political pamphlet, 'cabinet' is a pun, referring both to hte chest of papers captured by the Parliamentarians, and to the inner workings of hte King's cabinet; no such pun operates in the 'Shakespeare' volume, which is therefore probably the later work. The allusion implies that a treasure-chest of Shakespeare's poems has been found, comparable in importance to the chest of Charles I's papers pubished in June 1645. Although this allusion establishes that the volume dates from 1645 or later, similar titles can be found as late as 1679...




A phrase selected by Puttenham as an example of an 'intollerable vice' in writing had been associated with the Earl of Oxford. This phrase was subsequently spoken by the affected courtier Amorphus in Jonson's _Cynthia's Revels_. Curiously, the phrase does not appear in full in the 1601 Quarto (while Oxford was alive) - but does appear in the 1616 and 1640 editions of Jonson's 'Works'.


Jonson, _Cynthia's Revels_. 

AMORPHUS. And there's her minion, Crites: why his advice more than

Amorphus? Have I not invention afore him? Learning to better

that INVENTION above him? and INFANTED with PLEASANT TRAVEL --


Puttenham, Arte of English Poesie (1589)


Some vices in speaches and {w}riting are alwayes intollerable, some others now and then borne {w}ithall by licence of approued authors and custome. (snip)

Another of your intollerable vices is that which the Greekes call Soraismus, & we may call the [mingle mangle] as when we make our speach or writinges of sundry languages vsing some Italian word, or French, or Spanish, or Dutch, or Scottish, not for the nonce or for any purpose (which were in part excusable) but ignorantly and affectedly as one that said vsing this French word Roy, to make ryme with another verse, thus.

O mightie Lord or ioue, dame Venus onely ioy,

Whose Princely power exceedes ech other heauenly roy.

The verse is good but the terme peeuishly affected Another of reasonable good facilitie in translation finding certaine of the hymnes of Pyndarus and of Anacreons odes, and other Lirickes among the Greekes very well translated by Rounsard the French Poet,
applied to the honour of a great Prince in France, comes our minion and translates the same out of French into English, and applieth them to the honour of a GREAT NOBLE MAN in ENGLAND (wherein I commend his reuerent minde and duetie) but doth so impudently robbe the French Poet both of his prayse and also of his French termes, that I cannot so much pitie him as be angry with him for his iniurious dealing (our sayd maker not being ashamed to vse these French wordes freddon, egar, superbous, filanding, celest, calabrois, thebanois and a number of others, for English wordes, which haue no maner of conformitie with our language either by custome or deriuation which may make them tollerable. And in the end (which is worst of all) makes his vaunt that neuer English finger but his hath toucht Pindars string which was neuerthelesse word by word as Rounsard had said before by like braggery. These be his verses.


¶3.22.7 Whereas the French word is enfante as much to say borne as a child, in another verse he saith.

I {w}ill freddon in thine honour.

¶3.22.8 For I will shake or quiuer my fingers, for so in French is freddon, and in another verse.

But if I {w}ill thus like pindar, In many discourses egar.

¶3.22.9 This word egar is as much to say as to wander or stray out of

the way, which in our English is not receiued, not these wordes calabrois, thebanois, but rather calabrian, theban [filanding sisters] for the spinning sisters: this man deserves to be endited of pety larceny for pilfring other mens devises from them
converting them to his owne use, for in deede as I would wish every inventour which is the very Poet to receave the prayses of his invention, so would I not have a translatour be ashamed to be acknowen of his translation.

Southern, Pandora (1584)

SUMMARY: Ode to Oxford in John Southern’s Pandora, The Music of the Beauty of his Mistress Diana. The title page gives the publication date as 20 June 1584. The language of the ode was criticized by George Puttenham in Book III, Chapter 22 of his Art of English Poesy, published in 1589. Puttenham also accused Southern of plagiarism, saying: ‘Another of reasonable good facility in translation, finding certain of the hymns of Pindarus and of Anacreon’s odes and other lyrics among the Greeks very well translated by Ronsard, the French poet, & applied to the honour of a great prince in France, comes our minion and translates the same out of French into English, and applieth them to the honour of a great nobleman in England (wherein I commend his reverent mind and duty), but doth so impudently rob the French poet both of his praise and also of his French terms that I cannot so much pity him as be angry with him for his injurious dealing’.

To the right honourable the Earl of Oxenford etc.

Ode I Strophe 1

This earth is the nourishing teat,

As well that delivers to eat

As else throws out all that we can

Devise that should be needful for

The health of or disease or sore,

The household companions of man.

And this earth hath herbs sovereign

To impeach sicknesses sudden

If they be well aptly applied.

And this yearth spews up many a brevage

Of which, if we knew well the usage,

Would force the force Acherontide.

Brief, it lends us all that we have

With to live, and it is our grave,

But with all this, yet cannot give

Us fair renowns when we be dead,

And indeed they are only made

By our own virtues whiles we live.



No, no, the high singer is he

Alone that in the end must be

Made proud with a garland like this,

And not every riming novice

That writes with small wit and much pain,

And the (God’s know) idiot in vain,

For it’s not the way to Parnasse,

Nor it will neither come to pass

If it be not in some wise fiction

And of an ingenious INVENTION,


For it alone must win the laurel,

And only the poet WELL BORN

Must be he that goes to Parnassus,

And not these companies of asses

That have brought verse almost to scorn.


1601 Quarto - Cynthia's Revels, Jonson

Act IV, Sc. V


And there’s her Minion Criticus; why his advise more then Amorphus? Have I not Invention, afore him? Learning, to better that Invention, above him? And Travaile.


1616 Folio, Jonson

Act IV, Sc V


And there’s her minion Crites! Why his advice more then Amorphus? Have not I invention, afore him? Learning, to better that invention, above him? And infanted, with pleasant travaile ----


1640 Folio, 'Works' Jonson


And there’s her minion Crites! Why his advice more then Amorphus? Have not I invention afore him? Learning, to better that invention, above him? And infanted, with pleasant travaile ----




Polytropos means much-turned or much-traveled, much-wandering. It is the defining quality of Odysseus, used in the first line of the Odyssey and at 10.330. As used by Hippias with respect to Odysseus (365b) it includes being false or lying and carries the connotations of wily and shifty. Antisthenes, a follower of Socrates who wrote Socratic dialogues, also argued against the claim that Homer meant to blame Odysseus by calling him polytropos; Antisthenes claims that it is praise for being "good at dealing with men...being wise, he knows how to associate with men in many ways." See Charles H. Kahn, Plato and the Socratic Dialogue (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), pp.121-24.


Edward de VERE figured as Ulysses Politropus- Amorphus by Ben Jonson:

Ben Jonson, _Cynthia's Revels_


These in the Court meet with Amorphus, or the deformed, a Traveller that hath drunk of the
Fountain, and there tells the wonders of the Water. They presently dispatch away their Pages with Bottles to fetch of it, and themselves go to visit the Ladies. But I should have told you — (Look, these Emets put me out here) that with this Amorphus, there comes along a Citizens Heir, Asotus, or the Prodigal, who (in imita- tion of the Traveller, who hath the Whetstone following him) entertains the Begger, to be his Attendant. ——

Ascham, The Scholemaster
(posthumously published 1570, Dedicated to Sir William Cecil, Knight)

  ...Yet, if a ientleman will nedes trauell into Italie, he shall do well, to looke on the life, of the wisest traueler, that euer traueled thether, set out by the wisest writer, that euer spake with tong, Gods doctrine onelie excepted: and that is Vlysses in Homere. Vlysses, and his trauell, I wishe our trauelers to looke vpon, not so much to feare them, with the great daungers, that he many tymes suffered, as to instruct them, with his excellent wisedome, which he alwayes and euerywhere vsed. Yea euen those, that
odys. a.
be learned and wittie trauelers, when they be disposed to prayse traueling, as a great commendacion, and the best Scripture they haue for it, they gladlie recite the third verse of Homere, in his first booke of Odyssea, conteinyng a great prayse of Vlysses, for the witte he gathered, & wisdome he vsed in his traueling.
      Which verse, bicause, in mine opinion, it was not made at the first, more naturallie in Greke by Homere, nor after turned more aptlie into Latin by Horace, than it was a good while ago, in Cambrige, translated into English, both plainlie for the sense, and roundlie for the verse, by one of the best Scholers, that euer S. Iohns Colledge bred, M. Watson, myne old frend, somtime Bishop of Lincolne, therfore, for their sake, that haue lust to see, how our English tong, in auoidyng barbarous ryming, may as well receiue, right quantitie of sillables, and trewe order of versifiyng (of which matter more at large hereafter) as either Greke or Latin, if a cunning man haue it in handling, I will set forth that one verse in all three tonges, for an Example to good wittes, that shall delite in like learned exercise.

Homerus. pollon d anthropon iden astea kai noon egno.
Qui mores hominum multorum vidit & vrbes.
M. Watson.

All trauellers do gladly report great prayse of Vlysses,
For that he knew many mens maners, and saw many Cities.

      And yet is not Vlysses commended, so much, nor so oft, in Homere, bicause he was POLYTROPUS, that is, skilfull in many mens manners and facions, as bicause he was polymetis, that is, wise in all
Vlyss. {polytropos.
{ polymetis.

Pallas from heauen.
Alcynous. od. 2.
Cyclops. od. 1.
Calypso. od. e.

{ od. m.

Circes.    od. k.
od. l.
purposes, & ware in all places: which wisedome and warenes will not serue neither a traueler, except Pallas be alwayes at his elbow, that is Gods speciall grace from heauen, to kepe him in Gods feare, in all his doynges, in all his ieorneye. For, he shall not alwayes in his absence out of England, light vpon a ientle Alcynous, and walke in his faire gardens full of all harmelesse pleasures: but he shall sometymes, fall, either into the handes of some cruell Cyclops, or into the lappe of some wanton and dalying Dame Calypso: and so suffer the danger of many a deadlie Denne, not so full of perils, to distroy the body, as, full of vayne pleasures, to poyson the mynde. Some Siren shall sing him a song, sweete in tune, but sownding in the ende, to his vtter destruction. If Scylla drowne him not, Carybdis may fortune swalow hym. Some Circes shall make him, of a plaine English man, a right Italian. And at length to hell, or to some hellish place, is he likelie to go: from whence is hard returning, although one Vlysses, and that by Pallas ayde, and good counsell of Tiresias once escaped that horrible Den of deadly darkenes.
      Therfore, if wise men will nedes send their sonnes into Italie, let them do it wiselie, vnder the kepe and garde of him, who, by his wisedome and honestie, by his example and authoritie, may be hable to kepe them safe and sound, in the feare of God, in Christes trewe Religion, in good order and honestie of liuyng: except they will haue them run headling, into ouermany ieoperdies, as Vlysses had done many tymes, if Pallas had not alwayes gouerned him: if he had not vsed, to stop his eares with waxe: to bind him selfe to the mast of his shyp: to feede dayly, vpon that swete herbe Moly with the blake roote and white floore, giuen vnto hym by Mercurie, to auoide all the inchantmentes of Circes. Wherby, the Diuine
od. m.
od. k.
Moly Herba.
Psal. 33.
Poete Homer ment couertlie (as wise and Godly men do iudge) that loue of honestie, and hatred of ill, which Dauid more plainly doth call the feare of God: the onely remedie agaynst all inchantementes of sinne.
'Shreds of forms' - Deformed:


Speculum Tuscanismi (1580)

Not the like discourser for Tongue, and head to be found out,

Not the like resolute man for great and serious affairs,

Not the like Lynx to spy out secrets and privities of States,

Eyed like to Argus, eared like to Midas, nos'd like to Naso,

Wing'd like to Mercury, fittst of a thousand for to be employ'd,

This, nay more than this, doth practice of Italy in one year.

None do I name, but some do I know, that a piece of a twelve month

Hath so perfited outly and inly both body, both soul,

That none for sense and senses half matchable with them.

A vulture's smelling, Ape's tasting, sight of an eagle,

A spider's touching, Hart's hearing, might of a Lion.

Compounds of wisdom, wit, prowess, bounty, behavior,

All gallant virtues, all qualities of body and soul.

O thrice ten hundred thousand times blessed and happy,

Blessed and happy travail, TRAVAILER most blessed and happy.

Ascham, The Scholemaster

**But I know as many, or mo, and some, sometyme my deare frendes, for whose sake I hate going into that countrey the more, who, partyng out of England feruent in the loue of Christes doctrine, and well furnished with the feare of God, returned out of Italie worse transformed, than euer was any in Circes Court. I know diuerse, that went out of England, men of innocent life, men of excellent learnyng, who returned out of Italie, not onely with worse maners, but also with lesse learnyng: neither so willing to liue orderly, nor yet so hable to speake learnedlie, as they were at home, before they went abroad. And why? Plato yt wise writer, and worthy traueler him selfe, telleth the cause why. He went into Sicilia, a countrey, no nigher Italy by site of place, than Italie that is now, is like Sicilia that was then, in all corrupt maners and licenciousnes of life. Plato found in Sicilia, euery Citie full of vanitie, full of factions, euen as Italie is now. And as Homere, like a learned Poete, doth feyne, that Circes, by pleasant inchantmentes, did turne men into beastes, some into Swine, som
Plat. ad Dionys. Epist. 3. The fruits of vayne pleasure.
Causes why men returne out of Italie, lesse learned and worse manered.
Homer and Plato ioyned and expounded.
A Swyne.
An Asse.
A Foxe.

aphrosyne, Quid, et vnde.
into Asses, some into Foxes, some into Wolues etc. euen so Plato, like a wise Philosopher, doth plainelie declare, that pleasure, by licentious vanitie, that sweete and perilous poyson of all youth, doth ingender in all those, that yeld vp themselues to her, foure notorious properties.

{1. lethen
{2. dysmathian
{3. achrosynen
{4. ybrin.
      The first, forgetfulnes of all good thinges learned before: the second, dulnes to receyue either learnyng or honestie euer after: the third, a mynde embracing lightlie the worse opinion, and baren of discretion to make trewe difference betwixt good and ill, betwixt troth, and vanitie, the fourth, a proude disdainfulnes of other good men, in all honest matters. Homere and Plato, haue both one meanyng, looke both to one end. For, if a man inglutte himself with vanitie, or walter in filthines like a Swyne, all learnyng, all goodnes, is sone forgotten: Than, quicklie shall he becum a dull Asse, to vnderstand either learnyng or honestie: and yet shall he be as sutle as a Foxe, in breedyng of mischief, in bringyng in misorder, with a busie head, a discoursing tong, and a factious harte, in euery priuate affaire, in all matters of state, with this pretie propertie, alwayes glad to commend the worse partie, and euer ready to defend the falser opinion. And why? For, where will is giuen from goodnes to vanitie, the mynde is sone caryed from right iudgement, to any fond opinion, in Religion, in Philosophie, or any other kynde of learning. The fourth fruite of vaine pleasure, by Homer and Platos iudgement, is pride in them selues, contempt of others, the very badge of all those that serue in Circes Court. The trewe meenyng of both Homer and Plato, is plainlie declared in one short sentence of the holy Prophet of God Hieremie, crying out of the vaine & vicious life of the Israelites. This people (sayth he) be fooles and dulhedes to all goodnes, but sotle, cunning and bolde, in any mischiefe. &c.

Oxford/Shakespeare/Comus (demonic eloquence - Comus a son of Circe)

Milton, John: Comus

118: COMUS enters, with a charming-rod in one hand, his glass in the
119: other: with him a rout of monsters, headed like sundry sorts of
120: wild
121: beasts, but otherwise like men and women, their apparel
122: glistering.
123: They come in making a riotous and unruly noise, with torches in
124: their hands.
127: COMUS. The star that bids the shepherd fold
128: Now the top of heaven doth hold;
129: And the gilded car of day
130: His glowing axle doth allay
131: In the steep Atlantic stream;
132: And the slope sun his upward beam
133: Shoots against the dusky pole,
134: Pacing toward the other goal
135: Of his chamber in the east.
136: Meanwhile, welcome joy and feast,
137: Midnight shout and revelry,
138: Tipsy dance and jollity.
139: Braid your locks with rosy twine,
140: Dropping odours, dropping wine.
141: Rigour now is gone to bed;
142: And Advice with scrupulous head,
143: Strict Age, and sour Severity,
144: With their grave saws, in slumber lie.
145: We, that are of purer fire,
146: Imitate the starry quire,
147: Who, in their nightly watchful spheres,
148: Lead in swift round the months and years.
149: The sounds and seas, with all their finny drove,
150: Now to the moon in wavering morrice move;
151: And on the tawny sands and shelves
152: Trip the pert fairies and the dapper elves.
153: By dimpled brook and fountain-brim,
154: The wood-nymphs, decked with daisies trim,
155: Their merry wakes and pastimes keep:
156: What hath night to do with sleep?
157: Night hath better sweets to prove;
158: Venus now wakes, and wakens Love.
159: Come, let us our rights begin;
160: 'T is only daylight that makes sin,
161: Which these dun shades will ne'er report.
162: Hail, goddess of nocturnal sport,
163: Dark-veiled Cotytto, to whom the secret flame
164: Of midnight torches burns! mysterious dame,
165: That ne'er art called but when the dragon womb
166: Of Stygian darkness spets her thickest gloom,
167: And makes one blot of all the air!
168: Stay thy cloudy ebon chair,
169: Wherein thou ridest with Hecat', and befriend
170: Us thy vowed priests, till utmost end
171: Of all thy dues be done, and none left out,
172: Ere the blabbing eastern scout,
173: The nice Morn on the Indian steep,
174: From her cabined loop-hole peep,
175: And to the tell-tale Sun descry
176: Our concealed solemnity.
178: In a LIGHT FANTASTIC round.
180: The Measure.
182: Break off, break off! I feel the different pace
183: Of some chaste footing near about this ground.
184: Run to your shrouds within these brakes and trees;
185: Our number may affright. Some virgin sure
186: (For so I can distinguish by mine art)
187: Benighted in these woods! Now to my charms,
188: And to my wily trains: I shall ere long
189: Be well stocked with as fair a herd as grazed
191: My dazzling spells into the spongy air,
192: Of power to cheat the eye with blear illusion,
193: And give it false presentments, lest the place
194: And my quaint habits breed astonishment,
195: And put the damsel to suspicious flight;
196: Which must not be, for that's against my course.
197: I, under fair pretence of friendly ends,
198: And well-placed words of glozing courtesy,
199: Baited with reasons not unplausible,
200: Wind me into the easy-hearted man,
201: And hug him into snares. When once her eye
202: Hath met the virtue of this magic dust,
203: I shall appear some harmless villager
204: Whom thrift keeps up about his country gear.
205: But here she comes; I fairly step aside,
206: And hearken, if I may her business hear.
208: The LADY enters.
210: LADY. This way the noise was, if mine ear be true,
211: My best guide now. Methought it was the sound
212: Of riot and ill-managed merriment,
213: Such as the jocund flute or gamesome pipe
214: Stirs up among the loose unlettered hinds,
215: When, for their teeming flocks and granges full,
216: In wanton dance they praise the bounteous Pan,
217: And thank the gods amiss. I should be loth
218: To meet the rudeness and swilled insolence
219: Of such late wassailers; yet, oh! where else
220: Shall I inform my unacquainted feet
221: In the blind mazes of this tangled wood?


'Shreds of forms' - Deformed:


‘Do you, O sons of Pompilius, condemn a poem which many a day and many a blot has not restrained and refined ten times over to the test of the close-cut nail’: Ars Poetica, II. 291-4

From _Strategem and the Vocabulary of Military Trickery_ Everett L. Wheeler

"Stealing" in English may have an immediate negative moral coloring, but the Greek kleptein (to steal, to deceive, to conceal) and its cognate nouns klope (theft, deceit, surprise) and klemma (theft, stratagem, fraud) portray a variety of nuances. The contrast between force (bia) and trickery (dolos) extends in a sense to the distinction in Greek Law between robbery (harpage) and thievery (klope) - once again a matter of open vs. secret means. The root definition of kleptein, moreover, is not "to steal" but "to act secretly". Hermes, particularly in his capacity as Hermes Dolios, was a god of stealth, whose trickery assumed connotations of magic. In fact, according to myth Hermes' talent for trickery was passed to Odysseus : Autolycus, Odysseus' maternal grandfather and a som of Hermes in post-Homeric sources, excelled all men in deceitfulness (kleptosyne). (snip)

The final group in the first category of the most frequent terms for STRATAGEM includes PANOURGEIN (to play the villain), PANOURGIA (villainy), and PANOURGOS (as noun: villain, rogue; as adjective: cunning, crafty, clever). This group of words in contrast to others in this category, lacks Homeric roots and originates in the Athenian theater of the fifth century BC. Villains of the stage display intelligence and cleverness, but misapply their creative talents for the wrong goals - hence a pejorative tone for these words. Plato distinguishes PANOURGIA from Sophia as knowledge divorced from justice and other virtue, while Aristotle makes a similar dichotomy between clever men who are prudent (phronimoi) and those who are panourgoi. The concession made to the intelligence of the villain appears in the coupling of PANOURGOS with other adjectives: for Demosthenes Philip II of Macedon is PANOURGOS and DEINOS (cunning and clever) in a negative sense. Plato links PANOURGOS to sophos only later to turn this positive association on its head, and the same technique is applied elsewhere, when he asserts wily men (POLYTROPOI) , such as Odysseus, owe this trait to their PANOURGIA and phronesis (prudence).


Panourgos -- all-working, villain, rogue, FACTOTUM, jack-of-all-

trades, ready-for-all-crimes



skilful, clever in a good sense, fit to undertake and accomplish anything, dexterous, wise, sagacious, skilful in a bad sense, crafty, cunning, knavish, treacherous, deceitful


Yes, TRUST THEM NOT, for there is an upstart crow, beautified with our feathers, that, with his Tygers heart wrapt in a Players hide, supposes he is as well able to bumbast out a blanke verse as the best of you; and being an absolute JOHANNES FACTOTUM, is in his owne conceit the onely Shake-scene in a countrie. – Greene’s ‘Groatsworth’


Shakespeare - The ADMIRABLE Poet - The WONDER of the Stage:

Those who were deinoi legein, "skillful in speaking and interpretation," assumed political superiority over the untrained idiotai, "laymen," whose reaction to the Sophists Voit describes as "the uncanny wonder of laymen at the expert, uncomprehended and out of reach." To be deinoi legein, that is, meant to be deinoi in general, flat out wonderful. Dionysius of Halicarnassus reports that Gorgias "astounded (Kateplexato) the Assembly," and lumps him with those who "confused the ordinary members of the audience (ton idioten) by using recondite and exotic words, and by resorting to unfamiliar figures of speech and other novel modes of exxpression" ("Lysias," 3). Plato satirizes Sophistic claims to deinotes in the opening of the _Apology_, where Socrates, the ironic layman, resists his accusers' insinuation that he is deinou ontos legein, "a skillful speaker" - "unless, of course by a skillful speaker they mean one who speaks the truth" (17B). Deinotes is thus equated with PANOURGIA, deception, a charge that echoes in Renaissance critiques of styles as sophistic. These charges, from Plato on down, are only in a minor sense aesthetic: they register anxiety about the political power the eloquent can wield. Those pursuing and defending admirable style in the late sixteenth century may have resurrected sophistic epistemology, which embraced contingency, but te power accruing to those capable of evoking wonder was at least as great an attraction, and was certainly the focus of most attacks.

(James Biester, _Lyric Wonder_, p.46)


To this grave doctor millions do resort

Satirical print – Martin Droeshout


Satirical broadside on folly that is to be found in all ranks of society: the interior of an apothecary's shop, with the doctor purging with a dose of wisdom a countryman seated on a close-stool who defecates foolish notions represented by asses and geese; a wealthy city merchant waits to be given a dose of plain-dealing; a young courtier's head is inserted into a furnace so that his idle pastimes go up in a cloud of smoke carrying playing-cards, a backgammon board, tennis rackets, musical instruments, extravagant clothes, etc.; a fashionably dressed woman holding a squirrel on a lead is about to follow in the place of the courtier. In a panel below are two clergymen, one complaining of the strain of running more than one parish, the other, who has received the doctor's purge, finding that the work of one parish is quite enough. 1620s; this impression 1672


The costume of the figures would seem to date to the 1620s, and this agrees with the known dates of activity of the engraver, Martin Droeshout, who has signed the sheet with his monogram: MD sculpsit. The earliest state of the present print to survive, however, was probably issued in the 1650s, bearing Peter Stent’s imprint alone, and is held in the Wellcome Institute collection.[2]

Added September 6 2015 -

Theognis' Octopus:

...The Demonax addressed in verses 1085-1086 (Theognidea) may be a real person - we don't know who - but it seems likely that the name embodies a type. Demonax is compounded from demos (district, people) and the Homeric word wanax, "lord" or "master". Demonax thus means "deme-lord" or "lord of the people," and suggests the type of an old-fashioned aristocrat whose traditional, archaic code of honor, like that of the Homeric heroes (with the possible exception of Odysseus), renders him inflexible, atropos, and thus unable to cope especially well with the shifting social relations and incresingly complex politics of the polis of the seventh to fifth century. Much is "heavy" for Demonax to bear these days.
     What Demonax lacks is the "skillfulness," the sophia, that Theognis invokes for himself in verses 213-218: the ability to be like the octopus - the polypous, or polypos (in poetic diction) - which can alter itself to meet its circumstances, and which is the very opposite of atropia. Indeed the name polypous, which can also mean 'polyp' in the sense of an amorphous growth, suggests the octopus's power to change not only its color but even its shape, as it passes through narrow crevices and passages in rocks where bonier, stiffer creatures would get stuck. Lacking, then, the octopus's sophia, Demonax does not "know how" (epistei) to adjust his "will" to changing situations or to discipline his "will" to present a variegated, "many-colored ethos" adapted to the "tempers" of his interlocutors. Note that "many colored," poikilon, can also be rendered (in different contexts) as "dappled, embroidered, in-wrought, intricate, adorned, diversified, changeful, various, subtle, differing"; note as well that "tempers," orgai, can also be rendered as "angers, passions, moods, dispositions." The word translated as "will" in these verses, thymos, more generally signifies "heart" as the seat of emotions, desires and intentionalities, or even "soul" or "spirit" as the source of animate energies. As "spirit" or "spiritedness," moreover, thymos can signify "anger" or "passion." The word I translate as "heart," kardia, signifies the physical organ but also, metaphorically, the seat of emotional response (with its bodily concomitants).
     We have, in sum, a set of overlapping terms that adumbrate notions of emotionality, intentionality, and ethical performance. Demonax's problem is his lack of sophia sufficient to discipline his thymos and his consequent lack of a range of performative possibilities, his atropia - and very probably, as a result, a propensity for displays of imperious, overbearing hubris, which, as we have seen, Theognis elsewhere treats as the major source of injustice, turmoil, and factional strife in the politics of Megara. Or we might say that Demonax's thymos in itself insufficiently skilled, insufficiently trained in a sophia that would enable him to desire and intend a greater range of performative possibilities in his realtions with persons of differing "tempers." (note - humours?) He has a limited emotional and ethical repertoire. He needs a poikilon eithos, or indeed a poikilos thymos.
     As Bruno Gentili has pointed out, Theognis's octopus can be seen, on one hand, as an emblem of a code of savoir faire for the noble who needs to exercise "adroitness" in the management of his public life and, on the other hand, as an emblem of the sixth-century poet's relations with different audiences, including the "friends" and patrons with whom he associates and for whom he performs. Either way, the octopus signifies what we can call the rhetoricity of both the poet's and the noble's need to adapt their discourse and their self-presentation to the exigencies, opportunities, and limits afforded by the situations in which they must present themselves. In this way, the poet's own skill at such rhetorical adaptation can itself be understood as a model of the sophia required for the ruling elites within the polis - just as, in Hesiod's "Hymn to the Muses," the epideictic discourse of the poet is seen to provide the stable, rehearsable paradigms of eloquence and wisdom for the public speech of the basileus whose persuasive utterance resolves disputes with "straight justice" before they can degenerate into cycles of vendetta. The octopus-like rhetorical sophia that Theognis both invokes for himself as poet and models for his audience of upper-class Megarians is, moreover, more than just a matter of superficial social skill (although it includes that ). It is also, and crucially, a matter of profound political necessity, because it impolies a principle of answerability that can enable the negotiation of competing interests within the polis both elite and popular, according to some mutually acceptable accounting of dike, "the right" (which, of course, may itself become an object of negotiation or dispute). That is, the octopus's rhetorical sophia provides a principle that can prevent an agon of competing interests from hardening into factional polemics and degenerating into civil strife and bloodshed, wiht hubristic atropia the ruling ethic on all sides. Theognis's verse, addressed to his noble audience while evoking the "straight path" of justice between factional extremes, attmepts to speak as the voice of this sophia.

Walker, Jeffrey - Rhetoric and Poetics in Antiquity

Author: A. D. B., fl. 1619.
Title: The court of the most illustrious and most magnificent Iames, the first King of Great-Britaine, France, and Ireland: &c. VVith diuers rules, most pure precepts, and selected definitions liuely delineated.
Date: 1619 
...But peraduenture thou wilt obiect and say, a Courtier must haue a cloake against euery winde that bloweth: In|deede I heare it, and it griues me that I heare it, yet I can hardly, and in truth very hardly, denie and gainsay it. For Courtierrs had neede to apply and confirme them|selues, to all occasions, and to the conditions of them with whome they liue; to bee subtill and craftie both in their Genius and disposition, and more mutable and vari|able than Proteus himselfe. But heere I must intreate the reader that he would not entertaine such a thought of me, as that, what is now to this purpose said or written is out of any enuie; peraduenture I haue writ somwhat too freely, (which if so) yet truly tis free from all malignant bitternesse. And indeede if wee will consider one thing with another, who is hee that knowes not that there be those in a Court, who at the first sight doe seeme to haue in them much grauity, literature, and singular humanity, and yet for all this being deepely diu'd into, and narrow|ly obserued are knowne vnder these beautifull, and spe|tious outsides and vales of vertue, to couer and keepe se|cret the deadly poyson of flattery? And with good rea|son, for the Court is the flatterers stage or Theatre where|in hee still doth practise, to adapt and fit himselfe to all assayes excelling POLYPUS  farre, yea and the Cameleon in change of coullours & mutability of conditions. Peren|nius endeauouring to enlarge and amplifie his pomp and power, brought Commodus the Emperor to his vtter ouer|throw, yea many other, haue by this hellish inchanting poyson, of flattery infatuated and finally ruinated many mighty monarches, potent and powerfullConquerors of kingdomes and nations.
The wise and well experienc'd Courtier hauing to doe with diuerse and sundry men, must as variously as warily beare and behaue himselfe with them all: which he may easily do if he be well acquainted with their qualities and conditions; but especially if he be wel seene in Histories, out of which he shall learne and discerne, that theGenius and disposition of the Spaniard is different to the nature and inclination of the Italian, the Italians to the French, and the French to the Germaines, and thence may the wise and politicke Courtier see and perceiue their variety and diuersitie. But what I now admonish and aduise thee of, I wish may be laid vp and kept safely in the most secret closet of thy heart and memory, namely, that there are a most pestiferous kind of Courtiers, who for filthie Lucre's sake, will auouch and confirme falshold for truth, who will prayse any thing which they haue by relation or report, either from the Prince, or Common people, whither it be honest or dishonest, yea, and which on the other side will with the Prince or people vilipend and dis|praise any thing whatsoeuer, be it nere so commendable, changing like POLYPUS not their superficies or outward collour, but euen altering their mind and vnderstanding with the change and mutation of their places of aboade. Certainly such Courtiers as these, do neuer take any care to keepe a pure or vnspotted conscience to God, nor a good report toward their neighbours. But let vs consider both Kings, Princes, & courtiers, yea al men both publike and priuate whatsoeuer, that there is aboue and about vs, an eare to heare, an eye to see, and a Booke wherein all our words and deedes are writ and recorded: and that therefore in whatsoeuer kind and condition of life we liue we especially choose and make choyce of pietie and in|teglitie, as our chiefe guides therein, and let vs be most cautelous and carefull that when we labour by all means to gaine the grace and fauour of our earthly Soueraigne, we thereby loose not the loue of our celestiall Sauiour. O let vs marke and remember this, that the conscience being maculate, and contaminated with sin and impietie begets a worme, which will gnaw there eternally: but contrariwise, that the conscience which is beautifull, spe|cious, and free from grosse enormities, doth wonderful|ly conserue, nourish, and cherish in vs the speciall grace and fauour of the Almightie.
Let the discreet Courtier also speake of his Prince when he is absent as though he where present; wouldst thou know the reason? with patience heare it, and I shall willingly shew it. Assuredly this is vndenyable, that al|most in euery Court, Enuy and Auarice, doe stand vp in a corner behind the painted cloth, but flattery, and Ambition will confront and out face thee, let the Cour|tier therefore I say be aduisedly vigilant, and that I may againe speake with Homer as formerly, a fronte & a tergo, that is, watch on all sides, For such will seeme in shew to be thy freinds, who indeed are nothing lesse, who artifi|cially and enuiously will coine and forge new termes & quaint phrases, thereby to induce thee to say somewhat touching thy Prince, all this while aiming and leuelling at no other marke, than that thou maist be induced either to make some ill report of him, or to intrap thee by some craftie or captious apprehension of thy speeches, where|in thou maist seeme to offend him absent, whereof had himselfebin present to heare, he neuer had made any ill construction. Wherefore let thetheCourtier beof  POLYPUS mind, to take vpon him diuers conditions and disposations, seuerall shapes, and shewes as time and place shall repuire, yet neuer digressing from equitie and honesie.

Author: Averell, W.
Title: A meruailous combat of contrarieties Malignantlie striuing in the me[m]bers of mans bodie, allegoricallie representing vnto vs the enuied state of our florishing common wealth: wherin dialogue-wise by the way, are touched the extreame vices of this present time. VVith an earnest and vehement exhortation to all true English harts, couragiously to be readie prepared against the enemie. by W.A. 
Date: 1588 
The Tongue.
Nay rather they are like the gaping Gulfe in Sicil, na|med Charybdis, which euer deuoureth, & is neuer satis-fied, or like the fire, that the more it hath, the more it still consu|meth: for Polypus had neuer more shifts, then y Back hath suites, nor the Camelion more cullers then y Belly Cookes.

Author: Baldwin, William, ca. 1518-1563?
Title: The last part of the Mirour for magistrates wherein may be seene by examples passed in this realme, vvith howe greenous [sic] plagues, vyces are punished in great princes & magistrats, and hovv frayle and vnstable vvorldly prosperity is founde, where fortune seemeth most highly to fauour. 
Date: 1578
The Polipus nor the Chamelion straunge, 
That tourne themselues to euery hue they see 
Are hot so ful of vayne and fickle chaunge 
As is this false vnstedfast commontie. 
Loe I alas with mine aduersitie 
Haue tried it true, for they are fled and gone 
And of an hoast, there is not left me one. 

(a man in hue, all hues in his controlling)
Flaccus's crow -- absolute Johannes factotum