Sunday, July 15, 2012

Chapman, the Droeshout and the Correcting Perspective

Shakespeare Engendered Deformity - Incongruous and Disproportionate Droeshout.

His Countenance Bewrayed his Conditions:

[Shakespeare's] lookes were like the pictures that are made,
To th'optike reason; one way like a shade,
Another monster like, and every way
To passers by, and such as made no stay,
To view [it] in a right line, face to face,
[It] seem'd a serious trifle.


As of a picture wrought to optic reason,
That to all passersby seems, as they move,
Now woman, now a monster, now a devil,
And till you stand and in a right line view it,
You cannot well judge what the main form is.

Here the "main form" must be distinguished from the false forms by what [Chapman] calls later in this passage "the right laid line/ Of truth" (7879). It takes the "judicial perspective" to understand aright.

(Adapted from Chapman and John Huntingdon)
Stratford Monument:







Jonson's Folio comments:


This FIGURE that thou here seest put,
It was for gentle SHAKSPEARE CUT,
Wherein the graver had a strife
With nature, to out-do the life :
O could he but have drawn his WIT
As well in brass, as he has hit
His FACE ; the print would then surpass
All that was ever writ in brass :
But since he cannot, reader, look
Not on his picture, but his book.


Horace Of the Art of Poetry - transl. Ben Jonson

...Most writers, noble sire and either son,
Are, with the likeness of the truth, undone.
Myself for shortness labour, and I grow
Obscure. This, striving to run smooth,
and flow,
Hath neither soul nor sinews. Lofty he
Professing greatness, swells; that, low by lee,
Creeps on the ground; too safe, afraid of storm.
This seeking, in a various kind, to form
One thing PRODIGIOUSLY, paints in the woods
A dolphin, and a boar amid the floods.
So shunning faults to greater fault doth lead,


Footnotes to Horace _Art of Poetry_

A Monstrous Figure:

"The word PRODIGIALITER apparently refers to that fictitious monster, under which the poet allusively shadows out the idea of absurd and inconsistent composition. The application, however, differs in this, that, whereas the monster, there painted, was intended to expose the extravagance of putting together incongruous parts, without any reference to a whole, this prodigy is designed to characterize a whole, but deformed by the ill-judged position of its parts. The former is like a monster, whose several members as of right belonging to different animals, could by no disposition be made to constitute one consistent animal. The other, like a landscape which hath no objects absolutely irrelative, or irreducible to a whole, but which a wrong position of the parts only renders prodigious. Send the boar to the woods, and the dolphin to the waves; and the painter might show them both on the same canvas.

Each is a violation of the law of unity, and a real monster: the one, because it contains an assemblage of natural incoherent parts; the other, because its parts, though in themselves coherent, are misplaced and disjointed."

Barbarous Shakespeare:

Jonson. Verse Prologue, _Every Man in His Humor _


THough Need make many Poets, and some such
As Art and Nature have not better'd much;
Yet ours, for want, hath not so lov'd the Stage,
As he dare serve th'ill Customs of the Age,
Or purchase your delight at such a rate,
As, for it, he himself must justly hate:
To make a child now swadled, to proceed
Man, and then shoot up in one beard and weed,
Past threescore years: or, with three rusty swords,
And help of some few foot-and-half-foot words,
Fight over York, and Lancasters long jars,
And in the Tyring house bring wounds to scars.
He rather prays, you will be pleas'd to see
One such to day, as other plays should be;
Where neither Chorus wafts you o're the seas,
Nor creaking Throne comes down, the boys to please;
Nor nimble Squib is seen, to make afeard
The Gentlewomen; nor roul'd Bullet heard
To say, it Thunders; nor tempestuous Drum
Rumbles, to tell you when the Storm doth come;
But Deeds, and Language, such as men do use:
And Persons, such as Comœdy would chuse,
When she would shew an Image of the Times,
And sport with Humane Follies, not with Crimes.
Except, we make 'em such by loving still
Our popular Errors, when we know th' are ill.
I mean such Errors as you'll all confess
By laughing at them, they deserve no less:
Which when you heartily do, there's hope left, then,
You, that have so grac'd Monsters, may like Men.


Virtues obscured: George Chapman's social strategy

by John Huntington;col1

...For Chapman conventional terms from the lexicon of moral education, "nobility" and "virtue" in particular, take on a special meaning. The letter to Roydon before The Shadow of Night singles out three noblemen for special praise:

But I stay this spleene when I remember my good Mat[thew]
how joyfully oftentimes you reported unto me, that most ingenious
Darbie, deepe searching Northumberland, and skill-imbracing
heire of Hunsdon had most profitably entertained
learning in themselves to the vitall warmth of freezing science,
& to the admirable luster of their true Nobilitie, whose
high deserving vertues may cause me hereafter strike that fire
out of darknesse, which the brightest Day shall envie for
beautie" (Poems 19, emphasis added).

We are at one of those points about which Bourdieu has alerted us when social distinctions are being signaled in what might appear as a typical and unproblematic locution. In declaring these men's learning, rather than their wealth, lineage, or power, as the source of their "vertue" and "true Nobility," Chapman is echoing Nenna of Bari's Nennio or a Treatise of Nobility (William Jones's translation appeared in the following year with a commendatory sonnet by Chapman) which defines "true nobility" as "the virtues of the mind," in opposition to the claims of "nobility of blood."(25) These may be noblemen in the common sense, but they are more importantly men of "light bearing intellect" who will, along with Roydon, make an appropriate audience for the difficult poems that follow.(26) Chapman's conventional sounding praise has a social barb. While the theme of noblesse that he invokes is a commonplace in which the aristocracy can easily find a flattering reflection of its own moral worth, the logic behind it, that "the virtues of the mind" constitute the "true nobility," can be read as a challenge to arbitrary privileges, whether of wealth or of family. It is this more resentful and disruptive idea that inspires Chapman's work, yet Chapman is always careful to speak it in such an ambiguous way that its social implications can be denied if need be.(27) This ambiguity has meant that, as Bourdieu warns us, the social meaning, which would be so delicately obvious to Chapman's contemporaries, has been invisible to us, and we have read him as simply an aristocratic moralist.

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.


Euphues and his England - Lyly

After they had gone long, seeing themselves almost benighted determined to make the next house their inn, and espying in their way, even at hand, a very pleasant garden, drew near; where they saw a comely old man as busy as a bee among his bees, whose countenance bewrayed his conditions. (p.232 Croll and Clemons)

(footnote - conditions: character, disposition, habits of thought and conduct. )

Virtues obscured: George Chapman's social strategy

by John Huntington (con't.)

...Chapman's favorite image to explain how such ambiguity works is the "perspective picture," an optical illusion for which a different angle of vision reveals a different image.(28) Thus:

[Religion's] lookes were like the pictures that are made,
To th'optike reason; one way like a shade,
Another monster like, and every way
To passers by, and such as made no stay,
To view her in a right line, face to face,
She seem'd a serious trifle.

(Poems, 276: 173-78)

Here is a picture of how Chapman's poetry itself operates; it depicts a truth that to the casual and untrained observer seems a monster. The hasty reader, "such as made no stay," sees "a serious trifle."(29) Religion serves more than one function, and the genius of the perspective picture in this case is to depict both. At other times, as in Chabot, one image is true and the other false:

As of a picture wrought to optic reason,
That to all passersby seems, as they move,
Now woman, now a monster, now a devil,
And till you stand and in a right line view it,
You cannot well judge what the main form is.(30)

Here the "main form" must be distinguished from the false forms by what he calls later in this passage "the right laid line/ Of truth" (7879). It takes the "judicial perspective" to understand aright.

But more confusing still is the false image that is identical with the true. We see such identity/difference at the end of Chapman's translation of Virgil's epigram of a "sleight man" whose

imperfections yet are hid in sleight,
Of the felt darknesse, breath'd out by deceipt,
The truly learn'd, is likewise hid, and failes
To pierce eyes vulgar, but with other vailes.
And they are the divine beames, truth cast round
About his beauties, that do quite confound
Sensual beholders.
(Poems 231-32: 59-65, emphasis added)

The sleight man and the learned man are similarly hidden, one by cunning, the other by brilliance. Yet, as is typical of Chapman, the absolutely central distinction between the basest and the most valued is confused and is impenetrable to those "Sensual beholders" without inspiration.

For Chapman poetry itself partakes of such doubleness at its very core, for authentic inspiration and its parody, insania, appear identical. As he puts it in his introduction to The Memorable Masque of the Middle Temple:

This Hill of the Muses (which all men must clime in the regular
way, to Truth) is said of ould, to be forcked. And the two
points of it, parting at the Top; are Insania, and divinus furor.
Insania, is that which every Ranck-brainde writer; and judge of

Poeticall writing, is rapt withal; when tree presumes either to
write or censure the height of Poesie; and that transports him
with humor, vaine-glory and pride, most prophane and
sacrilegious: when divinus furor, makes gentle, and noble, the
never so truly-inspired writer. . . .(31)

This paraphrase of Ficino's "Epitome" of Ion expresses a central figure of Chapman's poetics: divine furor is the only genuine source of poetry, but it is shadowed by an insania that is entirely without spiritual value, but is at times indistinguishable from divine furor. One state can always be read as another, divine furor as insania, or vice versa.(32) This identity/difference represents a deep habit of Chapman's thought; the true and valued is veiled by appearing as its opposite and will be overlooked and misjudged by the ignorant. Like charismatic aesthetics, such obscurity distinguishes between social groups by appealing to deep structures of understanding that those who are excluded do not comprehend or may not even know to exist.

The Returne from Parnassus
Act III Scene I

Ingenioso : (to audience) Now gentlemen you may laugh
if you will, for here comes a gull.

Gullio (comes on practising great sweeps with his
sword?) This rapier I bought when I sojourned in the
University of Padua. By the heavens, it's a pure toledo. It
was the death of a Pollonian, a German and a Dutchman,
because they would not pledge the health of England.

(lunges dramatically)

Ingenioso : (aside) He was never any further than
Flushing, and then he came home sick of the scurveys. -
Surely, sir, a notable exploit, worthy to be chronicled! But
had you any witness of your valiancy?

Gullio Why, I could never abide to fight privately,
because I would not have obscurity so familiar with my
virtues. Since my arrival in England (which is now six
months I take since) I had been the death of one of our
puling Littletonians for passing by me in the Moorefields
unsaluted, but that there was no historiographer by to have
recorded it.

Ingenioso Please you now, sir, to lay the reins on the neck
of your virtuous disposition, you have gotten a suppliant
poet that will teach mossy posterity to know how that this
earth in such a reign was blessed with a young Jupiter.

Gullio I'faith I care not for fame, but valour and virtue
will be spoken of in spite of oblivion. Had I cared for that
prating Echo, fame, my exploits at Cosmopolis, at Cadiz, at
Portingale voyage, and now very lately in Ireland had been
jetting ere this through every by-street, and talked of as well
at the wheel of a country maid as the tilts and tournaments
of the court.

Ingenioso I dare swear your worship escaped knighting
very hardly.

Gullio: (tetchily) That's but a petty requital to good
deserts. He that esteems me of less worth than a knight is a
peasant, and a gull! Give me a new knight of them all, in
fence school at a Nimbrocado or at a Stocado. Sir Oliuer,
Sir Randal - base, base chamberterms! I am saluted every
morning by the name of, Good morrow captain, my sword
is at your service!

Ingenioso Good faith, an honourable title. - Why, this is
the life of a man - to command a quick rapier in a tavern, to
blow two or three simple fellows out of a room with a
valiant oath, to bestow more smoke on the world with the
draught of a pipe of tobacco than proceeds from the
chimney of a solitary hall! But say, sir, you were telling me a
tale even now of your Helen, your Venus, that better part of
your amorous soul...

Gullio Well remembered. Aetas prima canit venere,
postrema tumultus: since soldiery is not regarded I'll make
the ladies happy with enjoying my youth, and hang up my
sword and buckler to the beholders. Among many dainty
court nymphs that with petitioning looks have sued for my
love, it pleased me to bestow love, this pleasing fire, upon
Lady Lesbia. Many a health have I drunk to her upon my
native knees, eating that happy glass in honour of my

Ingenioso Valiantly done! Admirable, admirable.

Gullio And, for matters of wit, oft have I sonneted it in
the commendations of her squirrel. And, very lately (I
remember that time I had a musk jerkin, laid all with gold
lace, and the rest of my furniture answerable - pretty
sleighty apparel, stood me in not long past in two hundred
pounds) - the froward fates cut her monkey's thread
asunder, and I, in the abundance of poetry, bestowed an
epitaph upon the deceased little creature!

Ingenioso : (applauding politely) I'faith, an excellent wit,
that can poetize vpon such mean subjects. Every John
Dringle can make a book in the commendations of
Temperance, against the Seven Deadly Sins; but that's a rare
wit that can make something of nothing, that can make an
epigram of a mouse, and an epitaph on a monkey. But, love
is very costly: for I have heard that you were wont to wear
seven sundry suits of apparel in a week - and them no mean

Gullio (Preening)Tush! man, at the court I think I should
grow lousy if I wore less than two a day.

Ingenioso : (aside) The devil of a suit hath he but this,
and that's not paid for yet.

Gullio I am never seen at the court twice in one suit of
apparel! That's base. As for boots, I never wore one pair
above two hours; as for bands, stockings, and handkerchiefs
- mine hostess, where my trunks lie near the court, hath
enough to make her sheets for her household.

Ingenioso I wonder such a gallant as you are escapes the
marriage of some countess!

Gullio Nay, I cannot abide to be tied to Cleopatra, if she
were alive. It's enough for me to crop virginity, and to take
heed that no ladies die Vestals and lead apes in hell. But
seest thou this? (Takes mysterious object from inside his
doublet, close to the heart. When Ingenioso puts a hand
towards it Gullio snatches it away) O, touch it not! it is
divine. Why man, it was a humble retainer to her busk.(They
both gaze on it with silent admiration.) And here is another
favour which I snatched from her, as I was in a
gentlemanlike courtesy tying of her shoe strings.. It is my
nature to be debonair with fair ladies, and vouchsafe to
employ this happy hand (flourishes hand, kisses it) in any
service, either domestical... or private. ( knowing wink)

Ingenioso : (changing subject rapidly) Among other of
your virtues I do observe your stile to be most pure - your
English tongue comes as near Tully's as any man's living.

Gullio : Oh sir, that was my care, to prove a complete
gentleman, to be tam Marti quam Mercurio; insomuch that
I am pointed at for a poet in Paul's church yard, and in the
tilt yard for a champion, - nay every man enquires after my

Gnats are unnoted where so ere they fly,

But Eagles waited on with every eye.

I had in my days not unfitly been likened to Sir Philip
Sidney, only with this difference - that I had the better leg
and more amiable face. His Arcadia was pretty, so are my
sonnets; he had been at Paris, I at Padua; he fought, and so
dare I; he died in the low countries, and so I think shall I; he
loved a scholar, I maintain them - witness thyself, now:
because I saw thee have the wit to acknowledge those
virtues to be mine, which indeed are, I have restored thy
dylaniated back and ruinous estate to those pretty clothes
wherein thou now walkest.

Ingenioso (aside) Oh! it is a most lousy cast suit of his,
that he before bought of an Irish soldier. - (To Gullio)Durst
envy otherwise report of your excellency than I have done, I
would bob him on the pate, and make forlorn malice recant.
If I live, I will limn out your virtues, in such rude colours as
I have, that your late nephews may know what good wits
were. (does Gullio ostentatiously tip him here?) - Your
worship's most bounden!

Gullio Nay, I have not only recreated thy cold state with
the warmth of my bounty, but also maintain other poetical
spirits, that live upon my trenchers; insomuch that I cannot
come to my Inn in Oxford without a dozen congratulatory
orations, made by 'Genus-and-Species'(University scholars)
and his ragged companions. I reward the poor 'ergos' most
bountifully, and send them away. I am very lately registered
in the rolls of fame in an Epigram made by a Cambridge
man, one Weever - fellow, I warrant him, else could he
never have had such a quick sight into my virtues.
Howsoever, I merit his praise. If I meet with him I will
vouchsafe to give him condign thanks.

Ingenioso : (Fulsomely) Great reason the Muses should
flutter about your immortal head, since your body is nothing
but a fair inn of fairer guests, that dwell therein. But you
have digressed from your Mistress, for whose sake you and
I began this parley.

Gullio Marry, well remembered. I'll repeat unto you an
enthusiastical oration wherewith my new mistress's ears
were made happy. The carriage of my body, by the report
of my mistress, was excellent. (Strikes a pose) I stood
stroking up my hair, which became me very admirably, gave
a low conge at the beginning of each period, made every
sentence end sweetly, with an oath.(Ingenioso starts with
surprise at the thought of Gullio swearing oaths in front of
his mistress: Gullio smiles patronisingly) It is the part of
an orator to persuade! and I know not how better, than to
conclude with such earnest protestations. (He decides to
convince Ingenioso with a demo.)Suppose also that thou
wert my Mistress, as sometimes wooden statues represent
the goddesses; thus I would look amorously, (ogles
horribly) thus I would pace, (strides manfully about the
stage) thus I would salute thee.(sweeps into deep bow.)

Ingenioso : (groaning, aside) It will be my luck to die no
other death than by hearing of his follies. I fear this speech
that's a-coming will breed a deadly disease in my ears.

Gullio (beaming a 100-megawatt smile) Pardon fair lady,
though sick- thoughted Gullio makes amain unto thee, and
like a bold-faced suitor 'gins to woo thee!

Ingenioso :(puking) We shall have nothing but pure
Shakspeare, and shreds of poetry that he hath gathered at
the theatres.

Gullio Pardon mee moy mittressa,(is he trying to impress
'her' with some French?) ast am a gentleman the moon in
comparison of thy bright hue a mere slut, Anthony's
Cleopatra a black-browed milkmaid, Helen a dowdie.

Ingenioso Mark - Romeo and Juliet: o monstrous theft! I
think he will run through a whole book of Samuel Daniel's.


Thrice fairer than my self, thus I began,
The gods fair riches, sweet above compare,
Stain to all nymphs, more lovely than a man,
More white and red than doves and roses are:
Nature that made thee, with herself at strife,
Saith that the world hath ending with thy life.

Ingenioso : (rapturously, playing the mistress) Sweet Mr

Gullio As I am a scholar,
these arms of mine are long and strong
withall:(suddenly clasps startled Ingenioso in
passionate embrace)
Thus elms by vines are compast ere they falle.

Ingenioso : (still squeaking coquettishly) Faith,
gentleman, your reading is wonderful in our English poets!

Gullio Sweet mistress, I vouchsafe to take some of their
words and apply them to mine own matters by a scholastical
imitation.(Coming abruptly out of character and addressing
Ingenioso man-to-man.) Report thou upon thy credit - is not
my vein in courting gallant and honourable?

Ingenioso : (mopping sweat from brow) Admirable sans
compare. Never was so mellifluous a wit joined to so pure a
phrase, such comely gesture, such - gentleman-like

Gullio But stay, it's very true - good wits have bad
memories: I had almost forgotten the chief point I called thee
out for! New Year's Day approacheth, and whereas other
gallants bestow jewels upon their mistresses (as I have done
whilom), I now count it base to do as the common people
do. I will bestow upon them the precious stones of my wit, a
diamond of Invention, that shall be above all value and
esteem!... Therefore, since I am employed in some weighty
affairs of the court, I will have thee, Ingenioso, to make
them: and when thou hast done, I will peruse, polish, and
correct them.

Ingenioso My pen is your bounden vassal to command;
but what vein would it please you to have them in?

Gullio Not in a vain vein (titters at own joke; Ingenioso
feebly joins in) Pretty, i'faith! - make me them in two or
three diverse veins,(Ingenioso scribbles notes frantically) in
Chaucer's, Gower's and Spencer's, and - (Ingenioso
shudders, knowing what's coming) Mr Shakespeare's.
Marry, I think I shall entertain those verses which run like

Euen as the sun with purple-coloured face
Had ta'en his last leave on the weeping morn, etc.

O sweet Mr Shakspeare! I'll have his picture in my study at
the court.

Ingenioso : (aside, to audience) Take heed, my masters,
he'll kill you with tediousness ere I can rid him of the stage.

Gullio Come, let us in. I'll eat a bite of pheasant, and
drink a cup of wine in my cellar, and straight to the court I'll
go. A countess and two lords expect me today at dinner,
they are my very honourable friends, I must not disappoint