Saturday, February 2, 2013

Oxford's Flatulence Signified his Inflated Asiatic Style

For some students and masters of rhetoric, a man's style was considered to be the mirror of his mind or the mark of his character. It was the outward expression of his inner self. Stylistic choices expressed inner states, and more importantly, ethical choices. Representations of Oxford's style or manners are therefore essential to understanding whether or not he was capable of writing the Shakespeare canon. In my opinion, the authorship question is best addressed at the level of form.

Despite being attacked in figure as effeminate and insubstantial fantasist, Oxford would not alter his elegant and imaginative style. For this he was castigated by the militant Protestant faction as 'mollis', an 'empty' Asianist, but like the noble Mark Antony, he would not abandon the Cleopatra that proved so fatal to his fame.

Moffett, Nobilis -

Having merely refreshed himself by these pursuits, Sidney devoted the greater share of his time and energy to philosophy and to the arts of observation, in which within a few years he so excelled that, having been crowned with the first and second laurels of the literati at Oxford, he both magnified and adorned the name of his ancestors. [...] The rest of the noblemen were left far behind; they showed themselves, indeed, only images and, as it were, ghosts of their ancestral families; they represented more truly a statue of Fortuna than a figure of an heroic breed.


...Rosalie L. Colie (1974) explores the styles of speech used in Antony and Cleopatra. Colie focuses on the contrast between the Attic and Asiatic styles of speech and how these styles were understood in the Renaissance as encompassing not just rhetorical patterns, but moral and cultural differences as well. Colie explains that Atticism, the style preferred by Caesar, is characterized by plain, direct speech, while Asianism, which is more sensuous, self-indulgent, and imaginative, is the style used by both Cleopatra and Antony. Furthermore, Colie examines the language Antony and Cleopatra use with each other, commenting that their love transcends conventional hyperbole; in their creation of new forms of overstatement, the lovers employ a language reflective of the instability of their love.

Oxford's Fart and The Decay of Eloquence:

Asiatic style

In the Neronian period, the surviving portion of Petronius' Satyricon begins midway through a rant in which the unreliable narrator, Encolpius, denounces the corruption of Roman literary taste and the Asiatic style in particular: "that FLATULENT, INFLATED magniloquence later imported from Asia to Athens has infected every aspiring writer like a pestilential breeze" (trans. Branham and Kinney). Quintilian accepted Cicero's attitude towards Asianism and Atticism, and adapted the earlier debate's polemical language, in which objectionable style is called effeminate, in his own De causis corruptae eloquentiae.

In his Institutio Oratoria (XII.10), Quintilian diagnoses the roots of the two styles in terms of ethnic dispositions: "The Attici, refined and discriminating, tolerated nothing empty or gushing; but the ASIATIC RACE somehow more swollen and boastful was inflated with a more vainglory of speaking" (trans. Amy Richlin). Pliny the Younger continued to profess the mixed style. The debate remained topical for Tacitus (as seen in Pliny's correspondence with him on oratorical styles in Letter 1.20) and contributes to the atmosphere of his Dialogus de oratoribus.

Asiatic gens - the race of Shakespeare's mind and manners
True-filed - Filed 'Vere' Style
empty or gushing - Shakespeare 'flowed with such facility' Shakespeare - bombast/inflated/theatrical
Falstaff - emblem of swollen style/concupiscence/carnal world/festival style - loved by youth Harry but incompatible with the gravitas and virtuous posturing of King Henry V.

Sir Toby Belch -Dost thou think because thou art virtuous there shall be no more cakes and ale?
Oxford's Fart:   bombast (synonyms) - pretentious language, flatulence, bluster, show, grandiloquence, magniloquence, hot air, bravado, boast, boasting, gasconade, rodomontade, puffery  

 Author: Salvian, of Marseilles, ca. 400-ca. 480.
Title: A second and third blast of retrait from plaies and theaters the one whereof was sounded by a reuerend byshop dead long since; the other by a worshipful and zealous gentleman now aliue: one showing the filthines of plaies in times past; the other the abhomination of theaters in the time present: both expresly prouing that that common-weale is nigh vnto the cursse of God, wherein either plaiers be made of, or theaters maintained. Set forth by Anglo-phile Eutheo.
Date: 1580

... I do not denie, but that writers inal their workes maie be plea|sant, so far forth as they be profi|table, and swarue not from hone|stie, and therein deserue commen|dation. But what praise maie they deserue who set forth those works which are vaine and naught, and conteine in them no matter of good example, who write of those things, which may corrupt the life of men, thereby making them worse by ten to one, than they were before they heard them?
What doe they leaue behind them? monumentes of wanton wicked life, and doting things for men of these latter daies. O Lord, how do those· wanton wordes of theirs intice vnto wicked life, and with a poisoned baite allure men to sinne! Their wanton speeches do pearse our secret thoughts, and
moue vs thereby vnto mischiefe, and prouoke our members to vn|cleannes. But some perhaps wil saie,  The Noble man delighteth in such things, whose humors must be contented, partlie for feare, & part|lie for commoditie: and if they write matters pleasant, they are best preferred in court among the cunning heads.
Cunning heads, whose wits are neuer wel exercised, but in the pra|ctise of such exploits! But are those things to be suffered and praised,  because they please the rich, and content the Noble man, that al|waies liues in ease? not so. A two legged Asse maie be clothed in gold, a man of honor maie be cor|rupt of iudgement, though by his auctoritie he maie seeme wiser than Socrates, whome Phoebus for
wisedome iudged to beare the bel. Those goodlie persons, if they be voide of virtue, maie wel be coun|ted like faire clothes ouer a foule wal; big bladers ful of wind, yet of no waight. Where wealth is abun|dant, pleasure is present: pleasure bringeth folie into estimation; and thereby the light of reason is vt|terlie extinguished.


 The distinction between attic and asiatic styles is prototypical. Attica was the northern area of Greece proper, above the isthmus of Corinth. What is called "asia" in "asiatic" is actually the city states that existed along the eastern Aegean Sea, roughly the coast of Turkey. These city states, along with some islands in the Aegean, were the birthplaces of the sophist movement, and the asiatic style was seen as emblematic of the sophists, rhetoric, and ornate delivery in the Gorgias sense. The attic style was seen as highly disciplined, terse, and straightforward. (r. Fred Kemp)

'Asianism' is a polemical concept developed by first century BC 'Atticists' - admirers of Attic, i.e., Athenian prose writers of the classical period (4th to 5th centuries BC) - to denounce later, Hellenistic departures from classical Attic style that first appeared in Asia Minor. 'Asianism' is, therefore, not a recent phenomenon, but the controversy it excited (classical versus postclassical, ancients versus moderns) has persisted throughout the history of rhetoric. (Footnote, Satirica, Petronius)


Oxford's pestilent fart and gorgeous deep bow combination serves as a dismissive emblem of his grandiloquent style.  


In Fulke Greville's biased account of the tennis-court quarrel, Oxford is depicted as 'empty', theatrical and unable to control himself - a man caught up in the flux of humour. He is not portrayed as distinctly 'effeminate' in style as in earlier criticisms (e.g. Harvey), yet other stylistic criticisms are present. Since Oxford is presented here by Greville in order to act as a foil for Sidney's Attic-style virtues (wholeness, substance/matter, manly simplicity and self-control) he is permitted to appear more threatening and dangerous, but as Greville makes clear, this advantage over Sidney is due to the fortune of his birth rather than any personal virtue. (Presumably Sidney's 'superiority' would not be displayed as effectively were he to face off with a mincing Osric - the literary equivalent of the Oxford of Speculum Tuscanismi.)

Sidney's style morphs through his career, theoretically moving towards an increasing gravitas. His sternness was rather theatrically expressed by his dramatic deathbed wish to have his works (youthful toys) burnt. Plainness and severity are also poses!

Timon of Athens


Sound to this coward and lascivious town

Our terrible approach.

[A parley sounded]
[Enter Senators on the walls]

Till now you have gone on and fill'd the time 2560
With all licentious measure, making your wills
The scope of justice; till now myself and such
As slept within the shadow of your power
Have wander'd with our traversed arms and breathed
Our sufferance vainly: now the time is flush, 2565
When crouching marrow in the bearer strong
Cries of itself 'No more:' now breathless wrong
Shall sit and pant in your great chairs of ease,
And pursy insolence shall break his wind
With fear and horrid flight.


"[If] the Matter be in Nature VILE, /How can it be made PRECIOUS by a STILE" -- Greville


Greville, _A Dedication to Sir Philip Sidney_

...And in this freedome of heart [Sidney] being one day at Tennis, a Peer of this Realm, born great, greater by alliance, and superlative in the Princes favour, abruptly came into the Tennis- Court; and speaking out of these three paramount authorities, he forgot to entreat that, which he could not legally command. When by the encounter of a steady object, finding unrespectiveness in himself (though a great Lord) not respected by this Princely spirit, he grew to expostulate more ROUGHLY. The returns of which STILE comming still from an understanding heart, that knew what was due to it self, and what it ought to others, seemed (through the MISTS of my Lords PASSIONS, SWOLN with the WINDE of his FACTION then reigning) to provoke in yeelding. Whereby, the lesse amazement, or confusion of thoughts he stirred up in Sir Philip, the more SHADOWES this great Lords own mind was POSSESSED with: till at last with RAGE (which is ever ILL-DISCIPLINED) he commands them to depart the Court. To this Sir Philip temperately answers; that if his Lordship had been pleased to express desire in milder Characters, perchance he might have led out those, that he should now find would not be driven out with any scourge of FURY. This answer (like a BELLOWS) BLOWING UP the sparks of EXCESS already kindled, made my Lord scornfully call Sir Philip by the name of Puppy. In which progress of HEAT, as the TEMPEST grew more and more vehement within, so did their hearts breath out their perturbations in a more loud and shrill accent. The French Commissioners unfortunately had that day audience, in those private Galleries, whose windows looked into the Tennis-Court. They instantly drew all to this tumult: every sort of quarrels sorting well with their humors, especially this. Which Sir Philip perceiving, and rising with inward strength, by the prospect of a mighty faction against him; asked my Lord, with a loud voice, that which he heard clearly enough before. Who ( LIKE AN ECHO, that still multiplies by REFLEXIONS) repeated this Epithet of Puppy the second time. Sir Philip resolving in one answer to conclude both the attentive hearers, and PASSIONATE ACTOR, gave my Lord a Lie, impossible (as he averred) to be retorted; in respect all the world knows, Puppies are gotten by Dogs, and Children by men. Hereupon those GLORIOUS INEQUALITIES of FORTUNE in his Lordship were put to a kinde of pause, by a PRECIOUS INEQUALITY OF NATURE in this Gentleman. So that they both stood silent a while, like a dumb shew in a tragedy; till Sir Philip sensible of his own wrong, the forrain, and factious spirits that attended; and yet, even in this question between him, and his superior, tender to his Countries honour; with some words of sharp accent, led the way abruptly out of the Tennis-Court; as if so unexpected an accident were not fit to be decided any farther in that place. Whereof the great Lord making another sense, continues his play, without any ADVANTAGE of REPUTATION; as by the standard of humours in those times it was conceived.


"The use of the term 'Attic' to describe a sparer, less elaborate style seems to have arisen in Rome as a response to the perceived Asiatic tendencies of Cicero and others . . .. Asiatic style is characterized as overly showy, theatrical, and effeminate. Cicero describes two kinds of Asiatic style, one marked by striking turns of phrase (sententiae), the other very rushing and abundant, and says that Hortensius used them both . . ..

"[T]he perceived differences between Attic and Asiatic rhetorical style correspond exactly to perceived differences between the landscapes of Attica and Asia and the resulting physiognomic and psychological contrasts attributed to their inhabitants. Attic oratory is implicitly associated with the hard-boiled work of farming in Attica, while Asiatic oratory is associated with the soft, sluggish body that the easy climate of Asia was thought to produce."

(Catherine Connors, "Field and Forum: Culture and Agriculture in Roman Rhetoric." Roman Eloquence: Rhetoric in Society and Literature, ed. by William J. Dominik. Routledge, 1997)


Hard-Boiled Sinewy Britain
Soft Nerveless Italy

Shakespeare nostrat

a native, if he be vicious, deserves to be thrown out of the commonwealth (Jonson).

hurled headlong into a stratford dunghill

Thomas Moffett

Nobilis or A View of The Life and Death of a Sidney

...Let them who may have the power to tell how, meanwhile , unsettled spirits strove within that single soul; for at one moment he [Philip Sidney] judged it inhuman to abjure the care of the body; at another moment not to proceed with his studies he deemed a reproach...And, to be sure, since he craved to be wise rather than to be strong, he would almost have failed in both had he not given himself over, though unwillingly, to recreation, and mingled, by way of spice, certain sportive arts - poetic, comic, musical - with his more serious studies. He amused himself with them after the manner of youth, but within limits; he was somewhat wanton, indeed, but observed a measure and felt shame. On that account he first assigned his Stella (truly and elegant and pleasant work) to darkness and then favored giving it to the fire. Nay, more, he desired to smother the Arcadia (offspring of no ill pen) at the time of its birth. And in it he so cultivated the comic that he avoided the scurrilous; he so pursued the dramatic that he shunned the obscene; he so composed satires that he nicely ridiculed satyrs full of vices and their little grandsons full of wantonness. The blindness, vanity and fickleness of Cupid, the harlots (allurements and banes of adolescents), parasites evilly gained, procurers evilly conditioned, the slippery ways of adolescence, the weak ways of youth, the wretched ways of age (upon which we cannot enter without peril, stand without irksomeness, or run without falling) - how cleverly in that work, most illustrious Herbert [note - Noblilis addressed to Sidney's nephew William Herbert], has he presented these for us, decked out and made odious! How, and with how sharp a sting, in a sort of dithyramb he has described, and censured, those Demaenetuses with white hair, goatish beard, phlegmy nostrils who pursue pleasures of love at an unseasonable age and do not put away voluptuousness from them until their property, business, loves and lust are at once extinguished, together with life! Having come to fear, however, that his Stella and Arcadia might render the souls of readers more yielding instead of better, and having turned to worthier subjects, he very much wished to sing something which would abide the censure of the most austere Cato. For, truly, let us read the Week of the great Bartas, made English by Sidney; let us contemplate the psalms of the Hebrew poet, ah, how choicely set forth, first explicitly and then paraphrastically, and distinguished, each one, by a new meter! When others, with dirty hands, strive to cleanse these psalms, they seem to seek a knot in a bulrush and (to put the matter in a word) while they polish they pollute. I pass over letters of most elegant style, in metrical and prose form, which he addressed to the Queen, to friends, but particularly to your honoured mother (inheritor of his wit and genius); if it shall be deemed well to let these epistles go into the everlasting memory of his race and of the republic of letters, may I die if, compared to them, Horace will not seems stupid, Cicero mediocre, and Ovid simply nothing at all, or weak.

Having merely refreshed himself by these pursuits, Sidney devoted the greater share of his time and energy to philosophy and to the arts of observation, in which within a few years he so excelled that, having been crowned with the first and second laurels of the literati at Oxford, he both magnified and adorned the name of his ancestors. [...] The rest of the noblemen were left far behind; they showed themselves, indeed, only images and, as it were, ghosts of their ancestral families; they represented more truly a statue of Fortuna than a figure of an heroic breed.

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.

In Cynthia's Revels, Oxford/Amorphus (Deformity) masks as Elegance. He loves Fantasy (Phantaste), who is disguised as Wit.


De Vere

For what more difficult, more noble, or more magnificent task has anyone ever undertaken than our author Castiglione, who has drawn for FIGURE and model of a courtier, a work to which nothing can be added, in which there is no redundant word, a PORTRAIT which we shall recognize as that of a highest and most perfect type of man. And so, although NATURE herself has made nothing perfect in every detail, yet THE MANNERS OF MEN exceed in dignity that with which NATURE has endowed them; and he who SURPASSES others has here SURPASSED himself and has even OUT-DONE nature, which by no one has ever been SURPASSED.


The subject of manners is really a subdivision of the general subject
of esthetics. Judgments about manners are made by applying the
principles of esthetic excellence to the field of human relationships
and personal conduct. Good manners are modes of behavior that are
fitting and appropriate to a particular situation; bad manners are
modes of behavior that are out of place in the same situation. *The
evaluation of fitness within a specific context is clearly an esthetic
process*. (Philip H. Phenix)


Manners are a kind of language, a "language of the act," which often
conveys meanings more effectively than can words.


Anthony Munday, *The Mirror of Mutability* (1579)

The Author's Commendation of the Right Honorable Earle of Oxenford


E xcept I should in freendship seeme ingrate,
D enying duty, where to I am bound:
W ith letting slip your Honnors woorthy state,
A t all assayes, which I haue Noble found.
R ight well I might refrayne to handle pen:
D enouncing aye the company of men.

D own dire despayre, let courage come in place,
E xalt his fame whom Honnor dooth imbrace.

V ertue hath aye adornd your valiant hart,
E xampled by your deeds of lasting fame:
R egarding such as take God Mars his parte,
E che where by proofe, in Honnor and in name.

E che one dooth knowe no fables I expresse,
A s though I should encroche for priuate gayne:
R egard you may (at pleasure) I confesse,
L etting THAT passe, I vouch to dread no paine.
E che where, gainst such as can my faith distaine.

O r once can say, he deales with flatterye:
F orging his tales to please the *FANTASYE* .

O f mine intent your Honnor iudge I craue,
X ephirus blowe your Fame to ORIENT skyes
E xtoll I pray this valiant Brittayne braue,
N ot seeming once Bellona to despise.
F or valliantnes beholde young Cæsar HEERE ,
O r *Hanniball* loe Hercules in place:
R ing foorth (I say) his Fame both farre and neere,
D out not to say, De Vere will foes DEFACE.


Preface to Shakespeare ,Paras. 41–80 Samuel Johnson (1765)

...It is incident to him [Shakespeare] to be now and then entangled with an unwieldy sentiment, which he cannot well express, and will not reject; he struggles with it a while, and if it continues stubborn, comprises it in words such as occur, and leaves it to be disentangled and evolved by those who have more leisure to bestow upon it.

Not that always where the language is intricate the thought is subtle, or the image always great where the line is bulky; the equality of words to things is very often neglected, and trivial sentiments and vulgar ideas disappoint the attention, to which they are recommended by sonorous epithets and swelling figures. 

But the admirers of this great poet have never less reason to indulge their hopes of supreme excellence, than when he seems fully resolved to sink them in dejection, and mollify them with tender emotions by the fall of greatness, the danger of innocence, or the crosses of love. He is not long soft and pathetick without some idle conceit, or contemptible equivocation. He no sooner begins to move, than he counteracts himself; and terrour and pity, as they are rising in the mind, are checked and blasted by sudden frigidity. 

A quibble is to Shakespeare, what luminous vapours are to the traveller; he follows it at all adventures; it is sure to lead him out of his way, and sure to engulf him in the mire. It has some malignant power over his mind, and its fascinations are irresistible. Whatever be the dignity or profundity of his disquisition, whether he be enlarging knowledge or exalting affection, whether he be amusing attention with incidents, or enchaining it in suspense, let but a quibble spring up before him, and he leaves his work unfinished. A quibble is the golden apple for which he will always turn aside from his career, or stoop from his elevation. A quibble, poor and barren as it is, gave him such delight, that he was content to purchase it, by the sacrifice of reason, propriety and truth. A quibble was to him the fatal Cleopatra for which he lost the world, and was content to lose it. 

It will be thought strange, that, in enumerating the defects of this writer, I have not yet mentioned his neglect of the unities; his violation of those laws which have been instituted and established by the joint authority of poets and criticks. 45

For his other deviations from the art of writing I resign him to critical justice, without making any other demand in his favour, than that which must be indulged to all human excellence: that his virtues be rated with his failings: But, from the censure which this irregularity may bring upon him, I shall, with due reverence to that learning which I must oppose, adventure to try how I can defend him.


The English nation, in the time of Shakespeare, was yet struggling to emerge from barbarity. The philology of Italy had been transplanted hither in the reign of Henry the Eighth; and the learned languages had been successfully cultivated by Lilly, Linacer, and More; by Pole, Cheke, and Gardiner; and afterwards by Smith, Clerk, Haddon, and Ascham. Greek was now taught to boys in the principal schools; and those who united elegance with learning, read, with great diligence, the Italian and Spanish poets. But literature was yet confined to professed scholars, or to men and women of high rank. The publick was gross and dark; and to be able to read and write, was an accomplishment still valued for its rarity. 65

Nations, like individuals, have their infancy. A people newly awakened to literary curiosity, being yet unacquainted with the true state of things, knows not how to judge of that which is proposed as its resemblance. Whatever is remote from common appearances is always welcome to vulgar, as to childish credulity; and of a country unenlightened by learning, the whole people is the vulgar. The study of those who then aspired to plebeian learning was laid out upon adventures, giants, dragons, and enchantments. The Death of Arthur was the favourite volume. 66

The mind, which has feasted on the luxurious wonders of fiction, has no taste of the insipidity of truth. A play which imitated only the common occurrences of the world, would, upon the admirers of Palmerin and Guy of Warwick, have made little impression; he that wrote for such an audience was under the necessity of looking round for strange events and fabulous transactions, and that incredibility, by which maturer knowledge is offended, was the chief recommendation of writings, to unskilful curiosity. 67

Our author’s plots are generally borrowed from novels, and it is reasonable to suppose, that he chose the most popular, such as were read by many, and related by more; for his audience could not have followed him through the intricacies of the drama, had they not held the thread of the story in their hands. 68

The stories, which we now find only in remoter authours, were in his time accessible and familiar. The fable of As you like it, which is supposed to be copied from Chaucer’s Gamelyn, was a little pamphlet of those times; and old Mr. Cibber remembered the tale of Hamlet in plain English prose, which the criticks have now to seek in Saxo Grammaticus. 69

His English histories he took from English chronicles and English ballads; and as the ancient writers were made known to his countrymen by versions, they supplied him with new subjects; he dilated some of Plutarch’s lives into plays, when they had been translated by North. 70

His plots, whether historical or fabulous, are always crouded with incidents, by which the attention of a rude people was more easily caught than by sentiment or argumentation; and such is the power of the marvellous even over those who despise it, that every man finds his mind more strongly seized by the tragedies of Shakespeare than of any other writer; others please us by particular speeches, but he always makes us anxious for the event, and has perhaps excelled all but Homer in securing the first purpose of a writer, by exciting restless and unquenchable curiosity and compelling him that reads his work to read it through. The shows and bustle with which his plays abound have the same original. As knowledge advances, pleasure passes from the eye to the ear, but returns, as it declines, from the ear to the eye. Those to whom our authour’s labours were exhibited had more skill in pomps or processions than in poetical language, and perhaps wanted some visible and discriminated events, as comments on the dialogue. He knew how he should most please; and whether his practice is more agreeable to nature, or whether his example has prejudiced the nation, we still find that on our stage something must be done as well as said, and inactive declamation is very coldly heard, however musical or elegant, passionate or sublime. 71

Voltaire expresses his wonder, that our authour’s extravagances are endured by a nation, which has seen the tragedy of Cato. Let him be answered, that Addison speaks the language of poets, and Shakespeare, of men. We find in Cato innumerable beauties which enamour us of its authour, but we see nothing that acquaints us with human sentiments or human actions; we place it with the fairest and the noblest progeny which judgment propagates by conjunction with learning, but Othello is the vigorous and vivacious offspring of observation impregnated by genius. Cato affords a splendid exhibition of artificial and fictitious manners, and delivers just and noble sentiments, in diction easy, elevated and harmonious, but its hopes and fears communicate no vibration to the heart; the composition refers us only to the writer; we pronounce the name of Cato, but we think on Addison. 72

The work of a correct and regular writer is a garden accurately formed and diligently planted, varied with shades, and scented with flowers; the composition of Shakespeare is a forest, in which oaks extend their branches, and pines tower in the air, interspersed sometimes with weeds and brambles, and sometimes giving shelter to myrtles and to roses; filling the eye with awful pomp, and gratifying the mind with endless diversity. Other poets display cabinets of precious rarities, minutely finished, wrought into shape, and polished into brightness. Shakespeare opens a mine which contains gold and diamonds in unexhaustible plenty, though clouded by incrustations, debased by impurities, and mingled with a mass of meaner minerals.

An heroic address to [Oxford], concerning the combined utility and dignity of military affairs and of warlike exercises.

This is my welcome; this is how I have decided to bid All Hail!
to thee and to the other Nobles.
Thy splendid fame, great Earl, demands even more than in the case of others
the services of a poet possessing lofty eloquence.
Thy merit doth not creep along the ground,
nor can it be confined within the limits of a song.

It is a wonder which reaches as far as the heavenly orbs.
O great-hearted one, strong in thy mind and thy fiery will,
thou wilt conquer thyself, thou wilt conquer others;
thy glory will spread out in all directions beyond the Arctic Ocean;
and England will put thee to the test and prove thee to be native-born Achilles.
Do thou but go forward boldly and without hesitation.
Mars will obey thee, Hermes will be thy messenger,
Pallas striking her shield with her spear shaft will attend thee,
thine own breast and courageous heart will instruct thee.
For long time past Phoebus Apollo has cultivated thy mind in the arts.
English poetical measures have been sung by thee long enough.
Let that Courtly Epistle 1 —
more polished even than the writings of Castiglione himself —
witness how greatly thou dost excel in letters.
I have seen many Latin verses of thine, yea,
even more English verses are extant;
thou hast drunk deep draughts not only of the Muses of France and Italy,
but hast learned the manners of many men, and the arts of foreign countries.
It was not for nothing that Sturmius , 2 himself was visited by thee;
neither in France, Italy, nor Germany are any such cultivated and polished men.
O thou hero worthy of renown, throw away the insignificant pen, throw away bloodless books,
and writings that serve no useful purpose; now must the sword be brought into play,
now is the time for thee to sharpen the spear and to handle great engines of war.
On all sides men are talking of camps and of deadly weapons; war and the Furies are everywhere,
and Bellona reigns supreme.

Now may all martial influences support thy eager mind, driving out the cares of Peace.
Pull Hannibal up short at the gates of Britain. Defended though he be by a mighty host,
let Don John of Austria come on only to be driven home again. Fate is unknown to man,
nor are the counsels of the Thunderer fully determined.
And what if suddenly a most powerful enemy should invade our borders?
If the Turk should be arming his savage hosts against us?
What though the terrible war trumpet is even now sounding its blast?
Thou wilt see it all; even at this very moment thou art fiercely longing for the fray.
I feel it. Our whole country knows it.

In thy breast is noble blood, Courage animates thy brow, Mars lives in thy tongue,
Minerva strengthen thy right hand, Bellona reigns in thy body, within thee burns the fire of Mars.
Thine eyes flash fire, thy countenance shakes a spear;
who would not swear that Achilles had come to life again?

I have had to fight, almost every night
Down throughout these centuries
That is when I say, oh yes, yet again
Can you stop the Cavalry?,_British_Columbia

And who—in time—knows whither we may vent
The treasure of our tongue? To what strange shores
This gain of our best glory shall be sent
To enrich unknowing nations with our stores?
What worlds in the yet unformed Occident
May come refin'd with the accents that are ours? (Daniel)



Samuel Daniel

Power above powers ! O Heavenly Eloquence !
That with the strong rein of commanding words
Dost manage, guide, and master the eminence
Of men's affections, more than all their swords !
Shall we not offer to thy excellence,
The richest treasure that our wit affords?

Thou that canst do much more with one poor pen,
Than all the powers of princes can effect ;
And draw, divert, dispose, and fashion men,
Better than force or rigour can direct !
Should we this ornament of glory then,
As the unmaterial fruits of shades, neglect?

Or should we careless come behind the rest
In power of words, that go before in worth ;
Whenas our accent's equal to the best,
Is able greater wonders to bring forth ;
When all that ever hotter spirits express'd,
Comes better'd by the patience of the north.

And who—in time—knows whither we may vent
The treasure of our tongue? To what strange shores
This gain of our best glory shall be sent
To enrich unknowing nations with our stores?
What worlds in the yet unformed Occident
May come refin'd with the accents that are ours?

Or, who can tell for what great work in hand
The greatness of our style is now ordain'd?
What powers it shall bring in, what spirits command?
What thoughts let out ; what humours keep restrain'd?
What mischief it may powerfully withstand ;
And what fair ends may thereby be attain'd?

The greatness of our style - purged of Oxfordian/Shakespearean scurrility and obscenity!

banish plump Jack, and banish all the world!


To Jonson

...Folly, and brain-sick HUMOURS of the time,
Distemper'd passion, and audacious crime,
Thy pen so on the stage doth personate,
That ere men scarce begin to know, they hate
The vice presented, and there lessons learn,
Virtue, from vicious habits to discern.
Oft have I seen thee in a sprightly strain,
To LASH a vice, and yet no one complain ;
Thou threw'st the ink of malice from thy pen,
Whose aim was EVIL MANNERS, not ill men.
(Hawkins, Jonsonus Virbius)


To Lash a Vice:
Fasces (pron.: /ˈfæsiːz/, a plurale tantum, from the Latin word fascis, meaning "bundle")[1] are a bundle of wooden sticks with an axe blade emerging from the center, which is an image that traditionally symbolizes summary power and jurisdiction, and/or "strength through unity".[2] Fasces frequently occur as a charge in heraldry, and should not be confused with the related term, fess, which in French heraldry is called a fasce.

The traditional Roman fasces consisted of a bundle of birch rods, tied together with a red leather ribbon into a cylinder, and often including a bronze axe (or sometimes two) amongst the rods, with the blade(s) on the side, projecting from the bundle. They were carried by the lictors who accompanied the magistrates. The fasces was an ancient Roman symbol of the authority of magistrates and the symbolism of the fasces suggested strength through unity; a single rod is easily broken, while the bundle is very difficult to break. The axe often represents the power over life or death through the death penalty, although after the laws of the twelve tables, no Roman magistrate could summarily execute a Roman citizen.[3] It was used as a symbol of the Roman Republic in many circumstances, including being carried in processions, much the way a flag might be carried today.


Judicious Fulke Greville (Hereditary Recorder of Stratford!)
Life of Sidney

...Neither am I (for my part) so much in love with this life, nor believe so little in a better to come, as to complain of God for taking him [Sidney], and such like exorbitant WORTHYness from us: fit (as it were by an Ostracisme) to be divided, and not incorporated with our corruptions: yet for the sincere affection I bear to my Prince, and Country, my prayer to God is, that this WORTH, and Way may not fatally be buried with him; in respect, that both before his time, and since, experience hath published the usuall discipline of greatnes to have been tender of it self onely; making honour a triumph, or rather trophy of desire, set up in the eyes of Mankind, either to be worshiped as Idols, or else as Rebels to perish under her glorious oppressions. Notwithstanding, when the pride of flesh, and power of favour shall cease in these by death, or disgrace; *what then hath time to register, or fame to publish in these great mens names, that will not be offensive, or infectious to others? What Pen without blotting can write the story of their deeds? Or what Herald blaze their Arms without a blemish? And as for their counsels and projects, when they come once to light, shall they not live as noysome, and loathsomely above ground, as their Authors carkasses lie in the grave? So as the return of such greatnes to the world, and themselves, can be but private reproach, publique ill example, and a fatall scorn to the Government they live in*. Sir Philip Sidney is none of this number; for the greatness which he affected was built upon true WORTH; esteeming Fame more than Riches, and Noble actions far above Nobility it self.

(Oxford and Shakespeare were 'idols', adored by the unlearned and undiscerning - Sidney was a pattern or example, emulated by the judicious.)

By which example the judicious Reader may see, that WORTH [Sidney] in every Nation finds her Country, Parents, Neighbours, and Friends, yea, and often, with more honour, dearnesse, and advancement in knowledges, than any pedigree of fleshly kindred, will, or can at home raise, or enlarge them unto. Nay to goe yet farther in this private instance; It may please the Reader to observe, how the same parallel of worth, in what age, or estate soever, as it hath power to win, so hath it likewise absolute power to keep. Far unlike those CREATIONS OF CHANCE, which hatch other birds egges; and by advancing men out of chance or complement, lose them again as fast by neglect. Contrary to which, even when diversity of years, courses of life, and fortunes, enforced these dear Friends to divide, there yet passed such a continuall course of intelligence by Letters from one of them to another, as in their losse (if they be lost) there be buried many delicate images, and differences, between the reall, and large COMPLEXIONS of those active times, and the NARROW SALVES of this EFFEMINATE AGE: Because in this excellent mould of their friendship, the greatest businesses of Estate were so mixed with the sweet remissions of ingenuous good will, as men might easily discern in them (as unflattering glasses) that wisdome, and love, in good spirits have great affinity together. For a farther demonstration, behold even the same Languet (after he was sixty six years of age) fashioning himself a journey into England, with the Duke Casimire, onely to see that excellent Plant of his own polishing. In which loving, and unexpected meeting, I dare confidently affirm, neither side became loser. At the sea they parted, and made many mutuall tears omnious propheciers of their never meeting again. These little sparks of two large natures I make bold the longer to insist upon, because the youth, life and fortune of this Gentleman were indeed but sparkes of extraordinary greatnesse in him: which for want of clear vent lay concealed, and in a maner smothered up. And again to bring the CHILDREN of FAVOR, and CHANGE, into an equall ballance of comparison with birth, WORTH, and education: and therein abruptly to conclude, that God creates those in his certain, and eternall mouldes, out of which he elects for himself; where Kings choose creatures out of Pandoras Tun, and so raise up worth, and no worth; friends or enemies at adventure. Therefore what marvail can it be, if these Iacobs, and Esaus strive ambitiously one with another, as well before as after they come out of such ERRING, and UNPERFECT wombes?

Esau/Hairy/Caliban? Heel/Achilles

Oxford/'Infected' Will:

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.

Sidney, Defense

Neither let it be deemed too bold a comparison to balance the highest point of man's wit with the efficacy of nature; but rather give right honor to the heavenly maker of that maker, who having made man to his own likeness, set him beyond and over all the work of that second nature, which in nothing he shows so much as in poetry, when with the force of a divine breath he brings things forth far surpassing her doings, with no small argument to the incredulous of that first accursed fall of Adam, since our erected wit makes us know what perfection is, but our INFECTED WILL keeps us from reaching unto it.


Infected Will:

Cupid laid by his brand and fell asleep:
A maid of Dian's this advantage found,
And his love-kindling fire did quickly steep
In a cold valley-fountain of that ground;
Which borrowed from this holy fire of Love,
A dateless lively heat, still to endure,
And grew a seething bath, which yet men prove
Against strange maladies a sovereign cure.
But at my mistress' eye Love's brand new-fired,
The boy for trial needs would touch my breast;
I, sick withal, the help of bath desired,
And thither hied, a sad distempered guest,
But found no cure, the bath for my help lies
Where Cupid got new fire; my mistress' eyes.

The little Love-god lying once asleep,
Laid by his side his heart-inflaming brand,
Whilst many nymphs that vowed chaste life to keep
Came tripping by; but in her maiden hand
The fairest votary took up that fire
Which many legions of true hearts had warmed;
And so the General of hot desire
Was, sleeping, by a virgin hand disarmed.
This brand she quenched in a cool well by,
Which from Love's fire took heat perpetual,
Growing a bath and healthful remedy,
For men diseased; but I, my mistress' thrall,
Came there for cure and this by that I prove,
Love's fire heats water, water cools not love.

Harvey to Spenser, commenting on the 'English Poet' of Speculum Tuscanismi (Edward de Vere):

 Tell me, in good sooth, doth it not too euidently appeare that this English Poet wanted but A GOOD PATTERNE before his eyes, as it might be some delicate and choyce elegant Poesie of good M. SIDNEY or M. DYERS (ouer very CASTOR and POLLUX for such and many greater matters) when this trimme geere was in hatching: Much like some Gentlewoomen I coulde name in England, who by all Phisick and Physiognomie too might as well haue brought forth all GOODLY FAIRE CHILDREN, as they haue now some ylfauored and *DEFORMED*, had they, at the tyme of their conception, had in sight the amiable and gallant beautifull Pictures of ADONIS, CUPIDO, GANYMEDES, or the like, which no doubt would haue wrought such deepe impression in their fantasies and imaginations, as their children, and perhappes their Childrens children too, myght haue thanked them for as long as they shall haue Tongues in their heades.
Shakespeare, Venus and Adonis dedication to Southampton:

Right Honourable, I know not how I shall offend in dedicating my vnpolisht lines to your Lordship, nor how the worlde vvill censure mee for choosing so strong a proppe to support so vveake a burthen, onelye if your Honour seeme but pleased, I account my selfe highly praised, and vowe to take aduantage of all idle houres, till I haue honoured you vvith some grauer labour. But if the first heire of my inuention proue deformed, I shall be sorie it had so noble a god-father : and neuer after eare so barren a land, for feare it yeeld me still so bad a haruest...

Nashe _Unfortunate Traveller_ - dedication to Southampton:

...Incomprehensible is the height of your spirit both in heroical resolution and matters of conceit. Unreprievably perishes that book whatsoever to wastepaper, which on the diamond rock of your judgement disasterly [disastrously] chances to be shipwrecked. A dear lover and cherisher you are, as well of the lovers of Poets, as of Poets themselves. Amongst their sacred number I dare not ascribe myself, though now and then I speak English: that small brain I have to no further use I convert, save to be kind to my friends and fatal to my enemies. A new brain, a new wit, a new style, a new soul will I get me, to canonize your name to posterity, if in this my first attempt I be not taxed of presumption.


Jonson, _Volpone_, dedication

(...)For, if Men will impartially, and not asquint, look toward the Offices and Function of a Poet, they will easily conclude to themselves the Impossibility of any Man's being the good Poet, without first being a good Man. He that is said to be able to inform young Men to all good Disciplines, inflame grown Men to all great Vertues, keep old Men in their best and supream State, or as they decline to Childhood, recover them to their first Strength; that comes forth the Interpreter and Arbiter of Nature, a Teacher of Things Divine no less than Humane, a MASTER in MANNERS; and can alone (or with a few) effect the Business of Mankind: This, I take him, is no Subject for Pride and Ignorance to exercise their FAILING RHETORIC upon. But it will here be hastily answer'd, That the Writers of these Days are other Things; that not only their MANNERS, but their NATURES are INVERTED, and nothing remaining with them of the Dignity of Poet, but the abused Name, which every Scribe usurps; that now, especially in Drammatick, or (as they term it) Stage-Poetry, nothing but Ribaldry, Prophanation, Blasphemy, all Licence of Offence to God and Man is practis'd. I dare not deny a great part of this, (and I am sorry I dare not) because in some Mens abortive Features (and would they had never boasted the Light) it is over-true: But that all are imbark'd in this bold Adventure for Hell, is a most uncharitable Thought, and, utter'd, a more malicious Slander.

Superficial or Pragmatic Amorphus?

For , let your soule be assur’d of this
(in any ranke, or profession what-ever) the more generall, or major
part of opinion goes with the face, and (simply) respects nothing
else. Therefore, if that can be made exactly, curiously, exquisitely,
thorowly, it is inough


Oxford Underfoot
Shakespeare's Book - One of the spoils of history

Walter Benjamin:
Fustel de Coulanges recommended to the historian, that if he wished to reexperience an epoch, he should remove everything he knows about the later course of history from his head. There is no better way of characterizing the method with which historical materialism has broken. It is a procedure of empathy. Its origin is the heaviness at heart, the acedia, which despairs of mastering the genuine historical picture, which so fleetingly flashes by. The theologians of the Middle Ages considered it the primary cause of melancholy. Flaubert, who was acquainted with it, wrote: “Peu de gens devineront combien il a fallu être triste pour ressusciter Carthage.” [Few people can guess how despondent one has to be in order to resuscitate Carthage.] The nature of this melancholy becomes clearer, once one asks the question, with whom does the historical writer of historicism actually empathize. The answer is irrefutably with the victor. Those who currently rule are however the heirs of all those who have ever been victorious. Empathy with the victors thus comes to benefit the current rulers every time. This says quite enough to the historical materialist. Whoever until this day emerges victorious, marches in the triumphal procession in which today’s rulers tread over those who are sprawled underfoot. The spoils are, as was ever the case, carried along in the triumphal procession. They are known as the cultural heritage. In the historical materialist they have to reckon with a distanced observer. For what he surveys as the cultural heritage is part and parcel of a lineage [Abkunft: descent] which he cannot contemplate without horror. It owes its existence not only to the toil of the great geniuses, who created it, but also to the nameless drudgery of its contemporaries. There has never been a document of culture, which is not simultaneously one of barbarism. And just as it is itself not free from barbarism, neither is it free from the process of transmission, in which it falls from one set of hands into another. The historical materialist thus moves as far away from this as measurably possible. He regards it as his task to brush history against the grain.


Thy pyramids built up with newer might
To me are nothing novel, nothing strange;
They are but dressings of a former sight.
Our dates are brief, and therefore we admire
What thou dost foist upon us that is old;
And rather make them born to our desire
Than think that we before have heard them told.
Thy registers and thee I both defy,
Not wondering at the present nor the past,
For thy records and what we see doth lie,
Made more or less by thy continual haste.
This I do vow and this shall EVER be;
I will be TRUE despite thy scythe and thee.

 Author: Adams, Thomas, fl. 1612-1653.
Title: Diseases of the soule a discourse diuine, morall, and physicall. By Tho. Adams.
Date: 1616

Windinesse in the stomacke, and vaine-glory. Disease 16.

INstation in the stomake hath some correspondence with vaine-glory in the soule: a disease in either part of man ful of ventositie, where all the humour riseth vp into froth.


VVIndinesse is ingendred through flegmaticke hu|mours in the stomake; or through meates dissol|ued into vapours by deficiencie of kindely heate. The cause of vaineglory is a vaporous windy opinion of some rare quality in himselfe: which though it bee but an ato|mus, he would blow (like an Alchymist) to a great masse. But at last, it either settles in a narrow roome, or vanisheth into fome.

Signes and Symptomes.

SYmptomes of the corporall disease are a swelling of the stomake, empty belchings, much rumbling of wind in
the bowels, which offring to descend, is turned backe a|gaine. You shall easily know a vaine-glorious man: his own commendation rumbles within him, till he hath bulked it out; & the aire of it is vnsauory. In the field, he is touching heauen with a launce; in the street, his eye is still cast ouer his shoulder. He stands vp so pertly, that you may know he is not laden with fruite. If you would drinke of his wisedome, knocke by a sober question at the barrell, and you shall finde by the sound, his wits are emptie. In al com|panies, like chaffe he will be vppermost: hee is some surfet in natures stomake, & cannot be kept down. A goodly Ci|presse tree, fertile only of leaues. He drinks to none beneath the salt; and it is his Grammar rule without exception, not to conferre with an infetiour in publike. His impudence will ouer-rule his ignorance to talke of learned principles; which come from him, like a treble part in a base voyce, too bigge for it. Liuing in some vnder-staire office, when he would visite the countrey, he borrowes some Gallants cast sute of his seruant, and therein (Player-like) acts that part among his besotted neighbours. When he rides his masters great horse out of ken, hee vaunts of him as his owne, and brags how much he cost him. He feeds vpon o|thers curtesie, others meat: and (whether more?) either fats him. At his Inne he cals for chiekens at spring, and such things as cannot be had; whereat angry, he sups according to his purse with a red Herring. Farre enough from know|ledge, he talkes of his castle, (which is either in the aire, or inchanted) of his lands, which are some pastures in the Fairy-ground, inuisible, no where. He offers to purchase Lordships, but wants money for earnest. He makes others praises as introductions to his own, which must transcend; and cals for wine, that hee may make knowne his rare ves|sell of deale at home: not forgetting to you, that a Dutch Marchant sent it him, for some extraordinary desert. He is a wo~der euery where; among fooles, for his brauery, among wisemen for his folly. He loues an Herald for a new Coate,
and hires him to lye vpon his Pedigree. All Nobility, that is ancient, is of his allyance; and the Great man is but of the first head, that doth not call him, Cousin. When his beames are weakest, like the rising and setting Sunne, hee makes the longest shadowes: whereas bright knowledge, like the Sunne at highest, makes none at all; though then most resultance of heat, and reflection of light. He takes great paines to make himselfe derisory; yet (without su|specting it) both his speech and silence cries, Behold mee. He discommends earned worth with a shrugge, and lispes his enforced approbation. Hee loues humility in all men, but himselfe, as if hee did wish well to all soules but his owne. There is no matter of consequence, that Policy begets, but he will be Gossip to, and giue it a name, and knowes the intention of all proiects, before they be full hatched. Hee hath somewhat in him, which would bee better for himselfe, and all men, if he could keepe it in. In his hall, you shal see an old rusty sword hung vp, which he swears killed Glendower in the hands of his Grandsire. He fathers vpon himselfe some villanies, because they are in fashion; and so vilifies his credit, to aduance it. If a newe famous Courteg|hian be mentioned, he deeply knowes her: whom indeede he neuer saw. He will be ignorant of nothing, though it be a shame to know it. His barrell hath a continual spigot, but no tunnell; and like an vnthrift, he spends more then he gets. His speech of himselfe is euer historicall, histrio|nicall. He is indeed admirations creature, and a circum|stantiall [H] Mountebanke.


FOr the cure of the corporall disease, you must giue the Patient such medicines, as diuide and purge phlegme; with an extenuating dyet. To cure this windy humour of vaine-glory, S. Paul hath a sharpe medicine: That his glory Note in marg:  Phil. 3. 19.
is in his shame. Prescribe him, that the free giuing all glo|ry to God, is the resultance of the best glory to man. The counsell of both Law and Gospell meetes in this. Let not the wise man glory in his wisedome, nor the strong in his strength, nor Note in marg:  Ier. 9. 23. 1. Cor. 10 17. the rich in his wealth; but let him that glorieth, glorie in the Lord. That he hath nothing, (which is good) that he hath not receiued; and it is a shame for the Cisterne not to acknow|ledge the Fountaine. That the praise of good deserts is lost by want of humilitie. That there is none arrogant, but the ignorant: and that if hee vnderstood himselfe, his concei|ted sea is but a puddle, which euery iudicious obseruers plummet findes shallow, and muddy. That trafficking for the fraught of mens praises for his good worth, Hee suffers Note in marg:  Chryshom. 24 ad pop. Ant. shipwracke in the hauen; and loseth his reward there, where hee should receiue it.