Sunday, August 11, 2013

Oxford's Admirable Style

Admirable or wonderful style is the point of intersection between the Earl of Oxford and Shakespeare. It also was a source of much of the conflict between Shakespeare and Jonson. Jonson mocked Shakespearean 'monsters' (ill-formed plays) in the manner of Horace, but also engineered a shocking attack upon Oxford by characterizing him as  Amorphus (The Deformed) of Cynthia's Revels. Cynthia's Revels represents the secretive production of courtly maraviglia/wonder - exposing the courtiers' admirable style as practiced and not innate/natural. Since the courtier's ability to inspire wonder and admiration was sometimes thought to be a sign of aristocratic identity - in Cynthia's Revels Jonson destabilized or deconstructed the aristocratic identity of the Earl of Oxford, figuring him as self-loving and foolish.


Admirable Wit: Deinofēs and the Rise and Fall of Lyric Wonder - James Biester

Abstract: When lyric poets in late Renaissance England responded to the demand for wonder in poetry and all courtly activity by astonishing audiences through style, they drew upon the Greek rhetorical tradition, which presents roughness and obscurity as coordinate methods of making style deinos, or admirable. In the Life of Cowley, Samuel Johnson also sees roughness and obscurity as coordinate qualities in the verse of the "metaphysical poets" he says erred in pursuit of wonder. Before admirable style went out of fashion, poet-critics praised its ability to provoke the audience's inferences and to transcend persuasión by "ravishing" the audience's will, precisely the effects that Demetrius attributes to the charaktēr deinos in On Style. Yet deinolēs is the term used to describe both the most powerful style and the clever style of sophistic epideixis, and this breadth of meaning helps explain both the rise and fall of wit.

Driven by the increasing identification of wonder as the telos of all poetry, and by Castiglione's demand that the courtier always aim to have "all men wonder at him, and hee at no man," lyric poets in the late sixteenth century astonished readers through style. Because lyric is by definition barred from employing the narrative sources of tragic and epic wonder specified by Aristotle - incredible episodes and marvelous recognitions and reversals - lyric poets focused on the stylistic sources of wonder Aristotle had identified in the Poetics and Rhetoric: unusual diction, metaphor, hyperbole, riddles and epigrammatic brevity. The Greek rhetorical tradition after Aristotle, placing an even higher premium on obscurity and roughness as elements of wonder or deinotes, helped nurture the later development of what seventeenth-century critics called "strong lines" and Samuel Johnson called "metaphysical style."

 Driven by the increasing identification of wonder as the telos of all poetry, and by Castiglione's demand that the courtier always aim to have "all men wonder at him, and hee at no man," lyric poets in the late sixteenth century astonished readers through style. (Biester)
 Jonson's 1616 Folio and his play _The Alchemist_ bore an epigraph adapted from Horace:
"Neque, me ut miretur turba, laboro: / Contentus paucis lectoribus"
- " I do not expend my efforts so that the multitude may wonder at me: I am contented with a few readers" 


Strong lines/admirable style:

 In Memory of Mr. William Cartwright.

...Thou didst not write
Warm'd by male Claret or by female White:
Their Giant Sack could nothing heighten Thee,
As far 'bove Tavern Flash as Ribauldry.
Thou thought'st no rank foul line was STRONGLY WRIT,
That's but the Scum or Sediment of Wit;
Which sharking Braines do into Publike thrust,
(And though They cannot blush, the Reader must;)
Who when they see't abhor'd, for fear, not shame,
TRANSLATE their BASTARD to some Other's NAME.
No rotten Phansies in thy Scenes appear;
Nothing but what a Dying man might hear.
John Berkenhead

 Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford
Letter to Bartholomew Clerke 1571

Dedication in Latin to Bartholomew Clerke's Translation of The Courtier (1571/1572)

... For what more difficult, more noble, or more magnificent task has anyone ever undertaken than our author Castiglione, who has drawn for us the 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. Nay more: however elaborate the ceremonial, whatever the magnificence of the court, the splendor of the courtiers, and the multitude of spectators, he has been able to lay down principles for the guidance of the very Monarch himself.
Again, to the credit of the translator of so great a work, a writer too who is no mean orator, must be added a new glory of language. For although Latin has come down to us from the ancient city of Rome, a city in which the study of eloquence flourished exceedingly, it has now given back its features for use in modern courts as a polished language of an excellent temper, fitted out with royal pomp and possessing admirable dignity. All this my good friend Clerke has done, combining exceptional genius with wonderful eloquence. For he has resuscitated that dormant quality of fluent discourse. He has recalled those ornaments and lights which he had laid aside, for use in connection with subjects most worthy of them. For this reason he deserves all the more honor, because that to great subjects -- and they are indeed great -- he has applied the greatest lights and ornaments.

For who is clearer in his use of words? Or richer in the dignity of his sentences? Or who can conform to the variety of circumstances with greater art? If weighty matters are under consideration, he unfolds his theme in a solemn and majestic rhythm; if the subject is familiar and facetious, he makes use of words that are witty and amusing. When therefore he writes with precise and well-chosen words, with skillfully constructed and crystal-clear sentences, and with every art of dignified rhetoric, it cannot be but that some noble quality should be felt to proceed from his work. To me indeed it seems, when I read this courtly Latin, that I am listening to Crassus, Antonius and Hortensius, discoursing on this very theme.

  Introducing Lyric Wonder to the Elizabethan Court

Steven May, _The Elizabethan Courtier Poets_

The New Lyricism

During the 1570's a body of courtier verse emerged that revived the emphasis upon love poetry as it had been introduced to the Tudor court by Wyatt and Surrey. Upon this revitalized foundation, amorous courtier poetics developed without interruption to the end of the reign and beyond. Unlike courtier verse of the 1560's, the new lyricism modeled itself primarily upon post-classical continental authors, from Petrarch to the Pl?iade. Attention to the classics remained strong, of course, but the ancients were assimilated into the new poetics almost exclusively in the vernacular. The courtier's immediate experience is often reflected in this poetry, although the exact circumstances behind it cannot always be identified, nor does this later work necessarily grow out of actual experience. From a literary standpoint this is perhaps the most important shift away from the trends of the 1560's. Subsequent courtier verse placed a greater emphasis upon artifice in its treatment of occasional subjects, while it increasingly strayed away from real events as the most respectable inducements for writing poetry. The movement was toward fiction and the creation of poems to be valued for their own sake, not merely for their commemorative function. As courtier poets ventured anew into the realms of fiction, they made possible once again the creation of a genuine literature of the court. Progress toward a golden age of lyricism was slow, especially with regard to form and the technical aspects of composition, but the shift in direction occurred suddenly during the period between roughly 1570 and 1575.

Although Dyer has been considered the premier Elizabethan courtier poet, that is, the first to compose love lyrics there, the available evidence confers this distinction upon the earl of Oxford. His early datable work conforms, nevertheless, to one of the established functions for poetry practiced by Ascham and Wilson. IN 1572, Oxford turned out commendatory verses for a translation of Cardano's _Comfort_, published in 1573 by his gentleman pensioner friend, Thomas Bedingfield. This poem differs from earlier efforts of the kind not so much because it appeared in English (as had Ascham's verses for Blundeville's book), but because his verses are so self-consciously poetic. The earl uses twenty-six lines to develop his formulaic exempla: Bedingfield's good efforts are enjoyed by others just as laborers, masons, bees, and so forth also work for the profit of others. Oxford flaunts a COPIOUS rhetoric in this poem in contrast with the more direct, unembellished commendatory verses of his predecessors. His greatest innovation, however, lies in his application of the same qualities of style to the eight poems assigned to him in the 1576 Paradise of Dainty Devices, pieces that Oxford must have composed before 1575.

DeVere's eight poems in the _Paradise_ create a dramatic break with everything known to have been written at the Elizabethan court at that time...The diversity of Oxford's subjects, including his varied analyses of the lover's state, were practically as unknown to contemporary out-of -court writer as they were to courtiers.

Oxford's birth and social standing at court in the 1570's made him a model of aristocratic behaviour. He was, for instance, accused of introducing Italian gloves and other such fripperies at court; his example would have lent respectability even to so trivial a pursuit as the writing of love poetry. Thus, while it is possible that Dyer was writing poetry as early as the 1560's, his earliest datable verse, the complaint sung to the queen at Woodstock in 1575, may itself have been inspired by Oxford's work in the same vein. Dyer's first six poems in Part II are the ones he is most likely to have composed before his association with Philip Sidney. ...Yet even if all six (of Dyer's poems) were written by 1575, Oxford would still emerge as the chief innovator due to the range of his subject matter and the variety of its execution. ...By contrast, Dyer was a specialist...Dyer's output represents a great departure from courtier verse of the 1560's, and several of his poems were more widely circulated and imitated than any of Oxford's; still, the latter's experimentation provided a much broader foundation for the development of lyric poetry at court. (pp. 52-54)


 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; but 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 the chest of papers captured by the Parliamentarians, and to the inner workings of the 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...

Edward de Vere to Thomas Bedingfield:

After I had perused your letters, good master Bedingfield, finding in them your request far differing from the desert of your labour, I could not choose but greatly doubt, whether it were better for me to yield to your desire, or execute mine own intention towards the publishing of your book. For I do confess the affections that I have always borne towards you could move me not a little. But when I had thoroughly considered in my mind, of sundry and diverse arguments, whether it were best to obey mine affections, or the merits of your studies: at the length I determined it were better to deny your unlawful request, than to grant or condescend to the concealment of so worthy a work. Whereby as you have been profited in the translating, so many may reap knowledge by the reading of the same, that shall comfort the afflicted, confirm the doubtful, encourage the coward, and lift up the base-minded mail to achieve to any true sum or grade of virtue, whereto ought only the noble thoughts of men to be inclined.
And because next to the sacred letters of divinity, nothing doth persuade the same more than philosophy, of which your book is plentifully stored: I thought myself to commit an unpardonable error to have murdered the same in the waste bottoms of my chests; and better I thought it were to displease one than to displease many; further considering so little a trifle cannot procure so great a breach or our amity, as may not with it little persuasion of reason be repaired again. And herein I am forced, like a good and politic captain, oftentimes to spoil and burn the corn or his own country, lest his enemies thereof do take advantage. For rather than so many of your countrymen should be deluded through my sinister means of your industry in studies (whereof you are bound in conscience to yield them all account) I am content to make spoil and havock of your request, and that, that might have wrought greatly in me in this former respect, utterly to be of no effect or operation. And when you examine yourself, what doth avail a mass of gold to be continually imprisoned in your bags, and never to be employed to your use?"


Cynthia's Revels, Jonson

 O vanity,
How are thy painted beauties doted on,
By light, and empty Idots! how pursu'd
With open and extended Appetite!
How they do sweat, and run themselves from breath,
Rais'd on their Toes, to catch thy airy Forms,
Still turning giddy, till they reel like Drunkards,
That buy the merry madness of one hour,
With the long irksomness of following time!
O how despis'd and base a thing is a Man,
If he not strive t'erect his groveling Thoughts
Above the strain of Flesh! But how more cheap,
When, even his best and understanding Part,
(The crown and strength of all his Faculties)
Floats like a dead drownd Body, on the STREAM
Of vulgar HUMOUR, mixt with common'st dregs?
 I suffer for their Guilt now, and my Soul
(Like one that looks on ill-affected Eyes)
Is hurt with mere intention on their Follies.
Why will I view them then? my sense might ask me:
Or is't a rarity, or some new object,
That strains my strict observance to this Point?
O would it were, therein I could afford
My Spirit should draw a little neer to theirs,
To gaze on novelties: so Vice were one.
Tut, she is stale, rank, foul, and were it not
That those (that woo her) greet her with lockt Eyes,
(In spight of all the impostures, paintings, drugs,
Which her Bawd custom dawbs her Cheeks withal)
She would betray her loath'd and leprous Face,
And fright th' enamour'd dotards from themselves:
But such is the perverseness of our nature,
That if we once but fancy levity,
(How antick and ridiculous so ere
It sute with us) yet will our muffled thought
Choose rather not to see it, than avoid it:
And if we can but banish our own sense,
We act our mimick tricks with that free license,
That lust, that pleasure, that security,
As if we practis'd in a Paste-board Case,
And no one saw the motion, but the motion.
Well, check thy passion, lest it grow too lowd:


Nay, 'tis most certain, Iras: saucy lictors
Will catch at us, like strumpets; and scald rhymers
Ballad us out o' tune: the quick comedians
Extemporally will stage us, and present 3660
Our Alexandrian revels; Antony
Shall be brought drunken forth, and I shall see
Some squeaking Cleopatra boy my greatness
I' the posture of a whore.

(Cynthia's Revels - 1600, Blackfriars, Children of the Chapel)
 Traduce \Tra*duce"\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Traduced; p. pr. &
vb. n. Traducing.] [L. traducere, traductum, to lead
across, lead along, exhibit as a spectacle, disgrace,
transfer, derive; trans across, over + ducere to lead: cf. F.
traduire to transfer, translate, arraign, fr. L. traducere.
See Duke.]

Effeminate actio repels him (Quintilian) Inst. 4.2.390: 'They bend their voices and incline their necks and flail their arms against their sides and act sexy (lasciviunt) in their whole style of subject matter, words and composition; finally, what is like a monstrosity (monstro), the actio pleases, while the case is not intelligible.' (Amy Richlin)

‘Male deformities’: Narcissus and the Reformation of Courtly Manners
in Cynthia’s Revels
in Ovid & the Renaissance Body
 By Goran V Stanivukovic
Mario Digangi \
...In this essay I want to pursue such an analysis by focusing on
Ben Jonson’s early comedy Cynthia’s Revels (1600), which offers
particular insight into the social and political implications of the
Narcissus myth for early modern English culture. Originally entered in
the Stationer’s Register as Narcissus, or the fountain of self-love,

this quirky satire of courtly manners represents Jonson’s ‘only
extended use of Ovidian material.: Jonson’s uncharacteristic recourse
to Ovidian subjects in Cynthia’s Revels suggests his recognition of
the Narcissus myth’s theatrical viability as a vehicle for satire.
While Narcissus never appears as a character in the play, the
Narcissus myth provides Jonson with vivid material for exposing the
transgressive bodily practices of unauthorized courtiers, especially
through the character of Amorphous (“the deformed”), whose affected
manners violate orthodox prescriptions for male aristocratic
comportment. The play’s ridicule of courtly affectation thus accords
with early modern interpretations of the Narcissus myth that primarily
associate self-love not with homoerotic desire but with effeminate
manners: a clear sign of social, economic and political transgression.
By contrast, the virtuously ‘masculine’ comportment of the true
gentleman, according to a particular strain of early modern political
ideology, justifies his status and exercise of power. Exposing
illegitimate courtiers as effeminate narcissists, Cynthia’s Revels
reveals the importance of an ideology of ‘civilized’ masculinity to
early-seventeenth-century constructions of political legitimacy

Cynthia's Revels/Narcissus, the Fountain of Self-Love:

Alciato's Book of Emblems
Emblem 69
Because your figure pleased you too much, Narcissus, it was changed
into a flower, a plant of known senselessness. Self-love is the
withering and destruction of natural power which brings and has
brought ruin to many learned men, who having thrown away the method of
the ancients seek new doctrines and pass on nothing but their own


 Because your beauty gave you too much satisfaction, Narcissus, it was
turned both into a flower and into a plant of acknowledged
insensibility. Self-satisfaction is the rot and destruction of the
mind. Learned men in plenty it has ruined, and ruins still, men who
cast off the method of teachers of old and aim to pass on new
doctrines, nothing more than their own imaginings.


Bertram,  _All's Well_, Shakespeare

 Where the impression of mine eye infixing,
Contempt his scornful perspective did lend me,
Which warp'd the line of every other favour;
Scorn'd a fair colour, or express'd it stolen;
Extended or contracted all proportions:
To a most hideous object: ...


[Dr.] Johnson routinely uses both "wonder' and "admiration" as terms for the brief pleasure evoked by strangeness, as Paul Alkon and William Edinger have shown: he defines "wonder," for example, as "the effect of novelty upon ignorance" (Lives, 2:303). The metaphysicals, who he says "fail to give delight, by their desire of exciting admiration," sometime produce lines that are "improper and vitious" through "a voluntary deviation from nature in pursuit of something new and strange: (Lives, 1:35. Admiration based on the unnatural, as he says when analyzing the burlesque in the Life of Butler, is doomed: "All disproportion is unnatural: and from what is unnatural we can derive only the pleasure which novelty produces. We admire it awhile as a strange thing: but when it is no longer strange, we percieve its deformity. It is a kind of artifice, which by frequent repetition detects itself; and the reader, learning in time what he is to expect, lays down his book: (Lives, 1:218) The strange, as Aristotle says, is admirable, but only, Johnson adds, until it too becomes familiar. By classifying metaphysical style as unnatural, novel, monsrtous, Johnson and others imply that it can please only until its forms of strangeness become predictable, it deviations a new norm.
Admirable wit's failure "to give delight" is strike three. Out of tune with influential accounts of intellection, passion, and pleasure, wonderful style loses its primary defense, its protean ability to present itself as fulfilling the three primary goals poetry had borrowed from rhetoric: teaching, moving, and delighting. Having outlived the social circumstances that made indulgence in it so appealing, and made self-representation as a quick wit both necessary and dangerous, admirable style could not outlive the critical assault that began to be directed at it early in the century, and intensified. Critics who viewed strong lines through a composite lens provided by Horace, "Longinus," and Quintilian saw the deinotes of the Sophists, not the deinotes that transports the audience. (Biester, James, Lyric Wonder, p.199)

Longinus - elevated style - tempest/raging sea (shake a stage?)

A voluntary deviation from nature in pursuit of something new and strange. (Dr. Johnson)

(Making nature afraid - Jonson)


Bartholomew Fair: Jonson

T H E I N D u C T I O N
S T A G E.

It is further covenanted, concluded and agreed, That how great soever the expectation be, no Person here is to expect more than he knows, or better Ware than a Fair will afford: neither to look back to the Sword and Buckler-age of Smithfield, but content himself with the present. Instead of a little Davy, to take Toll o' the Bawds, the Author doth promise a strutting Horse-courser, with a leer-Drunkard, two or three to attend him, in as good Equipage as you would wish. And then for Kind- heart, the Tooth-drawer, a fine Oily Pig-woman with her Tapster, to bid you welcome, and a Consort of Roarers for Musick. A wise Justice of Peace meditant, instead of a Jugler, with an Ape. A civil Cutpurse searchant. A sweet Singer of new Ballads allurant: and as fresh an Hypocrite, as ever was broach'd, rampant. If there be never a Servant-monster i' the Fair, who can help it, he says, nor a Nest of Antiques? He is loth to MAKE NATURE AFRAID in his Plays, like those that beget Tales, Tempests, and such like Drolleries, to mix his HEAD with other Mens HEELS; let the concupiscence of Jigs and Dances, reign as strong as it will amongst you: yet if the Puppets will please any body, they shall be entreated tocome in.

Harlequin-Horace, James Miller

 ...As to the following Piece, it is a System of the Laws of Modern Poetry establish'd amongst us by the Authority of the most successful Writers of the present Age, by which it appears that the Rules now follow'd, are in all Respects exactly the REVERSE of those which were observ'd by the Authors of Antiquity, and which were set forth of old by Horace in his Epistle de Arte Poetica. In a word, Sir, it is *Horace turn'd Harlequin, with his HEAD where his HEELS should be*; in which Posture we ween not but he will be well receiv'd by your worship, and in Consequence of that, by the whole Town.


In his _Discoveries_, in a discussion of the 'difference in wits' (remember Shakespeare's inability to self-regulate and 'rule' his wit), Jonson speaks against reckless artificers who 'make nature afraid'.

(In the difference of wits, note 10)

Not. 10.--It cannot but come to pass that these men who commonly seek to do more than enough may sometimes happen on something that is good and great; but very seldom: and when it comes it doth not recompense the rest of their ill. For their jests, and their sentences (which they only and ambitiously seek for) stick out, and are more eminent, because all is sordid and vile about them; as lights are more discerned in a thick darkness than a faint shadow. Now, because they speak all they can (however unfitly), they are thought to have the greater copy; where the learned use ever election and a mean, they look back to what they intended at first, and make all an even and proportioned body.
 The true artificer will not run away from NATURE as he were AFRAID of her, or depart from life and the likeness of truth, but speak to the capacity of his hearers. And though his language differ from the vulgar somewhat, it shall not fly from all humanity, with the Tamerlanes and Tamerchains of the late age, which had nothing in them but the scenical strutting and furious vociferation to warrant them to the ignorant gapers. He knows it is his only art so to carry it, as none but artificers perceive it. In the meantime, perhaps, he is called barren, dull, lean, a poor writer, or by what contumelious word can come in their cheeks, by these men who, without labour, judgment, knowledge, or almost sense, are received or preferred before him. He gratulates them and their fortune. Another age, or juster men, will acknowledge the virtues of his studies, his wisdom in dividing, his subtlety in arguing, with what strength he doth inspire his readers, with what sweetness he strokes them; in inveighing, what sharpness; in jest, what urbanity he uses; how he doth reign in men's affections; how invade and break in upon them, and makes their minds like the thing he writes. Then in his elocution to behold what word is proper, which hath ornaments, which height, what is beautifully translated, where figures are fit, which gentle, which strong, to show the composition manly; and how he hath avoided faint, obscure, obscene, sordid, humble, improper, or effeminate phrase; which is not only praised of the most, but commended (which is worse), especially for that it is naught.
 In the dedication of his play _Catiline_ (1611) to William Herbert, one of the 'Incomparable Brethren' of the First Folio, Jonson writes of his despair over the 'ignorance' of the age:

To the Great Example of H O N O U R and V E R T U E, the most Noble
E A R L of P E M B R O K E , L O R D C H A M B E R L A I N, &c.
M Y L O R D,

IN so thick and dark an IGNORANCE, as now almost covers the AGE, I crave leave to stand near your Light, and by that to be read. Posterity may pay your Benefit the Honour and Thanks, when it shall know, that you dare, in these JIG-GIVEN times, to countenance a Legitimate Poem. I must call it so, against all noise of Opinion: from whose crude and airy Reports, I appeal to that great and singular Faculty of Judgment in your Lordship, able to vindicate Truth from Error.

Jonson, Alchemist

To the Reader

If thou beest more, thou art an understander, and then I trust thee. If thou art one that takest up, and but a pretender, beware of what hands thou receivest thy commodity; for thou wert never more fair in the way to be COZENED, than IN THIS AGE, in poetry, especially in plays: wherein, now the concupiscence of dances and of antics so reigneth, as to run away from nature, and be afraid of her, is the only point of art that tickles the spectators. But how out of purpose, and place, do I name art? When the professors are grown so obstinate contemners of it, and presumers on their own naturals, as they are deriders of all diligence that way, and, by simple mocking at the terms, when they understand not the things, think to get off wittily with their ignorance. Nay, they are esteemed the more learned, and sufficient for this, by the many, through their excellent vice of judgment. For they commend writers, as they do fencers or wrestlers; who if they come in robustuously, and put for it with a great deal of violence, are received for the braver fellows: when many times their own rudeness is the cause of their disgrace, and a little touch of their adversary gives all that boisterous force the foil. I deny not, but that these men, who always seek to do more than enough, may some time happen on some thing that is good, and great; but very seldom; and when it comes it doth not recompense the rest of their ill. It sticks out, perhaps, and is more eminent, because all is sordid and vile about it: as lights are more discerned in a thick darkness, than a faint shadow. I speak not this, out of a hope to do good to any man against his will; for I know, if it were put to the question of theirs and mine, the worse would find more suffrages: because the most favour common errors. But I give thee this warning, that there is a great difference between those, that, to gain the opinion of copy, utter all they can, however unfitly; and those that use election and a mean. For it is only the disease of the unskilful, to think rude things greater than polished; or scattered more numerous than composed.


Jonson -Discoveries

Censura de poetis. - Nothing in our age, I have observed, is more PREPOSTEROUS than the running judgments upon poetry and poets; when we shall hear those things commended and cried hup for the best writings which a man would scarce vouchsafe to wrap any wholesome drug in; he would never light his tobacco with them. And those men almost named for miracles, who yet are so vile that if a man should go about to examine and correct them, he must make all they have done but one BLOT. Their good is so entangled with their bad as forcibly one must draw on the other' s death with it. A sponge dipped in ink will do all:-
" - Comitetur Punica librum Spongia. - " {44a}
Et paulò post,
" Non possunt . . . multæ . . . lituræ . . . una litura potest."
Cestius - Cicero - Heath - Taylor - Spenser. - Yet their vices have not hurt them; nay, a great many they have profited, for they have been loved for nothing else. And this false opinion grows strong against the best men, if once it take root with the ignorant. Cestius, in his time, was preferred to Cicero, so far as the ignorant durst. They learned him without book, and had him often in their mouths; but a man cannot imagine that thing so foolish or rude but will find and enjoy an admirer; at least a reader or spectator. The puppets are seen now in despite of the players; Heath' s epigrams and the Sculler' s poems have their applause. There are never wanting that dare prefer the worst preachers, the worst pleaders, the worst poets; not that the better have left to write or speak better, but that they that hear them judge worse; Non illi pejus dicunt, sed hi corruptius judicant. Nay, if it were put to the question of the water-rhymer' s works, against Spenser' s, I doubt not but they would find more suffrages; because the most favour common vices, out of a prerogative the vulgar have to lose their judgments and like that which is naught.
Poetry, in this latter age, hath proved but a mean mistress to such as have wholly addicted themselves to her, or given their names up to her family. They who have but saluted her on the by, and now and then tendered their visits, she hath done much for, and advanced in the way of their own professions (both the law and the gospel) beyond all they could have hoped or done for themselves without her favour. Wherein she doth emulate the judicious but PREPOSTEROUS bounty of the time' s grandees, who accumulate all they can upon the parasite or fresh-man in their friendship; but think an old client or honest servant bound by his place to write and starve.
Indeed, the multitude commend writers as they do fencers or wrestlers, who if they come in robustiously and put for it with a deal of violence are received for the braver fellows; when many times their own rudeness is a cause of their disgrace, and a slight touch of their adversary gives all that boisterous force the foil. But in these things the unskilful are naturally deceived, and judging wholly by the bulk, think rude things greater than polished, and scattered more numerous than composed; nor think this only to be true in the sordid multitude, but the neater sort of our gallants; for all are the multitude, only they differ in clothes, not in judgment or understanding.

 Soul of the Age!


H U M O U R.
P R O L O G U E.

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 ComOEdy 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.

An Invective Written by Mr. George Chapman Against Mr. Ben Jonson:

Great, learned, witty Ben, be pleased to light
The world with that three-forked fire; nor fright
All us, thy sublearned, with luciferous boast
That thou art most great, most learn'd, witty most
Of all the kingdom, nay of all the earth;
As being a thing betwixt a human birth
And an infernal; no humanity
Of the divine soul shewing man in thee.
Being all of pride composed, and surquedry.
Thus it might argue: if thy petulant will
May fly-blow all men with thy great swan's-quill*,
If it can write no plays, if thy plays fail,
All the earnests of our kingdom straight must vail
To thy wild fury...
 (*Jonson's adoption of Shakespeare's bombastic 'admirable style' in First Folio mock encomium (suspicio)?)


Lord of words
Lord of wit
Lord of wonder

Oxford's Admirable Style:

BY THE TILT stood a statelie Tent of Orange tawny Taffeta, curiously embroydered with Silver, & pendants on the Pinnacles very slightly to behold. From forth this Tent came the noble Earl of Oxenford in rich gilt Armour, and sat down under a great high Bay-tree, the whole stock, branches and leaves whereof were all gilded over, that nothing but Gold could be discerned. By the Tree stood twelve tilting staves, all which likewise were gilded clean over. After a solemn sound of most sweet Musique, he mounted on his Courser, verie richly caparisoned, when his page ascending the stairs where her Highness stood in the window, delivered to her by speech this Oration following.
THIS KNIGHT (most fair and fortunate Princess) living of a long time in a Grove, where every graft being green, he thought every root to be precious, found at the last as great diversity of troubles as of Trees: the Oak to be so stubborn that nothing could cause it to bend: the Reed so shaking, that every blast made it to bow; the Juniper sweet, but too low for succour; the Cypress fair, but without fruit; the Walnut tree to be as unwholesome to lie under, as the bud of the Fig-tree unpleasant to taste; the Tree that bore the best fruit, to be fullest of Caterpillars, and all to be infected with worms; the Ash for Ravens to breed; the Elm to build: the Elder to be full of pith and no perfection, and all Trees that were not fertile, to be fit for fuel, and they that were fruitful, but for the time to please the fancy. Which trying, he forsook the wood, and lived a while in the plain Champion: where, how he was tormented, it were too long to tell, but let this suffice, that he was troubled, when every Moat fell in his eye in the day, and every Ant disquieted him in the night: where, if the wind blew, he had nothing to shield him but head and shoulders, if the Sun blazed, he could find the shadow of nothing but himself, when seeing himself so destitute of help, he became desperate of hope.
Thus wandering a weary way, he espied at the last a Tree so beautiful, that his eyes were dazzled with the brightness, which as he was going unto, he met by good fortune a Pilgrim or Hermit, he knew not well, who being apparelled as though he were to travel into all Countries, but so aged as though he were to live continually in a Cave. Of this old Sire he demanded what Tree it was, who taking this Knight by the hand, began in these words both to utter the name and nature of the Tree.
This Tree fair Knight is called the Tree of the Sun, whose nature is always to stand alone, not suffering a companion, being it self without comparison: of which kind, there are no more in the earth than Suns in the Element. The world can hold but one Phoenix, one Alexander, one Sun-Tree, in top contrarie to all Trees: it is strongest, & so statelie to behold, that the more other shrubs shrink for duty, the higher it exalteth it self in Majestie.
For as the clear beams of the Sun, cause all the stars to lose their light, so the brightness of this golden Tree, eclipseth the commendation of all other Plants. The leaves of pure Gold, the bark no worse, the buds pearls, the body Chrisocolla, the Sap Nectar, the root so noble as it springeth from two Turkeies  (Turquoises), both so perfect, as neither can stain the other, each contending once for superiority, and now both constrained to be equals. Vestas birth sitteth in the midst, whereat Cupid is ever drawing, but dares not shoot, being amazed at the princely and perfect Majesty.
The shadows hath as strange properties as contrarieties, cooling those that be hot with a temperate calm, and heating those that be cold with a moderate warmth, not unlike that Sun whereof it taketh the name, which melteth Wax, and hardeneth Clay, or pure fire, which causeth the gold to shine, and the straw to smother, or sweet perfumes, which feedeth the Bee, and killeth the Beetle.
No poison commeth near it, nor any vermin that hath a sting. Who so goeth about to lop it, lanceth himself, and the Sun will not shine on that creature that casteth a false eye on that Tree, no wind can so much as wag a leaf, it springeth in spite of Autumnus and continueth all the year as it were Ver.
If, Sir Knight you demand what fruit it beareth, I answer, such, as the elder it is, the younger it seemeth, always ripe, yet ever green. Virtue, Sir Knight, more nourishing to honest thoughts, than the beauty delightful to amorous eyes; where the Graces are as thick in virtue, as the Grapes are on the Vine.
This fruit fatteneth, but never feeds, wherewith this Tree is so loaden, as you cannot touch that place which virtue hath not tempered. If you enquire whether any grafts may be gotten, it were as much as to crave slips of the Sun, or a Mould to cast a new Moon. To conclude, such a Tree as it is, as he hath longest known it, can sooner marvel at it than describe it, for the further he wadeth in the praise, the shorter he cometh of the perfection.
This old man having ended, seeming to want words to express such worthiness, he went to his home, and the Knight to his Sun Tree, where kissing the ground with humilitie, the princely tree seemed with . . . . to bid him welcome. But the more . . . . zed on the beauty, the less able he w. . dure the brightness, like unto those th. . . . king with a steadfast eye to behold th. . . . brings a dark dazzling over their sight.
At the last, resting under the shadow, he felt such content, as nothing could be more comfortable. The days he spent in virtuous delights, the night slipped away in golden Dreams; he was never annoyed with venomous enemies, nor disquieted with idle cogitations.
Insomuch, that finding all felicity in that shade, and all security in that Sun: he made a solemn vow, to incorporate his heart into that Tree, and engraft his thoughts upon those virtues, Swearing, that as there is but one Sun to shine over it, one root to give life unto it, one top to maintain Majesty: so there should be but one Knight, either to live or die for the defence thereof. Where-upon, he swore himself only to be the Knight of the Tree of the Sun, whose life should end before his loyaltie.
Thus cloyed with content, he fell into a sweet slumber, whose smiling countenance showed him void of all care. But his eyes were scarce closed when he seemed to see dy . . . . dermining the
Tree behind him, that . . . er suspecting the Knight to give the . . . . , might have punished him in her . . . . t failing of their pretence, and seeing owe they struck to light upon their own brains, they threatened him by violence, whom they could not match in virtue.
But in clasping the Tree, as the only Anchor of his trust, they could not so much as move him from his cause, whom they determined to martyr without colour. Whereupon, they made a challenge to win the Tree by right, and to make it good Arms. At which saying the Knight being glad to have his Truth tried with his valor, for joy awakened.
And now (most virtuous and excellent Princess) seeing such tumults towards for his Tree, such an Honourable presence to judge, such worthy Knights to Joust: I cannot tell whether his perplexitie or his pleasure be the greater. But this he will avouch at all assays himself to be the most loyal Knight of the Sun-tree, which who so gain-sayeth he is here pressed, either to make him recant it before he run, or repent it after. Offering rather to die upon the points of a thousand Lances, than to yield a jot in constant loyaltie.
The speech being ended, with great honour he ran, and valiantly brake all the twelve staves. And after the finishing of the sports: both the rich Baytree, and the beautiful Tent, were by the standersby, torn and rent in more pieces than can be numbered.


 Upon Ben: Johnson, the most excellent of Comick Poets.

Mirror of Poets! Mirror of our Age!
Which her whole Face beholding on thy stage,
Pleas'd and displeas'd with her owne faults endures,
A remedy, like Those whom Musicke cures,
Thou not alone those various inclinations,
Which Nature gives to Ages, Sexes, Nations,
Hast traced with thy All-resembling Pen,
But all that custome hath impos'd on Men,
Or ill-got Habits, which distort them so,
That scarce the Brother can the Brother know,
Is represented to the wondring Eyes,
Of all that see or read thy Comedies.
Whoever in those Glasses lookes may finde,
The spots return'd, or graces of his minde;
And by the helpe of so divine an Art,
At leisure view, and dresse his nobler part.
*NARCISSUS conzen'd by that flattering Well,
Which nothing could but of his beauty tell,
Had here discovering the DEFORM'D estate
Of his fond minde, preserv'd himselfe with hate
But Vertue too, as well as Vice is clad,
In flesh and blood so well, that Plato had
Beheld what his high Fancie once embrac'd,
Vertue with colour, speech and motion grac'd.
The sundry Postures of Thy copious Muse,
Who would expresse a thousand tongues must use,
Whose Fates no lesse peculiar then thy Art,
For as thou couldst all characters impart,
So none can render thine, who still escapes,
Like Proteus in variety of shapes,
Who was nor this nor that, but all we finde,
And all we can imagine in mankind.

E. Waller 


 Sin of self-love possesseth all mine eye
And all my soul and all my every part;
And for this sin there is no remedy,
It is so grounded inward in my heart.
Methinks no face so gracious is as mine,
No shape so true, no truth of such account;
And for myself mine own worth do define,
As I all other in all worths surmount.
But when my glass shows me myself indeed,
Beated and chopp'd with tann'd antiquity,
Mine own self-love quite contrary I read;
Self so self-loving were iniquity.
'Tis thee, myself, that for myself I praise,
Painting my age with beauty of thy days.

Male impersonators: men performing masculinity
By Mark Simpson

According to the Greek myth Narcissus was told by the blind seer Teiresias when he was a child that he should live to a great age if he never knew himself. Narcissus grew up to be a beautiful young man but proud and haughty. An embittered youth, unrequited in his love for Narcissus, cursed him to love that which could not be obtained. One day on Mount Helicon Narcissus caught sight of his own reflection 'endowed with all the beauty that man could desire and unawares he began to love the image of himself which, although itself perfect beauty, could not return his love.' Narcissus, worn out by the futility of his love, turned into the yellow-centred flower with white petals named after him.

The myth tells us something about the relation of modern man to his own image. Narcissus is not seduced by his reflection in any common pool - he glimpses and falls in love with his reflection on Mount Helicon, the sacred mountain where Apollo, Artemis and the Muses danced: the symbolic centre of the arts. His reflection is not one of nature but an idealized image refracted through man's art. Thus his image is 'endowed with all the beauty that man could desire' and he falls in love with it. And like nineties Western man, Narcissus finds that it is a love that 'could not be obtained'.

Mount Bank:

 Sweet Swan of Avon ! what a sight it were
To see thee in our waters yet appear,
And make those flights upon the banks of Thames,
That so did TAKE Eliza, and our James !

Jonson, Alchemist

To the Reader

If thou beest more, thou art an understander, and then I trust thee. If thou art one that takest up, and but a pretender, beware of what hands thou receivest thy commodity; for thou wert never more fair in the way to be COZENED, than IN THIS AGE, in poetry, especially in plays: wherein, now the concupiscence of dances and of antics so reigneth, as to run away from nature, and be afraid of her, is the only point of art that tickles the spectators.
Jonson's liars/sophists - panourgia/deception

Martin Droeshout Engraving of Dr. Panurgus: 

Naming the wonder-working doctor Panurgus seems to have been Droeshout’s innovation. Why? It is unlikely Droeshout had read Rabelais – most English intellectuals knew only the French author's name, which they used, like those of Aretino and Macchiavelli, merely as a hate-word. Panourgia is a medical term, and Galen uses it for ‘adulterated or false drugs’, and although the etymological sense of the name is neutrally ‘all-work’, later English usage similarly tended to interpret the term pejoratively as ‘ready to do any work’, i.e. including illegal things, as a criminal would be. Notwithstanding this, however, there is no doubt that in our print Dr. Panurgus is a positive figure, able to cure his patients, who come from all ranks of society - as the verses and the figures themselves make clear – of their manifold follies. Significantly, for dating purposes, the Latinate form of the name – which by itself suggests independence of Rabelais’ creation - is known to have been used by two English writers in 1619 and 1623 only, and perhaps strengthens the case for an origin in the 1620s. 3
Horace - Aegri-Somnia - Sick Men's Dreams- To see thee in our waters yet appear

Or, the Art of Modern Poetry
James Miller can by the single wave of a HARLEQUIN'S WAND, conjure the whole Town every night into your Circle; where like a true CUNNING MAN, you amuse 'em with a few Puppy's Tricks while you juggle 'em out of their Pelf, and then cry out with a Note of Triumph,

Si Mundus vult Decipi,, Decipiatur.

And now, Sir, having given you a full and true account of your self, we come to say something of our selves, with a Word upon our Performance.
As to the following Piece, it is a System of the Laws of Modern Poetry establish'd amongst us by the Authority of the most successful Writers of the present Age, by which it appears that the Rules now follow'd, are in all Respects exactly the Reverse of those which were observ'd by the Authors of Antiquity, and which were set forth of old by Horace in his Epistle de Arte Poetica. In a word, Sir, it is *Horace turn'd Harlequin, with his Head where his Heels should be*; in which Posture we ween not but he will be well receiv'd by your worship, and in Consequence of that, by the whole Town.

--Nec Phoebo gratior ulla est
Quam sibi quoe Vari prescripsit pagina Nomen.

(To Phoebus is no page more welcome than that which is inscribed on its front with the name of Varus.) Virgil, Eclogue 6.11-12

To grand Beginnings full of Pomp and Show,
Big Things profest, and Brags of what you'll do,
Still some gay, glitt'ring, foreign Gewgaws join,
Which, like gilt Points on Peter's Coat, may shine
Descriptions which may make your Readers stare,
And marvel how such pretty Things came There


Suppose you're skill'd in the Parnassian Art,
To purge the Passions, and correct the Heart,
To paint Mankind in ev'ry Light, and Stage,
Their various Humours, Characters, and Age,
To fix each Portion in its proper Place
And give the Whole one Method, Form and Grace;
What's that to us? who pay our Pence to see
The great Productions of Profundity,
Shipwrecks, and Monsters, Conjurers, and Gods,
Where every Part is with the whole at odds.

With Truth and Likelihood we all are griev'd,
And take most Pleasure, when we're most deceiv'd,
Now wrote obscure, and let your Words move slow,
Then with full Light, and rapid Ardor glow;
In one Scene make your Hero cant, and whine,
Then roar out Liberty in every Line;
Vary one Thing a thousand pleasant Ways,
Shew Whales in Woods, and Dragons in the Seas.
To shun a Fault's the ready Way to fall,
Correctness is the greatest Fault of all.
Now here, now there, launch boldly from your Theme,
And make surprising Novelties your Aim;
Bombast and Farce, the Sock and Buskin blend,
Begin with Bluster, and with Lewdness end.


by Ben Jonson

Yet must I not give Nature all ; thy art,
My gentle Shakspeare, must enjoy a part.
For though the poet's matter nature be,
His art doth give the FASHION :


Much Ado about Nothing, Act III, Sc iii -

Seest thou not, I say, what a deformed thief this
fashion is? how giddily a' turns about all the hot
bloods between fourteen and five-and-thirty?
sometimes fashioning them like Pharaoh's soldiers
in the reeky painting, sometime like god Bel's
priests in the old church-window, sometime like the
shaven Hercules in the smirched worm-eaten tapestry,
where his codpiece seems as massy as his club?


All this I see; and I see that the fashion wears
out more apparel than the man. But art not thou
thyself giddy with the fashion too, that thou hast
shifted out of thy tale into telling me of the fashion?


Second Watchman
Call up the right master constable. We have here
recovered the most dangerous piece of lechery that
ever was known in the commonwealth.

First Watchman

And one Deformed is one of them: I know him; a'
wears a lock.


Masters, masters,--

Second Watchman

You'll be made bring Deformed forth, I warrant you.

Author: Prynne, William, 1600-1669.

Title: The vnlouelinesse, of loue-lockes.

The Minor is most cleare and euident, by its owne light: For is not this a Badge, a Note, or Ensigne of Wilfull, Factious, and Affected Singularitie, (and so of Pride, and Selfe-conceit, which are the Nurse, and Mother of it:) for some few particular, or priuate Guiddy, Braine-sicke, Humourous, Vaine-glorious, and Fantastique Spirits, to introduce a new-fangled Guise and Fashion, of nourishing and wearing Loue-lockes, without any publike warrant, or allowance; contrary to the Manner, Custome, Vse, and Tonsure of our owne, or other Ciuill, Graue, Religious, Wise, and PSingle illegible letterudent NaSingle illegible letterions: that so they may diffSingle illegible letterrence, distinguish, and diuide themselues from others of the common ranke and Cut, as if they were ashamed of their natiue Countrey:they were descended from some other Nation, or Gouerned by some other Customes, Lawes, or Constitutions, then others of their Countrey-men, Fellowes, Kindred, Neighbours, and Companions are? Certainely, if this bee not Affected, Grosse, and Wilfull Singularitie, there is no such thing as Singularitie, or breach of Ciuill societie in the World. This Martiall, and Tertullian knew: whence, they condemne such for Singular, and Fantastique persons, who varied from the cut and Tonsure of their Countrey, as their authorities in the Margent testifie: It was noted as a point of Shamelesnesse, and Singularitie in Nero, though an Emperour; that hee oftentimes wore his Haire combed backeward into his poll, in an affected, and ouer curious manner, after the Greeke fashion: If this were Effeminacy, and Singularitie in a Roman Emperour, much more are Loue-lockes, in our French-English Subiects. or as if 


But if the persons wee imitate, are onely Idle, Vaine, Effeminate, Lasciuious, Deboist, Vaine-glorious, Proud, Fantastique, Singular, Ruffianly, or Vngodly wretches, who haue no power, nor trueth of Grace within them: who make their WILL, and FANCIE, the onely rule by which they walke: (as I feare me, they will prooue all such at last.) If they are such aSingle illegible letter make no care, nor Conscience, of following Christ, or such are not likely to beare vs company in Heauen: let vs vtterly renounce their Guise, and Fashion, and withdraw our feete from all their wayes: because the Ecchoing, and imitation of such (which is the principall, and primary end of wearing Loue-lockes,) is meerely Sinfull, Vnlawfull, and Vnseemely, vnto Christians.

The second end, or ground, why many weare, and nourish Loue-lockes, is a Proud, a Singular, Fantastique, and Vaine-glorious Humour: or a Desire, that others should take notice of them, for Ruffians, Rorers, Fantastiques, Humourists, Fashion-mongers, or for Effeminate, Lasciuious, Voluptuous, Singular, or Vaine-glorious persons, or men of Vitious, Riotous, and Licentious liues. Many there are, who nourish them of purpose, to Proclaime, and blaze abroad their Vanitie, Rudnesse, and Deboistnesse, to the World: that so they may be admired among the light and vulger sort, or censured by those of the more Religious, Wise, and Grauer ranke, as Dissolute, Ruffianly, Licentious, Rude, Vaine-glorious, and Fantastique persons, since they haue nothing else to make them noted, or knowne to the World.


Now there is not the basest Peasant, Rogue, or Varlet in the World, but may weare as Long, as Great, as Faire, and Rich a LouSingle illegible letter-locke, as the greatest Gallant, or the proudest Ruffian: yea, wee see that Foote-boyes, Lacquies, Coach-men, Seruing-men, (yea, Rogues that ride to Tiburne, and the very froth, and scumme of Men,) haue taken vp this Roguish guise, and Fashion, and haue it most in vse, and admiration; and can these Lockes then be any ornament, Grace, or Credit, vnto men of Place, of Birth, and Worth; since such vile, base, and infamous persons weare, and take them vp in vse? and since there is none so meane, so base, or poore, but may as well, and freely nourish, and reserue a Loue-locke, as the very best, and proudest Gallant? (…)Since therefore Loue-lockes, and long Haire, are common vnto beasts, as well as men, since euery Man, or Woman may weare them if they please, as well as any: and since they are so riSingle illegible lettere and frequent among the baser, looser, and deboister sort of men: I may infallibly conclude; that they adde no ornament, beautie, credit, grace, or luster vnto any, but infamie, deformitie, shame, and disrespect, especially among the better, grauer, and religious ranke of Christians: which should cause all men of worth and credit, for euer to discard them.


Beautie is no helpe nor furtherance, but a great impediment vnto chastitie: therefore this studious affectation of it, and inquirie after it, proceeds not from a continent or chast affection, but from a Lasciuious, Lustfull, and Adulterous Heart: and so it cannot but be euill. Secondly, it must needes bee euill, because it flowes as from an Effeminate, and Vnchast, so likewise from a Proud, Vaineglorious, Carnall, Worldly, and selfe-seeking Spirit, which aymes not at Gods glory, nor at its owne, or others good and welfare: There are none who seeke an artificiall Comelinesse, or transcendent Beautie, by altering, Colouring, Crisping, or adorning of their Heads, or Haire, or by any such like meanes, but doe it out of an inward, and secret pride of Heart,of purpose to be proud, and blesse themselues, (as fond Narcissus did of old, and many idle Christians now, who make their Haire, and Face their Idoles:) in their owne Beauties, Skinnes, and Shadowes: and to Deifie, or Adore themselues, their Haire, their Heads, and Faces, like so many pettie Gods: Or else they doe it to winne respect and praise, from Carnall, Gracelesse, and iniudicious persons, by seeming more Beautifull, and Louely to their sensuall eyes, then in themselues they are. Or out of a Worldly, Carnall, and selfe-seeking Heart, to please themselues, & others: to conforme themselues vnto the guise, and sinfull customes of the World, and Times, which Christians haue renounced in their Baptisme: or to pamper, humour, satisfie, and set out their proud, and sinfull flesh, (...)



If I meet you with my hair cut by an uneven barber, you laugh [at me]: if I chance to have a ragged shirt under a handsome coat, or if my disproportioned gown fits me ill, you laugh.
What [do you do], when my judgment contradicts itself? it despises what it before desired; seeks for that which lately it neglected; is all in a ferment, and is inconsistent in the whole tenor of life; pulls down, builds up, changes square to round. In this case, you think I am mad in the common way, and you do not laugh, nor believe that I stand in need of a physician, or of a guardian assigned by the praetor; though you are the patron of my affairs, and are disgusted at the ill-pared nail of a friend that depends upon you, that reveres you.
(footnote - he is not ridiculous because the barber has cut his hair too short, but because he has cut it unequally - inaequalis tonsor)

Jonson, Discoveries

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.

Jonson, Every Man Out
Asper. Well, I will scourge those Apes,
And to these courteous Eyes oppose a Mirrour,
As large as is the Stage whereon we act;
Where they shall see the Times Deformity
Anatomiz'd in every Nerve and Sinew,
With constant Courage, and contempt of Fear.
 Disproportionate Droeshout Deformity:
"Beware then thou render Mens
Figures truly, and teach them no less to hate their Deformities, than
to love their Forms: For, to Grace, there should come Reverence; and
no Man can call that Lovely, which is not also Venerable. (Ben Jonson, _Cynthia's Revels_)

Every Man in his Humour - Ben Jonson

E. Knowell.

Your turn, coz! do you know what you say? A gentleman
of your sorts, parts, carriage, and estimation, to talk of your
turn in this company, and to me alone, like a tankard-bearer
at a conduit! fie! A wight that, hitherto, his every step
hath left the stamp of a great foot behind him, as every word
the savour of a strong spirit, and he! this man! so graced, gilded,
or, to use a more fit metaphor, so tinfoild by nature, as not ten
housewives' pewter, again a good time, shews more bright to the
world than he! and he! (as I said last, so I say again, and still
shall say it) this man! to conceal such real ornaments as these,
and shadow their glory, as a milliner's wife does her wrought
stomacher, with a smoaky lawn, or a black cyprus! O, coz! it cannot
be answered; go not about it: Drake's old ship at Deptford may
sooner circle the world again.Come, wrong not the quality of your
desert, with looking downward, coz; but hold up your head, so: and
let the IDEA of what you are be portrayed in your face, that men
may read in your physnomy, here within this place is to be seen the
true, rare, and accomplished monster, or miracle of nature, which
is all one. What think you of this, coz?


George Puttenham (1529–1590)
The Arte of English Poesie
The First Booke. Of Poets and Poesie


...So as the Poets seemed to haue skill not onely in the subtilties of their arte but also to be meete for all maner of functions ciuill and martiall, euen as they found fauour of the times they liued in, insomuch as their credit and estimation generally was not small. But in these dayes, although some learned Princes may take delight in them, yet vniversally it is not so. For as well Poets and Poesie are despised, & the name become of honorable infamous, subiect to scorne and derision, and rather a reproch than a prayse to any that vseth it: for commonly who so is studious in th’Arte or shewes him selfe excellent in it, they call him in disdayne a phantasticall; and a light headed or phantasticall man (by conuersion) they call a Poet. And this proceedes through the barbarous ignoraunce of the time, and pride of many Gentlemen and others, whose grosse heads not being brought vp or acquainted with any excellent Arte, nor able to contriue or in manner conceiue any matter of subtiltie in any businesse or science, they doe deride and scorne it in all others as superfluous knowledges and vayne sciences, and whatsoeuer deuise be of rare inuention they terme it phantasticall, construing it to the worst side: and among men such as be modest and graue, & of litel conuersation, nor delighted in the busie life and vayne ridiculous actions of the popular, they call him in scorne a Philosopher or Poet, as much to say as a phantasticall man, very iniuriously (God wot), and to the manifestation of their own ignoraunce, not making difference betwixt termes. For as the euill and vicious disposition of the braine hinders the sounde iudgement and discourse of man with busie & disordered phantasies, for which cause the Greekes call him [phantasikos], so is that part, being well affected, not onely nothing disorderly or confused with any monstruous imaginations or conceits, but very formall, and in his much multiformitie vniforme, that is well proportioned, and so passing cleare, that by it, as by a glasse or mirrour, are represented vnto the soule all maner of bewtifull visions, whereby the inuentiue parte of the mynde is so much holpen as without it not man could deuise any new or rare thing: and where it is not excellent in his kind, there could be no politique Captaine, nor any witty engineer or cunning artificer, nor yet any law maker or counsellor of deepe discourse, yea, the Prince of Philosophers stickes not to say animam non intelligere absque phantasmate; which text to another purpose Alexander Aphrodis[i]ens[is] well noteth, as learned men know. And this phantasie may be resembled to a glasse, as hath bene sayd, whereof there be many tempers and manner of makinges, as the perspectiues doe acknowledge, for some be false glasses and shew thinges otherwise than they be in deede, and others right as they be in deede, neither fairer nor fouler, nor greater nor smaller. There be againe of these glasses that shew thinges exceeding faire and comely; others that shew figures very monstruous & illfauored. Euen so is the phantasticall part of man (if it be not disordered) a representer of the best, most comely, and bewtifull images or apparances of thinges to the soule and according to their very truth. If otherwise, then doth it breede Chimeres & monsters in mans imaginations, & not onely in his imaginations, but also in all his ordinarie actions and life which ensues. Wherefore such persons as be illuminated with the brightest irradiations of knowledge and of the veritie and due proportion of things, they are called by the learned men not phantastici but euphantasioti, and of this sorte of phantasie are all good Poets, notable Captaines stratagematique, all cunning artificers and enginers, all Legislators, Polititiens, & Counsellours of estate, in whose exercises the inuentiue part is most employed, and is to the sound and true iudgement of man most needful.

Speculum Tuscanismi - Gabriel Harvey on Oxford

 'Tell me in good sooth, doth it not too evidently appeare, that this English Poet [note Edward de Vere] wanted but a good PATTERNE before his eyes, as it might be some delicate, and choyce elegant Poesie of good M. Sidneys, or M. Dyers (ouer very Castor, & Pollux for such and many greater matters) when this trimme geere was in hatching: Much like some Gentlewooman, I coulde name in England, who by all Phisick and Physiognomie too, Might as well have BROUGHT FORTH all goodly faire children, as they have Now some ylfavoured 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 have wrought such deepe impression in their fantasies, and imaginations, as their children, and perhappes their Childrens children to, myght have thanked them for, as long as they shall have Tongues in their heades."


Sidney, Defense of Poesy - For I will not denie, but that mans wit may make Poesie, which should be EIKASTIKE, which some learned have defined figuring foorth good things to be PHANTASTIKE, which doth contrariwise INFECT the FANCIE with unwoorthie objects...

Infected Will:

Sidney, Defence of Poesy - 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:

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