Thursday, January 2, 2014

De Facto Damnatio Memoriae and Edward de Vere

This I regard as history's highest function, to let no worthy action be uncommemorated, and to hold out for the reprobation of posterity that which is notorious for infamy.  -- Tacitus


The Reprobation of Oxford - Shakespeare's First Folio stands as Jonson's Tacitean monument to Edward de Vere's infamy - his 'base' fame.


Jonson's Textual Monument -- Brian Chalk

As with Horace in Poetaster, modeling himself after Tacitus allowed Jonson to project an image of himself as a moralist, but it absolved him from the responsibility of spoon-feeding his audience stories they could mindlessly digest as ephemeral entertainments. The pleasures of the play derive not from spectacle or other individual theatrical devices but rather from the rewards of discerning the virtuous within the rigorously corrupt universe that Jonson constructs. The task of distinguishing the honorable from the base is therefore one that the audience must participate in; the failure to do so relegates the viewer or reader, and not the author, to the latter category.

-- Samuel Parker, A Free and Impartial Censure of the Platonicke Philosophie

 ...My next Accusation is, that instead of pure and genuine Reason, they abound so much with gaudy and extravagant Phancies. I that am too simple or too serious to be cajol'd with the frenzies of a bold and ungovern'd Imagination cannot be perswaded to think the Quaintest plays and sportings of wit to be any true and real knowledge. I can easily allow their Discourses the Title of Philosophical Romances, (a sort of more ingenious impertinencies) and 'tis with this estimate I would have them read: But when they pretend to be Nature's Secretaries...and yet put us off with nothing but rampant Metaphors, and Pompous Allegories, and other splended but empty Schemes of speech, I must crave leave to account them (to say not worse ) Poets and Romancers. True Philosophie is too sober to descend to these wildnesses of Imagination, and too Rational to be cheated by them. She scorns, when she is in chase of Truth, to quarry upon trifling gaudy Phantasms: Her Game is things not words.


[Plato] replied that if "true" and "false" are only relative to the individual thinker, then as soon as someone says that the philosophy of Protagoras is false for him, it is therefore false (Theaetetus 171 a). Falsehood, for Plato, is a matter of deception. It conceals reality (ta onta). False words, he believed, are merely a copy (mimem) of deception in the soul (Republic 2, 21, 382a-383b). Falsehood is the presentation of what is only appearance (phantasma). By contrast "the divine and the divinity are free from falsehood [apseudes ... to theion]". God is true in deed and word (alethes en to ergo kai en logo) and neither changes himself nor deceives others (382e). Plato thus returns to the view, earlier outlined in Parmenides, that truth stands in contrast to appearance and to change, although he goes further than Parmenides in locating it in the realm of eternal ideas.


 Damnatio memoriae is the Latin phrase literally meaning "condemnation of memory" in the sense of a judgment that a person must not be remembered. It was a form of dishonor that could be passed by the Roman Senate upon traitors or others who brought discredit to the Roman state. The intent was to erase someone from history, a task somewhat easier in ancient times, when documentation was much sparser.

In Ancient Rome, the practice of damnatio memoriae was the condemnation of Roman elites and emperors after their deaths. If the Senate or a later emperor did not like the acts of an individual, they could have his property seized, his name erased and his statues reworked. Because there is an economic incentive to seize property and rework statues, historians and archaeologists have had difficulty determining when official damnatio memoriae actually took place, although it seems to have been quite rare.
Historians sometimes use the phrase de facto damnatio memoriae when the condemnation is not official. Among those few who did suffer legal damnatio memoriae were Sejanus, who had conspired against emperor Tiberius in 31, and later Livilla, who was revealed to be his accomplice.
Any truly effective damnatio memoriae would not be noticeable to later historians, since, by definition, it would entail the complete and total erasure of the individual in question from the historical record. However, since all political figures have allies as well as enemies, it was difficult to implement the practice completely. For instance, the Senate wanted to condemn the memory of Caligula but Claudius prevented this. Nero was declared an enemy of the state by the Senate, but then given an enormous funeral honoring him after his death by Vittelius. While statues of some emperors were destroyed or reworked after their death, others were erected. 

 The Art of Forgetting
Disgrace and Oblivion in Roman Political Culture
Harriet I. Flower

 Elite Romans periodically chose to limit or destroy the memory of a leading citizen who was deemed an UNWORTHY member of the community. Sanctions against memory could lead to the removal or mutilation of portraits and public inscriptions. Harriet Flower provides the first chronological overview of the development of this Roman practice--an instruction to forget--from archaic times into the second century A.D. Flower explores Roman memory sanctions against the background of Greek and Hellenistic cultural influence and in the context of the wider Mediterranean world. Combining literary texts, inscriptions, coins, and material evidence, this richly illustrated study contributes to a deeper understanding of Roman political culture.


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


Fulke Greville (Recorder of Stratford-upon-Avon) - 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.


Flower (H.I.) The Art of Forgetting. Disgrace and Oblivion in
Roman Political Culture.

Review: Gunnar Seelentag

When Kant dismissed his manservant Martin Lampe after 40 years of service, because the latter had taken up a drinking habit, the philosopher noted in his little black book The name Lampemust be entirely forgotten now. But even Kant kept on addressing Lampes successor by the same name. This anecdote is an example of how artful and arduous forgetting can be. And it demonstrates that forgetting is not necessarily about erasing memory; rather, it is often built upon deliberate remembering and creating a new interpretation of past events. This valuable distinction is drawn by the subtitle of F.s book: disgrace and oblivion. Since F. Vittinghoffs classic account from 1936 many studies have been published that deal with the material culture of memory sanctions, for example reworked portraiture, and much epigraphic material has come to light, for example the important SC de Cn.  Pisone patre, giving us detailed insight into the catalogue of possible sanctions and their cultural meaning. But F.s monograph is the first systematic account of Roman memory sanctions since then.  In the introductory chapter F. makes transparent her methodology and lays out her conceptual and terminological framework. She deliberately chooses not to use the term damnatio memoriae which not only is not an ancient term but also implies that memory sanctions were made up of a standard package. Instead, as F. shows throughout the book, sanctions were imposed separately. And so she defines memory sanctions as deliberately designed strategies that aim to change the picture of the past, whether through erasure or redefinition, or by means of both (p. 2). Her basic presupposition based on her extensive work on Roman memorial culture is that memory has a specific cultural context: sanctions against memoria in Rome can only be understood by placing them in their proper context, by looking at the cultural importance of remembering the great men of Rome and the means and media to do that. F. shows that Roman imagination had constructed the notion that it was the natural state of things that a man and his deeds fell into oblivion, so that a set of strategies for remembering them and making them part of the common memoria had to be found. The Roman nobiles commemorated their deeds and virtues not only to evade oblivion, but because the reputation and social prestige of the aristocratic families depended on their ancestors being remembered. To impose memory sanctions meant to prevent or rescind these strategies. So F.s study is not only about the question how formal commemoration and disgrace were achieved; rather, at its core is the commemorative consensus within the res publica and the question who had the authority to decide what to forget and what to remember at a given time in Roman history. F. does nothing less than trace the development of Roman political culture from the earliest Roman instances of memory sanctions in the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. to Antoninus successful struggle against the official disgrace of Hadrian in the second century A.D., earning him the name Pius.


History and Silence: Purge and Rehabilitation of Memory in Late Antiquity

 By Charles W. Hedrick

 The expression damnatio memoriae is a modern coinage. It is often used loosely (and, from a juristic perspective, incorrectly) to sum up the various penalties used in ancient Rome to attack the memory of dead enemies of the state. It is true that approximations of the phrase can be found in many Roman authors, including historians such as Tacitus, but those instances do not refer to a legal procedure. In particular, there is a technical, juridical expression, "condemnation of memory" (memoria damnata), which refers not to an attack on the contemporary recollection of the dead, but to the posthumous prosecution or conviction of a person on charges of treason. Even so, there was no juridical concept of damnatio memoriae in ancient Rome, only a more of less conventional repertoire of penalties for repressing the memory of the public enemy, which might be enacted separately or together. Nevertheless, for the sake of convenience I will here refer to the Roman attack on memory as damnatio memoriae, or in English as "repression" or " anthematization" or "purge."

The fact that there is no technical and recognized procedure called a damnation memoriae is consistent with the goal of the purge. The damnatio memoriae is supposed to eradicate memory. But to recognize that there was such a technical procedure would be to acknowledge the repression, and thereby allow the existence of those of whom it was illegitimate to speak. Therefore, it is integral to the process of forgetting that it pretend not to be a repression at all, that it dissimulate itself. If the purpose of repression is to purge representation and impose forgetfulness, then it must pretend to be nothing itself - otherwise, the process would become the sign of the thing repressed, and so would produce an effect contrary to its goal.

'Shake-speare' is the 'sign of the thing repressed'. According to Heminge and Condell, the 'Author's' wit could 'no more lie hid, then it could be lost.' What remains of Oxford? No tomb, no elegies, no monuments. Greville's depiction in the tennis-court quarrel, where he is figured as worthy Sidney's opposite - yet remains unnamed.

Any truly effective damnatio memoriae would not be noticeable to later historians, since, by definition, it would entail the complete and total erasure of the individual in question from the historical record. However, since all political figures have allies as well as enemies, it was difficult to implement the practice completely. 


From To the Deceased Author of these Poems (William Cartwright)

Jasper Mayne

...And as thy Wit was like a Spring, so all
The soft streams of it we may Chrystall call:
No cloud of Fancie, no mysterious stroke,
No Verse like those which antient Sybils spoke;
No Oracle of Language, to amaze
The Reader with a dark, or Midnight Phrase,
Stands in thy Writings, which are all pure Day,
A cleer, bright Sunchine, and the mist away.
That which Thou wrot'st was sense, and that sense good,
Things not first written, and then understood:

Or if sometimes thy Fancy soar'd so high
As to seem lost to the unlearned Eye,
'Twas but like generous Falcons, when high flown,
Which mount to make the Quarrey more their own.

For thou to Nature had'st joyn'd Art, and skill.
In Thee Ben Johnson still HELD SHAKESPEARE'S QUILL:
A QUILL, RUL'D by sharp Judgement, and such Laws,
As a well studied Mind, and Reason draws.
Thy Lamp was cherish'd with suppolied of Oyle,
Fetch'd from the Romane and the Graecian soyle. (snip)

Rape of Lucrece - Shakespeare

 Time's glory is to calm contending kings, 990
To unmask falsehood and bring truth to light,
To stamp the seal of time in aged things,
To wake the morn and sentinel the night,
To wrong the wronger till he render right,
To ruinate proud buildings with thy hours, 995
And smear with dust their glittering golden towers;

'To fill with worm-holes stately monuments,
To feed oblivion with decay of things,
To blot old books and alter their contents,
To pluck the quills from ancient ravens' wings, 1000
To dry the old oak's sap and cherish springs,
To spoil antiquities of hammer'd steel,
And turn the giddy round of Fortune's wheel



Preface to the Shakespeare's First Folio:

To the great Variety of Readers.
From the most able, to him that can but spell: there you are number'd. We had rather you were weighed; especially, when the fate of all bookes depends upon your capacities and not of your heads alone, but of your purses. Well ! It is now publique, and you wil stand for your priviledges wee know : to read, and censure. Do so, but buy it first. That doth best commend a Booke, the Stationer saies. Then, how odde soever your braines be, or your wisedomes, make your licence the same, and spare not. Judge your six-pen'orth, your shillings worth, your five shillings worth at a time, or higher, so you rise to the just rates, and welcome. But, whatever you do, Buy. Censure will not drive a Trade, or make the Jacke go. And though you be a Magistrate of wit, and sit on the Stage at Black-Friers, or the Cock-pit, to arraigne Playes dailie, know, these Playes have had their triall alreadie, and stood out all Appeales ; and do now come forth QUITTED rather by a Decree of Court, then any purchased letters of commendation.


Acquit \Ac*quit"\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Acquitted; p. pr. & vb.
   n. Acquitting.] [OE. aquiten, OF. aquiter, F. acquitter; ?
   (L. ad) + OF. quiter, F. quitter, to quit. See Quit, and
   cf. Acquiet.]
   1. To discharge, as a claim or debt; to clear off; to pay
      off; to requite.

            A responsibility that can never be absolutely
            acquitted.                            --I. Taylor.

   2. To pay for; to atone for. [Obs.] --Shak.

   3. To set free, release or discharge from an obligation,
      duty, liability, burden, or from an accusation or charge;
      -- now followed by of before the charge, formerly by from;
      as, the jury acquitted the prisoner; we acquit a man of
      evil intentions.

   4. Reflexively:
      (a) To clear one's self. --Shak.
      (b) To bear or conduct one's self; to perform one's part;
          as, the soldier acquitted himself well in battle; the
          orator acquitted himself very poorly.

   Syn: To absolve; clear; exonerate; exonerate; exculpate;
        release; discharge. See Absolve.

(As you from crimes would pardon'd be,
Let your indulgence set me free.)

Heminge/Condell con't.

 It had bene a thing, we confesse, worthie to have bene wished, that the author himselfe had lived to have set forth, and overseen his owne writings; but since it hath bin ordain'd otherwise, and he by death departed from that right, we pray you do not envie his Friends, the office of their care, and paine, to have collected & publish'd them; and so to have publish'd them, as where (before) you were abused with diverse stolne, and surreptitious copies, maimed, and deformed by the frauds and stealthes of injurious impostors, that expos'd them : even those, are now offer'd to your view cur'd, and perfect of their limbes; and all the rest, absolute in their numbers as he conceived them.
Who, as he was a happie imitator of Nature, was a most gentle expresser of it. His mind and hand went together: And what he thought, he uttered with that easinesse, that wee have scarse received from him a blot in his papers. But it is not our province, who onely gather his works, and give them you, to praise him. It is yours that reade him. And there we hope, to your divers capacities, you will finde enough, both to draw, and hold you: for his wit can no more lie hid, then it could be lost. Reade him, therefore; and againe, and againe : And if then you doe not like him, surely you are in some manifest danger, not to understand him. And so we leave you to other of his Friends, whom if you need, can be your guides: if you neede them not, you can lead yourselves, and others, and such readers we wish him.
John Heminge.
Henrie Condell.

Enthralled souls to free from INFAMY:

 Nathaniel Baxter acrostic poem (1606) to Susan Vere (married to 'incomparable brethren' brother Philip Herbert)

Valiant whilom the Prince that bare this mot [motto],
Engraved round about his golden Ring:
Roaming in Venice ere [before] thou wast begot,
Among the gallants of th’Italian spring.

Never omitting what might pastime bring,
Italian sports, and Siren’s melody:
Hopping Helena with her warbling sting,
Infested th’Albanian dignity,
Like as they [it] poisoned all Italy.

Vigilant then th’eternall majesty
Enthralled souls to free from INFAMY:
Remembring thy sacred virginity,
Induced us to make speedy repair,
Unto thy mother everlasting fair,
So did this Prince beget thee debonaire.


In ancient Roman culture, infamia (in-, "not," and fama, "reputation") was a loss of legal or social standing. As a technical term of Roman law, infamia was an official exclusion from the legal protections enjoyed by a Roman citizen, as imposed by a censor or praetor.[1] More generally, especially during the Republic and Principate, infamia was informal damage to one's esteem or reputation. A person who suffered infamia was an infamis (plural infames).
Infamia was an "inescapable consequence" for certain professionals, including prostitutes and pimps, entertainers such as ACTORS and dancers, and gladiators. Infames could not, for instance, provide testimony in a court of law. They were liable to corporal punishment, which was usually reserved for slaves. The infamia of entertainers did not exclude them from socializing among the Roman elite, and entertainers who were "stars," both men and women, sometimes became the lovers of such high-profile figures as the dictator Sulla and Mark Antony.

This I could do, AND MAKE THEM INFAMOUS.--Jonson
Jonson - Poetaster
To the Reader

 Author. But, they that have incens'd me, can in Soul
Acquit me of that guilt. *They know, I dare
To spurn, or bafful 'em; or squirt their Eyes
With Ink, or Urine: or I could do worse,
Arm'd with Archilochus fury, write Iambicks,
Should make the desperate lashers hang themselves;
Rhime 'em to Death, as they do Irish Rats
In drumming Tunes. Or, living, I could STAMP
Their FOREHEADS with those deep, and PUBLICK BRAND,
That the whole company of Barber-Surgeons
Should not take off, with all their Art, and Plaisters.
And these my Prints should last, still to be read
In their pale Fronts*: when, what they write 'gainst me,
Shall, like a FIGURE drawn in Water, fleet,
And the poor wretched Papers be imploy'd
To clothe Tabacco, or some cheaper Drug.
But, to what end? when their own DEEDS have MARK'd 'em
And that I know, within his guilty Breast
Each slanderer bears a WHIP, that shall torment him,
Worse, than a million of these temporal Plagues:
Which to pursue, were but a Feminine humour,
And far beneath the Dignity of Man.

When their own Deeds have MARK'd 'em -- Jonson

 Irony and Misreading in the Annals of Tacitus - Ellen O'Gorman

 The mark (nota) set against one's name by the censor can result in disqualification or degradation, LOSS OF GOOD NAME (ignominia). Symbolically the mark of the censorial sign system erases and replaces the name (nomen) by which one has been recognized. The erasure of one sign by another is thus made more explicitly in the case of censorship than in the case of the alphabet, but it should be stressed that censorship is not the opposite of writing; it is the same process viewed from a different position.


Loss of Good Name - Edward de Vere

Fram’d in the front of forlorn hope past all recovery,
I stayless stand, to abide the shock of shame and infamy.
My life, through ling’ring long, is lodg’d in lair of loathsome ways;
My death delay’d to keep from life the harm of hapless days.
My sprites, my heart, my wit and force, in deep distress are drown’d;
The only loss of my good name is of these griefs the ground.

And since my mind, my wit, my head, my voice and tongue are weak,
To utter, move, devise, conceive, sound forth, declare and speak,
Such piercing plaints as answer might, or would my woeful case,
Help crave I must, and crave I will, with tears upon my face,
Of all that may in heaven or hell, in earth or air be found,
To wail with me this loss of mine, as of these griefs the ground.

Help Gods, help saints, help sprites and powers that in the heaven do dwell,
Help ye that are aye wont to wail, ye howling hounds of hell;
Help man, help beasts, help birds and worms, that on the earth do toil;
Help fish, help fowl, that flock and feed upon the salt sea soil,
Help echo that in air doth flee, shrill voices to resound,
To wail this loss of my good name, as of these griefs the ground.



Mark of the Censorial Sign:
This Figure thou seest here put/It was for gentle Shakespeare cut
Carew to Jonson:
Tis true, dear Ben, thy just CHASTISING hand
Hath fix'd upon the SOTTED AGE a BRAND
To their swoll'n pride and empty scribbling due;


Chastise \Chas*tise"\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Chastised; p. pr. &
   vb. n. Chastising.] [OE. chastisen; chastien + ending -isen
   + modern -ise, ize, L. izare, G. ?. See Chasten.]
   1. To inflict pain upon, by means of stripes, or in any other
      manner, for the purpose of punishment or reformation; to
      punish, as with stripes.

            How fine my master is! I am afraid He will chastise
            me.                                   --Shak.

            I am glad to see the vanity or envy of the canting
            chemists thus discovered and chastised. --Boyle.

   2. To reduce to order or obedience; to CORRECT or purify; *to
      free from faults or excesses*.

Jonson's Censorship:

 Jonson, Volpone intro:

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


Regimen morum
Keeping the public morals (regimen morum, or in the empire cura morum or praefectura morum) was the second most important branch of the censors' duties, and the one which caused their office to be one of the most revered and the most dreaded in the Roman state; hence they were also known as CASTIGATORES ("CHASTISERS"). It naturally grew out of the right which they possessed of excluding persons from the lists of citizens; for, as has been well remarked, "they would, in the first place, be the sole judges of many questions of fact, such as whether a citizen had the qualifications required by law or custom for the rank which he claimed, or whether he had ever incurred any judicial sentence, which rendered him infamous: but from thence the transition was easy, according to Roman notions, to the decisions of questions of right; such as whether a citizen was really worthy of retaining his rank, whether he had not committed some act as justly degrading as those which incurred the sentence of the law."In this manner, the censors gradually assumed at least nominal complete superintendence over the whole public and private life of every citizen. They were constituted as the conservators of public morality; they were not simply to prevent crime or particular acts of immorality, but rather to maintain the traditional Roman character, ethics, and habits (mos majorum)- regimen morum also encompassed this protection of traditional ways (Cicero de Legibus iii.3; Livy iv.8, xxiv.18, xl.46, xli.27, xlii.3; Suetonius Life of Augustus 27), which was called in the times of the empire cura ("supervision") or praefectura ("command"). The punishment inflicted by the censors in the exercise of this branch of their duties was called nota ("mark, letter") or notatio, or animadversio censoria ("censorial reproach"). In inflicting it, they were guided only by their conscientious convictions of duty; they had to take an oath that they would act biased by neither partiality nor favour; and, in addition to this,they were bound in every case to state in their lists, opposite the name of the guilty citizen, the cause of the punishment inflicted on him, Subscriptio censoria (Livy xxxix.42; Cicero pro Cluentio Oratio 42 48; Gell. iv.20).
This part of the censors' office invested them with a peculiar kind of jurisdiction, which in many respects resembled the exercise of public opinion in modern times; for there are innumerable actions which, though acknowledged by every one to be prejudicial and immoral, still do not come within the reach of the positive laws of a country; as often said, "immorality does not equal illegality". Even in cases of real crimes, the positive laws frequently punish only the particular offence, while in public opinion the offender, even after he has undergone punishment, is still incapacitated for certain honours and distinctions which are granted only to persons of unblemished character.Hence the Roman censors might brand a man with their "censorial mark" (nota censoria) in case he had been convicted of a crime in an ordinary court of justice, and had already suffered punishment for it.
The consequence of such a nota was only ignominia and not infamia (Cicero de Re Publica iv.6) Infamia and the censorial verdict was nota judicium or res judicata (Cicero pro Cluentio Oratio 42), for its effects were not lasting, but might be removed by the following censors, or by a lex (roughly "law"). A censorial mark was moreover not valid unless both censors agreed.


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


Davies, SCOURGE of Folly

Epig. 114

Fucus the FURIOUS POET writes but Plaies;
So, playing, writes: that’s, idly writeth all:

Yet, idle Plaies, and Players are his Staies;
Which stay him that he can no lower fall:

For, he is fall’n into the deep’st decay,
Where Playes and Players keepe him at a stay.


Oxford's 'Base' Heir/Book/Monument:

 If my dear love were but the child of state,
It might for Fortune's bastard be unfathered,
As subject to Time's love or to Time's hate,
Weeds among weeds, or flowers with flowers gathered.
No, it was builded far from accident;
It suffers not in smiling pomp, nor falls
Under the blow of thralled discontent,
Whereto th' inviting time our fashion calls:
It fears not policy, that heretic,
Which works on leases of short-number'd hours,
But all alone stands hugely politic,
That it nor grows with heat, nor drowns with showers.
   To this I witness call the fools of time,
   Which die for goodness, who have lived for crime.

Carew to Jonson:

Who hath his flock of cackling geese compar'd
With thy tun'd choir of swans? or else who dar'd
To call thy births deform'd?

 The punishments inflicted by the censors generally differed according to the station which a man occupied, though sometimes a person of the highest rank might suffer all the punishments at once, by being degraded to the lowest class of citizens. (Wikipedia)

Degradation of Oxford to the Actor from Stratford

Infamis/Aristocrat as Actor

Davies of Hereford's epigram "To Our English Terence, Mr. Will: Shake- speare", published in 1610 in Davies's The Scourge of Folly.
Some say (good Will) which I, in sport, do sing, 
 Had'st thou not played some Kingly parts in sport, 
 Thou hadst been a companion for a King; 
 And been a King among the meaner sort. 
 Some others rail; but, rail as they think fit, 
 Thou hast no railing, but, a reigning Wit: 
     And HONESTY thou sow'st, which they do reap; 
     So, to increase their stock which they do keep. 
Comes (Latin)  - Companion 

Milton - Describes Shakespeare as 'one whom we well know was the 
closet companion of these his  [King Charles I] solitudes...(Eikonoklastes)

Jonson on Shakespeare:

As when hee said IN THE PERSON of Caesar, one speaking to him; Caesar, thou dost me wrong. Hee replyed: Caesar did never wrong, but with just cause: and such like; which were ridiculous. But hee redeemed his vices, with his vertues. There was ever more in him to be praysed, then to be pardoned.

persona - A persona (plural personae or personas), in the word's everyday usage, is a social role or a character played by an actor. The word is derived from Latin, where it originally referred to a theatrical mask.
Praised/Approved and Pardoned:




...In short, whenever you notice that a DEGENERATE STYLE pleases the critics, you may be sure that character also has deviated from the right standard. Just as luxurious banquets and elaborate dress are indications of disease in the state, similarly a lax style, if it be popular, shows that the mind (which is the source of the word) has lost its balance. Indeed you ought not to wonder that corrupt speech is welcomed not merely by the more squalid mob but also by our more cultured throng; for it is only in their dress and not in their judgments that they differ. You may rather wonder that not only the effects of vices, but even vices themselves, meet with approval. For it has ever been thus: no man's ability has ever been approved without something being pardoned. Show me any man, however famous; I can tell you what it was that his age forgave in him, and what it was that his age purposely overlooked. * I can show you many men whose vices have caused them no harm, and not a few who have been even helped by these vices. Yes, I will show you persons of the highest reputation, set up as models for our admiration; and yet if you seek to correct their errors, you destroy them; for vices are so intertwined with virtues that they drag the virtues along with them.* (SNIP)

Some individual makes these vices fashionable - some person who controls the eloquence of the day; the rest follow his lead and communicate the habit to each other.

Communicable diseases - To see thee in our waters yet appear (Jonson's First Folio Mock Encomium)


De corruptela morum -- There cannot be one colour of the MIND; another of the wit. If the mind be staid, grave, and composed, the wit is so; that vitiated, the other is blown, and deflowered. Do we not see, if the mind languish, the members are dull? Look upon an effeminate person: his very gait confesseth him. If a man be fiery, his motion is so; if angry, 'tis troubled, and violent. So that we may conclude wheresoever manners, and fashions are corrupted, language is. It imitates the public riot. The EXCESS of feasts, and apparel, are the notes of a sick state; and the wantonness of language, of a sick MIND.
(Discoveries 1171) Jonson


A person might be branded with a censorial mark in a variety of cases, which it would be impossible to specify, as in a great many instances it depended upon the discretion of the censors and the view they took of a case; and sometimes even one set of censors would overlook an offence which was severely chastised by their successor. But the offences which are recorded to have been punished by the censors are of a threefold nature.
  1. Such as occurred in the private life of individuals, e.g.
    1. Living in celibacy at a time when a person ought to be married to provide the state with citizen.The obligation of marrying was frequently impressed upon the citizens by the censors, and the refusal to fulfil it was punished with a fine (aes uxorium).
    2. The dissolution of matrimony or betrothment in an improper way, or for insufficient reasons.
    3. Improper conduct towards one's wife or children, as well as harshness or too great indulgence towards children, and disobedience of the latter towards their parents,
    4. Inordinate and luxurious mode of living, or an extravagant expenditure of money. A great many instances of this kind are recorded.  At a later time the leges sumptuariae were made to check the growing love of luxuries.
    5. Neglect and carelessness in cultivating one's fields.[
    6. Cruelty towards slaves or clients.[
    7. The carrying on of a disreputable trade or occupation, such as acting in theatres.]
    8. Legacy-hunting, defrauding orphans, etc.
  2. Offences committed in public life, either in the capacity of a public officer or against magistrates,
    1. If a magistrate acted in a manner not befitting his dignity as an officer, if he was accessible to bribes, or forged auspices.
    2. Improper conduct towards a magistrate, or the attempt to limit his power or to abrogate a law which the censors thought necessary.
    3. Perjury.
    4. Neglect, disobedience, and cowardice of soldiers in the army.
    5.  The keeping of the equus publicus (a horse kept by patrician equestrian militia at public expense) in bad condition.
  3. A variety of actions or pursuits which were thought to be injurious to public morality, might be forbidden by an edict, and those who acted contrary to such edicts were branded with the nota and degraded. For an enumeration of the offences that might be punished by the censors with ignominia, see Niebuhr.
A person who had been branded with a nota censoria, might, if he considered himself wronged, endeavour to prove his innocence to the censors, and if he did not succeed, he might try to gain the protection of one of the censors, that he might intercede on his behalf.
The punishments inflicted by the censors generally differed according to the station which a man occupied, though sometimes a person of the highest rank might suffer all the punishments at once, by being degraded to the lowest class of citizens. But they are generally divided into four classes:
  1. Motio ("removal") or ejectio e senatu ("ejection from the Senate"), or the exclusion of a man from the ranks of senators. This punishment might either be a simple exclusion from the list of senators, or the person might at the same time be excluded from the tribes and degraded to the rank of an aerarian. The latter course seems to have been seldom adopted; the ordinary mode of inflicting the punishment was simply this: the censors in their new lists omitted the names of such senators as they wished to exclude, and in reading these new lists in public, quietly omitted the names of those who were no longer to be senators. Hence the expression praeteriti senatores ("senators passed over") is equivalent to e senatu ejecti (those removed from the senate).
    In some cases, however, the censors did not acquiesce to this simple mode of proceeding, but addressed the senator whom they had noted, and publicly reprimanded him for his conduct. As, however, in ordinary cases an ex-senator was not disqualified by his ignominia for holding any of the magistracies which opened the way to the senate, he might at the next census again become a senator.
  2.  The ademptio equi, or the taking away the publicly funded horse from an equestrian. This punishment might likewise be simple, or combined with the exclusion from the tribes and the degradation to the rank of an aerarian.
  3.  The motio e tribu, or the exclusion of a person from his tribe. This punishment and the degradation to the rank of an aerarian were originally the same; but when in the course of time a distinction was made between the rural or rustic tribes and the urban tribes, the motio e tribu transferred a person from the rustic tribes to the less respectable city tribes, and if the further degradation to the rank of an aerarian was combined with the motio e tribu, it was always expressly stated.
  4. The fourth punishment was called referre in aerarios[ or facere aliquem aerarium, and might be inflicted on any person who was thought by the censors to deserve it. This degradation, properly speaking, included all the other punishments, for an equestrian could not be made an aerarius unless he was previously deprived of his horse, nor could a member of a rustic tribe be made an aerarius unless he was previously excluded from it.
It was this authority of the Roman censors which eventually developed into the modern meaning of "censor" and "censorship"—i.e., officials who review published material and forbid the publication of material judged to be contrary to "public morality" as the term is interpreted in a given political and social environment.

Degradation to the rank of aerarian:

AERARII, a class of Roman citizens, who are said not to have been contained in the thirty tribes instituted by Servius Tullius. It is, however, one of the most difficult points in the Roman constitution to determine who they were; since all the passages in which they are mentioned refer only to the power of the censors to degrade a citizen, for bad conduct, by removing him from his tribe and making him an aerarian; but we nowhere find any definition of what an aerarian was.*/Aerarii.html
 aerarium facere --

Jonson, Timber

Decipimur specie. - There is a greater reverence had of things remote or strange to us than of much better if they be nearer and fall under our sense. Men, and almost all sorts of creatures, have their reputation by distance. Rivers, the farther they run, and more from their spring, the broader they are, and greater. And where our original is known, we are less the confident; among strangers we trust fortune. Yet a man may live as renowned at home, in his own country, or a private village, as in the whole world. For it is VIRTUE that gives glory; that will endenizen a man everywhere. It is only that can naturalise him. A NATIVE, if he be vicious, deserves to be a stranger, and *cast out of the commonwealth as an ALIEN*.

metoecus (Latin) -- a stranger, sojourner, denizen, resident alien

  In ancient Greece the term metic (Greek métoikos: from metá, indicating change, and oîkos "dwelling") referred to a resident alien, one who did not have citizen rights in his or her Greek city-state (polis) of residence.

non sans droict 

The origin of the class of aerarii is a much disputed question, the ancient authorities only referring to the class as existing. Mommsen (Hist. 1.101; cf. Forsch. 1.389) and Lange (Röm. Alt. 1.406) held that they were originally resident aliens (metoeci) holding no freeholds, and therefore not included in the tribes. 

Our fellow Shakespeare - the actors

aerarius, aeraria, aerarium
adj. of/concerned with copper/bronze/BRASS; of coinage/money/treasury; penny-ante; 
aerarius, aerari,
n. m. lowest class citizen, pays poll tax but cannot vote/hold office; coppersmith;

--All that was ever Ever writ in Brass

The Race of Shakespeare's Mind and Manners (Line from Jonson's First Folio mock-encomium)

(Discoveries 1171) Jonson

 De corruptela morum -- There cannot be one colour of the MIND; another of the wit. If the mind be staid, grave, and composed, the wit is so; that vitiated, the other is blown, and deflowered. Do we not see, if the mind languish, the members are dull? Look upon an effeminate person: his very gait confesseth him. If a man be fiery, his motion is so; if angry, 'tis troubled, and violent. So that we may conclude wheresoever MANNERS, and fashions are corrupted, language is. It imitates the public riot. The EXCESS of feasts, and apparel, are the notes of a sick state; and the wantonness of language, of a sick MIND.


This Monument Shakspeare: Stratford Plaque



Plaster \Plas"ter\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Plastered; p. pr. &
   vb. n. Plastering.] [Cf. OF. plastrer to plaster (in sense
   2), F. pl[^a]trer.]
   1. To cover with a plaster, as a wound or sore.

   2. To overlay or cover with plaster, as the ceilings and
      walls of a house.

   3. Fig.: To smooth over; to cover or conceal the defects of;
      to hide, as with a covering of plaster. --Bale.

Bacon, _Advancement of Learning_ Bk.II

3. The third, which is history of providence,  containeth that
excellent correspondence which is between God's revealed will and His
secret will: which though it be so obscure, as for the most part it is
not legible to the natural man; no, nor many times to those that
behold it from the Tabernacle; yet at some times it pleaseth God, for
our better establishment and the confuting of those which are as
without God in the world, to write it in such TEXT and CAPITAL
LETTERS, that as the prophet saith, HE THAT RUNNETH BY MAY READ IT,
that is, mere sensual persons, which hasten by God's judgments, and
never bend or fix their cogitations upon them, are nevertheless in
their passage and race urged to discern it. Such are the notable
events and examples of God's Judgments, CHASTISEMENTS, deliverances,
and blessings: and this is a work which hath passed through the labour
of many, and therefore I cannot present as omitted.

  Habbakuk 2

Then the Lord answered me and said:
“Write the vision
And make it plain on tablets,
That he may run who reads it.
For the vision is yet for an appointed time;
But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
Because it will surely come,
It will not tarry.
“Behold the proud,
His soul is not upright in him;
But the just shall live by his faith.
“What profit is the image, that its maker should carve it,
The molded image, a teacher of lies,
That the maker of its mold should trust in it,
To make mute idols?
19 Woe to him who says to wood, ‘Awake!’
To silent stone, ‘Arise! It shall teach!’
Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver,
Yet in it there is no breath at all.

Jonson's 'Speech According to Horace' - Tempestuous Grandlings described as 'empty moulds'

He Who Runs May Read
    Paul Haupt
    Journal of Biblical Literature

The prediction which Habbakuk is to write on a large tablet, so that
it may be easily read, although it may take some time before it is
fulfilled, is:

The proud TYRANT will not crush you,
though he open his jaws like Sheol:
All will utter against him
railing rimes, lampoons, and pasquins.
Lo, his greed is reckless within him,
but the righteous will survive despite their firmness.

They'll make a mock of the great king,
all princes are a scoff unto them;
They'll laugh every stronghold to scorn,
they'll throw up siege-works, and take it.
Then they'll sweep by as the wind, and pass on,
they'll destroy them, sacrificing to God.


Carlyle -- All visible things are emblems; what thou seest is not there on its own account; strictly taken, is not there at all: Matter exists only spiritually, and to represent some Idea, and body it forth. Hence Clothes, as despicable as we think them, are so unspeakably significant. Clothes, from the King's mantle downwards, are emblematic, not of want only, but of a manifold cunning Victory over Want. On the other hand, all Emblematic things are properly Clothes, thought-woven or hand-woven: must not the Imagination weave Garments, visible Bodies, wherein the else invisible creations and inspirations of our Reason are, like Spirits, revealed, and first become all-powerful; the rather if, as we often see, the Hand too aid her, and (by wool Clothes or otherwise) reveal such even to the outward eye? "Men are properly said to be clothed with Authority, clothed with Beauty, with Curses, and the like. Nay, if you consider it, what is Man himself, and his whole terrestrial Life, but an Emblem; a Clothing or visible Garment for that divine ME of his, cast hither, like a light-particle, down from Heaven? Thus is he said also to be clothed with a Body.
Language is called the Garment of Thought: however, it should rather be, Language is the Flesh-Garment, the Body, of Thought. I said that Imagination wove this Flesh-Garment; and does not she? Metaphors are her stuff: examine Language; what, if you except some few primitive elements (of natural sound), what is it all but Metaphors, recognized as such, or no longer recognized; still fluid and florid, or now solid-grown and colorless? If those same primitive elements are the osseous fixtures in the Flesh-Garment, Language, — then are Metaphors its muscles and tissues and living integuments. An unmetaphorical style you shall in vain seek for: is not your very Attention a Stretching-to? The difference lies here: some styles are lean, adust, wiry, the muscle itself seems osseous; some are even quite pallid, hunger-bitten and dead-looking; while others again glow in the flush of health and vigorous self-growth, sometimes (as in my own case) not without an apoplectic tendency. Moreover, there are sham Metaphors, which overhanging that same Thought's-Body (best naked), and deceptively bedizening, or bolstering it out, may be called its false stuffings, superfluous show-cloaks (Putz-Mante), and tawdry woollen rags: whereof HE THAT RUNS AND READS may gather whole hampers,—and burn them. ["Prospective, Book I, Chapter 11, 56-57]

******************************************  Antony and Cleopatra

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
Our Alexandrian revels. Antony
Shall be brought drunken forth, and I shall see
Some squeaking Cleopatra boy my greatness
I’ th’ posture of a whore.

 English Travellers of the Renaissance by Howard
Page 22 of 98

Edward de Vere, seventeenth Earl of Oxford, famous for his rude behaviour to Sir Philip Sidney, whom he subsequently tried to dispatch with hired assassins after the Italian manner,[131] might well have been one of the rising generation of courtiers whom Ascham so deplored. In Ascham's lifetime he was already a conspicuous gallant, and by 1571, at the age of twenty-two, he was the court favourite. The friends of the Earl of Rutland, keeping him informed of the news while he was fulfilling in Paris those heavy duties of observation which Cecil mapped out for him, announce that "There is no man of life and agility in every respect in Court, but the Earl of Oxford."[132] And a month afterwards, "Th' Erle of Oxenforde hath gotten hym a wyffe--or at the leste a wyffe hath caught hym--that is Mrs Anne Cycille, whearunto the Queen hath gyven her consent, the which hathe causyd great wypping, waling, and sorowful chere, of those that hoped to have hade that golden daye."[133] Ascham did not live to see the development of this favorite into an Italianate Englishman, but Harrison's invective against the going of noblemen's sons into Italy coincides with the return of the Earl from a foreign tour which seems to have been ill-spent.


The following prefaced certain editions of the 1609 publication of Troilus and Cressida - the copies that did not state that it had been 'acted by the King's Majesty's servants at the Globe. '


Eternal reader, you have here a new play, never staled with the stage, never clapper-clawed with the palms of the vulgar, and yet passing full of the palm comical; for it is a birth of your brain that never undertook anything comical vainly. And were but the vain names of comedies changed for the titles of commodities, or of plays for pleas, you should see all those grand censors, that now style them such vanities, flock to them for the main grace of their gravities, especially this author's comedies, that are so framed to the life that they serve for the most com-mon commentaries of all the actions of our lives, showing such a dexterity and power of wit that the most displeased with plays are pleased with his comedies. And all such dull and heavy-witted worldlings as were never capable of the wit of a comedy, coming by report of them to his representations, have found that wit there that they never found in themselves and have parted better witted than they came, feeling and edge of wit set upon them more than ever they dreamed they had brain to grind it on. So much and such savored salt of wit is in his comedies that they seem, for their height of pleasure, to be born in that sea that brought forth Venus.
Amongst all there is none more witty than this, and had I time I would comment upon it, though I know it needs not, for so much as will make you think your testern well bestowed, but for so much worth as even poor I know to be stuffed in it. It deserves such a labor as well as the best comedy in Terence or Plautus. And believe this, that when he is gone and his comedies out of sale, you will scramble for them and set up a new English Inquisition.  Take this for a warning, and at the peril of your pleasure's loss, and judgment's, refuse not, nor like this the less for not being sullied with the smoky breath of the multitude, but thank fortune for the scape it hath made amongst you, since by the grand possessors' wills I believe you should have prayed for them rather than been prayed. And so I leave all such to be prayed for, for the state of their wits' healths, that will not praise it. Vale.


Exemplary Sidney as the picture of 'True Nobility":

From Moffett's _Nobilis_ or_ A View of the Life and Death of a Sidney_,
dedicated to WILLIAM HERBERT: Jan 1594 (?)

"A few, to be sure, were observed to murmur, and to envy him so great preferment; but they were men without worth or virtue, who considered the public welfare a matter of indifference- fitter, in truth, to hold a DISTAFF and card wool among serving girls than at any time to be considered as RIVALS by Sidney. For no one ever wished ill to the honor of the Sidney's except him who wished ill to the commonwealth; no one ever for forsook Philip except him whom the hope that he might at some time be honourable had also forsaken; and no one ever injured him except him for whom virtue and piety had no love. He was never so incensed, however, by the wrongs of malignant or slanderous men but that at the slightest sign of penitence the heat of his disturbed spirit would die down, and he would bury all past offenses under a kind of everlasting OBLIVION. (p.82 Nobilis (The Noble Man), Moffett)


Written to Philip Herbert after the death of his brother William:

Chaffinge, Thomas, ca. 1581-1646.

Title: The Just mans memoriall Date: 1630

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

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

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


...Trust not in Princes, nor in any Child of Man; they may leave you, or you them, ere you be aware. The Theaters and Scaffolds of the greatest eminency, whereon you great Potentates, and Grandees act your severall parts, either stand leaning and reeling on the quick-sand of Mutability, and Inconstancie, or else lie open and obnoxious to the wind of Disfavour, and Disgrace.

It is the Staffe and Rod of Gods feare and obedience that must sustaine you, when happely the Staffe of your Honour, like that of Egypt, may breake, and runne into your hand.  If your Counsell be of God, (as Gamaliel said) if you make him your foundation, assure your selfe, your House shall stand, you shall see your Childrens children, and peace upon Israel. If you misse of your Ground-worke here, you can expect nothing but ruine; Tectum will be Sepulchrum, your House shall bee your Grave, as that was to Samson.

 Degeneremque Neoptolemum

Neoptolemus - Son of Achilles, 'Achilles Reborn' (see Gabriel Harvey's Latin Address?) - aka Pyrrhus. In Virgil's Aeneid, Pyrrhus/Neoptolemus kills Priam on the altar -  saying: 'You shall go a messenger to my father Achilles, whom you so much praise, and tell him that his son has degenerated from the virtues of his father.'


 After Henry de Vere's death, the peers petitioned the crown to support the Oxford earldom when there was some question about Henry's second cousin Robert de Vere's financial position:

"We hold it for a constant maxim that (virtue and merit being the only means to attain hereditary honours at first) it doth nearly concern your Majesty and the whole state, to keep such families as have attained it in an honourable means of upholding the same; and to put it out of the power of an UNWORTHY sucessor to destroy the foundation; those persons who have both the honour of their ancestors, and good estates, being double engaged to give a good and faithful account to your majesty and the state of their employment. (quoted in Daphne Pearson, Edward de Vere, The Crisis and Consequences of Wardship, p.52)


 Abraham Holland makes it crystal-clear that the 18th Earl Henry de Vere may have been his father's son in 'letter' - but not in spirit:

...The soft inticements of the Court, the smiles
Of Glorious Princes the bewitching wiles
Of softer Ladies, and the Golden State
That in such places doth on Greatnesse waite
And all the shadie happinesse which seemes
To attend Kings and follow Diadems
Were Boy-games to his minde: to see a Maske
And sit it out, he held a greater taske
Than to endure a Siege: to wake all Night
In his cold armour, still expecting fight
And the drad On-set, the sad face of feare,
And the pale silence of an Army, were
His best Delights; among the common rout
Of his rough Souldiers to sit hardnesse out
Were his most pleasing Delicates: to him
A Batter'd Helmet was a Diadem:
And wounds, his Brauerie: Knowing that Fame
And faire Eternitie could neuer claime
Their Meeds without such Hazards:

from (AN ELEGIE VPON THE DEATH OF THE RIGHT NOBLE and Magnanimous Heroë, HENRY Earle of Oxford, Viscount Bulbec, Lord Samford, and Lord great Chamberlaine of England.


In the same elegy, Oxford's son Henry de Vere's spirit is crowned in Elysium by his father's mighty opposite Sir Philip Sidney:

Nor came he to the Elysium with shame
That the old VERES did blush to heare his Name
Brighter than theirs: where his deserts to grace
His Grand-fathers rose up and gave him place,
And set him with the Heroës, where the Quire
Of ayrie Worthies rise up, and admire
The stately Shade: those Brittish Ghosts which long
Agoe were number'd in th'Elysian throng
Ioy to behold him; SYDNEY threw his Bayes
On OXFORDS head, and daign'd to sing his praise;
While Fame with silver Trumpet did keepe time
With his high Voice, and answered his rime.

  Greville, __A Dedication to Sir Philip Sidney_

“I conceived an Historian was bound to tell nothing but the truth, but to tell all truths were both justly to wrong, and offend not only princes and States, but to blemish, and stir up himself, the frailty and tenderness, not only of particular men, but of many Families, with the spirit of an Athenian Timon.”

Jonson's Poem accompanying Raleigh's Frontispiece:


From death and dark oblivion (near the same)
    The mistress of man’s life, grave History,
*Raising the world to good and evil fame*,
    Doth vindicate it to eternity.
Wise Providence would so : that nor the good
    Might be defrauded, nor the great secured,
But both might know their ways were understood,
    When vice alike in time with virtue dured :
Which makes that, lighted by the beamy hand
Of Truth, that searcheth the most hidden springs,
And guided by Experience, whose straight wand
    Doth mete, whose line doth sound the depth of things ;
She cheerfully supporteth what she rears,
    Assisted by no strengths but are her own,
Some note of which each varied pillar bears,
    By which, as proper titles, she is known
Time's witness, herald of Antiquity,
The light of Truth, and life of Memory.

First Folio as Spolia:

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

Trophaeum Peccati - Greville's Tomb

Not marble, nor the gilded monuments Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme; But you shall shine more bright in these contents Than unswept stone, besmear'd with sluttish time. When wasteful war shall statues overturn, And broils root out the work of masonry, Nor Mars his sword, nor war's quick fire shall burn The living record of your memory. 'Gainst death, and all oblivious enmity Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room Even in the eyes of all posterity That wear this world out to the ending doom.
   So, till the judgment that yourself arise,
   You live in this, and dwell in lovers' eyes.

  Charles W. Hedrick

 The fact that there is no technical and recognized procedure called a damnation memoriae is consistent with the goal of the purge. The damnatio memoriae is supposed to eradicate memory. But to recognize that there was such a technical procedure would be to acknowledge the repression, and thereby allow the existence of those of whom it was illegitimate to speak. Therefore, it is integral to the process of forgetting that it pretend not to be a repression at all, that it dissimulate itself. If the purpose of repression is to purge representation and impose forgetfulness, then it must pretend to be NOTHING itself - otherwise, the process would become the sign of the thing repressed, and so would produce an effect contrary to its goal.


  In 1743, the 9th Earl of Pembroke was Henry Herbert, a fine scholar noted for his artistic and literary tastes. His father was also the grandson of Philip Herbert, husband of Susan de Vere, one of the Incomparable Brethren to whom Shakespeare's first folio was dedicated. It was Henry Herbert who commissioned an exact replica of Peter Scheemakers' statue of Shakespeare, which only two years before had been acquired for Westminster Abbey. This replicated statue is precise in every detail except one. The one exception is that the Abbey's Shakespeare is pointing to a scroll on which has been written lines taken from The Tempest (Act iv: sc 1) –

The Cloud-capp'd Towers, / The Gorgeous Palaces / The Solemn
Temples, / The Great Globe itself / Yea, all which it inherit / Shall
Dissolve; / And like the baseless Fabric of a Vision / Leave not a
rack behind.

It may, perhaps, be mentioned that a change of text has taken place within the penultimate line. This should read - And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, but the sense remains unaltered.

The Wilton Shakespeare, although identical in all other respects, has the poet's finger pointing to the same scroll, but upon which appears…the immortal lines taken from Macbeth:

Life's but a walking shadow; a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more:


Signifying NIHIL:

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 5

Even so, there was no juridical concept of damnatio memoriae in ancient Rome, only a more of less conventional repertoire of penalties for repressing the memory of the public enemy, which might be enacted separately or together. Nevertheless, for the sake of convenience I will here refer to the Roman attack on memory as damnatio memoriae, or in English as "repression" or " anthematization" or "PURGE." -- Charles W Hedrick

The Race of Shakespeare's Mind and Manners -- Jonson

 Honest Ben/Honest Iago:

Iago's Clyster:
Purgation, Anality, and the Civilizing Process
Ben Saunders

In this essay I will elaborate a hermeneutic strategy that builds on the hints provided by Iago's attraction to verbal figures of purgation, evacuation, and oral/anal substitution and displacement, as witnessed in this passage. By attending to the neglected (waste) matter of bodily purgation and regulation in this play, I hope not only to say something about early modern anality but also to broaden our sense of its relation to a historically emergent racist vocabulary. In the process I will expand on the (by-now) commonplace notion that Othello generates a good deal of its aesthetic effect, and emotional affect, through "a black/white opposition" that is "built into the play at every level." Assuming the centrality of a related opposition between civilization and barbarism, which I find reinscribed and deconstructed throughout the text, I will suggest that the process of ideological invention whereby "civilized" man is distinguished from his "barbaric" other emerges in Othello quite literally from the sewer. In this account, Iago represents not only a portrait of the villain as anal-retentive artist but also as the Shakespearean figure who expresses the (disavowed) centrality of lower- body functions to the production of "civilized" Christian masculinity-- and who therefore also best reveals the violent, disciplinary force that is the (again, disavowed) foundation of that "civilizing" process.
(snip)    "I cannot imagine any spectator leaving Othello feeling cleansed."Edward Pechter
An excretory précis of the plot of Othello therefore runs as follows: Iago talks shit, pumping pestilence into Othello's ear, literally filling Othello's head with shit, until he believes that his love object smells like shit, and comes to feel that he has actually been smeared with shit--shit that can be washed away only with Desdemona's blood. Then, upon killing her, Othello discovers that he has not removed the stain but has rather become the very substance that soils: along with everything else he touches, Iago has turned Othello into shit.
To conclude by returning briefly to the "clyster-pipes" that initially inspired my inquiry: these pipes may now look more unpleasant than ever, though in the context of the foregoing arguments, their invocation is perhaps less startling. For the entire text of Othello can be read as in some sense the result of Iago's investment in violent evacuation and purgation. Iago--who restores the "natural" order in terms of normative homo-social and racially pure power relations--might even see his actions as analogous to those of the early modern physician, restoring health to what he would consider a diseased body politic, clogged as it is with unhealthful foreign excrements that have risen from the lower extremities, where they belong, to positions of power and authority: "Work on, / My medicine, work!" he cries, as the fit seizes Othello and drives him to his knees (4.1.44-45). He hatches a plot to expunge Venetian society of everything he associates with lower-body functions: women, people of color, sexual desire. Iago's "monstrous birth" is no baby, then, but rather a tremendous evacuation--the inevitable and horrific consequence of a "diet of revenge." And the complete success of Iago's enema is attested to when this masterful shitmonger has nothing left to say: "Demand me nothing. What you know, you know. / From this time forth I never will speak word" (5.2.300-301). The clyster has done its work. Othello, Desdemona, Emilia, and Roderigo lie dead, and Iago is . . . empty. Silent. Purged. But Iago's sadistic drives have already exposed the civilized impulses toward order, control, and cleanliness, impulses that provide one linguistic matrix for modern racism, as rooted in a series of paradoxical disavowals and denials: the obsessive need for order that itself produces chaos; the tremendous appetite to deny appetite; the consuming passion to be free of passion; the excessive desire to eliminate all excess; the overpowering lust to banish lust. Shakespeare has personified the civilizing process in Iago, an anal-retentive proto-racist poet devoted to the terrible logic of the purge.


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.

- Jonson

 John Beaumont , Jonsonus Virbius

...Twas he that found (plac'd) in the seat of wit,
DULL grinning IGNORANCE, and banish'd it;
He on the prostituted stage appears
To make men hear, not by their eyes, but ears;
Who painted virtues, that each one might know,
And point the man, that did such treasure owe :
So that who could in JONSON'S lines be high
Needed not honours, or a riband buy ;
But VICE he only shewed us in a GLASS,
Which by reflection of those rays that pass,
Retains the FIGURE lively, set before,
And that withdrawn, reflects at us no more;
So, he observ'd the like DECORUM, when
*He whipt the vices, and yet spar'd the men* :
When heretofore, the Vice's only note,
And sign from virtue was his party-coat;
When devils were the last men on the stage,
And pray'd for plenty, and the present age.

Ambisinister, disproportionate Droeshout Figure - 'cut' for Shakespeare:

To keep the Roman dead present in the lives of those left behind, the monuments built to commemorate them were designed to represent their virtues in a manner as true to life as possible. --Brian Chalk, Jonson's Textual Monument


Anti-court rhetoric:

Jonson, Discoveries

De Poetica. - We have spoken sufficiently of oratory, let us now make a diversion to poetry. Poetry, in the primogeniture, had many PECCANT HUMOURS, and is made to have more now, through the levity and inconstancy of men' s judgments. Whereas, indeed, it is the most prevailing eloquence, and of the most exalted caract. Now the discredits and disgraces are many it hath received through men' s study of depravation or calumny; their practice being to give it diminution of credit, by lessening the professor' s estimation, and making THE AGE afraid of their liberty; and THE AGE is grown so tender of her fame, as she calls all writings aspersions.

That is the state word, the PHRASE OF COURT (placentia college), which some call PARASITES PLACE, the INN OF IGNORANCE. 


Revenge of Wrong.

Fain would I sing, but fury makes me fret,
And Rage hath sworn to seek revenge of wrong;
My mazed mind in malice so is set,
As Death shall daunt my deadly dolours long;
Patience perforce is such a pinching pain,
As die I will, or suffer wrong again.

I am no sot, to suffer such abuse
As doth bereave my heart of his delight;
Nor will I frame myself to such as use,
With calm consent, to suffer such despite;
No quiet sleep shall once possess mine eye
Till Wit have wrought his will on Injury.

My heart shall fail, and hand shall lose his force,
But some device shall pay Despite his due;
And Fury shall consume my careful corse,
Or raze the ground whereon my sorrow grew.
Lo, thus in rage of ruthful mind refus’d,
I rest reveng’d on whom I am abus’d.

Earle of Oxenforde.