Sunday, June 15, 2014

Jonson Graceful and Idolatrous Praise of Shakespeare

Twice-sod simplicity, his coctus!
O thou monster Ignorance, how deformed dost thou look!

--Love's Labour Lost

(Omitting yet another link to the 'deformed' Droeshout Engraving)


When I wish to 'see' Oxford I do not look at the figure of Hamlet, but instead look to Amorphus of Cynthia's Revels. Jonson described Amorphus as 'the Deformed', and in his play sought to 'correct' certain deformations that had overtaken the English court.

Above all, Amorphus is a courtier. He is in his element in the court, and he is a very sociable individual. He is not in corners, arms wreathed, melancholic. As Jonson paints him, he is quite harmless - but very silly. Upper-class Twit of the Year silly. He has a number of habits that Jonson disapproves of. He appears to be a trendsetter - a man of fashion and 'spirit'. In the very first scenes we can see that Amorphus never behaves spontaneously, but plots out his verbal expressions and gestures in minute detail. He consults his 'store' of experience and fancy and then expresses himself according to his own will. He does not seem to consult moral exemplars or authoritative authors from the past, but relies on his own taste and discretion; which is for Jonson a sign of his inappropriate self-love. When he obtains a 'minion', he takes him aside and in greatest secrecy instructs him in the courtly arts of self-presentation, thus communicating his bad habits to others.

In these scenes, Jonson lifts the curtain on the mysteries of the sources of the courtiers' grazia and sprezzatura - exposing behaviours that are meant to appear 'naturally' graceful as studied and affected.  Any idea of an aristocratic 'je-ne-sais-quois' or  natural superiority is exposed as a sham. Sprezzatura is unmasked as its opposite - affectazione. And that 's what happens in Cynthia's Revels - all of the courtier's apparent graces and virtues are exposed as vices. (Jonson's section on 'affected language' in Timber is  titled 'De vere argutis' - perhaps an indication that Jonson was not above a pun himself?)

Shakespeare's Cleopatra decided to kill herself rather than see her greatness 'boyed' on stages in Rome.

 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' the posture of a whore.

Cynthia's Revels boyed Oxford's greatness in the posture of a ridiculous self-loving fool. And this public assault on Oxford's character was apparently witnessed and tolerated by Queen Elizabeth.


Text from Original 1609 Quarto

Why didst thou promise such a beautious day,
And make me trauaile forth without my cloake,
To let bace cloudes ore-take me in my way,
Hiding thy brau’ry in their rotten smoke.
Tis not enough that through the cloude thou breake,
To dry the raine on my storme-beaten face,
For no man well of such a salue can speake,
That heales the wound, and cures not the disgrace:
Nor can thy shame giue phisicke to my griefe,
Though thou repent, yet I haue still the losse,
Th’offenders sorrow lends but weake reliefe
To him that beares the strong offenses losse¹.
Ah but those teares are pearle which thy loue sheeds,
And they are ritch, and ransome all ill deeds.


What was Oxford's response to Jonson's attack? Cynthia's Revels was only one of the plays of the Poets' War, so there may be a number of answers to that question. Personally, I take the greatest interest in the relationships between Cynthia's Revels; Or, the Fountain of Self-love and Hamlet, but in James P. Bednarz's book about the Poets' War there is one passage about Twelfth Night that keeps returning to mind. In a chapter called 'Shakespeare at the Fountain of Self-Love' (ironic grimace) Bednarz writes/quotes:

An excellent account of the intertextuality of Cynthia's Revels and Twelfth Night is offered by Cristina Malcolmson, who identifies these plays as part of the "war of the theaters" and supports the opinion that their fundamental difference was the result of their obverse interpretaions of "self-love". After Jonson had valorized "allowable self-love" in Cynthia's Revels, Malcolmson contends, Sahekspeare mocked it in Twelfth Night by contrasting Viola and Malvolio. "Malvolio's 'self-love' satirizes Jonson's version of individual value not only as self-indulgent but as socially divisive, because it privileges censuring the faults of others and praising the self over the more difficult task of preserving the harmony of social relations." Shakespeare faults Jonson, Malcolmson continues, because he 'reproves those who would fluidity for their own benefit or as an opportunity to reorder the traditional structure according to new ethical and plitical principles." "Such ethical and political blueprints," she concludes, "are simply fantasies of power." (Bednarz, p.185).


 Male deformities’: NARCISSUS and the Reformation of Courtly Manners in Cynthia’s Revels in Ovid and 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*.
Cursing the 'Fountain of Self-love' at which Narcissus died, Echo laments that

self-love never yet could look on truth
Bur with bleared beams; sleek flattery and she
Are twin-born sisters, and so mix their eyes
As if you sever one, the other dies.

Echo's anatomy of narcissism, which affiliates self-love with the quintessential courtly vice of FLATTERY, clearly applies to the social and political as well as the epistemological realm...

Lecturing the Courtiers: Crites/Criticus/Jonson in Cynthia's Revels:

O vanity,
How are thy painted beauties doted on,
By light, and empty Idiots 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:
"While fools are pittied, they wax fat and proud

Fake Figures in the First Folio: Jonson praises/flatters Shakespeare after Shakespeare's own manner, exposing Shakespearean beautiousness as empty/airy forms. Enshrining a fake Figure.

When Figure becomes Fashionable - generating linguistic confusion and therefore social confusion through the unrestrained use of rhetorical figures:

Peter Schwenger, Deceit in Appleton House

In Upon Appleton House, Marvell has taken advantage of the possible independence of ornament from subject matter to set up a conflict between the two that parallels the poem's explicit theme. Explicitly, he presents a conflict between the nature created by God and the the art created by man. Man's art is epitomized in the idea of the house, which fitly expresses man's ambitions toward and artificial world, this time ceated in his own image. But all art is suspect in this way, including the art of poetry itself. Poetry, like the house as it is characterized in Parthenieia Sacra, is "an artificious Plasme...made in spite of Nature, to vye with her." [Hawkins]. Appleton House is an exceptional house, praised because it is natural, plain, unassuming, and pure. But that praise is couched in a style that is the very opposite of these qualities: artificial, elaborate, overreaching, and curiously corrupt. Its corruption arrises from the nature of the ornamental metaphors of which it is wrought. Appleton House is praised for its perfect proportion; but an ambitious poet is encouraged to push his metaphors toward disproportion, since "the more unlike and unproportionable things be otherwise, THE MORE GRACE HATH THE METAPHOR." [Hobbes]. Each metaphor is, as Tesauro indicates, a sophisticated lie. And when applied to the natural subject, metaphors impose upon it a series of restless changes. They substitute bodiless FANCIES for the object itself, the poet's world for God's.

Rise, MY Shakespeare! --Jonson
(Schwenger, con't)

Close attention to the metaphors of the poem - to their progression, prevalence, density, and subtlety - will then provide us with a kind of index to the presence of deceit; and this will allow us to judge the ways in which the cross-current of deceit serves as commentary to the more explicit themes of the poem.

Sweet Swan of Avon! (Close attention to the metaphors of the poem - to their progression, prevalence, density, and subtlety - will then provide us with a kind of index to the presence of deceit.) (and over-the-top flattery - NLD)


by Ben Jonson

To draw no envy, SHAKSPEARE, on thy name,
Am I thus ample to thy book and fame ;
While I confess thy writings to be such,
As neither Man nor Muse can praise too much.
'Tis true, and all men's suffrage. But these ways
Were not the paths I meant unto thy praise ;
For seeliest ignorance on these may light,
Which, when it sounds at best, but echoes right ;
Or blind affection, which doth ne'er advance
The truth, but gropes, and urgeth all by chance ;
Or crafty malice might pretend this praise,
And think to ruin where it seemed to raise.
These are, as some infamous bawd or whore
Should praise a matron ; what could hurt her more ?
But thou art proof against them, and, indeed,
Above the ill fortune of them, or the need.
I therefore will begin: Soul of the age!
The applause ! delight ! the wonder of our stage!
My SHAKSPEARE rise ! I will not lodge thee by
Chaucer, or Spenser, or bid Beaumont lie
A little further, to make thee a room :
Thou art a monument without a tomb,
And art alive still while thy book doth live
And we have wits to read, and praise to give.
That I not mix thee so my brain excuses,
I mean with great, but disproportioned Muses :
For if I thought my judgment were of years,
I should commit thee surely with thy peers,
And tell how far thou didst our Lyly outshine,
Or sporting Kyd, or Marlowe's mighty line.
And though thou hadst small Latin and less Greek,
From thence to honour thee, I would not seek
For names : but call forth thund'ring Aeschylus,
Euripides, and Sophocles to us,
Pacuvius, Accius, him of Cordova dead,
To life again, to hear thy buskin tread
And shake a stage : or when thy socks were on,
Leave thee alone for the comparison
Of all that insolent Greece or haughty Rome
Sent forth, or since did from their ashes come.
Triumph, my Britain, thou hast one to show
To whom all Scenes of Europe homage owe.
He was not of an age, but for all time !
And all the Muses still were in their prime,
When, like Apollo, he came forth to warm
Our ears, or like a Mercury to charm !
Nature herself was proud of his designs,
And joyed to wear the dressing of his lines !
Which were so richly spun, and woven so fit,
As, since, she will vouchsafe no other wit.
The merry Greek, tart Aristophanes,
Neat Terence, witty Plautus, now not please ;
But antiquated and deserted lie,
As they were not of Nature's family.
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 : and, that he
Who casts to write a living line, must sweat,
(Such as thine are) and strike the second heat
Upon the Muses' anvil ; turn the same,
And himself with it, that he thinks to frame ;
Or for the laurel he may gain a scorn ;
For a good poet's made, as well as born.
And such wert thou ! Look how the father's face
Lives in his issue, even so the race
Of Shakspeare's mind and manners brightly shines
In his well torned and true filed lines;
In each of which he seems to shake a lance,
As brandisht at the eyes of ignorance.
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 !
But stay, I see thee in the hemisphere
Advanced, and made a constellation there !
Shine forth, thou Star of Poets, and with rage
Or influence, chide or cheer the drooping stage,
Which, since thy flight from hence, hath mourned like night,
And despairs day, but for thy volume's light.


Alas! 'tis true, I have gone here and there,
And made my self a motley to the view,
Gored mine own thoughts, sold cheap what is most dear,
Made old offences of affections new;
Most true it is, that I have looked on truth
Askance and strangely; but, by all above,
These blenches gave my heart another youth,

Blench \Blench\, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Blenched; p. pr. & vb. n.
Blenching.] [OE. blenchen to blench, elude, deceive, AS.
blencan to deceive; akin to Icel. blekkja to impose upon.
Prop. a causative of blink to make to wink, to deceive.


Milton, L'Allegro (Close attention to the metaphors of the poem - to their progression, prevalence, density, and subtlety - will then provide us with a kind of index to the presence of deceit.)

139: Or sweetest Shakespeare, FANCY'S child,
140: Warble his native wood-notes WILD.


But know that in the Soule

Are many lesser Faculties that serve
Reason as chief; among these FANSIE next
Her office holds; of all external things,
Which the five watchful Senses represent,
She forms Imaginations, Aerie shapes,
Which Reason joyning or disjoyning, frames
All what we affirm or what deny, and call
Our knowledge or opinion; then retires
Into her private Cell when Nature rests.
Oft in her absence MIMIC FANSIE wakes
To imitate her; but misjoyning shapes,
WILDE WORK produces oft, and most in dreams,
Ill matching words and deeds long past or late.
Som such resemblances methinks I find
Of our last Eevnings talk, in this thy dream,
But with addition strange; yet be not sad.
Evil into the mind of God or Man
May come and go, so unapprov'd, and leave
No spot or blame behind:

Milton, _Paradise Lost Book V_


Fanciful \Fan"ci*ful\, a.

1. Full of fancy; guided by fancy, rather than by reason and
experience; whimsical; as, a fanciful man forms visionary

2. Conceived in the fancy; not consistent with facts or
reason; abounding in ideal qualities or figures; as, a
fanciful scheme; a fanciful theory.

3. Curiously shaped or constructed; as, she wore a fanciful

Gather up all fancifullest shells. --Keats.

Syn: Imaginative; ideal; visionary; capricious; chimerical;
whimsical; fantastical; wild.

Usage: Fanciful, Fantastical, Visionary. We speak of
that as fanciful which is irregular in taste and
judgment; we speak of it as fantastical when it
becomes grotesque and extravagant as well as
irregular; we speak of it as visionary when it is
wholly unfounded in the nature of things. Fanciful
notions are the product of a heated fancy, without any
tems are made up of oddly assorted fancies, aften of
the most whimsical kind; visionary expectations are
those which can never be realized in fact. --

Fan"ci*ful*ly, adv. -Fan"ci*ful*ness, n.


_Comus_, John Milton

745: COMUS. Why are you vexed, Lady? why do you frown?
746: Here dwell no frowns, nor anger; from these gates
747: Sorrow flies far. See, here be all the pleasures
748: That FANCY can beget on youthful thoughts,
749: When the fresh blood grows lively, and returns
750: Brisk as the April buds in primrose season.
751: And first behold this cordial julep here,
752: That flames and dances in his crystal bounds,
753: With spirits of balm and fragrant syrups mixed.


837: LADY. I had not thought to have unlocked my lips
838: In this unhallowed air, but that this juggler
839: Would think to charm my judgment, as mine eyes,
840: Obtruding false rules pranked in reason's garb.
841: I hate when vice can bolt her arguments
842: And virtue has no tongue to check her pride.
843: Impostor! do not charge most innocent Nature,
844: As if she would her children should be riotous
845: With her abundance. She, good cateress,
846: Means her provision only to the good,
847: That live according to her sober laws,
848: And holy dictate of spare Temperance.
849: If every just man that now pines with want
850: Had but a moderate and beseeming share
851: Of that which lewdly-pampered Luxury
852: Now heaps upon some few with vast excess,
853: Nature's full blessings would be well dispensed
854: In unsuperfluous even proportion,
855: And she no whit encumbered with her store;
856: And then the Giver would be better thanked,
857: His praise due paid: for swinish gluttony
858: Ne'er looks to Heaven amidst his GORGEOUS feast,
859: But with besotted base ingratitude
860: Crams, and blasphemes his Feeder. Shall I go on
861: Or have I said enow? To him that dares
862: Arm his profane tongue with contemptuous words
863: Against the sun-clad power of chastity
864: Fain would I something say;--yet to what end?
865: Thou hast nor ear, nor soul, to apprehend
866: The sublime notion and high mystery
867: That must be uttered to unfold the sage
868: And serious doctrine of Virginity;
869: And thou art worthy that thou shouldst not know
870: More happiness than this thy present lot.
871: Enjoy your dear wit, and gay rhetoric,
872: That hath so well been taught her DAZZLING FENCE;
873: Thou art not fit to hear thyself convinced.
874: Yet, should I try, the uncontrolled worth
875: Of this pure cause would kindle my rapt spirits
876: To such a flame of sacred vehemence
877: That dumb things would be moved to sympathise,
878: And the brute Earth would lend her nerves, and SHAKE,
879: Till all thy MAGIC STRUCTURES, reared so high,
880: Were SHATTERED into heaps o'er thy FALSE HEAD.


Comus speaks:

162: Hail, goddess of nocturnal sport,
163: Dark-veiled Cotytto, to whom the secret flame
164: Of midnight torches burns! mysterious dame,
165: That ne'er art called but when the dragon womb
166: Of Stygian darkness spets her thickest gloom,
167: And makes one blot of all the air!
168: Stay thy cloudy ebon chair,
169: Wherein thou ridest with Hecat', and befriend
170: Us thy vowed priests, till utmost end
171: Of all thy dues be done, and none left out,
172: Ere the blabbing eastern scout,
173: The nice Morn on the Indian steep,
174: From her cabined loop-hole peep,
175: And to the tell-tale Sun descry
176: Our concealed solemnity.
178: In a LIGHT FANTASTIC round.

This Side Idolatry:

 The opposition of Christ and Satan in Paradise Lost is in the same was, as John Steadman has argued, the difference between image and idol, the “eikon and the eidolon of HEROIC VIRTUE.” The Son is the image of the Father’s glory; Satan, in his “Sun-bright chariot,” is the false appearance or phantasm of that image, the 'Idol of Majesty Divine”. His fallen legions, left free to wander the earth after the Fall, will inaugurate the history of idolatry in the shape of “various Idols through the Heathen World”, and their polluted rites will become the type of Catholic mis-devotion and of the political idolatry of the Stuart court. This distinction between idol and icon, which Steadman traces back through Bacon’s critique of the “idols” to Plato’s Theatetus and The Sophist, also set the terms of the debate in Italian criticism between Mazzoni and Tasso – the one maintaining that poetry is “phantastic,” a sophistical art of fallacious appearances only, the other that poetry is “eikastic,” an art of likeness and probability related to dialectic and more directly reflecting the truth it images. The topic is epitomized in Sidney’s Apologie, where it is illustrated by analogy with the sister art of painting:
“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 unworthy objects. As the Painter, that shoulde give to the eye eyther some excellent perspective, or some fine picture, fit for building or fortification, or containing in it some notable example as Abraham sacrificing his Sonne Isaack, Judith killing Holofernes, David fighting with Goliath, may leave those, and please an ill-pleased eye with wanton shewes of better hidden matters.
An idolatrous poetry infects the fancy and pleases the eye. An eikastic poetry illuminates the desire for “good things.” It too can appeal to the eye, but as Sidney’s notable examples suggest – all of them Old Testament histories, often represented in Protestant art, against which no charge of idolatry could be levered – its highest aim is to move the soul to virtuous action, to the sacrificing, killing, and fighting performed by the faithful in response to God’s word. (Ernest B. Gilman, The Idolatrous Eye, (pp.162-163)

The Idolatrous Eye:

Tri'umph, my Britain, thou hast one to SHOW
To whom all SCENES of Europe homage owe.

 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 !

Cynthia's Revels, Jonson

 MERCURY. Why, Crites, think you any noble spirit,
Or any, worth the title of a man,
Will be incensed to see the enchanted veils
Of self-conceit, and servile flattery,
Wrapt in so many folds by time and custom,
Drawn from his wronged and bewitched eyes?
Who sees not now their shape and nakedness,
Is blinder than the son of earth, the mole;
Crown'd with no more humanity, nor soul.

CRITES. Though they may see it, yet the huge estate
FANCY, and FORM, and SENSUAL PRIDE have gotten,
Will make them blush for anger, not for shame,
And turn shewn nakedness to impudence.
Humour is now the test we try things in:
All power is just: nought that delights is sin.
And yet the zeal of every knowing man
Opprest with hills of tyranny, cast on virtue
By the light fancies of fools, thus transported.
Cannot but vent the Aetna of his fires,
T'inflame best bosoms with much worthier love
Than of these outward and effeminate shades;
That these vain joys, in which their wills consume
Such powers of wit and soul as are of force
To raise their beings to eternity,
May be converted on works fitting men:
And, for the practice of a forced look,
An antic gesture, or a fustian phrase,
Study the native frame of a true heart,
An inward comeliness of bounty, knowledge,
And spirit that may conform them actually
To God's high figures, which they have in power;
Which to neglect for a self-loving neatness,
Is sacrilege of an unpardon'd greatness.

MER. Then let the truth of these things strengthen thee,
In thy exempt and only man-like course;
Like it the more, the less it is respected:
Though men fail, virtue is by gods protected. --
See, here comes Arete; I'll withdraw myself. [EXIT.]


 Nicolette Zeeman, _The Idol of the Text_

...Despite the literalists best efforts, they could not escape the capacity for language to create verbal 'images', or speaking pictures. In the 'Idol of the Text', Nicolette Zeeman concentrates on 'a particular figure seen in the imaginative text' , believing that, 'the idol is the underside of the notion that the imaginative text is like an image.'
"For a number of later medieval writers, including Chaucer, the figure of the idol is a means of focusing on problematic aspects of imaginative textuality and its contents. The idol articulates some of the difficulties of dealing with textual inheritance, the archive, and the 'authority'. '
What is the idol in the Middle Ages? Contrasting idols with Christian signs in the semiotics of Augustine, John Freccero describes idols as 'reified signs devoid of significance', gods 'coextensive with their representations.'. The idol refuses to be read as part of a larger sign system, drawing attention only to itself and to its own malleable materiality. In this sense, although it is highly material, it is 'NOTHING' (I Corinthians 8:4). It exists in the mutable world only for itself and to be worshipped for itself. Idolaters foolishly worship idols despite the fact that they have made them: idols in turn, lure their worshippers in the direction of their own materiality, sometimes even rendering idolators themselves inanimate (Milton - reader turned to marble/astonement) -NLD)


 Milton -- I sing the starry axis and the singing hosts in the sky, *and of the gods suddenly destroyed in their own shrines*. (Note - Gods coextensive with their representations - NLD)


Gods coextensive with their representations:

 Shakespeare and the Poet's War - James Bednarz

Referring to _Every Man Out of His Humour_, James Bednarz writes:

"Thus perhaps only in the First Quarto Jonson applied personal topicality to a play whose structure was from the start anti-Shakespearean, as he added to formal innovation a parody of the man and his work. It is through this set of allusions (in what became the defining style of the Poets' War) that he *conjoined in anecdotal form the body of the poet with the body of his work*.

The Wounded Cavalier


 From a Poetics of Idolatry, Kenneth Gross_Spenserian Poetics_,


 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.


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 Nothing:

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


Mario DiGangi, Male deformities’: NARCISSUS and the Reformation of Courtly Manners in Cynthia’s Revels in Ovid and the Renaissance Body

...Narcissus himself [...] never even appears during the course of the play. however, the corrupting Fountain of Self-love, the emblematic source of narcissism introduced at the very beginning of the play, seems to be a permanent fixture at Cynthia's court, for no mention is made of its ultimate destruction or purification. for Jonson's audience, the survival of the symbolically cominant fountain of Self-love might well have presaged that narcissistic manners would continue to deform the individual bodies of courtiers as well as the collective body of the court. With the benefit of historical hindsight, we can regard the Fountain's endurance as a sign of the ideological conflict over elite male comportment that would continue to be waged, in early modern England, as the legacy of Narcissus.

Mario DiGangi, (con't.)

 By the time Jonson wrote Cynthia's Revels, the Narcissus myth had developed an extended, complex, cultural legacy. Traditional medieval and Renaissance moral commentaries on Ovid generally explained Narcissus's error as the 'folly of loving an IMAGE.' Arthur Golding's influential 1567 translation of The Metamorposes, for instance, moralizes the myth as a 'mirror' of vanity and pride: 'Narcissus is of scornfulnesse and pryde a myrror cleere,/ Where beawties fading vanitie most playnly may appeere.'


SInne of ſelfe-loue poſſeſſeth al mine eie,
And all my ſoule,and al my euery part;
And for this ſinne there is no remedie,
It is ſo grounded inward in my heart.
Me thinkes no face ſo gratious is as mine,
No ſhape ſo true,no truth of ſuch account,
And for my ſelfe mine owne worth do define,
As I all other in all worths ſurmount.
But when my glaſſe ſhewes me my ſelfe indeed
Beated and chopt with tanned antiquitie,
Mine owne ſelfe loue quite contrary I read
Selfe,ſo ſelfe louing were iniquity,
   T'is thee(my ſelfe)that for my ſelfe I praiſe,
   Painting my age with beauty of thy daies,


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'.


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 fantasies.


Of the period after the Restoration - David Norbrook writes (In _Writing the English Republic_):

"Forgetting was officially sanctioned: The Act of Indemnity and Oblivion banned 'any name or names, or other words of reproach tending to revive the memory of the late differences thereof'. This book is one attempt to counter that process of erasure, which has had long-term effects on English literary history and, arguably, on wider aspects of political identity.. In the short term, the Act of Indemnity and Oblivion can be seen as an enlightened piece of legislation. Twenty years of bitter contention between and within families and social and religious groups needed oblivion to heal them. In the longer term, however, such forgetting has had it costs. Suppressing the republican element in English Cultural history entails simplifying a complex but intellectually and artistically challenging past into a sanitized and impoverished Royal heritage....The republic's political institutions 'continue to languish in a historiographical blind spot'; much the same applies to artistic culture (Norbrook pp1-2.)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

A Grace Exceeding Measurement

Let him forever go!—Let him not, Charmian.
Though he be painted one way like a Gorgon,
The other way’s a Mars.

 Cleopatra, Shakespeare

An important consequence of the metaphor's willful falsity is a relativistic view of the world. If metaphors may be contrived without any regrd for the truth, they may make the world in their own image as well - in any image they like - merely by describing it. -- Peter Schwenger, Deceit in Appleton House


...the more unlike and unproportionable things be otherwise, the more grace hath the Metaphor.-- Thomas Hobbers, Brief of the Art of Rhetorique

Greenwood, Shifting Perspectives and the Stylish Style

...We see both in architecture and painting the replacement of the Albertian canon of numerical relationships between parts and whole with a more subjective view of beauty, perhaps best expressed by Vasari when, in defining beauty a hundred years after Alberti, he commented on the work of the classicists by saying that:

There was wanting in their rule a certain freedom which, without being of the rule, might be directed by the rule and might be able to exist without causing confusion or spoiling the order; which order had need of an invention abundant in every respect, and of a certain beauty maintained in every least detail, so as to reveal all that order with more adornment. In proportion there was wanting a certain correctness of judgement, by means of which their figures, without having been measured, might have, in due relation to their dimensions, a grace exceeding measurement. (p. 31)

John Southern to Earl of Oxford (Pandora, 1584)


No, no, the high singer is he
Alone that in the end must be
Made proud with a garland like this,
And not every riming novice
That writes with small wit and much pain,
And the (God’s know) idiot in vain,
For it’s not the way to Parnasse,
Nor it will neither come to pass
If it be not in some wise fiction
And of an ingenious INVENTION,
And INFANTED with PLEASANT TRAVAIL,  (see Amorphus, Cynthia's Revels)
For it alone must win the laurel,
And only the poet WELL BORN
Must be he that goes to Parnassus,
And not these companies of asses
That have brought verse almost to scorn.


Style Wars - Classical Jonson, Mannerist Shakespeare

...He was, indeed, honest, and of an open and free nature; had an excellent fancy, brave notions, and gentle expressions, wherein he flowed with that facility that sometime it was necessary he should be stopped. 'Sufflaminandus erat,' as Augustus said of Haterius. His wit was in his own power; would the RULE of it had been so too. Many times he fell into those things, could not escape laughter, as when he said in the person of Caesar, one speaking to him: 'Caesar, thou dost me wrong.' He replied: 'Caesar did never wrong but with just cause;' and such like, which were ridiculous. But he redeemed his vices with his virtues. There was ever more in him to be praised than to be pardoned. (Jonson, Timber -- writing of Shakespeare)



...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.

Lax: Open, Loose, not careful enough, not strict enough


'Loose Thought is Free':

 Papers Complaint, compil'd in ruthfull Rimes Against the Paper-
spoylers of these Times. John Davies

...Another (ah Lord helpe) mee vilifies
With Art of Loue, and how to subtilize,
Making lewd Venus, with eternall Lines,
To tye Adonis to her loues designes :
Fine wit is shew'n therein : but finer twere
If not attired in such bawdy Geare.
But be it as it will : the coyest Dames,
In priuate read it for their Closset-games :
For, sooth to say, the Lines so draw them on,
To the venerian speculation,
That will they, nill they (if of flesh they bee)
They will thinke of it, sith loose Thought is free.
And thou (O Poet) that dost pen my Plaint,
Thou art not scot-free from my iust complaint
For, thou hast plaid thy part, with thy rude Pen,
To make vs both ridiculous to men.

(ll.47-62, Complete Works, vol. II, p. 75)


 George Herbert
“Jordan (II)”
When first my lines of heav'nly joyes made mention,
Such was their lustre, they did so excell,
That I sought out quaint words, and trim invention ;
My thoughts began to burnish, sprout, and swell,
Curling with metaphors a plain intention,
Decking the sense, as if it were to sell. (snip)


Wantonness of Wit - One descripton of the 'luxurious' poet's 'loose/lax style:

To Make His Saying True: Deceit in Appleton House, Peter Schwenger

 ...How, then, may we reconcile this malignant experience of the meadow with its final assessment in Stanza LXXXVII near the end of the poem? Maria is being praised as genius loci, the source of all true proportion in the Fairfax estate:

'Tis She that to these Gardens gave
That wondrous Beauty which they have;
She streightness on the Woods bestows;
To Her the Meadow sweetness owes:
Nothing could make the rive be
So Chrystal-pure but only She
She yet more Pure, Sweet, Streight, and Fair,
Then Gardens, Woods, Meads, Rivers are.

This stanza, not so very remarkable in itself, is noteworthy chiefly by virtue of what it ignores. The sweetness claimed for the meadow is in outright contradiction to the terrifying masque we have seen enacted there. In like manner, the characteristics of the other parts of the Fairfax estate do not take into account the complex connotations which these acquire in the course of the poem. Do we have here, then, another example of self-deceit? No: rather the truth, revealed by the holy clarity Maria brings to everything that surrounds her. The house and estate, we have been told from the start, are perfectly proportioned. If the poem that celebrates them is full of disproportions, the source of these can only be the poet's mind. The sweetness of the meadow is real; its sinister imagery has been projected upon it by the poet. The fallen nature of his mind cannot help but "put his Vice to use." Consequently, the images it projects reflect its own fallen state rather than the meadow's real sweetness. The actual scene is warped and distorted by its perceiver and so transformed that what is seen is more in the mind's eye than in the body's. The body's eye - despite the prevalence of optical illusion and deceit in the poem - is itself 'pure, and spotless," as Stanza LXXXXI describes it in a reference to Plato's Timaeus. The effect is like that of a "Landskip drawen in Looking-Glass," where, as the viewer draws closer, he may see his own face reflected amid the leaves. IN the "polisht Grass" of the meadow we may learn more of the perceiver than of what he perceives.
     This is an usurpation like the Architect's, insofar as the world's true proportions are half dissolved in man's corrupting mind. Throughout the poem, we must be wary of this sort of activity. Its presence may be recognized by the restlessness character of FANCY. Whenever the subject begins to undergo rapid metamorphoses, we are warned that FANCY is at work. Image breeds image in accordance with fashionable techniques, and soon the subject has been replaced by the subjective. The natureal order is loosened to a point that may in places approach the chaotic. This looseness is that of luxurious man - the "libidine degli ingegni" [wantonness of wit] referred to by Tesauro. Where the diction is most clear, stable, and ordered, on the other hand, we may be reasonable sure that the perceiver is correspondingly close to a view of the world as true as when God created it. The fluctuating drama of Man's alienation from God and reconciliation with Him can thus be expressed to a considerable degree by the fluctuations between a loose and a stable style.

(Later in essay, commenting on the 'sanctuary' of the wood, Schwenger explains that the apparent escape from the 'duplicities of the meadow' may not be true.)

...That the trees become columns here is entirely appropriate, for, according to Alberti, it was from trees that the architectural idea of columns came into being. When the "arching boughs" join these, though, we can recognize the arches and columns of the first stanza. Is the old perversion here redeemed or only reasserted? Our suspicions may be aroused by the "loose order" of the trees. The phrase pretends to mean merely a generously spaced arrangement. But Corinthian, we recall, is one of the three orders of columns and is often personified as "loose" in the sense of wanton. The most luxuriously ornamented of the orders, it may derive its character from the reputation of Corinth in classical times. At Corinth was found the temple of the goddess of love. The worshiper resorted to the portico of the temple, hwere veiled priestesses waited. One of these would lead each worshiper to an inner chamber, where the goddess would be worshiped through acts of sexual intercorse. These wanton priestesses may remind us of our earlier encounter with the "loose order" of the nuns.

Not is our Order yet so nice,
Delight to banish as a Vice...


Corinthian -- A gentleman who is fashionable and adept at sporting
activities. It originally meant profligate, after the apparently
elegant yet dissipated lifestyle in ancient Corinth.

...According to the online OED, Corinthian relates to the Greek city
of Corinth. It is also one of the three Grecian orders of columns, a
type of brass or bronze, whence also a meaning equivalent to "brassy"
or "brazen," as effrontery, an excessively elegant literary style, an
amateur yachtsman, and a variety of bagatelle. Further, and probably
the meaning most apt here, it refers to a wealthy or fashionable man,
or one who is profligate, idle, or licentious.

This Figure that thou here seest put,
It was for gentle SHAKSPEARE cut,
Wherein the graver had a strife
With Nature, to OUT-DOO the life :
O could he but have drawn his wit
As well in BRASS, as he has hit
His face  ; the print would then surpass
All that was ever writ in brass :
But since he cannot, reader, look
Not on his picture, but his book.


History of Henry IV, Part I
Act II, Scene 4
The Boar’s-Head Tavern, Eastcheap.
    * Henry V. Ned, prithee, come out of that fat room, and lend me
      thy hand to laugh a little.
    * Edward Poins. Where hast been, Hal?
    * Henry V. With three or four loggerheads amongst three or four
      score hogsheads. I have sounded the very
      base-string of humility. Sirrah, I am sworn brother 990
      to a leash of drawers; and can call them all by
      their christen names, as Tom, Dick, and Francis.
      They take it already upon their salvation, that
      though I be but the prince of Wales, yet I am king
      of courtesy; and tell me flatly I am no proud Jack, 995
      like Falstaff, but a CORINTHIAN, a lad of mettle, a
      good boy, by the Lord, so they call me, and when I
      am king of England, I shall command all the good
      lads in Eastcheap. They call drinking deep, dyeing
      scarlet; and when you breathe in your watering, they 1000
      cry 'hem!' and bid you play it off. (snip)



 _Comus_, John Milton

745: COMUS. Why are you vexed, Lady? why do you frown?
746: Here dwell no frowns, nor anger; from these gates
747: Sorrow flies far. See, here be all the pleasures
748: That FANCY can beget on youthful thoughts,
749: When the fresh blood grows lively, and returns
750: Brisk as the April buds in primrose season.
751: And first behold this cordial julep here,
752: That flames and dances in his crystal bounds,
753: With spirits of balm and fragrant syrups mixed.


837: LADY. I had not thought to have unlocked my lips
838: In this unhallowed air, but that this juggler
839: Would think to charm my judgment, as mine eyes,
840: Obtruding false rules pranked in reason's garb.
841: I hate when vice can bolt her arguments
842: And virtue has no tongue to check her pride.
843: Impostor! do not charge most innocent Nature,
844: As if she would her children should be riotous
845: With her abundance. She, good cateress,
846: Means her provision only to the good,
847: That live according to her sober laws,
848: And holy dictate of spare Temperance.
849: If every just man that now pines with want
850: Had but a moderate and beseeming share
851: Of that which lewdly-pampered LUXURY
852: Now heaps upon some few with VAST EXCESS,
853: Nature's full blessings would be well dispensed
854: In unsuperfluous even proportion,
855: And she no whit encumbered with her store;
856: And then the Giver would be better thanked,
857: His praise due paid: for swinish gluttony
858: Ne'er looks to Heaven amidst his GORGEOUS feast,
859: But with besotted base ingratitude
860: Crams, and blasphemes his Feeder. 

 871: Enjoy your dear wit, and gay rhetoric,
872: That hath so well been taught her dazzling fence;
873: Thou art not fit to hear thyself convinced.
874: Yet, should I try, the uncontrolled worth
875: Of this pure cause would kindle my rapt spirits
876: To such a flame of sacred vehemence
877: That dumb things would be moved to sympathise,
878: And the brute Earth would lend her nerves, and SHAKE,
880: Were SHATTERED into heaps o'er thy FALSE HEAD.

 "Judgement begets the strength and structure, and Fancy begets the ornaments of a poem," - Hobbes (quoted in Schwenger)


Epidemical infection/see thee in our waters yet appear

Mount bank/literary 'cozening'/deceitful figures:

 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
Jonson, _Timber_

Jam literæ sordent. - Pastus hodiern. ingen. - The time was when men would learn and study good things, not envy those that had them.  Then men were had in price for learning; now letters only make men VILE.  He is upbraidingly called a poet, as if it were a contemptible nick-name: but the professors, indeed, have made the learning cheap - railing and tinkling rhymers, whose writings the VULGAR more greedily read, as being taken with the SCURRILITY and petulancy of such wits.  He shall not have a reader now unless he jeer and lie.  It is the food of men' s natures; the diet of the times; gallants cannot sleep else.  The writer must lie and the gentle reader rests happy to hear the worthiest works misinterpreted, the clearest actions obscured, the innocentest life traduced: and in such a licence of lying, a field so fruitful of slanders, how can there be matter wanting to his laughter?  Hence comes the EPIDEMICAL INFECTION; for how can they escape the CONTAGION of the writings, whom the virulency of the calumnies hath not staved off from reading?


Infection/ casting waters

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 !


{{Topic 54}} {{Subject: mass taste}}

Vulgi expectatio.

333 Expectation of the Vulgar is more drawne, and held with newnesse, then
334 goodnesse; wee see it in Fencers, in Players, in Poets, in Preachers, in all,
335 where Fame promiseth any thing; so it be {{new}} [[now]], though never so naught,
336 and depraved, they run to it, AND OUR TAKEN. Which shewes, that the only
337 decay, or hurt of the best mens reputation with the people, is, their wits
338 have out-liv'd the peoples palats. They have beene too much, or too
339 long a feast.

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.


... for thou wert never more fair in the way to be COZENED, than IN THIS AGE, in poetry, especially in plays (Jonson, Alchemist)

Soul of the Age!...
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 !

Mount Bank/Cozening:

{{Topic 54}} {{Subject: mass taste}}-Jonson, Timber

Vulgi expectatio.

333 Expectation of the Vulgar is more drawne, and held with newnesse, then
334 goodnesse; wee see it in Fencers, in Players, in Poets, in Preachers, in all,
335 where Fame promiseth any thing; so it be {{new}} [[now]], though never so naught,
336 and depraved, they run to it, AND ARE TAKEN. Which shewes, that the only
337 decay, or hurt of the best mens reputation with the people, is, their wits
338 have out-liv'd the peoples palats. They have beene too much, or too
339 long a feast.


 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 subdu’d
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 eysell, ‘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.

Jonson, Timber

284 Whom the disease of talking still once possesseth, hee can never hold
285 his peace. Nay, rather then hee will not discourse, hee will hire men
286 to heare him. And so heard, not hearkn'd unto, hee comes off most
287 times like a Mountebanke, that when hee hath prais'd his med'cines, finds
288 none will take them, or trust him. Hee is like Homers Thersites.

Jonson, Timber

 De mollibus & effoemenatis There is nothing valiant, or solid to be hoped for from such, as are always kempt and perfumed; and every day smell of the tailor: the exceedingly curious, that are wholly in mending such an imperfection in the face, in taking away the morphew in the neck; or bleaching their hands at midnight, gumming and bridling their beards; or making the waist small, binding it with hoops, while the mind runs at waste: too much pickedness is not manly. Nor from those that will jest at their own outward imperfections, but hide their ulcers within, their pride, lust, envy, ill nature, with all the art and authority they can. These persons are in danger; for whilst they think to justify their ignorance by impudence, and their persons and clothes and outward ornaments; they use but a comission to deceive themselves. Where, if we will look with our understanding, and not our senses, we may behold virtue and beauty (though covered with rags) in their brightness; and vice, and deformity so much the fouler, in having all the splendour of riches to gild them, or the false light of honour and power to help them. Yet this is that, wherewith THE WORLD IS TAKEN, and runs mad to gaze on: clothes and titles, the birdlime of fools.

Author: Adams, Thomas, fl. 1612-1653.
Title: The blacke devil or the apostate Together with the wolfe worrying the lambes. And the spiritual navigator, bound for the Holy Land. In three sermons. By Thomas Adams.
Date: 1615

 Ierem. 13, 23.

Can the Black-Moore change his skin? Or the Leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do euill.

Bern. Sent.

Quid prosunt lecta & intellecta, nisi teipsum legas & intelligas?
LONDON, Printed by William Iaggard, 1615.


THE Spirituall Nauigator BOVND For the Holy Land.

Reuel. Chap. 4. ver. 6.
Before the Throne there was a Sea of Glasse like vnto Chrystall.

...Hee beholds as in a cleare mirrour of Chrystall all our impurities, impieties; our contempt of Ser|mons, neglect of Sacraments, dishallowing his Sa|boths. Well· as God sees all things so clearely; so I would to God, wee would behold somewhat. Let vs open our eyes, & view in this Chrystall glasse our owne workes. Consider we a little our owne wicked courses, our peruerse wayes on this Sea. Looke vppon this Angle of the worlde; for so wee thinke, Anglia signifies: how many vipers doth she nurse and nourish in her indulgent bosome, that wound and sting her! The Landlords oppression, Vsurers extortion, Patrons Simonie, Commons couetousnesse: our vnmercifulnes to the poore, o|uer-mercifulnes to the rich; malice, ebriety, pride, prophanation. These, these are the works, that God sees among vs: & shall we not see them our selues? shall we be vtter strangers to our owne doings? Be not deceiued. Neither fornicators, nor Idolaters, nor a|dulterers, nor theeues, nor couetous, nor drunkards, nor reuilers, nor extortioners shall inherite the king|dome
of God. Let not vs then be such. Let vs not be de|sirous of vaine-glory, prouoking one another, enuying one another. Me thinks here, vain-glory stalkes in like a MOUNTEBANK-GALLANT: Prouocation, like a swagge|ring RORER: & Malice, like a meager and melancholy Iesuite. All these things we do, and God sees in the light: and in the light we must repent them, or God will punish them with euerlasting darknes. You see, how the world is cleare to Gods eye, as Chrystall.
 Some Myths and Anomalies in the Study of Roman Sexuality
James L Butrica, PhD
...Now the controversial statement, as introduced by Seneca, who has just mentioned Haterius' propensity (no doubt connected with his age) for "off-colour" vocabulary:

With the exception of this [i.e. his choice of inappropriate vocabulary], no one was either fitter for the schoolmen or more like them, but in his wish to speak only elegantly, only impressively, he would often fall into that sort of thing that could not escape mockery. I recall that , when he was defending a freedman who was being criticized for having been his patron's concubinus, he said: Immodesty is a reproach in the freeborn, a necessity in the slave, an obligation in the freedman." This became a source of jokes: "You're not performing your obligation to me," and "He's spending a lot of time with his obligations to him." For a while, immodest and obscene persons were frequently called "obliging" as a result. (4.10)


However as the client had been a concubinus, Haterius naturally wanted to counteract the bad image being crafted by the advocate for the other side. Presumably the facts of the relationship were too well known for denial (and many not have been a source of shame to the participants); hence, for the sake of his client's reputation and even more for the success of his case, he needed to take something that was being presented as negative and turn it around into something positive, and the mockery resulted from the way he put this strategy into effect while also trying to create a striking effect in his usual manner. His comment was not "made to sound ridiculous"; it was inherently ridiculous...


Author: Chapman, George, 1559?-1634. 
Title: Al fooles a comedy, presented at the Black Fryers, and lately before his Maiestie. Written by George Chapman.
Date: 1605

Act One:

I dare sweare,
If iust desert in loue measur'd reward,
Your fortune should exceede Valerios farre:
For I am witnes (being your Bed fellow)
Both to the dayly and the nightly seruice,

You doe vnto the duty of loue,
In vowes, sighes, teares, and solitary watches,
He neuer serues him with such sacrifice,
Yet hath his Bowe and shaftes at his commaund:
Loues seruice is much like our humorous Lords;
Where Minions carry more then Seruitors,
The bolde and carelesse seruant still obtaines:
The modest and respectiue, nothing gaines;
You neuer see your loue, vnlesse in dreames,
He, Hymen puts in whole possession:
What different starres raign'd when your loues were borne,
He forc't to weare the Willow, you the horne?
But brother, are you not asham'd to make
Your selfe a slaue to the base Lord of loue,
Be got of Fancy, and of Beauty borne?
And what is Beauty? a meere Quintessence,
Whose life is not in being, but in seeming;
And therefore is not to all eyes the same,
But like a cousoning picture, which one way
Shewes like a Crowe, another like a Swanne:

And vpon what ground is this Beauty drawne?
Vpon a Woman, a most brittle creature,
And would to God (for my part) that were all. 

Brother I read, that Aegipt heretofore,
Had Temples of the riches frame on earth;
Much like this goodly edifice of women,
With Alablaster pillers were those Temples,
Vphelde and beautified, and so are women:
Most curiously glaz'd, and so are women;
Cunningly painted too, and so are women;
In out-side wondrous heauenly, so are women:
But when a stranger view'd those phanes within,
In stead of Gods and Goddesses, he should finde
A painted fowle, a fury, or a serpent,
And such celestiall inner parts haue women.

Shakespeare, King Henry IV

FALSTAFF: Why, there is it: come sing me a bawdy
song; make me merry. I was as virtuously given as a                      [15]
gentleman need to be; virtuous enough; swore little;
diced not above seven times a week; went to a bawdy-
house not above once in a quarter--of an hour; paid money
that I borrowed, three or four times; lived well and
in good compass: and now I live out of all order, out                       [20]
of all compass.
BARDOLPH: Why, you are so fat, Sir John, that you
must needs be out of all compass, out of all reasonable
compass, Sir John.


Oxford Lies in 'Lethe's Lake':

Perrott, James, Sir, 1571-1637.
The first part of the consideration of humane condition vvherin is
contained the morall consideration of a mans selfe: as what, who, and
what manner of man he is. Written by I.P. Esquier. , At Oxford :
Printed by Joseph Barnes, and are to be sold [by J. Broome in London]
in Paules Church-yard, at the signe of the Bible.

 --The well willer of them, that wish well--
James Perrott

 ...Even so commonly wee see that many of noble birthe and greate
parentage persuade themselves that they exceede all others in
estimation of bloode and linage: whereas they mighte consider with
themselves that how noblye soever they are borne, their Nobility hath
a beginning, not by their own, but by their Auncestors deserts and
vertues; wherefore if that there be not in them good partes and
properties aunswereable to the behaviour and good qualities of their
Elders, and their owne birthes, them are they but a blemish to the
Elders, and a staine to their names, and honors. We see the fairest
and richest silkes, when once they receive any blemish or staine, they
 and in greater disgrace then cloath, or other
matter of lesse moment and reckoning: even so is it in the estimation
of Nobility. For a fault in a man of great birth and parentage is more
noted, and breedeth unto him greater disgrace and dishonour, then the
same should do unto a man of lesse and lower dignity. It is not inough
to be born of high bloude, without vertue aunswerable to that birth:
neither with reason may a noble man, because he is honourable
descended, challendge love, estimation, and honour of the actions
accomplished by his Auncestors, unless his owne carriage be
correspondent & aunswerable to theirs, and to his owne calling: for
Seneca sayeth, & that very truely, that, hee which braggeth of his
kindred, commendeth that which concerneth others. And the Poet
speaking to the same purpose saide very well.
Nam genus, et proavos, et quae non fecimus ipsi
Vix ea nostra voco.
that is:
What kindred did, or Elders ours,
And what we have not donne,
I call not ours: it scarcely hath
Us any credit wonne.
This caused a Gentle man of great worth and worthines (note - Sir
Philip Sidney), as any that have lived in our age, to adde this mote
underneath his coate of armes: Vix ea nostra voce. Who although hee
might most deservedly have claimed unto himselfe as much honor as ever
any of his Auncestors have had, yet he would not appropriate their
vertues (which could not be called his) unto himselfe: for he had
rather gaine glory by his owne noble and worthy actes, then be
accoumpted renowned for the greatness of his Auncestors, how neere and
how deere soever unto him. *As his noble minde is worthy of memory in
all ages, and his heroicall actes never to be committed to oblivion:
so are they (which DEGENERATE from their Elders, or do disgrace and
dishonor the honourable actions of their Auncestors) to be accoumpted
worthy if not of all shame) yet of a place in LETHES LAKE to lye in
perpetually*. Q. Pompeius Pretor of Rome did most stoutely and wisely
carry himselfe, when he did interdict and disinherite the sonne of Q.
Fabius Max. from the use and benefit of all his fathers goods, because
he did DEGENERATE from the vertues of his noble father, as spent that
most luxuriously, which his father had most honorable gotten. There
was a law amongst the Rhodians, that what sonne soever followed not
the foot-steps of their fathers vertues should be disinherited: which
lawe if it were kept, & did continue in force amongst us this day, it
would make many a sonne goe without goods, and leave his fathers
living for others to inherite. For our daies make experience of that,
which the Poet spake, and applied to former ages.
Aequat rara patrem soboles, sed plurimi ab illis
DEGENERANT; pauci superant probitate parentem. (Homer)
that is,
Fewe sonnes are found of fathers mindes,
Or equall them in vertues actes:
The greatest sorte growe out of kinde:
Who doth regard his fathers factes?
Children seldome seeke indeede,
Their sires (in goodness) to exceede.