Friday, July 11, 2014

Oxford, Othello and a Blackened Fame

Dangerous Conceits:

In his perceptive review of MM Mahood's Shakespeare's Wordplay GK Hunter makes the provocative suggestion that there is a book to be written, 'a Romantic and moving tale of love and hate between the Bard and the Word - Shakespeare's verbal vision of evil, when words cease to mean what they say.' Although such a publication is still to emerge, when it does a notable chapter will surely be devoted to Othello, the play which perhaps more than any other 'words' us. In Othello language itself is made a Janus. Words are inverted, perverted, and ultimately even rendered meaningless, and with the corruption of the real worth of language comes that of the honour and honesty in the nature of the men who hear and speak it. (Catherine M. Shaw. 'Dangerous Conceits Are in Their Natures Poisons': The Language of Othello)

Conceit, which is Dangerous -- Edward de Vere, Letters

Oxford to Cecil, [May 1601?].

My very good brother, I have received by Henry Lok your most kind message, which I so effectually embrace that, what for the old love I have borne you which, I assure you, was very great; what for the alliance which is between us, which is tied so fast by my children of your own sister; what for mine own disposition to yourself, which hath been rooted by long and many familiarities of a more youthful time, there could have been nothing so dearly welcome unto me. Wherefore not as a stranger, but in the old style, I do assure you that you shall have no faster friend & well-wisher unto you than myself, either in kindness, which I find beyond mine expectation in you, or in kindred, whereby none is nearer allied than myself sith, of your sisters, of my wife only you have received nieces, a sister, I say, not by any venter, but born of the same father and the same mother of yourself. I will say no more, for words in faithful minds are tedious, only this I protest: you shall do me wrong, and yourself greater if, either through fables, which are mischievous, or CONCEIT, which is DANGEROUS, you think otherwise of me than HUMANITY and consanguinity requireth.

Othello, Shakespeare


(I will in Cassio’s lodging lose this napkin
And let him find it. Trifles light as air
Are to the jealous confirmations strong
As proofs of holy writ. This may do something.
The Moor already changes with my poison.
DANGEROUS CONCEITS are in their natures poisons
Which at the first are scarce found to distaste,
But with a little act upon the blood
Burn like the mines of sulfur.)


Sidney's Superpower - the Illusion of Penetration (shared by Hamlet):

 Fulke Greville singled out Sir Philip Sidney's fastidiously DISCRIMINATING spirit for special praise: "he piercing into men's counsels and ends, not by their words, oathes, or complements, all barren in that AGE, but by fathoming their hearts and powers, by their deeds and found no wisedom where he found no courage, nor courage without wisdome, nor either without honesty and truth" The Life, Greville


...only this I protest: you shall do me wrong, and yourself greater if, either through fables, which are mischievous, or conceit, which is dangerous, you think otherwise of me than humanity and consanguinity requireth. -- Edward de Vere

The passage quoted above is taken from a letter written by the Earl of Oxford to his brother-in-law Robert Cecil. It cautions Cecil, and calls upon his honour and humanity in order to interpret Oxford correctly. It instructs Cecil not to imagine that Oxford is anything other than he appears to be.

In my previous post I discussed the blackening of Oxford's character that took place (IMO) in Jonson's Cynthia's Revels. In the figure of ULYSSES-POLITROPUS-AMORPHUS (a traveller), Jonson feigned Oxford's 'true' character. He even went so far as to place a flattering verse that had been composed in the Earl of Oxford's honour in the mouth of Amorphus; a verse that had also had been specially selected by Puttenham in his 'Arte of English Poesie' as a prime example of vicious writing. In the play, Amorphus seems to have foolishly taken the flattery to heart and supposed its contents to be true, using it as evidence for his superiourity to the Crites/Jonson figure.

Jonson, _Cynthia's Revels_. 

AMORPHUS. And there's her minion, Crites: why his advice more than
Amorphus? Have I not invention afore him? Learning to better

Jonson reveals Amorphus to be a vain and empty courtier, a bit of an arbiter elegantiae,  who incorrectly sacrificed substance to form. Jonson questioned Amorphus/Oxford's claims to virtue and implied that he was without 'true' honour.

If indeed such an attack took place (as I imagine it), the attack was malevolent and transgressed humane dealing.

 Jonson appealed to and flattered the 'better race' in court to protect him from his target/victims, and presented himself as a moral arbiter who, with the permission of the Queen, would purge the court of the corrupting influences of the courtier Amorphus and his crew.

 Cynthia: Dear Arete, and Crites, to you two
We give the Charge; impose what Pains you please:
Remembring ever what we first decreed,
Since Revels were proclaim'd, let now none bleed.
Arete. How well Diana can distinguish Times,
And sort her Censures, keeping to her self
The Doom of Gods, leaving the rest to us?
Come, cite them, Crites, first, and then proceed.
Then, Crites, practise thy DISCRETION.


The word [discretion] was almost invariably used in Elizabethan England as a means of constructing social, cultural, or aesthetic difference. (David Hillman, Puttenham, Shakespeare, and the abuse of rhetoric).


 Fulke Greville singled out Sir Philip Sidney's fastidiously DISCRIMINATING spirit for special praise: "he piercing into men's counsels and ends, not by their words, oathes, or complements, all barren in that AGE, but by fathoming their hearts and powers, by their deeds and found no wisedom where he found no courage, nor courage without wisdome, nor either without honesty and truth" The Life, Greville

--Paul Jorgensen


 Welsh and Galician form of Jacob.

 In the Old Testament, Jacob (later called Israel) is the son of Isaac and Rebecca and the father of the twelve founders of the twelve tribes of Israel. He was born holding his twin brother Esau's heel, and his name is explained as meaning "holder of the heel" or "SUPPLANTER".

 Supplanting Oxford:

KJV Dictionary Definition: supplant


SUPPLANT', v.t. L. supplanto; sub and planta, the bottom of the foot. To trip up the heels.
Supplanted down he fell.
1. To remove or displace by stratagem; or to displace and take the place of; as, a rival supplants another in the affections of his mistress, or in the favor of his prince.
Suspecting that the courtier had supplanted the friend.
2. To overthrow; to undermine.


Honest Ben/Honest Iago

 Catherine M. Shaw. 'Dangerous Conceits Are in Their Natures Poisons': The Language of Othello)

Hilda M. Hulme in her study Explorations in Shakespeare's Language repeats a truism which one of her mentors used: 'A word is known by the company it keeps.' In this case honesty is the initial virus and the other words in proximity 'take corruption' from it. In addition, however, words are also known by the human company they keep. In Shakespeare the geatest dissemblers most use the ambiguity of language to deceive and, conversely, those who most insidiously use language to deceive are most moreally corrupt. When, however, a mere five hundred lines into the play, Othello utters the words under discussion, he is linguistically chaste (at least consciously so). He does not remain inviolate, but at this point he believes about words a he does about men - that they are what they seem. His theatre audience, on the other hand, has long since lost its purity. The Globe patron was not only born into that Shakespearean world whose bewildering verbal ambituities we must search to find but was also treated to actors who 'could recognize in his language that fullness of meaning which it was their business to bring out in stage performance.' By the time Othello makes the arrangements for Desdemona's transport to Cyprus, even the modern has been seduced by Iago, as fine a debacher as ever Shakespeare created, into merely acknowledging the form of words in passing and dwelling on their matter. Words in Iago's company easily become as hypocritical as he is an thus we become verbally voyeuristic, acutely concious of the ambiguity between linguistic appearance and reality and of the vision of evil released when words cease to mean what they say.


Cecil Papers 251/28: Oxford to Cecil, [July 1600].

Although my bad success in former suits to her Majesty have given me cause to bury my hopes in the deep abyss and bottom of despair, rather than now to attempt, after so many trials made in vain & so many opportunities escaped, the effects of fair words or fruits of golden promises, yet for that I cannot believe but that there hath been always a true correspondency of word and intention in her Majesty, I do conjecture that, with a little help, that which of itself hath brought forth so fair blossoms will also yield fruit.



The Moor is of a free and open nature
That thinks men honest that but seem to be so,
And will as tenderly be led by th' nose
As asses are.
I have ’t. It is engendered! Hell and night
Must bring this monstrous birth to the world’s light.


Catherine M. Shaw. 'Dangerous Conceits Are in Their Natures Poisons': The Language of Othello)

The words which issue from Othello's mouth with such calm certainty of composure and self-assurance are no sooner exposed to the air than they become infected; their clear form disintegrates and contaminated matter emerges. Technically, however, the form of words is innocent. With the exception of paradigmatic shifts form is unchangeable; it exists to give shape and order to substance. Linguistic matter, on the other hand, is that changeable, chaotic amalgam of ambiguities which during the evolution of the English language into the Renaissance had been jammed into single forms. The matter within complex words need not, of course, be always malevolent but in Shakespearean tragedy it often is. This is particularly true when the matter takes on implications of purulence and when its outward form is related with illusion, with the facade used to cover infected substance. In Othello the contamination of linguistic matter (whether through verbal or human associations, through deliberate perversion, or by senseless mouthings of meaninglessness) ultimately destroys the ordered control of normal behaviour patterns, personal or social.


Oxford to Cecil, 12 June 1603.

My very good Lord, I know that you are so charged with public affairs that you can have little leisure, or none at all, to undertake a private cause, especially concerning another. This therefore which you do for me, I do conceive it in your particular favour, and so I take it, and you shall find me therefor ever thankful. These shall be therefore to desire your Lordship that with my very good Lord and friend my Lord Admiral, that you will procure me a full end of this suit wherein I have spent so long a time, and passed the greatest part of mine age. The cause is right, the king just, and I do not doubt but your Lordships both mine honourable friends, according to your words I shall find you in deeds...
Your Lordship's most assured friend and brother-in-law.

Edward Oxenford

No,  I AM THAT I AM,  and they that level
  At my ABUSES reckon up their own:
  I may be straight, though they themselves be bevel;
  By their RANK THOUGHTS my DEEDS must not be shown;

Iago - I confess it is my nature's plague/To spy into ABUSES.

Jonson on Shakespeare

 He was, indeed, honest, and of an open and free
nature, had an excellent phantasy, brave notions, and gentle
expressions, wherein he flowed with that facility that sometimes 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.

This fellow’s of exceeding honesty
And knows all quantities, with a learnèd spirit,
Of HUMAINE dealings.

Contaminated 'matter':
 Othello: Act 2, Scene 1
IAGO [Aside.]
167   He takes her by the palm: ay, well said,
168   whisper: with as little a web as this will I
169   ensnare as great a fly as Cassio. Ay, smile upon
170   her, do; *I will gyve thee in thine own courtship*.
171   You say true; 'tis so, indeed: if such tricks as
172   these strip you out of your lieutenantry, it had
173   been better you had not KISSED your three FINGERS so
174   oft, which now again you are most apt to play the
175   sir in. Very good; well kissed! an excellent
176   courtesy! 'tis so, indeed. Yet again your fingers
177   to your lips? would they were CLYSTER-pipes for your sake!

 Author: Rich, Barnabe, 1540?-1617. Title: Faultes faults, and nothing else but faultes
Date: 1606

There is nothing more formall in these dayes then Deformitie it selfe. If I should then begin to write, according to the time, I should onely write of new fashions, and of new follies that are now altogether in fashion, whereof there are such a|boundant store, that I thinke they haue got the Philosophers stone to multiplie, there is such a dayly multiplicitie both of follies, and fa|shions.
In diebus illis, Poets and Painters, were priui|ledged to faine whatsoeuer themselues listed: but now, both Poet and Painter, if he be not the Tai|lors Ape, I will not giue him a single halfepenie for his worke: for he that should either write or paint, if it be not fitte in the new fashion, he may go scrape for commendation, nay they will mocke at him, and hisse at his conceit.
Note in marg:  Preuention. But amongst an infinite number of faults, I am not yet resolued with which of them I should beginne, nor what text I might first take in hand, and it may be, some will therfore taxe me to haue but little witte: and no force, let them not spare, I will bee afore-hand with some of them, there is a figure with the Logitians, they call it Prolepsis, or Preuention, and I learned it long agoe, of the Boy that taught his mother to call whoore first. And I will now sitte in iudgement of all those that my memorie can readily produce, and I doubt not, but to bee afore hande with some of them. Note in marg:  Iestmonger. As for the humorous they haue beene alredie brought to the stage, where they haue plaide their partes, Euerie man in his humour.

...The example of the Emperour Sigismund is not to be forgotten, who hearing a shamelesse fel|low to call him God, stroke him on the eare, to whom the Parasite said, Why dost thou strike me, Emperour? To the which he answered, Why dost thou bite me, Flatterer?
Note in marg:  Floures of curtesie. God haue mercie Sigismund for this tricke, and I would all our Parasites of these times might be so recompenced: Note in marg:  Better to hit a Parasite on the eare, than to lend him thine eare for it is better to hit them on the eare, then to lend them an eare; for he that lendeth his eare to a Flatterer, is like a sheepe that lendeth the Woolfe her teate, and doth more of|ten subuert and ouerthrow the wealth of a king|dome, then an open enemie.
But see here a companie now presenting them|selues, that I cannot say are affected, but I thinke are rather infected with too much courtesie; you
shall know them by their salutations. For first with the kisse on the hand, the bodie shall be bowed downe to the ground: then the armes shall bee cast out, like one that were dauncing the old An|tike, not a word but, at your seruice, at your com|maund, at your pleasure: this olde protestation, Yours, in the way of HONESTIE, is little cared for: euerie Gull was woont to haue it at his tongues end, but now it is forgotten. And these Flowres of courtesie, as they are full of affectation, so they are no lesse formall in their speeches, full of fustian phrases, many times deliuering such sentences as doe be|wray and lay open their maisters ignorance: and they are so frequent with the kisse on the hand, that a word shall not passe their mouthes, till they haue clapt their fingers ouer their lippes. But he that is so full of creeping, and crowching, either hee meanes not well, or his wit will not serue him to meane well, for this common affabilitie, dooth lightly bring with it an ill intent, and but accor|ding to the Prouerbe, Much courtesie, much craft. 


Honest Ben/Honest Iago/Jacob


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.
 "On the Famous Voyage": Ben Jonson and Civic Space
Andrew McRae

  1. After the early imagery of degraded sexuality, the "Famous Voyage" in fact moves insistently towards a concentration on the city's processes of excretion and consumption. In accordance with the materializing strategy of the poem, Jonson roughly equates the "filth, stench, noyse" of the classical underworld (l. 9), with the unsanitary condition of the Fleet. In Aeneid VI, the most important classical subtext for the poem, Aeneas encounters within the jaws of the underworld "Grief," "Cares," "Diseases," "Age," "Want," "Death" and "Distress." Jonson's parallel passage offers the similarly abstract "diseases," "famine," "wants," "sorrowes," but also "old filth, their mother" (ll. 70-1). Further, as he claims at the outset, "what was there / Subtly distinguish'd, was confused here" (ll. 9-10). The prevailing material and categorical confusion admits an essential connection between dirt and disorder. "Reflection on dirt," according to Mary Douglas, "involves reflection on the relation of order to disorder, being to non-being, form to formlessness, life to death." Jonson's insistence on filth, which underpinned Edmund Wilson's analysis of the poet as anal-erotic, might thus be appreciated as a valuable poetic strategy. The poem's mobilisation of the grotesque, within the civic body, facilitates a strain of satire remarkable for its understated sense of vitality and regeneration.
  2. The quintessential manifestation of filth in the poem is shit, variously precipitated into the Fleet Ditch and coagulating as "Mud" at its mouth (l. 62). The use of the city ditches as sewers was a point of common knowledge, but one sidestepped by those influenced by new ideas of bodily and spatial civility. In the final line of his poem, Jonson invokes the precedent of Sir John Harington's mix of scurrility and lavatory design in The Metamorphosis of Ajax (1596). But while Jonson's spirited appropriation of classicism is similar to that upon which Harington bases his text, his underlying purpose is markedly different. The turd in the "Famous Voyage" is basically a satiric device. Lying "heap'd like an userers masse" (l. 139), it recalls Jonson's characteristic disgust for wealth hoarded rather than employed for the public good.  Shit "languishing stucke upon the wall" sets the stubbornly recumbent human excrement against the ostensibly solid achievements of human architecture (l. 136). Itself caught between categories of fluid and solid, shit threatens at once to clog waterways and corrode buildings. In Jonson's moral satire, by extension, it serves to undermine the achievements of culture, mocking human pride and ambition.

 "In the classical reflection on honnêteté, social virtues are seen as universal; they are both rooted in nature and in the norms and practices of the community of *honnêtes gens*, whose values are represented as universal. " --

The Latin word for Race/Gens, Gens is defined as: clan, race, nation, people, TRIBE.

The Race of Shakespeare's Mind and Manners

Look how the father's face
Lives in his issue, even so the RACE
Of Shakespeare's mind and manners brightly shines
In his well-turned, and true-filed lines;
In each of which he SEEMS to shake a lance,
As brandish'd at the eyes of ignorance.



Cynthia's Revels


Do, good Detraction, do, and I the while

Shall shake thy spight off with a careless smile.
Poor piteous gallants! what lean idle slights
Their thoughts suggest to flatter their starv'd hopes!
As if I knew not how to entertain
These straw-devices; but, of force must yield
To the weak stroke of their calumnious tongues.
What should I care what every dor doth buz
In credulous ears? It is a crown to me
That the best judgments can report me wrong'd;
Them liars; and their slanders impudent.
Perhaps, upon the rumour of their speeches,
Some grieved friend will whisper to me; Crites,
Men speak ill of thee. So they be ill men,
If they spake worse, 'twere better: for of such
To be dispraised, is the most perfect praise.
What can his censure hurt me, whom the world
Hath censured vile before me! If good Chrestus,
Euthus, or Phronimus, had spoke the words,
They would have moved me, and I should have call'd
My thoughts and actions to a strict account
Upon the hearing: but when I remember,
'Tis Hedon and Anaides, alas, then
I think but what they are, and am not stirr'd.
The one a light voluptuous reveller,
The other, a strange arrogating puff,
Both impudent, and ignorant enough;
That talk as they are wont, not as I merit;
Traduce by custom, as most dogs do bark,
Do nothing out of judgment, but disease,
Speak ill, because they never could speak well.
And who'd be angry with this RACE OF CREATURES?
What wise physician have we ever seen
Moved with a frantic man? the same affects
That he doth bear to his sick patient,
Should a right mind carry to such as these;
And I do count it a most rare revenge,
That I can thus, with such a sweet neglect,
Pluck from them all the pleasure of their malice;
For that's the mark of all their enginous drifts,
To wound my patience, howso'er they seem
To aim at other objects; which if miss'd,
Their envy's like an arrow shot upright,
That, in the fall, endangers their own heads. 


Jonson _Cynthia's Revels_ Act V, Sc. 1



MER. It is resolved on, Crites, you must do it.

CRI. The grace divinest Mercury hath done me,
In this vouchsafed discovery of himself,
Binds my observance in the utmost term
Of satisfaction to his godly will:
Though I profess, without the affectation
Of an enforced and form'd austerity,
I could be willing to enjoy no place
With so unequal natures.

MER. We believe it.
But for our sake, and to inflict just pains
On their prodigious follies, aid us now:
No man is presently made bad with ill.
And good men, like the sea, should still maintain
Their noble taste, in midst of all fresh humours
That flow about them, to corrupt their streams,
Bearing no season, much less salt of goodness.
It is our purpose, Crites, to correct,
And punish, with our laughter, this night's sport,
Which our court-dors so heartily intend:
And by that worthy scorn, to make them know
How far beneath the dignity of man
Their serious and most practised actions are.

CRI. Ay, but though Mercury can warrant out
His undertakings, and make all things good,
Out of the powers of his divinity,
Th' offence will be return'd with weight on me,
That am a creature so despised and poor;
When the whole court shall take itself abused
By our ironical confederacy.

MER. You are deceived. The BETTER RACE in court,
That have the true nobility call'd virtue,
Will apprehend it, as a grateful right
Done to their separate merit; and approve
The fit rebuke of so ridiculous heads,
Who, with their apish customs and forced garbs,
Would bring the name of courtier in contempt,
Did it not live unblemish'd in some few,
Whom equal Jove hath loved, and Phoebus form'd
Of better metal, and in better mould.

CRI. Well, since my leader-on is Mercury,
I shall not fear to follow. If I fall,
My proper virtue shall be my relief,
That follow'd such a cause, and such a chief.


Vile Ibides/Clyster

From Poetaster
T O   T H E   R E A D E R.
If, by looking on what is past, thou hast deserv'd that Name, I am willing thou should'st yet know more, by that which follows, an Apologetical Dialogue; which was only once spoken upon the Stage, and all the Answer I ever gave to sundry impotent Libels then cast out (and some yet remaining) against me, and this Play. Wherein I take no pleasure to revive the Times; but that Posterity may make a difference between their Manners that provok'd me then, and mine that neglected them ever. For, in these Strifes, and on such Persons, were as wretched to affect a Victory, as it is unhappy to be committed with them. Non annorum canities est laudanda, sed morum.

note-Non annorum canities est laudanda, sed morum. Nullus pudor est ad meliora transire 1 ; "Not the ancienty of years, but of MANNERS, is commendable. No shame it is to pass to better.")

from To the Reader

Pol. O, but they lay particular imputations —
   Author. As what?   Pol. That all your writing, is meer rayling.
   Author. Ha! If all the Salt in the old Comœdy
Should be so censur'd, or the sharper wit
Of the bold Satyr, termed scolding Rage,
What Age could then compare with those, for BUFFOONS?
What should be said of Aristophanes,
Persius, or Juvenal? whose names we now
So glorifie in Schools, at least pretend it.
Ha' they no other?   Pol. Yes: they say you are slow,
And scarce bring forth a Play a Year.   Author. 'Tis true.
I would, they could not say that I did that.
There's all the Joy that I take i' their Trade,
Unless such Scribes as they might be proscrib'd
Th' abused Theaters. They would think it strange, now,
A Man should take but Colts-foot, for one day,
And, between whiles, spit out a better Poem
Than e're the Master of Art, or giver of Wit,
Their Belly made. Yet, this is possible,
If a free Mind had but the patience,
To think so much, together, and so vile.
But, that these base and beggerly conceits
Should carry it, by the multitude of Voices,
Against the most abstracted work, oppos'd
To the stuff'd Nostrils of the drunken rout!
O, this would make a learn'd and liberal Soul,
To rive his stained Quill, up to the Back,
And damn his long-watch'd Labours to the Fire;
Things, that were born, when none but the still Night,
And his dumb Candle, saw his pinching throes:
Were not his own free merit a more Crown
Unto his Travels, than their reeling Claps?
This 'tis, that strikes me silent, seals my Lips,
And apts me rather to sleep out my time,
Than I would waste it in contemned strifes,
With these VILE IBIDES, these unclean Birds,
That make their Mouths their CLYSTERS, and still PURGE
From their hot entrails. *But, I leave the MONSTERS
To their own fate*. And, since the Comick Muse
Hath prov'd so ominous to me, I will try
If Tragœdie have a more kind aspect;
Her favours in my next I will pursue,
Where, if I prove the pleasure but of one,
So he judicious be; He shall b' alone
A Theater unto me:
 P R O L O G U E.
F gracious silence, sweet attention,
 Quick sight, and quicker apprehension,
(The lights of Judgments throne) shine any where;
Our doubtful Author hopes this is their Sphere.
And therefore opens he himself to those;
To other weaker Beams his labours close:
As loth to prostitute their Virgin strain,
To ev'ry vulgar and adult'rate Brain,
In this alone, his
Muse her sweetness hath,
She shuns the print of any beaten Path;
 nd proves new ways to come to learned Ears:
Pied ignorance she neither loves nor, fears.
Nor hunts she after popular Applause,
Or fomy praise, that drops from common Jaws:
The Garland that she wears, their bands must twine,
Who can both censure, understand, define
What merit is: Then cast those piercing Rays,
Round as a Crown, instead of honour'd Bays,
About his
Poesie; which (he knows) affords
Words, above action: MATTER, ABOVE WORDS.


My parts, my title, and my perfect soul 
Shall manifest me rightly.


 Dedication in Latin to Bartholomew Clerke's Translation of The Courtier(1571/1572). Edward de Vere
[translated by B. M. Ward]

For what more difficult, more noble, or more magnificent task has anyone ever undertaken than our author Castiglione, who has drawn for us the figureand model of a courtier, a work to which nothing can be added, in which there is no redundant word, a portrait which we shall recognize as that of a highest and most perfect type of man. And so, although nature herself has made nothing perfect in every detail, yet the MANNERS of men exceed in dignity that with which nature has endowed them; and he who surpasses others has here surpassed himself and has even OUT-DONE nature [i.e., naturam superauit], which by no one has ever been surpassed. Nay more: however elaborate the ceremonial, whatever the magnificence of the court, the splendor of the courtiers, and the multitude of spectators, he has been able to lay down principles for the guidance of the very Monarch himself.


The words which issue from Othello's mouth with such calm certainty of composure and self-assurance are no sooner exposed to the air than they become infected; their clear form disintegrates and contaminated matter emerges. Technically, however, the form of words is innocent.(Catherine M. Shaw)
Contaminated matter in Jonson's Encomium to Shakespeare:

Mount Bank/Take/Deceive/Sight/Diseased 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! 


 "To My Book" by Ben Jonson

It will be looked for, book, when some but see
Thy title, Epigrams, and named of me,
Thou should'st be bold, licentious, full of gall,
Wormwood, and sulphur, sharp, and toothed withal;
Become a petulant thing, hurl ink, and wit,
As madmen stones: not caring whom they hit.
Deceive their malice, who could wish it so.
And by thy wiser temper, let men know
Thou are not covetous of least self-fame.
Made from the hazard of another's shame:
Much less with lewd, profane, and beastly phrase,
To catch the world's loose laughter, or VAIN GAZE.
*He that DEPARTS with his own HONESTY
For VULGAR PRAISE, doth it too dearly buy.* 


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. 


Soul of the Age:

 Author: Rich, Barnabe, 1540?-1617.
Title: The honestie of this age· Proouing by good circumstance that the world was neuer honest till now. By Barnabee Rych Gentleman, seruant to the Kings most excellent Maiestie.
Date: 1614

...In former ages, he that was rich in knowledge was called a wise man, but now there is no man wise, but he that hath wit to gather wealth, and it is a hard matter in this Age, for a man to rayse himselfe by honest principles, yet we doe all seeke to climbe, but not by Iacobs Ladder, & we are still de|sirous to mount, but not by the Chariot of Elyas.
Vertue hath but a few that doe fauour her, but they bee fewer by a great many in number that are desirous to fol|low her.
But is not this an honest Age, when ougly vice doth beare the name of seemly vertue, when Drunkennes is called Good fellowship, Murther reputed for Manhoode, Lechery, is called Honest loue, Impudency, Good audacitie, Pride they say is Decen|cy, and wretched Misery, they call Good Husbandry, Hypocri|sie, they call Sinceritie, and Flattery, doth beare the name of Eloquence, Truth, and Veritie, and that which our predeces|sors
would call flat Knauery, passeth now by the name of wit and policy.

We doe not fashion our selues so much by reason, as wee doe by example, for custome and example are arguments good enough to make vs to follow any fashion.
We are become like Labans Sheepe, led by the eye, we con|ceiue but of what we do see: and the vulgare seeing nothing but apparances, maketh iudgement onely by that which is subiect to the sight.
To bee vertuous, why it is a Capitall crime, and there is nothing more dangerous then to be securely innocent.
Our auncients sought for the true effectes of vertue, and we onely but hunt after a vayne popular prayse.

(snip - this side idolatry)

The holy scriptures haue denounced a curse no lesse grie|uous to the Idole-maker, then to the Idole it selfe: now (vnder the correction of Diuinitie) I would but demaund, what are these Puppet-making Taylers, that are euery day inuenting of newe fashions, and what are these, that they doe call At|tyre-makers, the first inuenters of these monstrous Periwygs, and the finders out of many other like immodest Attyres: what are these, and all the rest of these Fashion Mongers, the inuenters of vanities, that are euery day whetting their wits to finde out those Gaudes, that are not onely offensiue vnto God, but many wayes preiudiciall to the whole Common wealth: if you will not acknowledge these to be Idolemakers yet you cannot deny them to be the Deuils enginers, vngodly instruments, to decke and ornifie such men and women, as may well be reputed to be but Idolles, for they haue eyes, but they see not into the wayes of their owne saluation, & they haue eares, but they cannot heare the Iudgements of God, denounced against them for their pride and vanitie.
These Enginers of mischiefe, that like Moles doe lye and wrot in sinne, till they haue cast vppe a mount of hatefull en|ormitie against Heauen, they may well be called, the Souldi|ers of the Deuill, that will fight against the mightie hand of God.


And are not our gentlemen in as dangerous a plight now
(I meane these Apes of Fancy) that doe looke so like Attyre|makers maydes, that for the dainty decking vp of themselues, might sit in any Seamsters shop in all the Exchange. Me thinkes a looking glasse should be a dangerous thing for one of them to view himselfe in, for falling in loue with his owne lookes, as Narcissus did with his owne shadow.


Desert, may now goe to Cart, and he that cannot ruffell it out in silkes, will hardly gette passage in at a great mans gate.
Hee that is thought to bee poore, is neuer thought to bee wise, nor fit to haue the managing of any matter of impor|tance, all is well accepted that is spoken by authoritie, but truth it selfe is not beleeued, if it proceede from the mouth of pouertie.
By this contempt of pouertie, vice hath beene aduanced, and sithens riches haue thus crept into credite, the worlde is rather growne to giue way to the humour of a rich Foole, then to followe the direction of a poore wiseman.
Let vs no we a little looke into the actions of this age, and speake truly, when was Vertue and Honestie more despised, when was Pride, Ryot, and Excesse, more inordinate, when was adultery, and all other vnchast liuing, either more appa|rant or lesse punished, when were all manner of abhomina|tions more tollerated, when those that should minister cor|rection, will sometimes fauour their owne vices in others,
euery man accounting that to bee most excellent in fashion, that is most taken vppe and en-vred, by those that be most vicious. 


I haue thus farre presumed to thrust my lynes into the wide worlde, to abide the fury of all weathers, if they proue distastfull to some palates, yet I hope there bee other some, that will better relish them, for those that shall thinke them too tart, let them vse them in the stead of Veriuyce [verjuice], for sweete meates are euer best relished with souresauce.


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. (Jonson, Discoveries 1751)


 Jennifer Richards _Rhetoric and Courtliness in Early Modern Literature_

"Sixteenth century humanists inherited an overlapping but distinct Socratic dialogue style which informed that rival genre to the courtesy book, the husbandry manual. The figures of the courtier and the husbandman offer different styles of social and commercial exchange and also different styles of 'honesty' which are not easily translated into a modern political idiom. to understand these traditions we will nee to be more open in our thinking about where we locate 'subversive' or 'conservative' agendas. *The representation of the courtier as dissembling in much modern criticism, for example, indicates the victory of the plain husbandman as a social and cultural authority*. Yet, there are good reasons why such plain-speakers are not to be trusted, not least because there is no way of knowing whether the claim to be telling the truth, or the promise of transparency, however plainly put, is not also a rhetorical ploy which aims to occlude the interests of others. (p.5)


One idea which is examined closely (note-in Guazzo's Civile Conversation) is the virtue of 'honesty', a virtue which serves as a glue to all social relationships. In the course of his conversation with Anniball, William will learn to appreciate the greater honesty of the dissimulative courtier rather than the anti-social simplicity of the 'scholler'. For the scholar only maintains his simple lifestyle by removing himself from the rough and tumble of daily social interaction, whereas the courtier attempts to balance honestly - or decorously - personal aspirations with social duty...I want to explore how the character of Anniball makes William honest and sociable in Civile Conversation, and also how, in the attempt, the concept of 'honesty' is defined in such a way as to make plain the potential of others. I will also explore, however, how seemingly honest converstaion can equally disguise the power dynamic of intimate relationships...'Honesty' remains the crucial term here: how we define it will affect profoundly the way in which we imagine people should relate to one another." (p.23)


An Epistle to a Friend, to perswade him to
the Wars.

Ake, Friend, from forth thy Lethargy: the Drum
  Beats brave, and loud in Europe, and bids come
All that dare rowse: or are not loth to quit
Their vitious Ease, and be o'erwhelm'd with it.
It is a call to keep the Spirits alive
That gasp for action, and would yet revive
Man's buried Honour, in his sleepy Life:
Quickning dead Nature, to her noblest strife.

[column break]

All other acts of Worldlings are but toil
In dreams, begun in hope, and end in spoil.
Look on th' ambitious Man, and see him nurse
His unjust hopes, with praises begg'd, or (worse)
Bought Flatteries, the issue of his Purse,
Till he become both their, and his own Curse!
Look on the false, and cunning Man, that loves
No person, nor is lov'd: what ways he proves
To gain upon his belly; and at last
Crush'd in the Snaky Brakes, that he had past!
See the grave, sower, and supercilious Sir,
In outward Face, but inward, light as Fur,
Or Feathers: lay his Fortune out to show,
Till Envy wound, or maim it at a blow!
See him that's call'd, and thought the happiest Man,
Honour'd at once, and envy'd (if it can
Be, HONOUR is so mixt) by such as would
For all their spight, be like him, if they could:
No part or corner Man can look upon,
But there are Objects bid him to be gone
As far as he can fly, or follow Day,
Rather than here so bogg'd in Vices stay,
The whole World here leaven'd with Madness swells?
And being a thing blown out of nought, rebels
Against his Maker; high alone with Weeds,
And impious Rankness of all Sects and Seeds:
Nor to be check'd, or frighted now with Fate,
But more licentious made, and desperate!
Our Delicacies are grown capital,
And even our Sports are Dangers! what we call
Friendship is now mask'd Hatred! Justice fled,
And Shamefac'dness together! All Laws dead
That kept Man living! Pleasures only sought!
HONOUR AND HONESTY, as poor things thought
As they are made! Pride and stiff Clownage mixt
To make up Greatness! and Mans whole good fix'd
In Bravery, or Gluttony, or Coyn,
All which he makes the Servants of the Groin,
Thither it flaws,flows how much did Stallion spend
To have his Court-bred-filly there commend
His Lace and Starch: And fall upon her back
In admiration, stretch'd upon the Rack
Of Lust, to his rich Suit and Title, Lord?
I, that's a Charm and half! She must afford
That all Respect; She must lie down: Nay, more,
'Tis there Civility to be a Whore;
He's one of Blood and Fashion! and with these
The Bravery makes, she can no Honour leese
To do't with Cloth, or Stuffs, Lusts Name might merit
With Velvet, Plush, and Tissues, it is Spirit.
   O, these so ignorant Monsters! light, as proud,
Who can behold their Manners, and not Clowd-
Like upon them lighten? If Nature could
Not make a Verse, Anger or Laughter would,
To see 'em aye discoursing with their Glass,
How they may make some one that day an Ass,
Planting their Purls, and Curls, spread forth like Net,
And every Dressing for a Pitfall set
To catch the Flesh in, and to pound a Prick
Be at their Visits, see 'em squeamish, sick,
Ready to cast at one, whose Band sits ill,
And then leap mad on a neat Pickardill;
As if a Brize were gotten i' their Tail,
And firk, and jerk, and for the Coach-man rail,
And jealous each of other, yet think long
To be abroad, chanting some bawdy Song,
And laugh, and measure Thighs, then squeak, spring, itch,
Do all the Tricks of a sautvariant of 'salt' Lady Bitch;
For t'other Pound of Sweet-meats, he shall feel
That pays, or what he will. The Dame is Steel;
For these with her young Company she'll enter,
Where Pittes, or Wright, or Modet would not venter,
And comes by these Degrees the Stile t' inherit,
Of Woman of Fashion, and a Lady of Spirit:
 Nor is the Title question'd with our proud,
Great, brave, and fashion'd folk, these are allow'd
Adulteries now, are not so hid, or strange,
They're grown Commodity upon Exchange;
He that will follow but another's Wife,
Is lov'd, though he let out his own for life:
The Husband now's call'd churlish, or a poor
Nature, that will not let his Wife be a Whore;
Or use all Arts, or haunt all Companies
That may corrupt her, even in his Eyes.
The Brother trades a Sister; and the Friend
Lives to the Lord, but to the Ladies End.
Less must not be thought on than Mistris: or
If it be thought, kill'd like her Embrions; for
Whom no great Mistris, hath as yet infam'd
A Fellow of course Letchery, is nam'd
The Servant of the Serving-Woman in scorn,
Ne'er came to taste the plenteous Marriage-Horn.
   Thus they do talk. And are these Objects fit
For Man to spend his Money on? his Wit?
His Time? Health? Soul? Will he for these go throw
Those Thousands on his Back, shall after blow
His Body to the Counters, or the Fleet?
Is it for these that fine Man meets the Street
Coach'd, or on Foot-cloth, thrice chang'd every day,
To teach each Suit, he has the ready way
From Hide-Park to the Stage, where at the last
His dear and borrow'd Bravery he must cast?
When not his Combs, his Curling-Irons, his Glass,
Sweet Bags, sweet Powders, nor sweet Words will pass
For less Security? O           'God' censored? (Gifford interpolates 'heavens!' 
but the meter would be wrong) for these
Is it that Man pulls on himself Disease?
Surfeit? and Quarrel? Drinks the tother Health?
Or by Damnation voids it? or by stealth?
What Fury of late is crept into our Feasts?
What Honour given to the Drunkennest Guests?
What Reputation to bear one Glass more?
When oft the Bearer is borne out of Door?
This hath our ill-us'd Freedom, and soft Peace
Brought on us, and will every Hour increase
Our Vices, do not tarry in a place,
But being in Motion still (or rather in Race)
Tilt one upon another, and now bear
This way, now that, as if their number were
More than themselves, or than our Lives could take,
But both fell prest under the load they make.
   I'll bid thee look no more, but flee, flee Friend,
This Præcipice, and Rocks that have no end,
Or side, but threatens Ruin. The whole Day
Is not enough now, but the Nights to play:
And whilst our States, Strength, Body, and Mind we waste;
Go make our selves the Usurers at a cast.
He that no more for Age, Cramps, Palsies, can
Now use the Bones, we see doth hire a Man
To take the Box up for him; and pursues
The Dice with glassen Eyes, to the glad Viewersviews
Of what he throws: Like Letchers grown content
To be beholders, when their Powers are spent.
   Can we not leave this Worm? or will we not?
Is that the truer Excuse? or have we got
In this, and like, an itch of Vanity,
That scratching now's our best Felicity?
Well, let it go. Yet this is better than
To lose the Forms, and Dignities of Men,Man
To flatter my good Lord, and cry his Bowl
Runs sweetly, as it had his Lordship's Soul:
Although, perhaps it has, what's that to me,
That may stand by, and hold my peace? will he
When I am hoarse, with praising his each Cast,
Give me but that again, that I must waste
In Sugar Candid, or in butter'd Beer,
For the recovery of my Voice? No, there
Pardon his Lordship. Flatt'ry's grown so cheap
With him, for he is followed with that heap,
That watch, and catch, at what they may applaud
As a poor single Flatterer, without Bawd
Is nothing, such scarce Meat and Drink he'll give,
But he that's both, and slave to both, shall live,
And be belov'd, while the Whores last. O Times,
Friend fly from hence, and let these kindled Rhimes,
Light thee from Hell on Earth; where Flatterers, Spies,
Informers, Masters both of Arts and Lies;
Lewd Slanderers, soft Whisperers, that let blood
The life, and Fame-Veins (yet not understood
Of the poor Sufferers) where the envious, proud,
Ambitious, factious, superstitious, loud
Boasters, and perjur'd, with the infinite more
Prævaricators swarm: Of which the Store,
(Because th'are every where amongst Mankind
Spread through the World) is easier far to find,
Than once to number, or bring forth to hand,
Though thou wert Muster-Master of the Land.
   Go quit 'em all. And take along with thee,
Thy true Friends Wishes, Colby which shall be,
That thine be just, and HONEST, that thy Deeds
Not wound thy Conscience, when thy Body bleeds;
That thou dost all things more for Truth than Glory,
And never but for doing Wrong be sorry;
That by commanding first thy self, thou mak'st
Thy Person fit for any Charge thou tak'st,
That Fortune never make thee to complain,
But what she gives, thou dar'st give her again:
That whatsoever Face thy Fate puts on,
Thou shrink, or start not; but be always one,
That thou think nothing great, but what is good;
And from that thought strive to be understood.
So, 'live or dead, thou wilt preserve a Fame
Still precious, with the Odour of thy Name.
And last, blaspheme not, we did never hear
Man thought the valianter, 'cause he durst swear;
No more, than we should think a Lord had had
More HONOUR in him, 'cause we'ave known him mad:
These take, and now go seek thy peace in War,
Who falls for love of God, shall rise a Star.


Catherine M. Shaw. 'Dangerous Conceits Are in Their Natures Poisons': The Language of Othello

...The matter within Iago's goading to which Brabantio responds is again the double disgrace of public and private insult, social and sexual affront compounded by the clustering of words which have by association with each other and with Iago ceased to have any innocence of simple clarity and become aspects of Shakespeare's vision of evil. Again, honesty and honour are exposed and found wanting. Brabantio's conception of Desdemona's honesty, so clearly attached to his own self-conceit, crumbles under attack. Her honest testimony, while exonerating Othello from the charge of witchcraft, confirms her dishonesty for Brabantio and , therefore, his dishonour. Positive has become negative.
That Brabantio is verbally seduced into exhibiting a diminished view of what honesty and honour are or should be does not mean, however, that he is not an honourable man. Honour, as Curtis Brown Watson has show, has many facets and, indeed, includes public as well as immortal reputation, nobility of rank as well as of mind, good name as well as good deeds. When the clear nad simple fact, 'Desdemona has eloped with Othello,' is replaced by "An old black ram is tupping your white ewe,' that honour gained through nobility of mind and deed and through Branbantio's confidence in Desdemona;s honesty, her 'still and quiet' spirit, in both of which he can have justifiable prie, is replace by linguistic opposites and the violent inversion is more than he can sustain.

Cecil Papers 181/99: Oxford to Cecil, [January 1602].
Now, brother, I do not by these letters make challenge of your words for, if you list to forget them, my putting in remembrance will be bitter, and to small purpose. Only this now is mine intention, not to tell any new thing, but that which is already known unto you. The matter, after it had received many crosses, many inventions of delay, yet at length hath been heard before all the judges…, but now time and truth have unmasked all difficulties and I do understand the judges are, if they will be indifferent, to make a good report to her Majesty. Yet (I know not by what unfortunate star), there are so many disposed to withstand it as the truth, much oppressed by the friends of the contrary part, is likely, if not wholly to be defaced, yet so extenuated as the virtue thereof will be of little effect.
Now the matter depending in this sort, I find my state weak and destitute of friends for, having only relied always on her Majesty, I have neglected to seek others, and this trust of mine, many things considered, I fear may deceive me. Another confidence I had in yourself, in whom (without offence let me speak it) I am to cast some doubt by reason as, in your last letters I found a wavering style much differing from your former assurances, I fear now to be left in medio rerum omnium certamine et discrimine which, if it so fall out, I shall bear it, by the grace of God, with an equal mind sith time and experience have given me sufficient understanding of worldly frailty. But I hope better (though I cast the worst), howsoever, for finis coronat opus, and then everything will be laid open, every doubt resolved into a plain sense. In the mean season, I now, at the last (for now is the time), crave this brotherly friendship that, as you began it for me with all kindness, so that you will continue in the same affection to end it.
I hope her Majesty, after so many gracious words which she gave me at Greenwich upon her departure, exceeding this which I expect, will not now draw in the beams of her princely grace to my discouragement and her own detriment. Neither will I conceive otherwise of your virtue and affection towards me now, at the end, than I apprehended all good hope and kindness from you in the beginning. Thus with a lame hand to write I take my leave, but with a mind well disposed to hope the best of my friends till otherwise I find them, which I fear nothing at all, assuring myself your words and deeds dwell not asunder.


Thus, with a LAME hand to write I take my leave --Oxford


Against that time, if ever that time come,
When I shall see thee frown on my defects,
When as thy love hath cast his utmost sum,
Called to that audit by advis'd respects;
Against that time when thou shalt strangely pass,
And scarcely greet me with that sun, thine eye,
When love, converted from the thing it was,
Shall reasons find of settled gravity;
Against that time do I ensconce me here,
Within the knowledge of mine own desert,
To guard the lawful reasons on thy part:
   To leave poor me thou hast the strength of laws,
   Since why to love I can allege no cause.

 Catherine M Shaw con't.

 It is perhaps fitting that the Moor himself is the last person in the play to use the word honesty and that it is made inseparable from honour. When , after an ineffectual attempt to attack Iago, Othello is disarmed by Montano, the formerly 'noble and valiant general' says:

But why should honour outlive honesty?
Let it go all. (v.ii.243-6)

 Jorgensen does not cite this particular passage in his study 'Honesty in Othello,' but I assume he would read the lines as the Moor's weary dismissal of those positive values which were once his. 'Here it is proven that I am not even brave. But why should I who am proven dishonourable concern myself any more with the mere symbol of honour when hones;ty, the word and its symbol, is dead. Let them both go.' At least in part Willeam Empson's comment complements this view. The taking of Othello's sword, he points out, 'is a mark of disgrace, a symbol of cuckoldry' two possible negations of honour and honesty.' Honour and honesty, however have the same root and are as inseparable in this play as are the sexual and military aspects of the sword imagery. The action of the play has destroyed true honour and true honesty and therefore the words, once quick with meaning, are as impotent as Othello and as dead as Desdemona.


Oxford to Cecil, 12 June 1603.

My very good Lord, I know that you are so charged with public affairs that you can have little leisure, or none at all, to undertake a private cause, especially concerning another. This therefore which you do for me, I do conceive it in your particular favour, and so I take it, and you shall find me therefor ever thankful. These shall be therefore to desire your Lordship that with my very good Lord and friend my Lord Admiral, that you will procure me a full end of this suit wherein I have spent so long a time, and passed the greatest part of mine age. The cause is right, the king just, and I do not doubt but your Lordships both mine honourable friends, according to your words I shall find you in deeds...
Your Lordship's most assured friend and brother-in-law.

Edward Oxenford

(Added July 29 2015)
Satire 8. Juvenal
[Translated by G. G. Ramsay]

Stemmata quid Faciunt?
What avail your pedigrees? What boots it, Ponticus, to be valued for one's ancient blood, and to display the painted visages of one's forefathers----an Aemilianus  standing in his car; a half-crumbled Curius; a Corvinus who has lost a shoulder, or a Galba that has neither ear nor nose? Of what profit is it to boast a Fabius on your ample family chart, and thereafter to trace kinship through many a branch with grimy Dictators and Masters of the Horse, if in presence of the Lepidi you live an evil life? What signify all these effigies of warriors if you gamble all night long before your Numantine  ancestors, and begin your sleep with the rise of Lucifer, at an hour when our Generals of old would be moving their standards and their camps? Why should a Fabius, born in the home of Hercules, take pride in the title Allobrogicus, and in the Great Altar, if he be covetous and empty-headed and more effeminate than a Euganean  lambkin; if his loins, rubbed smooth by Catanian 7 pumice, throw shame on his shaggy-haired grandfathers; or if, as a trafficker in poison, he dishonour his unhappy race by a statue that will have to be broken in pieces? Though you deck your hall from end to end with ancient waxen images, Virtue is the one and only true nobility. Be a Paulus, or a Cossus, or a Drusus in character; rank them before the statues of your ancestors; let them precede the fasces themselves when you are Consul. You owe me, first of all things, the virtues of the soul; prove yourself stainless in life, one who holds fast to the right both in word and deed, and I acknowledge you as a lord; all hail to you, Gaetulicus, or you, Silanus, or from whatever stock you come, if you have proved yourself to a rejoicing country a rare and illustrious citizen, we would fain cry what Egypt shouts when Osiris has been found. For who can be called "noble" who is unworthy of his race, and distinguished in nothing but his name? We call some one's dwarf an "Atlas," his blackamoor "a swan"; an ill-favoured, misshapen girl we call "Europa"; lazy hounds that are bald with chronic mange, and who lick the edges of a dry lamp, will bear the names of "Pard," "Tiger," "Lion," or of any other animal in the world that roars more fiercely: take you care that it be not on that principle that you are a Creticus or a Camerinus!
What if I can never cite any example so foul and shameful that there is not something worse behind? Your means exhausted, Damasippus, you hired out your voice to the stage, taking the part of the Clamorous Ghost of Catullus. The nimble Lentulus acted famously the part of Laureolus : deserving, in my judgment, to be really and truly crucified. Nor can the spectators themselves be forgiven: the populace that with brazen front sits and beholds the triple buffooneries of our patricians, that can listen to a bare-footed  Fabius, and laugh to see the Mamerci cuffing each other. What matters it at what price they sell their deaths?  No Nero compels them to sell; yet they hesitate not to sell themselves at the games of the exalted Praetor. And yet suppose that on one side of you were placed a sword, on the other the stage: which were the better choice? Was ever any man so afraid of death that he would choose to be the jealous husband of a Thymele, or the colleague of the clown Corinthus? Yet when an Emperor  has taken to harp-playing, it is not so very strange that a noble should act in a mime.

(Nicholas Rowe, stated that Shakespeare played the Ghost of Hamlet's father?)

Song: The Forsaken Man. (by Edward de Vere)
A crown of bays shall that man wear,
That triumphs over me;
For black and tawny will I wear,
Which mourning colours be.
The more I follow’d one,
The more she fled away,
As Daphne did full long agone
Apollo’s wishful prey.
The more my plaints I do resound
The less she pities me;
The more I sought the less I found,
Yet mine she meant to be.
Melpomene alas, with doleful tunes help than; [then] And sing Bis, woe worth on me forsaken man.
Added Sept 1 2015

(More) was also a name upon which a number of puns were constructed. 'More' could be the 'Moor' or black Ethiop and Desiderius Erasmus, the Dutch humanist who became his close companion, sometimes called him 'Niger'. On More's family arms, there was the head of a 'blackamoor', and the same device appeared upon his seal when he was under-treasurer of England. On his crest, too, were 'moorcocks'. 'Morus' was also the Latin term for the MULBERRY TREE, and Thomas More would plant one of these 'wise' trees in his garden at Chelsea. He was aware of the power of names, therefore, to create or evoke their own set of circumstances. 'Morus' is fool and 'Mors' is death. Erasmus's title for his most celebrated work Moriae encomium - 'In Praise of Folly' - was designed also to praise More, in whose house the book was written...Yet the suggestivity of the name created effects beyond punning: Mors and Morus were the syllables of More's own destiny. Characteristically he meditated upon death and the passing shadow of the world, while also he 'played' the fool with with those who were closest to him. What is in a name?

Peter Ackroyd, 'The Life of Thomas More'

From Ross's Hastings and St. Leonards guide:

Shakespeare Mulberry Tree

This was planted by Garrick in the garden of East Cliff-house (being a cutting from the one at Stratford-on-Avon,) when on a visit to his friend, Mr. Capel (note - Edward Capel). Most of the mulberry trees in Hastings (East Sussex) are shoots from the same.

Author: Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616.  ]
Title: Poems: vvritten by Wil. Shake-speare. Gent
Date: 1640 

Loath to depart.

GOod night, good rest, ah neither be my share,
She bad good night, that kept my rest away,
And daft me to a cabben hangde vvith care:
To descant on the doubts of my decay,
Farevvell (quoth she) and come againe tomorrovv:
Farevvell I could not, for I supt with sorrovv.
Yet at my parting sweetly did she smile,
In scorne or friendship, nill I conster vvhether:
'T may be she joyd to jeast at my exile.
'T may be againe, to make me vvander thither.
*Wander (a word) for shadovves like my selfe,
As take the paine, but cannot plucke the pelfe*.
Lord hovv mine eyes throvv gazes to the East,
My heart doth charge the watch, the morning rise
Doth scite each moving sence from idle rest,
Not daring trust the office of mine eies.
While Philomela sits and sings, I sit and marke,
And wish her layes vvere tuned like the Larke.
For she doth vvelcome day-light vvith her ditty,
And drives avvay darke dreaming night:
The night so packt, I post unto my pretty,
Hart hath his hope, and eies their vvished sight,
Sorrow chang'd to solace, and solace mixt vvith sorrow,
For vvhy, she sight, and bad me come to morrovv.
Were I vvith her, the night vvould post too soone,
But now are minutes added to the houres:
To spite me now, each minute seemes an houre,
Yet not for me, shine Sunne to succour flovvers. 


Care and Disappointment.
Ev’n as the wax doth melt, or dew consume away
Before the sun, so I, behold, through careful thoughts decay;
For my best luck leads me to such sinister state,
That I do waste with others’ love, that hath myself in hate.
And he that beats the bush the wished bird not gets,
But such, I see, as sitteth still and holds the fowling nets.
The drone more honey sucks, that laboureth not at all,
Than doth the bee, to whose most pain least pleasure doth befall:
The gard’ner sows the seeds, whereof the flowers do grow,
And others yet do gather them, that took less pain I trow.
So I the pleasant grape have pulled from the vine,
And yet I languish in great thirst, while others drink the wine.
Thus like a woeful wight I wove the web of woe,
The more I would weed out my cares, the more they seemed to grow:
The which betokeneth, forsaken is of me,
That with the careful culver climbs the worn and withered tree,
To entertain my thoughts, and there my hap to moan,
That never am less idle, lo! than when I am alone.
E. Ox.


 Welsh and Galician form of Jacob.

 In the Old Testament, Jacob (later called Israel) is the son of Isaac and Rebecca and the father of the twelve founders of the twelve tribes of Israel. He was born holding his twin brother Esau's heel, and his name is explained as meaning "holder of the heel" or "SUPPLANTER".

 An Inquiry Into the Principles and Policy of the Government of the United States
 By John Taylor
...Suppose the people of England should attempt to abolish monarchy. Both the aristocracy of the present age, and the nobility would arrange themselves in its defence. Which would be most formidable? The remnant or hieroglyphick of the feudal system, would indeed display a ridiculous pomp and an imbecile importance; it would appear armed with title, riboon and symbol, and evince its weakness by tottering under shadows. But the real aristocracy of the present age; neither begotten by the Gods, the curse of conquest, nor the offspring of nature; the aristocracy of patronage and paper would draw out its fleets, armies, public debt, corporate bodies and civil offices. Which species of aristocracy, I ask again, would be the strongest quxilary for despotism, and the most dangerous enemy to the nation? And yet Mr. Adams has written three volumes, to excite our jealousy against the aristocracy of motto and blazon, without discolosing the danger from the aristocracy of paper and patronage; that political hydra of modern invention, whose arms embrace a whole nation, whose ears hear every sound, whose eyes see all objects, and whose hands can reach every purse and every throat. 
     The faint traces discernible in England, of the aristocracy of the second age, evidently disclose a revolution in its qualities, which must have been produced by a cause; and when we perceive, that the present nobility no longer awaken the jealousy of the king, or attract the attention of the people, it behoves us to ascertain this cause, in order to understand what aristocracy is; ad to distinguish between that which is nominal and that which is real; between a Chilperic, and a Charles Martel.
     The circumstances which constituted the cause of this revolution, disclose the wounds which destroyed the aristocracy of the second age, adn the impossibility of its existence, whilst these circumstances remain. Its essence consisted of chivalry, principality, sovereignty, splendor, munificence and vassalage; its shadow, of title. Of allthese constituents, except the last, it has been stript by subjecting it to a competition with talents, and exposing it to the effects of commerce and alienation. Plebeians are not the compeers of these titiled patricians in wealth, and they, the compeers of Plebeians in subjection to law; and the equalising spirit of knowledge has exalted one class, and reduced the other, to the common standard of mortal men.
     An endeavor to record the magnanimity, ambition and consequence, exhibited by the British peerage, would conduct us precisely to the era of the change, at which the history would stop of itself, in defiance of the historian; it would terminate where the history of patronage and paper begins, because one form of aristocracy supplants another; and it would pass on from the dead to the living, as in the case of any other succession. Thence forward, the English peerage gradually sunk into the aristocracy of the the third age; it became the creature of patronage, the subject of paper; and although it is seen on accountof a legislative formulary, it is as little regarded by the nation, as a butterfly by a man in agony. Its number is recruited from the corps raised and disciplined by the system of patronage and paper; and the claims it once possessed to superior knowledge, virtue, wealth, and independence, have been long since immolated at the shrines of printing, alienation and executive power.
The Wounded Cavalier