Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Apparent Meridian of Ignorance

Jonson on Shakespeare:

But stay, I SEE thee in the HEMISPHERE
Advanc'd, 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 mourn'd like night,
And despairs day, but for thy volume's light.


R Goodwin, ‘Vindiciae Jonsoniae’

Since, what past Ages onlie had begun,
And ventur’d at, Thou [Jonson] hast exactlie done;
And that the Ancients, more precede not thee
In Time, then thou does them, in Poesie:
Staine not that Well-gaind Honour, with the crude,
Or the rash Censure, of a Multitude of Silken fooles; who cannot understand
(for they were born not to have wit, but Land)
T’is IGNORANCE in them, noe Crime in thee,
That Moulds their Judgments,

Even so, these Gallants, when they chance to heare
A new Witt peeping in THEIR HEMISPHERE,
Which they can apprehend, their clouded Braines,
Will Straight admire, and Magnifie his Straines,
Farre above thine;  though all that he hath done,
Is but a Taper, to thy brighter Sun;
Wound them with scorne! Who greives at such Fooles tongues,
Doth not revenge, but gratifie their wrongs (...)
(note - silken fools - fashionable Shakespeare's ignorant admirers)

 R Goodwin, ‘Vindiciae Jonsoniae’ (con't)

T’is Ignorance in them, noe Crime in thee,
That Moulds their Judgments, who ere chanc’t to see,
That vast prodigious Louvre-Gallerie,
But at his Entrance (judging by his Eyes) [But stay, I SEE thee in the HEMISPHERE]
Would thinke the roof inclin’de, the floore did RISE!
And at the end, each Equidistant Side,
Mett in one Point! though, there, they bee as wide
As where he stood; so they who now adaies
Come to behold, not understand thy Plaies;
With weake-ey’d Judgment, easelie may depresse
Thy loftie Muse, extol the Lowlines,
Contract thy Dexterous vaine to answear it,
And be deceav’d like him, or as those EYES,
Which, through grosse vapours, and thick ayre that flies
Close to the earth, the riseing Sun can view,
*And with deluded Sence does judge it true*,
That, then, hee’s twice as Great, as when he hath ran,
And is inthron’d, in their *MERIDIAN*.
Though at that time, he was more distant farre,
Then the Whole Earth’s Semidiameter;
Even so, these Gallants, when they chance to heare
A new Witt peeping in their HEMISPHERE,
Which they can apprehend, their clouded Braines,
Will Straight admire, and Magnifie his Straines,
Farre above thine;  though all that he hath done,
Is but a Taper, to thy brighter Sun;
Wound them with scorne! Who greives at such Fooles tongues,
Doth not revenge, but gratifie their wrongs.      

Arthur Murphy, Esquire,  'Know Your Own Mind'...With remarks by Mrs. Inchbald

Enter Sir Harry Lovewit, laughing violently

Sir H. Oh! oh! oh! I shall certainly expire one day, in a fit of laughing.
Sir J. What's the matter, Sir Harry?
Bygrove. What fool's errand brings him hither?
Sir H. That fellow, Dashwould, will be the death of me. - The very spirit of whim , wit, humour, and raillery possesses him.
Bygrove. Ay; wit and humour for the MERIDIAN OF YOUR UNDERSTANDING.
Sir H. By the shade of Rabelais! he is the most entertaining creature! He has played off such a firework of wit! - I'll tell you what he said this moment -.
Bygrove. No, sir, no; if you are a pedlar in smart sayings and brisk repartees, we don't desire you to unpack for us.
Sir H. A plague on him, for an agreeable devil! - And then the rogue has so much ease!
Bygrove. Yes, the ease of an executioner - He puts all to death without remorse - He laughs at everything, as if Heaven intended to make its own work ridiculous. He has no relish for beauty, natural or moral. He is in love with DEFORMITY, and never better pleased, than when he has most reason to find fault.
Sir H. There is a picture of as harsh features as any in Dashwould's whole collection.
Bygrove. But the picture is true - no exaggeration in it.

 And with deluded Sence does judge it true (Goodwin on Jonson) - (Viewing with the EYES of Ignorance)

A divine ought to calculate his sermons as an astrologer does his almanac - to the MERIDIAN of the place and people where he lives. (Hughes)


Ben Jonson - Bartholomew Fair

Book-Holder. How now? What rare discourse are you fallen upon, ha? Ha'you found any familiars here, that you are so free? What's the business?

Stage-Keeper. Nothing, but the understanding gentlemen o'the ground here, asked my judgement.

Book Holder. Your judgement, rascal? For wheat? Sweeping the stage? Or gathering up the broken apples for the bears within? Away, rogue, it's come to a fine degree in these spectacles when such a youth as you pretend to a judgement.
[Exit Stage-Keeper.]
And yet he may, i'the most o'this matter, i'faith: for the author hath writ it just to his MERIDIAN, and the scale of the grounded judgements here, his play-fellows in wit...

John Oldham, on Jonson (1678)
Most Plays are writ like Almanacks of late,
And serve one only year, one only State;
Another makes them useless, stale, and out of date;
But thine were wisely calculated fit
For each MERIDIAN, every CLIME OF WIT,
For all succeeding Time, and after-age,
And all Mankind might thy vast Audience sit,
And the whole world be justly made thy Stage:
Still they shall taking be, and ever new,
Still keep in vogue in spite of all the damning Crew;
Till the last Scene of this great Theatre,
Clos'd, and shut down,
The numerous Actors all retire,
And the grand Play of human Life be done.


The Meridian of the Court

Staple of News, Jonson

The P R O L O G U E for the C O U R T.

Work not smelling of the Lamp, to night,
But fitted for your Majesty's Disport,
And writ to the MERIDIAN of Your Court,
We bring; and hope it may produce Delight:
The rather, being offered as a Rite,
To Scholars, that can judge, and fair report
The Sense they hear, above the VULGAR SORT
Of Nut-crackers, that only come for SIGHT...


Triumph, my Britain, thou hast one to SHOW


Eyes of Ignorance:

Jonson, Staple of News

For your own sakes, not his, he bade me say
Would you were come to hear, not SEE a play.
Though we his actors must provide for those
Who are our guests here in the way of SHOWS,
The maker hath not so. He'd have you WISE
Much rather by your EARS than by your EYES.


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 turned and true FILED lines;
In each of which he *SEEMS* to shake a lance,
As brandisht at the EYES of IGNORANCE.

 Jonson on Shakespeare

Tri'umph, 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! 

Not Clothes but Brains: Display, Status, and Reading in Ben Jonson's The New Inn
Cordelia Zukerman

 [This] investment in ability was implicated in Jonson's understanding of the relationship between substance and display. In one of his poems that addresses this issue, the "Epistle, Answering to One That Asked to be Sealed of the Tribe of Ben," Jonson writes that he seeks as friends only those who pursue a path of centered virtue:

...if I have any friendships sent
Such as are square, well-tagged, and permanent,
Not built with canvas, paper and false lights,
As are the glorious SCENES at the great SIGHTS;
And that there be no fevery heats nor colds,
Oily expansions, or shrunk dirty folds,
But all so clear, and led by reason's flame,
As but to stumble in her sight were shame;
These I will honour, love, embrace. and serve

The extended metaphor criticizes people who claim to be what they are not, just as the cheap materials of stage scenery deliberately fool the eye [note - SEEM] by posing as finery. While this metaphor refers specifically to court masques, it also articulates the dangers of illusion more generally: in equating false people with stage scenery, Jonson suggests that illusion designed to awe is as morally problematic as illusion meant to deceive, since both command the viewer's attention while concealing the true substance beneath - OR THE ABSENCE OF SUCH SUBSTANCE.  This metaphor suggest why Jonson was uncomfortable with visual display: it occluded deeper moral or intellectual values.


Jonson, on Shakespeare

Sweet Swan of Avon! what a SIGHT it were
To SEE thee in our waters yet appear, (waters/casting/disease)
And make those flights upon the banks of Thames, (mount/bank)
That so did take Eliza and our James! (take/illusion meant to deceive)
But stay, I SEE thee in the hemisphere
Advanc'd, and made a constellation there! 


T H E F O R E S T . Ben Jonson



..............What if alone,
Without companions ? 'tis safe to have none.
In single paths dangers with ease are watch'd ;
Contagion in the press is soonest catch'd.
This makes, that wisely you *decline* your life 50 [note - decline/advanced]
Far from the maze of custom, error, strife,
And keep an even, and unalter'd gait ;
Not looking by, or back, like those that wait
Times and occasions, to START FORTH, and SEEM.
Which though the turning world may disesteem,
Because that studies SPECTACLES and SHOWS,
And after varied, as fresh objects, goes,
Giddy with change, and therefore cannot see
Right, the right way ; yet must your comfort be
Your conscience, and not wonder if none asks 
*For truth's complexion, where they all wear masks.*
Let who will follow fashions and attires,
Maintain their liegers forth for foreign wires,
Melt down their husbands land, to pour away
On the close groom and page, on new-year's day,
And almost all days after, while they live ;
They find it both so witty, and safe to give.
Let them on powders, oils, and paintings spend,
Till that no usurer, nor his bawds dare lend
Them or their officers ; and no man know, 70
Whether it be a face they wear or no.
Let them waste body and state ; and after all,
When their own parasites laugh at their fall,
May they have nothing left, whereof they can
Boast, but how oft they have gone wrong to man,
And call it their brave sin : for such there be
That do sin only for the infamy ;
And never think, how vice doth every hour
Eat on her clients, and some one devour.
You, madam, young have learn'd to shun these shelves, 80
Whereon the most of mankind wreck themselves,
And keeping a just course, have early put
Into your harbor, and all passage shut
'Gainst storms or pirates, that might charge your peace ;

The Monthly Review, Or, Literary Journal, Volume 69

By Ralph Griffiths, G. E. Griffiths
 The American Wanderer:
The Palais Royal is a pretty garden; the grand alley or mall in the spring and summer season is enchanting. The tops of the noble trees on each side mutually incline, entwine their amorous branches, and embrace each other with expressive tenderness, exhibiting a natural and very instructive lesson to the brilliant animals of either sex that sit, or loll in chairs, or play around the margin of the sheet of water, or walk in the shady alley below; flaunting in all the elegance of fashion, dazzling each other by the brilliancy of their wit, and the still more brilliant hue of their dress; displaying the most attractive assemblage of the beauties of art and nature that ever feasted the eye of a contemplative traveller. Paris surely is the native region of wit, politeness, enjouement, vivacity, and total exemption from serious thought and corroding care - gay, engaging, happy people, you say to yourself every step to take in the Tuileries - upon my honour they appeared to me a society of itself, who had entered into a compact to forget or laugh at every care, every ill, every anxiety of life - the whole group seemed animated by this one single idea - never could I trace a gloomy thought in the face of a full-dressed French man or woman parading the mazes of the Tuileries! - the lady is eternally bowing, fidgeting, smiling, languishing, or shrugging her shoulders: the petit - maitre flattering, chattering, laughing, cringing, hopping, skipping, making entre-chats, and buffetting the ambient air with his red heels! This air is certainly contagious. Falstaff says, that he "is not only witty himself, but the cause of wit in others:" so may a Parisian petit -MAITRE boast, that he is not only a coxcomb himself, but he inspires strangers with his native puppyism. Would you think it? I too have my red heels! and, since I have arrived in Paris, I find I have taken wonderful pains to render myself completely ridiculous, if ever I return to London. With respect to my Parisian metamorphose in general, it proceeds from sheer vanity, which you will suppose not a little gratified whenever I hear, as I flit along the Mall, in answer to an audible whisper, Voila un homme de condition n'est il pas? - C'est monsieur un tel, voyageur Anglais - Mon Dieu! Je l'aurait cru veritable Cavalier Francois! il se forme rapidement! il attrape le maniere de nous autres! apparamment il a d'esprit! I take shame to myself, and acknowledge this may be my general motive; but my order to my shoe-maker for a crimson heel was rather a political than a vain manoeuvre. The argumentum ad hominem, in plain English, the driving the nail that will go, is a species of reasoning to which I frequently have recourse: now you must know, that a crimson heel is a passe par-tout into many places here worthy of being explored by a curious traveller. It amazingly smoothes and facilitates an introduction to the softer sex. I love to dress as a man of fashion, CALCULATED to the MERIDIAN of the spot where I reside - not that I affect dress myself - far from it - I put it on or off as a medium or engine of approach to the confines of SUBLUNARY bliss - I will therefore, governed by this principle, without a blush, buckle on my crimson-heeel'd pump, stand upon one leg or both, walk or hop, according to the reigning mode of the court at which I happen to figure. Nay, I would go naked were I to meet with fine women philosophical enough to delight in the contemplation of the wonderful works of nature!

The Devil is an Ass - Ben Jonson

Today, I go to the Blackfriars Playhouse,
Sit i' the VIEW, salute all my acquaintance,
Rise up between the acts, let fall my cloak,
Publish a handsome man, and a rich suit -
As that 's a special end, why we go thither,
All that pretend to stand for't o'the stage.
The ladies ask, who's that? For they do come
To SEE us, love, as we do to SEE them.

 Jonson, The New Inn

The  D E D I C A T I O N  to the  R E A D E R.

F thou be such, I make thee my Patron, and
dedicate the Piece to thee: If not so much, would I had been at the Charge of thy better Litterature. Howsoever, if thou canst but spell, and join my Sense, there is more hope of thee, than of a Hundred fastidious Impertinents, who were there present the first Day, *yet never made piece of their Prospect the right way*. What did they come for, then? thou will't ask me. I will as punctually answer: To see, and to be seen: To make a general muster of themselves in their Clothes of Credit: and possess the Stage against the Play: To dislike all, but mark nothing. And by their confidence of rising between the Acts, in Oblique Lines, make Affidavit to the whole House, of their not understanding one Scene. Arm'd with this Prejudice, as the Stage-furniture, or Arras-cloaths, they were there, as Spectators, away. For the Faces in the Hangings, and they beheld alike; so I wish they may do ever, and do trust my self and my Book, rather to thy rustick Candor, than all the Pomp of their Pride, and solemn IGNORANCE to boot. Fare thee well, and fall too. Read period omitted

But Jonson's dedication [The New Inn] ...makes a point about the way cultural authority should work: the people who should have the most cultural influence, Jonson suggests, are those who possess the inner qualities that make that influence beneficial. In making the reader his patron, Jonson makes a strong political and social statement: he imagines an alternate cultural hierarchy whereby virtuous action can lead to a well-deserved elevation in status....In uniting reading well with being a patron, Jonson brings inner nobility firmly into play in contemporary English life, suggesting that membership in the new cultural elite will come from hard work and achievement, not from social rank or wealth.. (Cordelia Zukerman, Not Clothes but Brains)


Vertues seat is deepe within the mynd,/And not in outward SHOWS, but inward thoughts defynd. - Spenser

Soul of the Ignorant Age:

To the Great Example of H O N O U R and V E R T U E, the most Noble


E A R L of P E M B R O K E , L O R D C H A M B E R L A I N, &c.

M Y L O R D,

N so thick and dark an IGNORANCE, as now almost covers the AGE, I
crave leave to stand near your Light, and by that to be read.
Posterity may pay your Benefit the Honour and Thanks, when it shall
know, that you dare, in these JIG-GIVEN times, to countenance a
Legitimate Poem. I must call it so, against all noise of Opinion: from
whose crude and airy Reports, I appeal to that great and singular
Faculty of Judgment in your Lordship, able to vindicate Truth from
Error. It is the First (of this Race) that ever I dedicated to any
Person; and had I not thought it the best, it should have been taught
a less Ambition. Now it approacheth your Censure chearfully, and with
the same assurance that Innocency would appear before a Magistrate.

Your Lordships most faithful Honourer,



jig-given times/Jonson

He is loth to make Na-
ture afraid in his Plays, like those that beget Tales, Tem-
pests, and such like Drolleries, to mix his HEAD with
mens HEELS ; let the CONCUPISCENCE of
reign as strong as it will amongst you:


Ignorant Age:

FALKLAND, Jonsonus Virbius

...How in an IGNORANT, and learn'd AGE he [Jonson] swaid,
(Of which the first he found, the second made)
How He, when he could know it, reapt his Fame,
And long out-liv'd the envy of his Name:


Soul of an Ignorant Age:

I remember, the players have often
mentioned it as an honour to Shakespeare, that
in his writing (whatsoever he penned) he never
blotted out line. My answer hath been, would
he had blotted a thousand. Which they thought
a malevolent speech. I had not told posterity
this, but for their IGNORANCE, who choose that
circumstance to commend their friend by,
wherein he most faulted.


John Beaumont , Jonsonus Virbius

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


Bartholomew Fair: Jonson

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

It is further covenanted, concluded and agreed, That
how great soever the expectation be, no Person here is
to expect more than he knows, or better Ware than a
Fair will afford: neither to look back to the Sword and
Buckler-age of Smithfield, but content himself with the
present. Instead of a little Davy, to take Toll o' the
Bawds, the Author doth promise a strutting Horse-courser,
with a leer-Drunkard, two or three to attend him, in as
good Equipage as you would wish. And then for Kind-
heart, the Tooth-drawer, a fine Oily Pig-woman with her
Tapster, to bid you welcome, and a Consort of Roarers
for Musick. A wise Justice of Peace meditant, instead
of a Jugler, with an Ape. A civil Cutpurse searchant. A
sweet Singer of new Ballads allurant: and as fresh an
Hypocrite, as ever was broach'd, rampant. If there be ne-
ver a Servant-monster i' the Fair, who can help it, he
says, nor a Nest of Antiques? *He is loth to make Na-
ture afraid in his Plays, like those that beget Tales, Tem-
pests, and such like Drolleries, to mix his HEAD with
mens HEELS (note - inversion/preposterous); let the CONCUPISCENCE of
Jigs and Dances,
reign as strong as it will amongst you*: yet if the Pup-
pets will please any body, they shall be entreated to
come in.


Jonson, _The Alchemist_


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


Jonson, _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?

(Sweet Swan of Avon! what a SIGHT it were
To SEE thee in our WATERS yet appear, (waters/casting/disease/infection/contagion))

 'Tis better to be *vile* than vile esteem'd,
When not to be receives reproach of being,
And the just pleasure lost which is so deem'd
Not by our feeling but by others' SEEING:
For why should others false ADULTERATE EYES
Give salutation to my sportive blood?
Or on my frailties why are frailer spies,
Which in their wills count bad what I think good?
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;
Unless this general evil they maintain,
All men are bad, and in their badness reign. 

 John Oldham, on Jonson

Unjust, and more ill-natur'd those,
Thy spiteful, and malicious Foes,
Who on thy happiest Talent fix a lye,
And call that Slowness, which was Care, and Industry.
Let me (with Pride so to be guilty thought)
Share all thy wish'd Reproach, and share thy shame,
If Diligence be deem'd a fault,
If to be faultless must deserve their Blame:
Judg of thy self alone (for none there were·
Could be so just, or could be so severe)
Thou thy own Works didst strictly try
By known and uncontested Rules of Poetry·
And gav'st thy Sentence still impartially:
With rigor thou arraign'dst each guilty Line,
And spar'dst no criminal Sense, because 'twas thine:
Unbrib'd with Favour, Love, or Self-conceit,
(For never, or too seldom we,
Objects too near us, our own Blemishes can see)
Thou didst no small'st Delinquencies acquit,
But saw'st them to Correction all submit,
Saw'st execution done on all convicted Crimes of Wit.


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


To draw no envy, Shakespeare, 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.

Act IV, Scene I
Sir Politick
I told you, sir, it was a plot; you see What observation is. You mention'd me 
For some instructions: I will tell you, sir,
(Since we are met here in this height of Venice)
Some few particulars, I have set down,
Only for this MERIDIAN, fit to be known
Of your crude traveller; and they are these.


Oldham, on Jonson

Let meaner spirits stoop to low precarious Fame,
Content on gross and coarse Applause to live,
And what the dull, and sensless Rabble give,
Thou didst it still with noble scorn contemn,
Nor would'st that wretched Alms receive,
The poor subsistence of some bankrupt, sordid name:
Thine was no empty Vapor, rais'd beneath,
And form'd of common Breath,
The false, and foolish Fire, that's whisk'd about
By popular Air, and glares a while, and then goes out;

[Shine forth, thou star of poets, and with rage
Or influence, chide or cheer the drooping stage;

Which, since thy flight from hence, hath mourn'd like night,

And despairs day, but for thy volume's light. jonson on shakespeare]

But 'twas a solid, whole, and perfect Globe of light,
That shone all over, was all over bright,
And dar'd all sullying Clouds, and fear'd no darkning night;
Like the gay Monarch of the Stars and Sky,
Who wheresoe're he does display
His sovereign Lustre, and majestick Ray,
Strait all the less, and petty Glories nigh
Vanish, and shrink away.
O'rewhelm'd, and swallow'd by the greater blaze of Day;
With such a strong, an awful and victorious Beam
Appear'd, and ever shall appear, thy Fame,
View'd, and ador'd by all th' undoubted Race of Wit,
Who only can endure to look on it.
The rest o'recame with too much light,
With too much brightness dazled, or extinguish'd quite:
Restless, and uncontroul'd it now shall pass
As wide a course about the World as he,
And when his long-repeated Travels cease
Begin a new, and vaster Race,
And still tread round the endless Circle of Eternity.


Denis O'Brien, Theories of Weight in the Ancient World, 391-2. 

…Aristotle tells us only how ‘most people’ would speak of ‘up’ and ‘down’, if they agreed with himself:  in a spherical universe, for Aristotle as for ‘the majority’, the centre is ‘down’ and the circumference is ‘up’. But Aristotle also tells us that ‘most people’ do not in fact recognise the universe as spherical; they are conscious only of the HEMISPHERE above their heads. The implication is pretty plainly that what most people in fact believe is that the sky above their heads is ‘up’ and that the earth below their feet is ‘down’. It is Aristotle ‘s happy conviction that once such people recognise that the sky is part of a spherical universe they will call the whole of the circumference ‘up’, and that the earth which now becomes the centre of a spherical universe they will call ‘down’.
   If , for the moment, we hold back from subscribing to this same conviction, then the popular belief will be simply that the sky above our heads is ‘up and that the earth below our feet is ‘down’; and this, I would suggest, is what is implied by Plato’s ‘common error’, whereby ‘up’ and ‘down’ divide the whole between them (cf. Tim. 62C5-8)


flights upon the banks/mountbank/take Eliza/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 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.