Friday, March 29, 2024

Captain Edward Vere and Beauty


Ben Jonson imitated his 'master' William Shakespeare in the First Folio Encomium - 'Shake-speare' is obscured by his own vices:

This FIGURE thou seest here put

It was for gentle Shakespeare cut

Ben Jonson





Imitating Authors, Colin Burrow

(...)Jonson’s Horace [note – Ars Poetica] should not be regarded as a ‘literal’. It attempts to reproduce the verbal collocations, word-order, and structure of the _Ars Poetica_, as well as to unfold in English, even at the cost of occasionally expanding the original, the key principles which it sets out. This gives the translation both bounds and license. It is licensed to extrapolate the sense of the original by additions (‘thou mayst feign, create’), as well as seeking to replicate the rhetorical shaping of the translated text. For these reasons it should not be positioned within a tradition of ‘word for word’ translation, but rather in a long tradition of translation that sought to reproduce the tradition the rhetorical figures and underlying character of the translated author. That tradition goes back to an extremely influential, but also extremely obscure passage in Cicero’s _De Optimo Genere Oratorum_, in which Cicero describes how he translated speeches by Aeschines and Demosthenes:

And I did not translate them as an interpreter, but, as an orator, keeping the same ideas and the forms, or as one might say the ‘figures’ of thought, but in a language which conforms to our usage. And in so doing, I did not hold it necessary to render word for word, but I preserved the general style and force of the language.


Cicero’s discussion of translation relies on several keywords from the tradition of writing about imitation: he seeks to preserve the form (forma), kind (genus) or writing, and its force, or *vis*. That implicit association between translation and imitation frequently became explicit in sixteenth-century discussions of the topic. From Denys Lambin’s edition of the _Ars Poetica_ in 1561 onwards it became common for commentators to cite this passage from Cicero as a gloss on Horace’s injunction not to translate as a ‘fidus interpres’. Lambin, indeed, glosses the passage from the _Ars Poetica_ as an invitation to imitate not like a mere interpreter, but ‘so that it will look as though we are *drinking from the same sources*, from our judgement and understanding’ as our originals. He then goes on to cite the extract from the _De Optimo Genere_ quoted above to explain what he means.

Jonson certainly knew Cicero’s remarks, which had been central to arguments about the nature of translation through the early middle ages and onwards, and which could also figure in arguments about imitatio. So St. Jerome’s Epistle 57 juxtaposed Cicero’s of translation with Horace’s injunction not to be a ‘fidus interpres’, but also very influentially associated translating word for word with the rhetorical abuse termed Kakozelia or ‘slavish imitation’. As we have seen, that rhetorical vice had been condemned by Quintilian as ‘bad affectation’, and it is the vice which Castiglione’s courtier seeks to avoid by his internalization of rhetorical and social practices into his effortless sprezzatura. In the sixteenth century there was a general preference for translating ‘like an orator’, but there was extensive debate about what Cicero meant by this phrase. What did it mean to preserve the ‘figurae’ and ‘formae’ of the original? Did Cicero mean by ‘figurae’ the figures of speech used by the author who was being translated? Or was the word ‘figura’ used in the sense which Cicero himself preferred, *to refer to a particular ‘character’ of style*?

In the fullest sixteenth-century discussion of Cicero’s gnomic remarks the Italian scholar Sebastian Fausto da Longiano concluded that by ‘forma’ and ‘figura’ Cicero probably meant ‘l’ordine delle cose’, the way in which arguments and sentences are sequenced in a speech. He also favored taking the word ‘figura’ as referring to the rhetorical ‘schemes’ or figures of the source text, but he allowed that Cicero’s ‘formis tanquam figuris’ were completely mysterious words he makes a connection between this passage and the section of the Orator (II, 36) in which Cicero connect the FORMA of an author with the word ‘character’ – a passage which we saw in Chapter 6 was crucial in encouraging an association between ‘the ideal form of an orator’ and the more humdrum sense of ‘the formal aspects of a speech’, Fausto also noted (and this was not unusual in the period) that translating ‘ut orator’ was extremely close to imitatio.

These debates about the fine line between translation and imitation are highly suggestive aids to understanding Jonson’s practice as a translator. He translated Horace not just ‘faithfully’, like a Catholic clinging to the very words of the Bible, but ‘as an orator’, with a concern for the FORMA and FIGURA of his original in all the senses of those flexible and ambiguous terms. At one moment he closely follows the rhetorical shape of his source text [note – Shakespeare/monstrous] while at another he flexes away from it to incorporate thoughts which a FORMA -an abstract IDEA, even perhaps a Platonic idea – of Horace might have had. The aim to preserve what Cicero calls the ‘vis’ or ‘force’ of the original allowed for the insertion of expansions or glosses (such as ‘thou mayst feign, create’) which reinforced its argument. (pp. 250-2)


Jonson – on the Droeshout Engraving FF

To the Reader.

This Figure, that thou here seest put,

It was for gentle Shakespeare cut,

Wherein the Graver had a strife

with Nature, to out-doo the life :

O, could he but have drawne his wit

As well in brasse, as he hath hit

His face ; the Print would then surpasse

All, that was ever writ in brasse.

But, since he cannot, Reader, looke

Not on his Picture, but his Booke.


Cicero’s discussion of translation relies on several keywords from the tradition of writing about imitation: he seeks to preserve the form (forma), kind (genus) or writing, and its force, or *vis*. That implicit association between translation and imitation frequently became explicit in sixteenth-century discussions of the topic. From Denys Lambin’s edition of the Ars Poetica in 1561 onwards it became common for commentators to cite this passage from Cicero as a gloss on Horace’s injunction not to translate as a ‘fidus interpres’. Lambin, indeed, glosses the passage from the _Ars Poetica_ as an invitation to imitate not like a mere interpreter, but ‘so that it will look as though we are *drinking from the same sources*, from our judgement and understanding’ as our originals. (Colin Burrow, Imitating Authors)


Form of the Droeshout is monstrous – a disproportionate and motley figure.


Drinking from bad/popular sources:

To the Memory of My Beloved the Author, Mr. William Shakespeare


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. But these ways

Were not the paths I meant unto thy praise;

For seeliest ignorance on these may light,

Which, when it sounds at best, but echoes right;

Or blind affection, which doth ne'er advance

The truth, but gropes, and urgeth all by chance;

Or crafty malice might pretend this praise,

And think to ruin, where it seem'd to raise.

These are, as some infamous bawd or whore

Should praise a matron; what could hurt her more?

But thou art proof against them, and indeed,

Above th' ill fortune of them, or the need.

I therefore will begin. Soul of the age!

The applause, delight, the wonder of our stage!


Oldham, Jonsonus Virbius

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...


.Jonson, Every Man In



Though need make many poets, and some such

As art and nature have not better'd much;

Yet ours for want hath not so loved the stage,

As he dare serve the *ill customs of the AGE*,

Or purchase your delight at such a rate,

As, for it, he himself must justly hate:

To make a child now swaddled, to proceed

Man, and then shoot up, in one beard and weed,

Past threescore years; or, with three rusty swords,

And help of some few foot and half-foot words,

Fight over York and Lancaster's king jars,

And in the tyring-house bring wounds to scars.

He rather prays you will be pleas'd to see

One such to-day, as other plays should be;

Where neither chorus wafts you o'er the seas,

Nor creaking throne comes down the boys to please;

Nor nimble squib is seen to make afeard

The gentlewomen; nor roll'd bullet heard

To say, it thunders; nor tempestuous drum

Rumbles, to tell you when the storm doth come;

But deeds, and language, such as men do use,

And persons, such as comedy would choose,

When she would shew an image of the times,

And sport with human follies, not with crimes.

Except we make them such, by loving still

Our popular errors, when we know they're ill.

I mean such errors as you'll all confess,

By laughing at them, they deserve no less:

Which when you heartily do, there's hope left then,

*You, that have so grac'd MONSTERS, may like men*.


Jonson, Cynthia's Revels

P R O L O G U E.

IF 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;

And 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. 


Empty Vapour/Monument without a Tomb


The word "monument" comes from the Latin "monumentum", derived from the word moneo, monere, which means 'to remind' or 'to warn', suggesting a monument allows us to see the past thus helping us visualize what is to come in the future.[3] In English the word "monumental" is often used in reference to something of extraordinary size and power, as in monumental sculpture, but also to mean simply anything made to commemorate the dead, as a funerary monument or other example of funerary art.



Middle English monstre, from Anglo-French, from Latin monstrum omen, monster, from monēre to warn — more at MIND


To the Memory of My Beloved the Author, Mr. William Shakespeare


Jonson, Every Man In:


wrong not the quality of your desert, with looking

downward, Couz; but hold up your Head, so: and

let the *IDEA* of what you are, be *portray'd i' your Face*, 

that Men may read i' your Physnomy, (Here, within

this place is to be seen the true, rare, and accomplish'd Mon-

ster, or miracle of Nature, which is all one.) What

think you of this, Couz?


From Ben Jonson’s Every Man in his Humour (3.4)

Cob. Nay, I have my rheum*, and I can be angry as well as another,


Cash. Thy rheum, Cob! thy humor, thy humor—thou mistak’st.

Cob. Humor! mack, I think it be so indeed; what is that humor?

some rare thing, I warrant.

Cash. Marry I’ll tell thee, Cob: it is a gentleman-like monster,

bred, in the special gallantry of our time, by affectation; and fed

by folly.

Cob. How! must it be fed?

Cash. Oh ay, humor is nothing if it be not fed: didst thou never

hear that? it’s a common phrase, ‘feed my humor’.




Many commentators have noted the lack of 'substantive praise' in Jonson's Folio Poem (e.g. Trimpi). In the encomium, Jonson violates his own governing principle of 'matter over words'. The result is that 'Shakespeare/Oxford' stands in a cloud of sublime 'puffery'.


Volpone's Fare , James Riddell

He (Jonson) perceives "Judging Spectators" and others in the audience, and MAY PROVIDE FOR BOTH. The crucial distinction is between fools feeding upon follies and becoming thereby more foolish, and wise men savoring follies and becoming thereby wiser. The fare may be all one; in that case, the way in which it is consumed sets off the fools from the understanders. If the fare is not all one, of course, different understanding is required.


Volpone's Fare

James A. Riddell

Fare Jovially

In the epilogue Volpone proposes that the play is a meal which the playwright offers, its seasoning to be provided by the audience. But what constitutes the main dish? Mischiefs grown fat? The Fox mortified? In either case the prospect is not an appetizing one. Volpone's statement, in fact, is as much a challenge as it is an invitation. The audience is asked to see the effects of bestial appetite and at the same time to enjoy being fed upon them. The last line - if one *understands* it - makes it clear that this is the case.

As J.D. Rea points out in his edition of Volpone, the last line most probably echoes the final sentence of the _Moriae Encomium_, in which Folly says: "Quare valete, plaudite, vivite, bibite, Moriae celeberimi mystae" (Therefore farewell, applaud, live, drink, you illustrious votaries of Folly). It should be noted that in an important way this sentence does not stand by itself, for commonly included in sixteenth- century printings of the _Moriae Encomium_ was the commentary attributed to Girardus Listrius. Referring to "valete, plaudite" in the text, the commentary runs as follows: "His verbis utebatur recitator fabulae, discessurus e proscenio. De suo addidit, vivite, bibite. Et vivere proprie est genialiter vivere" (The teller of the story used these words as he was about to leave the stage. He (Erasmus) has added live, drink. And to live properly is to live genially).

The implication of this allusion to the Epilogue of Volpone is striking, the more so because of the pun that Jonson introduces in his translation of "genialiter vivere" into "fare Jovially." Although "fare" could mean either "live" or "eat," the context makes "eat" more likely, which in turn is consistent with the play itself, for in Volpone's world "to live" is "to fare" in the sense of "to consume." "Farewell," of course, is the term that would be expected at the end of a play; Jonson relies upon that which might be expected to emphasize the variation he has rung in. Members of the audience, votaries of Folly, not only are being served up a meal appropriate to their appetites, but also are invited to season it with their applause - and then are enjoined to "fare Jovially," to consume (mindlessly the entire concoction. (A yet fuller understanding of Jonson's alteration, it might be argued, comes through the recognition that he has toyed with the meaning of "bibite" and conflated that with "vivite" to yield the English pun which inheres in "fare.") Jonson contrives to mollify and yet to insult the portion of his audience who do not understand his meaning, while at the same time flattering the rest of the audience because they understand it.


The 'Bumpkinification' of Oxford:

Jonson on Shakespeare:

Soul of the age!

The applause ! delight ! the wonder of our stage!


Jonson, _Timber_

3. Imitatio. - Horatius. - Virgil. - Statius. - Homer. - Horat. -Archil. - Alcæus, &c. - The third requisite in our poet or maker is imitation, to be able to convert the substance or riches of another poet to his own use. To make choice of one excellent man above the rest, and so to follow him till he grow very he, or so like him as the copy may be mistaken for the principal. Not as a creature that swallows what it takes in crude, raw, or undigested, but that feeds with an appetite, and hath a stomach to concoct, divide, and turn all into nourishment. Not to imitate servilely, as Horace saith, and catch at vices for virtue, but to draw forth out of the best and choicest flowers, with the bee, and turn all into honey, work it into one relish and savour; make our imitation sweet; observe how the best writers have imitated, and follow them. How Virgil and Statius have imitated Homer; how Horace, Archilochus; how Alcæus, and the other lyrics; and so of the rest.


Encomium \En*co"mi*um\, n.; pl. Encomiums. [NL., fr. Gr. ? (a

song) chanted in a Bacchic festival in praise of the god; ?

in + ? a JOVIAL festivity, revel. See Comedy.]

Warm or high praise; panegyric; strong commendation.


Jonson's Encomium - First Folio Fare:

Ben Jonson and Cervantes

Yumiko Yamada

...We have proved the hypothesis proposed at the start of this chapter: that the texture of Jonson's poem [Shakespeare's First Folio poem] has been woven for its meaning to be wholly reversible. What is whole-hearted praise in the eyes of certain readers can be read as pungent criticism from the viewpoints of others.

Elsewhere Jonson wrote for different readers: in the 1612 quarto of Catiline, he prepared two kinds of dedication, i.e. to "The Reader in Ordinarie" and to "the Reader Extraordinarie". Yet there the stress was laid only on the degree of comprehension, and there was no reversal of meaning, according to the ability of the reader.

Whatever his motive, writing poetry to celebrate Shakespeare's 1623 Folio risked undermining Jonson's 1616 Folio - intended as the antithesis of Shakespearean dramaturgy. If he were to be faithful to the readers of his Folio, he must remain critical. On the other hand, were the tone of mockery discernible to all, it would have been excluded from the commemorative folio of the deceased poet. Obliged to satisfy both sides' opposing values, Jonson probably thought of using the two parties' differing speech habits, as adroitly summed up in Sackton's brief account:

In Shakespeare (and most other writers) emphasis is on what is said: often, in Jonson, the dramatic effect depends much more on how it is said.

Heir to Lyly, Kyd and Marlowe, Shakespeare sought a flamboyant and intricate style to attract public attention, but rarely adjusted the style to the character and occasion, or varied the meaning to suit the style adopted. On the other hand, Jonson demands careful examination of the style of each speech: literal interpretation is often misleading.

The tribute seems "Jonson's finest poem of praise of another poet" (van den Berg) in the eyes of people used to stressing "what is said"; and immortal poet blessed with "Nature" and "Art", Shakespeare surpasses Chaucer, Spenser and Beaumont, overshadows Lyly, Kyd and Marlowe and cast ancient writers back into the shade. No doubt Jonson would have classified Shakespeare with this category of readers. When the same poem was read by those who care "how it is said", Shakespeare became a huge, abortive flower of the loathed age, falling far below Chaucer, Spenser and Beaumont in rank, but became the wonder (or monster) of the stage by outdoing Lyly, Kyd and Marlowe in the use of hyperbole, and by devastating the classical drama tradition. (pp. 81-82)


In the dedication of his play _Catiline_ (1611) to William Herbert, one of the 'Incomparable Brethren' of the First Folio, Jonson writes of his despair over the 'ignorance' of the age:

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


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

M Y L O R D,

IN so thick and dark an IGNORANCE, as now almost covers the AGE, I crave leave to stand near your

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


Colin Burrow, Imitating Authors

Did Cicero mean by ‘figurae’ the figures of speech used by the author who was being translated? Or was the word ‘figura’ used in the sense which Cicero himself preferred, *to refer to a particular ‘character’ of style*?


Droeshout gives us Shake-speare's 'CHARACTER'. I believe this to be the solution to the visual riddle of the Droeshout. The Encomium is written mockingly in the style/manner if Shake-speare. 


Thomas Overbury:

What a Character is.

If I must speake the Schoole-masters language, I will confesse that Character comes of this Infinitive moode (greek letters) which signifies to engrave, or make a deep Impression. And for that cause, a letter (as A.B.) is challed a Character.

     Those Elements which wee learne first, leaving a strong seale in our memories.

      Character is also taken for an Aegyptian Hieroglyphicke, for an impresse, or short Embleme; in little comprehending much.

     To square out a Character by our English levell, it is a picture (reall or personall) quaintly drawne, in various colours, all of them heightned by one shadowing.

It is a quicke and soft touch of many strings, all shutting up in one musicall cloze: It is wits descant on any plaine song.


Cynthias Revels, Jonson


Cupid. What's he, Mercury?

   Mercury. A notable Smelt. One, that hath newly enter-

tain'd the Begger to follow him, but cannot get him to

wait near enough. 'Tis Asotus, the Heir of Philargyrus;

but first I'll give ye the others CHARACTER, which may

make his the clearer. He that is with him is Amorphus

a Traveller, *one so made out of the mixture and shreds

of forms, that himself is truly deform'd*. He walks

most commonly with a Clove or Pick-tooth in his

Mouth, he is the very mint of Complement, all his Be-

haviours are printed, his Face is another Volume of

Essayes; and his Beard an Aristrachus. He speaks all

Cream skim'd, and more affected than a dozen of wait-

ing Women. He is his own Promoter in every place.

The Wife of the Ordinary gives him his Diet to main-

tain her Table in discourse, which (indeed) is a meer

Tyranny over the other Guests, for he will usurp all

the talk: *Ten Constables are not so tedious*. 



Billy Budd/Vere’s Bastard Book

Milton, Areopagitica

We have it not, that can be heard of, from any ancient State, or politie, or Church, nor by any Statute left us by our Ancestors elder or later; nor from the moderne custom of any refor∣med Citty, or Church abroad; but from the most Antichristian Councel, and the most tyrannous Inquisition that ever inquir'd. Till then Books were ever as freely admitted into the World as any other birth: the issue of the brain was no more stifl'd then the issue of the womb: no envious Juno sate cros-leg'd over the nativity of any mans intellectuall off spring; *but if it prov'd a Monster, who denies, but that it was justly burnt, or sunk into the Sea*. 


Billy Budd/Beauty - noble foundling

'Yes, Billy Budd was a foundling, a presumable by-blow, and, evidently, no ignoble one. Noble descent was as evident in him as in a blood horse.' (Melville, _Billy Budd_)


Melville, Hawthorne and his Mosses

Would that all excellent books were FOUNDLINGS, without father or mother, that so it might be, we could glorify them, without including their ostensible authors. Nor would any true man take exception to this;--least of all, he who writes,--"When the Artist rises high enough to achieve the Beautiful, the symbol by which he makes it perceptible to mortal senses becomes of little value in his eyes, while his spirit possesses itself in the enjoyment of the reality."

But more than this, I know not what would be the right name to put on the title-page of an excellent book, but this I feel, that the names of all fine authors are fictitious ones, far more than that of Junius,--simply standing, as they do, for the mystical, ever-eluding SPIRIT of all BEAUTY, which ubiquitously possesses men of genius. Purely imaginative as this fancy may appear, it nevertheless seems to receive some warranty from the fact, that on a personal interview no great author has ever come up to the idea of his reader. But that dust of which our bodies are composed, how can it fitly express the nobler intelligences among us? With reverence be it spoken, that not even in the case of one deemed more than man, not even in our Saviour, did his visible frame betoken anything of the augustness of the nature within. Else, how could those Jewish eyewitnesses fail to see heaven in his glance.


Jonson, Cynthia's Revels

Act I.    Scene III.

Amorphus, Eccho, Mercury.

Dear spark of Beauty, make not so fast away.

   Ecc. Away.

   Mer. Stay, let me observe this Portent yet.

   Amo. I am neither your Minotaure, nor your Centaure,

nor your Satyre, nor your Hyæna, nor your Babion, but

your meer Traveler, believe me.

   Ecc. Leave me.

   Mer. I guess'd it should be some travelling motion

pursu'd Eccho so.

   Amo. Know you from whom you flye? or whence?

   Ecc. Hence.

   Amo. This is somewhat above strange! a Nymph of her

Feature and Lineament, to be so preposterously rude! well,

I will but cool my self at yon' Spring, and follow her.

   Mer. Nay, then I am familiar with the issue: I'll leave

you too.

   Amo. I am a Rhinoceros, if I had thought a Creature

of her symmetry, could have dar'd so improportionable,

and abrupt a digression. Liberal, and divine Fount,

suffer my prophane hand to take of thy Bounties. By

the Purity of my taste, here is most ambrosiack Water;

I will sup of it again. By thy favour, sweet fount.

See, the Water (a more running, subtile, and humo-

rous Nymph than she) permits me to touch, and handle

her. What should I infer? If my Behaviours had been

of a cheap or customary garb; my Accent or Phrase vulgar; my Garments trite; my Countenance illite-

rate, or unpractis'd in the incounter of a beautiful and

brave attir'd Piece; then I might (with some change

of colour) have suspected my Faculties: but know-

ing my self an essence so sublimated, and refin'd by

travel; of so studied, and well exercis'd a Gesture; so

alone in Fashion; able to render the face of any States-

man living; and so speak the meer extraction of Lan-

guage; one that hath now made the sixth return upon

ventuer; and was your first that ever inricht his Coun-

trey with the true Laws of the duello; whose optiques

have drunk the spirit of Beauty, in some Eight score

and eighteen Princes Courts, where I have resided, and

been there fortunate in the amours of Three hundred

forty and five Ladies (all Nobly, if not Princely de-

scended) whose names I have in Catalogue; to con-

clude, in all so happy, as even Admiration her self doth

seem to fasten her kisses upon me: Certes, I do neither

see, nor feel, nor taste, nor favour the least steam, or

fume of a reason, that should invite this foolish fastidi-

ous Nymph, so peevishly to abandon me. Well, let the

Memory of her fleet into Air; *my thoughts and I am

for this other ELEMENT, WATER.*


moisture, fluxure, humour - Jonson



Jonson, CR

'Tis now the known Disease

That Beauty hath, to bear too deep a sense

Of her own Self-conceived Excellence.


Melville's Finial, Shakespeare's Urn:

Herman Melville, Haglets

...By chapel bare, with walls sea-beat,

The lichened urns in wilds are lost

About a carved memorial stone

That shows, decayed and coral-mossed,

A form recumbent, swords at feet,

Trophies at head, and kelp for a winding-sheet.


Billy Budd, Melville

But me they’ll lash me in hammock, drop me deep.

Fathoms down, fathoms down, how I’ll dream fast asleep.

I feel it stealing now. Sentry, are you there?

Just ease these darbies at the wrist,

And roll me over fair.

I am sleepy, and the oozy weeds about me twist.



Droeshout Monster/Bastard/Monument

The etymology of monstrosity suggests the complex roles that monsters play within society. 'Monster' probably derives from the Latin, monstrare, meaning 'to demonstrate', and monere, 'to warn'. Monsters, in essence, are demonstrative. They reveal, portend, show and make evident, often uncomfortably so. Though the modern gothic monster and the medieval chimaera may seem unrelated, both have acted as important social tools.

(What is a monster? | University of Cambridge)


Monere – remind – Dear Son of Memory


Monument without a tomb...


FF - Jonson Rearing a 'Trophy'- Victory over Error/Bad Form:

Eccho. Here young Acteon fell, pursu'd, and torn

by Cynthia's wrath (more eager than his Hounds)

And here (ay me, the place is fatal) see

The weeping Niobe, translated hither

From Phrygian Mountains: any by Phœbe rear'd,

As the *proud Trophæe of her sharp revenge*.

(Cynthia's Revels, Jonson)


Love’s Martyr/Vere's Sacrifice:


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.


Arthur Golding to Edward de Vere (Epistle Dedicatorie,  Psalms):

...I beseech your Lordship consider how God hath placed you upon a high stage in the eyes of all men, as a guide, patterne, insample and leader unto others. If your vertues be uncounterfayted, if your religion should be sound and pure, if your doings be according to true godlines: you shal be a stay to your cuntrie, a comforte too good men, a bridle to evil men, a joy to your friends, a corzie to your enemies, and an encreace of honor to your owne house. But if you should become eyther a counterfayt Protestant, or a perverse Papist, or a colde and careless newter (which God forbid) the harme could not be expressed which you should do to your native Cuntrie. For (as Cicero no lesse truely than wisely affirmeth and as the sorowfull dooings of our present dayes do too much certeinly avouch) greate men hurt not the common weale so much by beeing evil in respect of themselves, as by drawing others unto evel by their evil example...



For it is VIRTUE that

gives glory; that will endenizen a man everywhere. It is only that

can naturalise him. A native, if he be VICIOUS, deserves to be a

stranger, and cast out of the commonwealth as an Alien.




This Figure that thou here seest put,

It was for gentle SHAKSPEARE cut,

Wherein the graver had a strife

With Nature, to out-doo the life :

O could he but have drawn his wit

As well in BRASS, as he has hit

His face (note-form) ; the print would then surpass

All that was ever writ in BRASS :

But since he cannot, reader, look

Not on his picture, but his book.


Men's evil manners live in BRASS; their virtues

We write in water. (Shakespeare)


'SEEMS to Shake a Lance' and 'Start Forth and SEEM' - Jonson


Folly, and brain-sick HUMOURS of the time,

Distemper'd passion, and audacious crime,

Thy pen so on the stage doth personate,

That ere men scarce begin to know, they hate

The vice presented, and there lessons learn,

Virtue, from vicious habits to discern.

Oft have I seen thee in a sprightly strain,

To lash a vice, and yet no one complain ;

Thou threw'st the ink of malice from thy pen,

Whose aim was EVIL MANNERS, not ill men.

(Hawkins, Jonsonus Virbius)


Jonson, Epigrammes:

To  the  great  Example  of  Honour,  and  Vertue , the  most

Noble William, Earl of Pembroke, Lord Chamberlain, &c.

 M Y   L O R D,

WHile you cannot change your Merit, I dare not change your Title: It was that made it, and not I. Under which Name, I here offer to your Lordship the ripest of my Studies, my Epigrams; which, though they carry danger in the sound, do not therefore seek your shelter: For, when I made them, I had nothing in my Conscience, to expressing of which I did need a Cypher. But, if I be fallen into those Times, wherein, for the likeness of Vice, and Facts, every one thinks anothers ill Deeds objected to him; and that in their ignorant and guilty Mouths, the common Voice is (for their security) Beware the Poet, confessing, therein, so much love to their Diseases, as they would rather make a Party for them, than be either rid, or told of them: I must expect, at your Lordship's hand, the protection of Truth, and Liberty, while you are constant to your own Goodness. In thanks whereof, I return you the Honour of leading forth so many good, and great Names (as my Verses mention on the better part) to their remembrance with Posterity. Amongst whom, if I have praised, unfortunately, any one, that doth not deserve; or, if all answer not, in all Numbers, the Pictures I have made of them: I hope it will be forgiven me, that they are no ill Pieces, though they be not like the Persons. But I foresee a nearer Fate to my Book than this, That the Vices therein will be own'd before the Vertues, (though, there, I have avoided all Particulars, as I have done Names) and some will be so ready to discredit me, as they will have the impudence to bely themselves. For, if I meant them not, it is so. Nor, can I hope otherwise. For, why should they remit any thing of their Riotcomma omitted their Pride, their Self-love, and other inherent Graces, to consider Truth or Vertue; but, with the Trade of the World, lend their long Ears against Men they love not: And hold their dear Mountebank, or Jester, in far better Condition than all the Study, or Studiers of Humanity? For such, I would rather know them by their Visards, still, than they should publish their Faces, at their peril, in my Theatre, where C A T O, if he liv'd, might enter without scandal.

By your Lordship's most faithfull Honourer,                   

B E N.  J O H N S O N. 


Bad Imitation in Cynthia's Revels:

Mercury: (...)'Tis Asotus, the Heir of Philargyrus;

but first I'll give ye the others Character, which may

make his the clearer. He that is with him is Amorphus

a Traveller, one so made out of the mixture and shreds

of forms, that himself is truly deform'd. He walks

most commonly with a Clove or Pick-tooth in his

Mouth, he is the very mint of Complement, all his Be-

haviours are printed, his Face is another Volume of

Essayes; and his Beard an Aristrachus. He speaks all

Cream skim'd, and more affected than a dozen of wait-

ing Women. He is his own Promoter in every place.

The Wife of the Ordinary gives him his Diet to main-

tain her Table in discourse, which (indeed) is a meer

Tyranny over the other Guests, for he will usurp all

the talk: Ten Constables are not so tedious. He is no

great shifter, once a year his Apparel is ready to revolt.

He doth use much to arbitrate Quarrels, and fights him-

self, exceeding well (out at a Window.) He will lye

cheaper than any Begger, and lowder than most Clocks;

for which he is right properly accommodated to the

Whetstone his Page. The other Gallant is his Zani, and

doth most of these Tricks after him; sweats to imitate

him in every thing (to a Hair) except a Beard, which is

not yet extant. He doth learn to make strange Sauces,

to eat Anchovies, Maccaroni, Bovoli, Fagioli, and Ca-

viare, because he loves 'em; speaks as he speaks, looks,

walks, goes so in Cloaths and Fashion: *is in all as if he

were moulded of him*.  


Loves Labours Lost - Shakespeare



O thou monster Ignorance, how deformed dost thou look!


Jonson, Cynthia's Revels:

Act II.    Scene III. 

 Amorphus. Plant your self there, Sir: and observe me. You

shall now, as well be the Ocular, as the Ear-witness,

how clearly I can refel that paradox, or rather pseudodox;

of those, which hold the Face to be the Index of the

mind, which (I assure you) is not so, in any politick

Creature: for instance; I will now give you the parti-

cular, and distinct face of every your most noted *SPECIES*

of Persons, as your Merchant, your Schollar, your 

Soldier, your Lawyer, Courtier, &c. and each of these

so truly, as *you would swear*, but that your Eye shall

see the variation of the Lineament, *it were my most

PROPER and GENUINE aspect*. 



species, forma, figura, modus, sors


Jonson on Shakespeare

 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.


Epigraph, Catiline - Jonson

*----------His non plebecula gaudet:

Verum equitis quoque jam migravit ab aure voluptas

Omnis, ad incertos oculos, & gaudia vana. Horat.

For such things please the common herd. But today all the pleasure

even of the knights has moved from what is heard to the empty delights

of the uncertain eye.' 


Jonson on Shakespeare

Mount Bank

Sweet Swan of Avon ! what a *sight* it were

*To see thee in our waters* yet appear, [uroscopy lol]

And make those flights upon the banks of Thames,

That so did take Eliza, and our James ! 


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. 


Jonson, Discoveries

Deus in creaturis.—Man is read in his FACE; God in His creatures; not as the philosopher, the creature of glory, reads him; but as the divine, the servant of humility; yet even he must take care not to be too curious.  For to utter truth of God but as he thinks only, may be dangerous, who is best known by our not knowing.  Some things of Him, so much as He hath revealed or commanded, it is not only lawful but necessary for us to know; for therein our ignorance was the first cause of our wickedness.

Veritas proprium hominis.—Truth is man’s proper good, and the only immortal thing was given to our mortality to use.  No good Christian or ethnic, if he be honest, can miss it; no statesman or patriot should.  For without truth all the actions of mankind are craft, malice, or what you will, rather than wisdom.  Homer says he hates him worse than hell-mouth that utters one thing with his tongue and keeps another in his breast.  Which high expression was grounded on divine reason; for a lying mouth is a stinking pit, and murders with the *contagion it venteth*.  Beside, nothing is lasting that is feigned; it will have another FACE than it had, ere long. [41]  As Euripides saith, “No lie ever grows old.”