Sunday, March 31, 2024

Vere and The Queen's English


Horace, of the Art of Poetrie

transl. Ben Jonson

...If to Quintilius, you recited ought:

Hee'd say, Mend this, good friend, and this; "Tis naught.

If you denied, you had no better straine,

And twice, or thrice had 'ssayd it, still in vaine:

Hee'd bid, blot all: and to the anvile bring

Those ill-torn'd Verses, to new hammering.

Then: If your fault you rather had defend

Then change. *No word, or worke, more would he spend


Alone, without a rivall, by his will*.

A wise, and honest man will cry out shame

On ARTELESS Verse; the hard ones he will blame;

Blot out the careless, with his turned pen;

Cut off superfluous ornaments; and when

They're darke, bid cleare this: all that's doubtfull wrote

Reprove; and, what is to be changed, not:

Become an Aristarchus. And, not say,

Why should I grieve my friend, this TRIFLING WAY?

These trifles into serious mischiefs lead

The man once mock'd, and SUFFERED WRONG TO TREAD.





by Ben Jonson



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

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


Mario DiGangi, (con't.)

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



SInne of ſelfe-loue poſſeſſeth al mine eie,

And all my ſoule,and al my euery part;

And for this ſinne there is no remedie,

It is ſo grounded inward in my heart.

Me thinkes no face ſo gratious is as mine,

No ſhape ſo true,no truth of ſuch account,

And for my ſelfe mine owne worth do define,

As I all other in all worths ſurmount.

But when my glaſſe ſhewes me my ſelfe indeed

Beated and chopt with tanned antiquitie,

Mine owne ſelfe loue quite contrary I read

Selfe,ſo ſelfe louing were iniquity,

   T'is thee(my ſelfe)that for my ſelfe I praiſe,

   Painting my age with beauty of thy daies,


Beated and chopt with tanned antiquitie - castigated with the texts of ancient authors


Male impersonators: men performing masculinity

By Mark Simpson

According to the Greek myth Narcissus was told by the blind seer Teiresias when he was a child that he should live to a great age if he never knew himself. Narcissus grew up to be a beautiful young man but proud and haughty. An embittered youth, unrequited in his love for Narcissus, cursed him to love that which could not be obtained. One day on Mount Helicon Narcissus caught sight of his own reflection 'endowed with all the beauty that man could desire and unawares he began to love the image of himself which, although itself perfect beauty, could not return his love.' Narcissus, worn out by the futility of his love, turned into the yellow-centred flower with white petals named after him.

The myth tells us something about the relation of modern man to his own image. Narcissus is not seduced by his reflection in any common pool - he glimpses and falls in love with his reflection on Mount Helicon, the sacred mountain where Apollo, Artemis and the Muses danced: the symbolic centre of the arts. His reflection is not one of nature but an idealized image refracted through man's art. Thus his image is 'endowed with all the beauty that man could desire' and he falls in love with it.


Alciato's Book of Emblems

Emblem 69


Because your figure pleased you too much, Narcissus, it was changed into a flower, a plant of known senselessness. Self-love is the withering and destruction of natural power which brings and has brought ruin to many learned men, who having thrown away the method of the ancients seek new doctrines and *pass on nothing but their own fantasies*.


extravagant definition

1. Obsolete: straying beyond bounds; wandering

2. going beyond reasonable limits; excessive or unrestrained extravagant demands

3. too ornate or showy extravagant designs

4. costing or spending too much; wasteful

Etymology: ME & Anglo-Fr extravagaunt <>extravagans, prp. of extravagari, to stray <>extra, beyond + vagari, to wander < vagus: see vague


In every action it behoves the poet to know which is the utmost bound, how far with fitness, and a necessary proportion, he may produce, and determine it...For, *as a body without proportion cannot be goodly* [my note - Droeshout Engraving], no more can the action, either the comedy, or tragedy, without its fit bounds. (Jonson, Discoveries)


Straying beyond Jonson's 'fit bounds':

Jonson, on Shakespeare

He was (indeed) honest, and of

an open, and free nature: had an excellent

fancy; brave notions, and gentle expressions:

wherein he flowed with that facility, that

sometime it was necessary he should be

STOP'D: sufflaminandus erat; as Augustus said

of Haterius. His wit was in his own power;

would the RULE of it had been so too."


Ruling/Restraining Shakespeare's Quill:

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

by Jasper Mayne 

... For thou to Nature had'st joyn'd Art, and skill.

In Thee Ben Johnson still HELD SHAKESPEARE'S QUILL:

A QUILL, RUL'D by sharp Judgement, and such Laws,

As a well studied Mind, and Reason draws.

Thy Lamp was cherish'd with suppolied of Oyle,

Fetch'd from the Romane and the Graecian soyle. (snip)


Restraining 'Barbarous/Ignorant' Shakespeare:

Billy in the 'Darbies' - Melville


 Cartwright, William, Jonsonus Virbius

...Blest life of Authors, unto whom we owe

Those that we have, and those that we want too:

Th'art all so GOOD, that reading makes thee worse,

And to have writ so well's thine onely curse.

Secure then of thy merit, thou didst hate

That servile base dependance upon fate:

Successe thou ne'r thoughtst vertue, nor that fit,

Which chance, and th'ages fashion did make hit;

*Excluding those from life in after-time*,

Who into Po'try first brought luck and rime:

Who thought the peoples breath good ayre: sty'ld name

What was but noise; and getting Briefes for fame

Gathered the many's suffrages, and thence

Made commendation a benevolence:

THY thoughts were their owne Lawrell, and did win

That best applause of being crown'd within..  


Oxford and Soraismus:



A phrase selected by Puttenham as an example of an 'intollerable vice' in writing had been associated with the Earl of Oxford. This phrase was subsequently spoken by the affected courtier Amorphus in Jonson's _Cynthia's Revels_. Curiously, the phrase does not appear in full in the 1601 Quarto (while Oxford was alive) - but does appear in the 1616 and 1640 editions of Jonson's 'Works'.


Droeshout Deformity - Gives us Shakespeare's 'CHARACTER':

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

that INVENTION above him? and INFANTED with PLEASANT TRAVEL --


Puttenham, Arte of English Poesie (1589)


Some vices in speaches and {w}riting are alwayes intollerable, some others now and then borne {w}ithall by licence of approued authors and custome. (snip)

Another of your intollerable vices is that which the Greekes call SORAISMUS, & we may call the [mingle mangle] as when we make our speach or writinges of sundry languages vsing some Italian word, or French, or Spanish, or Dutch, or Scottish, not for the nonce or for any purpose (which were in part excusable) but ignorantly and affectedly as one that said vsing this French word Roy, to make ryme with another verse, thus.

O mightie Lord or ioue, dame Venus onely ioy,

Whose Princely power exceedes ech other heauenly roy.

The verse is good but the terme peeuishly affected Another of reasonable good facilitie in translation finding certaine of the hymnes of Pyndarus and of Anacreons odes, and other Lirickes among the Greekes very well translated by Rounsard the French Poet,


applied to the honour of a great Prince in France, comes our minion and translates the same out of French into English, and applieth them to the honour of a GREAT NOBLE MAN in ENGLAND (wherein I commend his reuerent minde and duetie) but doth so impudently robbe the French Poet both of his prayse and also of his French termes, that I cannot so much pitie him as be angry with him for his iniurious dealing (our sayd maker not being ashamed to vse these French wordes freddon, egar, superbous, filanding, celest, calabrois, thebanois and a number of others, for English wordes, which haue no maner of conformitie with our language either by custome or deriuation which may make them tollerable. And in the end (which is worst of all) makes his vaunt that neuer English finger but his hath toucht Pindars string which was neuerthelesse word by word as Rounsard had said before by like braggery. These be his verses.


¶3.22.7 Whereas the French word is enfante as much to say borne as a child, in another verse he saith.

I {w}ill freddon in thine honour.

¶3.22.8 For I will shake or quiuer my fingers, for so in French is freddon, and in another verse.

But if I {w}ill thus like pindar, In many discourses egar.

¶3.22.9 This word egar is as much to say as to wander or stray out of

the way, which in our English is not receiued, not these wordes calabrois, thebanois, but rather calabrian, theban [filanding sisters] for the spinning sisters: this man deserves to be endited of pety larceny for pilfring other mens devises from them


converting them to his owne use, for in deede as I would wish every inventour which is the very Poet to receave the prayses of his invention, so would I not have a translatour be ashamed to be acknowen of his translation.


Southern, Pandora (1584)

SUMMARY: Ode to Oxford in John Southern’s Pandora, The Music of the Beauty of his Mistress Diana. The title page gives the publication date as 20 June 1584. The language of the ode was criticized by George Puttenham in Book III, Chapter 22 of his Art of English Poesy, published in 1589. Puttenham also accused Southern of plagiarism, saying: ‘Another of reasonable good facility in translation, finding certain of the hymns of Pindarus and of Anacreon’s odes and other lyrics among the Greeks very well translated by Ronsard, the French poet, & applied to the honour of a great prince in France, comes our minion and translates the same out of French into English, and applieth them to the honour of a great nobleman in England (wherein I commend his reverent mind and duty), but doth so impudently rob the French poet both of his praise and also of his French terms that I cannot so much pity him as be angry with him for his injurious dealing’.

To the right honourable the Earl of Oxenford etc.

Ode I Strophe 1

This earth is the nourishing teat,

As well that delivers to eat

As else throws out all that we can

Devise that should be needful for

The health of or disease or sore,

The household companions of man.

And this earth hath herbs sovereign

To impeach sicknesses sudden

If they be well aptly applied.

And this yearth spews up many a brevage

Of which, if we knew well the usage,

Would force the force Acherontide.

Brief, it lends us all that we have

With to live, and it is our grave,

But with all this, yet cannot give

Us fair renowns when we be dead,

And indeed they are only made

By our own virtues whiles we live.



No, no, the high singer is he

Alone that in the end must be

Made proud with a garland like this,

And not every riming novice

That writes with small wit and much pain,

And the (God’s know) idiot in vain,

For it’s not the way to Parnasse,

Nor it will neither come to pass

If it be not in some wise fiction

And of an ingenious INVENTION,


For it alone must win the laurel,

And only the poet WELL BORN

Must be he that goes to Parnassus,

And not these companies of asses

That have brought verse almost to scorn.


1601 Quarto - Cynthia's Revels, Jonson

Act IV, Sc. V


And there’s her Minion Criticus; why his advise more then Amorphus? Have I not Invention, afore him? Learning, to better that Invention, above him? And Travaile.


1616 Folio, Jonson

Act IV, Sc V


And there’s her minion Crites! Why his advice more then Amorphus? Have not I invention, afore him? Learning, to better that invention, above him? And infanted, with pleasant travaile ----


1640 Folio, 'Works' Jonson


And there’s her minion Crites! Why his advice more then Amorphus? Have not I invention afore him? Learning, to better that invention, above him? And infanted, with pleasant travaile ----




Polytropos means much-turned or much-traveled, much-wandering. It is the defining quality of Odysseus, used in the first line of the Odyssey and at 10.330. As used by Hippias with respect to Odysseus (365b) it includes being false or lying and carries the connotations of wily and shifty. Antisthenes, a follower of Socrates who wrote Socratic dialogues, also argued against the claim that Homer meant to blame Odysseus by calling him polytropos; Antisthenes claims that it is praise for being "good at dealing with men...being wise, he knows how to associate with men in many ways." See Charles H. Kahn, Plato and the Socratic Dialogue (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), pp.121-24.


Edward de VERE figured as Ulysses Politropus- Amorphus by Ben Jonson:


Forms of formlessness:

gallimaufry, tatterdemalion, frippery, mingle-mangle, soraismus, hodge-podge, genera-mixta, salmagundi, patchwork, motley, jumble, hash, botch, shambles, mongrel tragi-comedy, bedlam, amorphus, Italianate Englishman, shreds, sweepings, scraps


Droeshout - Shakespeare's CHARACTER - bad form


The RACE of Shakespeare's Mind and Manners:

Colin Burrow, Imitating Authors

     The later rhetorical works of Cicero have a further distinctive preoccupation. They develop the association between imitatio and the cultivation of a style characteristic of a particular person or of a particular period. Book 4 of the anonymous Ad Herennium had presented the ability to produce speeches  ineach of th high, middle, and low styles as an index of rhetorical skill. Theophrastus, as we saw in Chapter I, appears to have used the word character for each of these registers of speech. In Rome the usual term for the different registers of style was genera dicendi (KINDS of speech): Aulus Gellius in his Noctes Attices directle translates Theophrastus's word characteres by this phrase.(6.14), and Cicero also talks of the 'genera dicendi' in the Orator (5.20). Very confusingly, however, the Ad Herennium refers to the 'characters of style' as the 'figurae', the figures of style (4.8.II) or as the kinds of figures ('genera figurarum', 4.10.15), or indeed individually as a 'KIND of speech' or genus orationis (4.11.16). The word genus is a common element in this tangle of terminology, and it too is rich with potential for confusion. Genus is ancestor both of our botanical word 'genus' and of our literary word 'genre', but it can be used by Cicero in an entirely non-technical sense to mean 'kind', as in a more or less throwaway term such as 'hoc genus omne' ---all that type of thing.

     Cicero defines 'genus' in De Oratore as 'that which embraces two or more species, resembling one another in some common property while differing in some peculiarity' ('Genus autem id est, quod sui similes communione quadam, specie autem differentes, duas aut plures complectitur partes', (1.42.189)/ But in his discussions of style Cicero sometimes talks of a genus in a casual way to mean something very close to the 'type of speech used by a particular person'. (pp. 80-81)


Only time Jonson used form of Shakespearean sonnet:


Poor Poet-Ape, that would be thought our chief,

Whose works are e'en the FRIPPERY of wit,

From brokage is become so bold a thief,

As we, the robb'd, leave rage, and pity it.

At first he made low shifts, would pick and glean,

Buy the reversion of old plays; now grown

To a little wealth, and credit in the scene,

He takes up all, makes each man's wit his own:

And, told of this, he slights it. Tut, such crimes

The sluggish gaping auditor devours;

He marks not whose 'twas first: and after-times

May judge it to be his, as well as ours.

Fool! as if half eyes will not know a fleece

From locks of wool, or shreds from the whole piece?



Integrity comes from the Latin word integritas, meaning “one” or “whole.” People who are one way on the inside and another way on the outside—i.e., not “whole”—lack integrity (snip)  Ray Dalio


One of Shake-speare's Crimes - lack of integrity


Droeshout Engraving - Cutting a Ridiculous Figure


If I meet you with my hair cut by an uneven barber, you laugh [at me]: if I chance to have a ragged shirt under a handsome coat, or if my disproportioned gown fits me ill, you laugh.

(footnote - he is not ridiculous because the barber has cut his hair too short, but because he has cut it unequally - inaequalis tonsor) 


Aristotle, Poetics

As we have said, comedy is an imitation of baser men. These are characterized not by every kind of vice but specifically by the "ridiculous," which is a subdivision of the category of "deformity." What we mean by "the ridiculous' is some error or ugliness that is painless and has no harmful effects. The example that comes immediately to mind is the comic mask, which is ugly and distorted but causes no pain.

The ridiculous, which Aristotle defines above as an error (hamartema) or ugliness (aischos) which does not cause pain and is not destructive, is clearly related to the doctrine of the inappropriate or incongruous which stands in the Rhetoric, associated with nemesan, in polar opposition to pity and fear. The ridiculous along with its constitutive elements of error and ugliness are certainly inappropriate characteristics of the spoudaios person and action as well as of the person and action that Aristotle would designate as the norm. We suggest that what the ridiculous (to geloion) characterizes is an important and special case of "the inappropriate and incongruous": the special case of comedy where the errors and ugliness involved must be painless.

We have then argued that a theory of comic emotion and comic action, analogous to that of tragic emotion and tragic action, can be discerned in passages in the Poetics and the Rhetoric that are fully consistent with each other in comedy, instead of pity and fear, we have nemesan, an emotion which must range from the savage indignation of Aristophanes to the muted admonishments of Chekhov for whatever is ridiculous and inappropriate in human behaviour. (Aristotle on Comedy, Leon Golden)


"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.



   Ben Jonson, _Cynthia's Revels_


These in the Court meet with Amorphus, or the deformed, a Traveller that hath drunk of the Fountain, and there tells the wonders of the Water. They presently dispatch away their Pages with Bottles to fetch of it, and themselves go to visit the Ladies. But I should have told you — (Look, these Emets put me out here) that with this Amorphus, there comes along a Citizens Heir, Asotus, or the Prodigal, who (in *imitation* of the Traveller, who hath the Whetstone following him) entertains the Begger, to be his Attendant. ——



Ascham, The Scholemaster

(posthumously published 1570, Dedicated to Sir William Cecil, Knight)

...Yet, if a ientleman will nedes trauell into Italie, he shall do well, to looke on the life, of the wisest traueler, that euer traueled thether, set out by the wisest writer, that euer spake with tong, Gods doctrine onelie excepted: and that is Vlysses in Homere. Vlysses, and his trauell, I wishe our trauelers to looke vpon, not so much to feare them, with the great daungers, that he many tymes suffered, as to instruct them, with his excellent wisedome, which he alwayes and euerywhere vsed. Yea euen those, that


Homere. odys. learned and wittie trauelers, when they be disposed to prayse traueling, as a great commendacion, and the best Scripture they haue for it, they gladlie recite the third verse of Homere, in his first booke of Odyssea, conteinyng a great prayse of Vlysses, for the witte he gathered, & wisdome he vsed in his traueling.

Which verse, bicause, in mine opinion, it was not made at the first, more naturallie in Greke by Homere, nor after turned more aptlie into Latin by Horace, than it was a good while ago, in Cambrige, translated into English, both plainlie for the sense, and roundlie for the verse, by one of the best Scholers, that euer S. Iohns Colledge bred, M. Watson, myne old frend, somtime Bishop of Lincolne, therfore, for their sake, that haue lust to see, how our English tong, in auoidyng barbarous ryming, may as well receiue, right quantitie of sillables, and trewe order of versifiyng (of which matter more at large hereafter) as either Greke or Latin, if a cunning man haue it in handling, I will set forth that one verse in all three tonges, for an Example to good wittes, that shall delite in like learned exercise.

Homerus. pollon d anthropon iden astea kai noon egno.


Qui mores hominum multorum vidit & vrbes.

M. Watson.

All trauellers do gladly report great prayse of Vlysses,

For that he knew many mens maners, and saw many Cities.

And yet is not Vlysses commended, so much, nor so oft, in Homere, bicause he was POLYTROPUS, that is, skilfull in many mens manners and facions, as bicause he was polymetis, that is, wise in all

Vlyss. {polytropos.


{ polymetis.

Pallas from heauen. Alcynous. od. 2.

Cyclops. od. 1.

Calypso. od. e.



Caribdis. {


{ od. m.


Circes. od. k. od. l.purposes, & ware in all places: which wisedome and warenes will not serue neither a traueler, except Pallas be alwayes at his elbow, that is Gods speciall grace from heauen, to kepe him in Gods feare, in all his doynges, in all his ieorneye. For, he shall not alwayes in his absence out of England, light vpon a ientle Alcynous, and walke in his faire gardens full of all harmelesse pleasures: but he shall sometymes, fall, either into the handes of some cruell Cyclops, or into the lappe of some wanton and dalying Dame Calypso: and so suffer the danger of many a deadlie Denne, not so full of perils, to distroy the body, as, full of vayne pleasures, to poyson the mynde. Some Siren shall sing him a song, sweete in tune, but sownding in the ende, to his vtter destruction. If Scylla drowne him not, Carybdis may fortune swalow hym. Some Circes shall make him, of a plaine English man, a right Italian. And at length to hell, or to some hellish place, is he likelie to go: from whence is hard returning, although one Vlysses, and that by Pallas ayde, and good counsell of Tiresias once escaped that horrible Den of deadly darkenes.

Therfore, if wise men will nedes send their sonnes into Italie, let them do it wiselie, vnder the kepe and garde of him, who, by his wisedome and honestie, by his example and authoritie, may be hable to kepe them safe and sound, in the feare of God, in Christes trewe Religion, in good order and honestie of liuyng: except they will haue them run headling, into ouermany ieoperdies, as Vlysses had done many tymes, if Pallas had not alwayes gouerned him: if he had not vsed, to stop his eares with waxe: to bind him selfe to the mast of his shyp: to feede dayly, vpon that swete herbe Moly with the blake roote and white floore, giuen vnto hym by Mercurie, to auoide all the inchantmentes of Circes. Wherby, the Diuine

od. m.

od. k.

Moly Herba. Psal. 33.Poete Homer ment couertlie (as wise and Godly men do iudge) that loue of honestie, and hatred of ill, which Dauid more plainly doth call the feare of God: the onely remedie agaynst all inchantementes of sinne.'Shreds of forms' - Deformed:


Harvey on Oxford:

Speculum Tuscanismi (1580)

Not the like discourser for Tongue, and head to be found out,

Not the like resolute man for great and serious affairs,

Not the like Lynx to spy out secrets and privities of States,

Eyed like to Argus, eared like to Midas, nos'd like to Naso,

Wing'd like to Mercury, fittst of a thousand for to be employ'd,

This, nay more than this, doth practice of Italy in one year.

None do I name, but some do I know, that a piece of a twelve month

Hath so perfited outly and inly both body, both soul,

That none for sense and senses half matchable with them.

A vulture's smelling, Ape's tasting, sight of an eagle,

A spider's touching, Hart's hearing, might of a Lion.

Compounds of wisdom, wit, prowess, bounty, behavior,

All gallant virtues, all qualities of body and soul.

O thrice ten hundred thousand times blessed and happy,

Blessed and happy travail, TRAVAILER most blessed and happy.


Ascham, The Scholemaster

**But I know as many, or mo, and some, sometyme my deare frendes, for whose sake I hate going into that countrey the more, who, partyng out of England feruent in the loue of Christes doctrine, and well furnished with the feare of God, returned out of Italie worse transformed, than euer was any in Circes Court. I know diuerse, that went out of England, men of innocent life, men of excellent learnyng, who returned out of Italie, not onely with worse maners, but also with lesse learnyng: neither so willing to liue orderly, nor yet so hable to speake learnedlie, as they were at home, before they went abroad. And why? Plato yt wise writer, and worthy traueler him selfe, telleth the cause why. He went into Sicilia, a countrey, no nigher Italy by site of place, than Italie that is now, is like Sicilia that was then, in all corrupt maners and licenciousnes of life. Plato found in Sicilia, euery Citie full of vanitie, full of factions, euen as Italie is now. And as Homere, like a learned Poete, doth feyne, that Circes, by pleasant inchantmentes, did turne men into beastes, some into Swine, som

Plat. ad Dionys. Epist. 3. The fruits of vayne pleasure.

Causes why men returne out of Italie, lesse learned and worse manered.

Homer and Plato ioyned and expounded.

A Swyne.

An Asse.

A Foxe.

aphrosyne, Quid, et vnde.into Asses, some into Foxes, some into Wolues etc. euen so Plato, like a wise Philosopher, doth plainelie declare, that pleasure, by licentious vanitie, that sweete and perilous poyson of all youth, doth ingender in all those, that yeld vp themselues to her, foure notorious properties.

{1. lethen

{2. dysmathian

{3. achrosynen

{4. ybrin. The first, forgetfulnes of all good thinges learned before: the second, dulnes to receyue either learnyng or honestie euer after: the third, a mynde embracing lightlie the worse opinion, and baren of discretion to make trewe difference betwixt good and ill, betwixt troth, and vanitie, the fourth, a proude disdainfulnes of other good men, in all honest matters. Homere and Plato, haue both one meanyng, looke both to one end. For, if a man inglutte himself with vanitie, or walter in filthines like a Swyne, all learnyng, all goodnes, is sone forgotten: Than, quicklie shall he becum a dull Asse, to vnderstand either learnyng or honestie: and yet shall he be as sutle as a Foxe, in breedyng of mischief, in bringyng in misorder, with a busie head, a discoursing tong, and a factious harte, in euery priuate affaire, in all matters of state, with this pretie propertie, alwayes glad to commend the worse partie, and euer ready to defend the falser opinion. And why? For, where will is giuen from goodnes to vanitie, the mynde is sone caryed from right iudgement, to any fond opinion, in Religion, in Philosophie, or any other kynde of learning. The fourth fruite of vaine pleasure, by Homer and Platos iudgement, is pride in them selues, contempt of others, the very badge of all those that serue in Circes Court. The trewe meenyng of both Homer and Plato, is plainlie declared in one short sentence of the holy Prophet of God Hieremie, crying out of the vaine & vicious life of the Israelites. This people (sayth he) be fooles and dulhedes to all goodnes, but sotle, cunning and bolde, in any mischiefe. &c.


 Latin frīvolus (“silly, empty, trifling, frivolous, worthless”) 

England’s Helicon – Hester Lees-Jeffries


...Some twenty-five years ago Margaret Tudeau-Clayton demonstrated Ben Jonson’s borrowing from the twelfth-century _Policraticus_ by John of Salisbury in his _Timber_, or _Discoveries_. Tudeau-Clayton considered a passage of some fifty-five lines, just over a third of the way through the _Discoveries_, organized by Jonson under the headings ‘Adulatio’, ‘Devita humana’, ‘De piis & probis’, and ‘Mores Aulici’ (‘flattery’, ‘of human life’, ‘of the upright and the good’, and ‘of the ways of courtiers’), showing that in this section, Jonson had drawn heavily on passages in the third book of the _Policraticus_. [...]Despite Tudeau-Clayton’s  identification of this important source for Ben Jonson, little further work has apparently been done in assessing whether others of his works might also reveal traces of the _Policraticus_. There is one very striking example in particular, which dovetails neatly into the passage in _Discoveries_ discussed by Tudeau-Clayton, and which in turn perhaps suggests that Jonson was writing the Discoveries in some form as early as 1600. That example is, of course, _The Fountaine of Selfe-Love_ [Cynthia’s Revels], for in addition to drawing dramaturgically upon Peele’s use of the fountain in _David and Bethsabe_, it seems that Jonson drew more thematic aspects of the device in the play’s eponymous fountain, its central and controlling metaphor, from chapter 10 of Book 5 of the _Policraticus_.


     Book 5 of the Policraticus is concerned with the ‘commonwealth’, and with the proper relationship between prince and subjects. Chapter 10 is entitled ‘of the flanks of the powerful, whose needs are to be satisfied, and whose malice is to be restrained’. By the end of the chapter, however, the focus is less on rulers’ potential for viciousness than on the capacity of courtiers to corrupt:

For who is it whose virtue is not cast aside by the frivolities of courtiers?  Who is so great, who is so resolute, that he cannot be corrupted? He is best who resists for the longest time, who is strongest, who is corrupted least. For in order that virtue be unharmed, one must turn aside from the life of the courtier. He who said the following providentially and prudently expressed the nature of the court: ‘He departs from the court who wishes to be pious’. For this reason the court has been compared to the infamous fountain of Salmacis, which is notorious for weakening virility...

This obscure poetic fiction represents the likeness of the frivolities of courtiers, which weaken men by the debasement of their virility or pervert a retained likeness of virility. He who engages in the trifles of the courtier and undertakes the obligations of the philosopher or the good man is an hermaphrodite, whose harsh and prickly face disfigures the beauty of women and who pollutes and dishonours virility with effeminacy. For indeed the philosopher-courtier is a monstrous thing; and, while he affects to be both he is neither one, for the court excludes philosophy and the philosopher at no time engages in the trifles of the courtier. Yet the comparison dies not apply to all courts, but merely those which are mismanaged by a foolish will.* For whoever is wise drives away frivolities, orders his house, and subjects everything to reason*.

     The image of the court as an enervating fountain is here a central and potent one, and attention is draw to it in the 1513 editions by the marginal note, ‘Curia comparatur fonti salmacis’ (the court compared to the fountain of Salmacis).

The fountain of Salmacis and the story of Salmacis and Hermaphroditus are not directly invoked by Jonson in the Fountaine of Selfe-Love in the same way that Narcissus and Actaeon are, but the effects of the play’s fountain are very similar. By the end of Act 2, when Amorphus the courier has reported the deliciousness of the fountain’s water to the rest of the court, there is

such a drought I’the Presence, wi[t]h reporting the wonders of this new water; that all the Ladies and Gallants lie languishing upon the Rushes, like so many pounded Cattle i[n] the midst of Harvest, sighing one to another, and gasping, as if each of them expected a Cock from the Fountaine, to be brought into his mouth; and (without we returned quickly) they are all (as a youth would say) no better than a few Trowts cast a shore, or a dish of Eeles in a Sand-bag (Cynthia’s Revels).

and by the beginning of Act 4, the water having still not been brought, the situation has not improved:

Phantaste: I would this water would arrive once our travayling friend so commended to us.

Argurion: So would I, for he has left all us in travaile, with expectation of it.

Phantaste: Pray Jove, I never rise from this Couch, if ever I thirsted more for a thing in my whole time of being a Courtier.

Philautia: Nor I, Ile be sworne; the very mention of it sets my lippes in a worse heate, then if he had sprinkled them with Mercury.

While the water here is to be drunk, rather than bathed in (as in the _Policraticus_ and, indeed, in the _Metamorphoses_), the names of the courtiers themselves suggest decadence, degeneracy, and enervation: in addition to Phantaste (‘Boaster’), Argurion (‘Silver’, as in money), and Philautia (Self Love’) in the passage just quoted, the others are named as Amorphus (‘Deformed’), Asotus (‘Debauchee’ or ‘Prodigal’), Hedon (‘Pleasure’), Anaides (‘Impudence’), Moria (‘Folly’), Prosaites (‘Beggar, or ‘one who importunes’), Cos (‘Whetstone’), Morus (‘Fool’), and Gelaia (‘Laughter’). Of these, Amorphus is the central figure, and his name surely recalls the fate of Salmacis and Hermaphroditus, as it can also be translated as ‘shapeless’ or even ‘one who changes shape’. The male courtiers in _The Fountaine of Selfe-Love_ are certainly stereotypically effeminate in their obsessions with clothes and their garrulousness, and it is implied that they have been corrupted by too much contact with women; they are therefore effeminate in the now obsolete sense of ‘devoted to women’. 


Reviewed work(s): Shakespeare’s Literary Authorship. Patrick Cheney. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. Pp. xxv+296.

Douglas Bruster

Cheney extends the significance of this biographical episode by reading it alongside the curious “Achilles” stanza in 1594’s The Rape of Lucrece (lines 1422–28).1 In this stanza, part of a larger sequence in which Shakespeare portrays Lucrece looking at a painting of Troy, Achilles is represented by “his spear, / Grip’d in an armed hand, himself behind / Was left unseen, save to the eye of mind” (lines 1424–26). Exploring Shakespeare’s fairly idiosyncratic attention to the spear of Achilles and its reputation for being able to both “kill and cure” (2 Henry VI  5.1.101), Cheney argues that this stanza in Lucrece is a particularly good example of a “signature” moment in Shakespeare’s works, a passage in which “Shakespeare signs his name to Achilles” (53) and in which—owing to its emphasis on an uncannily present-yet-absent figure—we can sense an emblem of Shakespearean authorship itself. To Cheney’s persuasive gathering of intertextual references for this interpretation one might add a line that his study overlooks, from John Lyly’s Alexander and Campaspe (1584)  : “Wil you handle the spindle with Hercules, when you shuld shake the speare with Achilles?”2 If Shakespeare pushed the elements of his last name to their most playful extremes, then, he found the terms already in the Elizabethan air. 



Languet to Sidney, Nov 14, 1579

...Now I will treat you frankly, as I am accustomed to do, for I am sure our friendship has reached a mark at which neither of us can be offended at any freedom of the other. It was a delight to me last winter to see you high in favour and enjoying the esteem of all your countrymen; but to speak plainly, the habits of your court seemed to me somewhat *less manly* than I could have wished, and most of your noblemen appeared to me to seek for a reputation more by a kind of affected courtesy than by those virtues which are wholesome to the state and which are most becoming to generous spirits and to men of high birth. I was sorry therefore, and so were other friends of yours, to see you wasting the flower of your life on such things, and I feared lest that noble nature of yours should be dulled, and lest from habit you should be brought to take pleasure in pursuits which only ENERVATE the mind.

If the arrogance and insolence of Oxford has roused you from your trance, he has done you less wrong than they who have hitherto been more indulgent to you. But I return to my subject...

*footnote - The readers of Shakespeare and Scott are familiar with the language and manners of the Euphuists of Queen Elizabeth's Court. John Lilly's two books, "Euphues, the anatomy of wit," and "Euphues an dhis England," from which the Elizabethan school of Courtiers derived their name, were not published till 1581. (Steuart A Pears) 


_Policraticus_ , Tyranny and the Essex Rebellion


England’s Helicon – Hester Lees-Jeffries

...It is of course significant for Jonson’s play as a whole, therefore, that the first part of the _Policraticus_’ alternative title, or subtitle, is ‘De Nugis Curialium’ (Concerning the frivolities of courtiers) for it is the corruptions and frivolities of courtiers that are exposed and satirized by Jonson. The other part of this alternative title is ‘et Vestigiis Philosphorum’, ‘and the Footprints of Philosophers’: Criticus, not surprisingly the voice of reason and virtue in the play, who is described in the Induction as ‘a retir’d Scholler’ and later dismissed by Hedon and Anaides as ‘a whoore-sonne Book-worme, a Candle-waster...poore Grogram Rascall...Dormouse’, is surely the philosopher whom John discusses, who is of the court yet apart from it in his comportment and concerns. If Jonson is indeed recalling this passage from the _Policraticus_ in its entirety, he is treading on dangerous ground: it would not do for Queen Elizabeth to have been invited to identify too closely with John's statement that ‘the court excludes philosophy and the philosopher at no time engages in the trifles of the courtiers. Yet the comparison does not apply to all courts, but merely those which are mismanaged by a foolish will. For whoever is wise drives away frivolities, orders his house, and subjects everything to reason.’ Cynthia’s loss of control over her court and its denizens is particularly shown in the way in which the false courtiers use language, and in the fact that it is a poet who is to be the agent of reform. Whatever part the courtiers’ linguistic excesses may have played in the ‘Poets’ War’, they, together with their trivial word games, riddles, and foolish songs, show the corruption of nothing less than the ‘Queen’s English’, a concept far less abstract in Jonson’s day than current usage might suggest. There was a close association in the Renaissance between the person of the monarch and the language of his or her realm, of which he or she was the patron. [...] According to Martin Elsky, ‘the linguistic responsibility asked of English Renaissance monarchs is well documented’. He has argued that 

the force responsible for creating a society in which it is possible for a speaker to unite word and thing is the monarch, who is responsible for the political fortunes of his kingdom. The connection between morally disposed political power and the verbal health of a nation may have its origins among the Stoics, who held that the initial imposition of a name or thing occurs under a good king, and deteriorates as the moral virtue of the kings declines.

In _The Fountain of Selfe-Love_, Jonson figures the dislocation between court and state and monarch and court, and the disjunction between the false court and the ideal, exemplary one, through a debased, trivial, artificial language, which in turn reflects badly on the monarch. As Peter Womack has economically observed (a propos the couriers’ word games in Act 4) ‘Language is supposed to do honour to the mind it represents, as a royal court is supposed to do honour to the monarch it expresses: these courtiers profane both dignities, and each sacrilege is a metaphor for the other. Jonson offers a solution in the person of the scholar-poet-author. Perhaps, in the authorial figure of Criticus, he even questions the monarch’s right to control language as his play demonstrates the loss of that control.


     The play in general, even without its apparent pro-Essex agenda (which is the subject of the next, and final, chapter) does tread on dangerous ground. The corruption and decadence of the couriers is shown primarily in the languishing after the waters of the fountain of self-love, but also (and far more pervasively)  in their trivial and decadent language; they debase the very ‘Queen’s English’, and themselves pollute the waters of Helicon.


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

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


Billy/Foundling/Shakespeare's Book in Chains:

Melville’s Motley Crew: History and Constituent Power in Billy Budd

David J. Drysdale

In this essay I examine how Billy Budd traces the state’s ability to appropriate the potential of discrepant forms of political community in order to reify its own authority on the insurgent space of the sea. I begin by suggesting the ways in which Billy Budd embodies what Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker call ‘‘hydrarchy,’’ an alternatively organized body politic that transcends categories of race and nation. My close reading of Billy Budd demonstrates how, in narrating Billy Budd’s incorporation into the machinery of state power on board the Bellipotent, Melville’s novella reveals the complicity between official accounts of history and the counterinsurgent project of colonial power. In Billy Budd Melville describes the birth of the modern political subject; this, however, will be a monstrous birth. Billy Budd charts the transformation of the vital, heroic political subject—the ‘‘Handsome Sailor’’—into a modern citizen-subject who is characterized instead by his passivity, vulnerability, and ultimately his death. In the end, this narrative implicates the novel’s critics as well, who similarly work to marshal the novel into a preexisting nationalist or ideological form.

But much as the ocean itself resists artificially imposed borders and inscriptions, Billy Budd refuses to settle into such neat categories. Even as Melville depicts this process of historical fashioning, he also points to the ways in which such a logic might be resisted by a canny reader who looks to the ‘‘ragged edges’’ of historical narrative.


Billy’s reading of Vere’s countenance and his subsequent silence is puzzling, to say the least: Vere has just finished convincing the court that ‘‘the prisoner’s deed—with that alone we have to do’’ (Billy Budd, p. 108). We might read in this moment, however, Billy’s full incorporation into the social contract of the Bellipotent: he gives himself over fully to Vere, acquiescing completely to his authority, even at the cost of his own life.

When Billy refuses the opportunity to speak on his own behalf to offer a counternarrative to the one that Vere has constructed for the court, he crosses another threshold, this time from infantile citizenship to what Russ Castronovo calls ‘‘necro citizenship.’’ According to Castronovo, in spite of republican citizenship’s idealization of a public sphere characterized by rigorous debate and virtuous civic action, in the U.S. system ‘‘a body politic animated by republicanism ran the risk of overexcitement and dangerous stimulation.’’ ‘‘Necro citizenship’’ thus idealizes a body politic characterized by passivity as well as homogeneity and historical amnesia. Billy’s sentencing is the moment of his incorporation into such a model of citizenship. Indeed, even prior to his hanging, Billy is described by Melville’s narrator as a deathly figure. On the evening before his death, the narrator says that Billy is ‘‘in effect . . . already in his shroud’’ (Billy Budd, p. 119). Laura Doyle points out: ‘‘When faced with execution, Billy implicitly accepts Rousseau’s dictum that the citizen must undergo the ‘total alienation . . . of himself and all his rights to the whole community’’ (Freedom’s

Empire, p. 207). 21 Billy’s innocence and naıvete were once potentially subversive qualities, but by the end of the novella they have become symbols of his lack of political agency. His state of being just prior to his execution prompts the narrator to compare him to colonized subjects:

[Billy] was wholly without irrational fear of [death], a fear more

prevalent in highly civilized communities than those so-called

barbarous ones which in all respects stand nearer to unadulte-

rate Nature. And, as elsewhere said, a barbarian Billy radically

was—as much so, for all the costume, as his countrymen the

British captives, living trophies, made to march in the Roman

triumph of Germanicus. Quite as much so as those later barbar-

ians, . . . and picked specimens among the earlier British converts

to Christianity, at least nominally such, taken to Rome (as today

converts from lesser isles of the sea may be taken to London).

(Billy Budd, p. 120)

Billy, in spite of his Anglo-Saxon purity, has become akin to racialized subjects who were imagined as living outside of the political sphere ‘‘nearer to unadulterate Nature.’’ *Moreover, he has been *turned into a TROPHY*, a spectacular exhibition through which a colonizing culture tries to reify an unstable sense of racial or cultural superiority*. He is an object that is severed from its place in the historical record. In the wake of his trial on the Bellipotent, Billy becomes an object of power that consolidates state authority on the ship. Billy thus becomes a model citizen, a figure whose death disciplines his fellow citizens—in this case, the crew—into a political and social death of their own.


*Pinioned Figure* ---ch.25 Billy Budd



A narration and description of a most exact wondrous creature, arising out of the Phoenix and Turtle Doues ashes. - Marston

O Twas a mouing Epicedium!

Can Fire? can Time? can blackest Fate consume

So rare creation? No; tis thwart to sence,

Corruption quakes to touch such excellence,

Nature exclaimes for Iustice, Iustice Fate,

Ought into nought can neuer remigrate.

Then looke; for see what glorious issue brighter

Then clearest fire, and beyond faith farre whiter

Then Dians tier) now springs from yonder flame?

Let me stand numb'd with wonder, neuer came

So strong amazement on astonish'd eie

As this, this measurelesse pure Raritie.

Lo now; th'xtracture of deuinest Essence,

The Soule of heauens labour'd Quintessence,

(Peans to Phoebus) from deare Louer's death,

Takes sweete creation and all blessing breath.

What strangenesse is't that from the Turtles ashes

Assumes such forme? (whose splendor clearer flashes,

Then mounted Delius) tell me genuine Muse.

Now yeeld your aides, you spirites that infuse

A sacred rapture, light my weaker eie:

Raise my inuention on swift Phantasie,

That whilft of this same Metaphisicall

God, Man, nor Woman, but elix'd of all

My labouring thoughts, with strained ardor sing,

My Muse may mount with an vncommon wing.



William Empson, _Honest in Othello_

William Empson points out that 'honest' and 'honesty' are used 52 times in Othello, writing that 'in Othello, divergent uses of th(is) key word are found for all the main characters; even the attenuated clown plays upon it; the unchaste Bianca, for instance, snatches a moment to claim that she is more honest than Emilia the thief of the handkerchief; and with all the variety of use the ironies on the word mount up steadily to the end. Such is the general power of the writing that this is not obtrusive, but if all but the phrases involving honest were in the style of Ibsen the effect would be a symbolical charade. Everyone calls Iago honest once or twice, but with Othello it becomes an obsession; at the crucial moment just before Emilia exposes Iago he keeps howling the word out. 


Integrity: Integritas, Innocentia, Simplicitas

Margaret E. Mohrmann

The Use of Integritas in Early and Medieval Christian Literature

In the centuries before and after the birth of Jesus, integritas – though not a particularly common term – was in use and carried several definitions, each of which could be connected more or less directly to its root word, the adjective integer. ‘derived from the negating particle in plus the verb tanger (to touch), integer's meanings include both whole or entire and unblemished or spotless(untouched). Accordingly, the Oxford Latin Dictionary (OLD)2 gives three categories of meaning for integritas, each with examples from authors such as Cicero, Quintilian, and Seneca: soundness or wholeness of body or mind; purity, or the state of being unadulterated, usually used in speaking of literary or rhetorical style; and moral uprightness, integrity, and (specifically in reference to women) chastity.

Despite this early evidence of the extension of meaning from physical wholeness and stainlessness to a more abstract, moral sense that trades on the idea of wholeness as perfection and the absence of corruption, usage among early Christian writers, as documented in twentieth-century dictionaries of patristic Latin,3 demonstrates a somewhat narrower set of meanings—limiting integritas almost solely to physical wholeness or intactness,4 primarily in regard to chastity but also in reference to the reliability of texts and oral traditions. 



Shakespeare - 72

O! lest the world should task you to recite

What merit lived in me, that you should love

After my death,–dear love, forget me quite,

For you in me can nothing worthy prove.

Unless you would devise some virtuous lie,

To do more for me than mine own desert,

And hang more praise upon deceased I

Than niggard truth would willingly impart:

O! lest your true love may seem false in this

That you for love speak well of me untrue,

My name be buried where my body is,

And live no more to shame nor me nor you.

For I am shamed by that which I bring forth,

And so should you, to love things nothing worth.