Discussion:
The Droeshout and Horace's Art of Poetry
(too old to reply)
Dennis
2018-01-14 22:39:58 UTC
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Raw Message
'Left-Witted' Shakespeare - Figuring Shakespeare's Faults:


In 1911, Gentlemen's Tailor Magazine investigated the construction of the doublet and reported:


"The tunic, coat, or whatever the garment may have been called at the time, is so strangely illustrated that the right hand-side of the forepart is obviously the left-hand side of the backpart, and so give[s] a harlequin appearance to the figure, which it is not unnatural to assume was intentional and done with express object and purpose.


*******************************

Nabokov - Bend Sinister

Who is he?
William X, cunningly composed of *two left arms* and a mask?
***********************************

Horace, Art of Poetry - Jonson translation:


O, LEFT-WITTED , that purge every spring
For Choler! if I did not, none could bring
Our better Poems: but I cannot buy
My title at their rate.


********************************
Left-Witted:
adj. dull, stupid, foolish, silly

********************************


William Cartwright:

...Shakespeare to thee was DULL, whose best jest lyes
I'th Ladies questions, and the Fooles replyes;
Old fashion'd wit, which walkt from town to town
In turn'd Hose, which our fathers call'd the CLOWN;
Whose wit our nice times would obsceannesse call,
And which made Bawdry passe for Comicall:
Nature was all his Art, thy veine was FREE
As his, but without his SCURILITY;

***********************************
ALL FOOLS - Chapman


And what is beauty? a meer Quintessence,
Whose life is not in being , but in seeming:
And therefore is not to all eyes the same
But like a *cozening picture* which one way
shows like a Crow, another like a SWAN.


*******************************


Quintus Horatius Flaccus his Book of the Art of Poetry to the PISO'S.

transl. Ben Jonson



IF to a womans head, a painter would
A horse neck joyn, & sundry plumes or-fold
On every limb, ta'ne from a several creature,
Presenting upwards a fair female feature,
Which in a blacke foule fish uncomely ends:
Admitted to the sight, although his friends,
Could you containe your laughter? credit me,
That Book, my Piso's, and this piece agree,
Whose shapes like sick mens dreams are form'd so vain,
As neither head, nor foot, one forme retain.


**************************
Selfhood and the Soul
Shadi Bartsch

"The Ars Poetica, which began with a* disconnected human head as a sign of faulty poetic skill* now ends, with the three words 'plena cruoris hirudo',a leech full of blood" to indict not the untalented man, but the crazy one.'

**************************

Persius: A Study in Food, Philosophy and the Figural
Shadi Bartsch


The Ars poetica’s teachings on propriety, then, touch on several interrelated themes that span the literal and the metaphorical. Figuratively, Horace opens with misplaced and missing limbs in order to populate a repeated metaphor for what epic and tragic poetry should avoid: lack of unity, purple passages, the grotesque. On the literal level, he informs us that certain kinds of subject matter have no place in tragedy, especially those related to the mutilation or consumption of the human body. Finally, when he mentions characters such as Thyestes or Lamia, their consumption of human body parts sets up a suggestive but underplayed parallel with the mutilation and rearrangement of the poetic text.

*************************

Jonson, on Shakespeare (Discoveries)


I remember, the Players have often mentioned it as an honour to Shakespeare, that in his writing, (whatsoever he penn'd) hee never BLOTTED out line. My answer hath beene, would he had BLOTTED a thousand. Which they thought a MALEVOLENT speech. I had not told posterity this, but for their IGNORANCE, who choose that circumstance to COMMEND their friend by, wherein he most FAULTED...


*************************

malevolent/benevolent - Jonson's 'true' criticism characterized as malevolent -


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..


**************************

Jonson gives up taxing faults and assumes an inflated tone of 'benevolent commendation' for incurable Shake-speare:


To draw no envy, SHAKSPEARE, on thy name,
Am I thus ample to thy book and fame ;
While I confess thy writings to be such,
As neither Man nor Muse can praise too much.
'Tis true, and all men's suffrage.


****************************


Left-Witted -

Horace, Art of Poetry - transl. Ben Jonson



But you, Pompilius off-spring spare you not
To taxe that Verse, which many a day and blot
Have not kept in, and (least perfection faile)
Not, ten times o're, corrected to the naile.
Because Democritus believes a wit
420 Happier than wretched Art, and doth by it
Exclude all sober Poets from their share
In Helicon; a great sort will not pare
Their nails, nor shave their beards, but seek by-paths
In secret places, flee the publick baths.
For so, they shall not onely gaine the worth,
But fame of Poets, if they can come forth,
And from the Barber Licinus conceale
*The head that three Anticira's cannot heale.*

O, LEFT-WITTED , that purge every spring
For Choler! if I did not, none could bring
Our better Poems: but I cannot buy
My title at their rate. I had rather, I,
Be like a whetstone, that an edge can put
On steele, though't selfe be dull, and cannot cut.
435 I, writing nought my selfe, will teach them yet
Their charge, and office, whence their wealth to fit:
What nourisheth, what formed, what begot
The Poet, what becommeth, and what not:
Whether truth will, and whether errour bring.


********************************

HORACE, Art of Poetry (Transl. Smart and Blakeney)



If you had recited any thing to Quintilius, he would say, “Alter, I pray, this and this.” If you replied, you could do it no better, having made the experiment twice or thrice in vain; he would order you to blot out, and once more apply to the anvil your ill-formed verses: if you choose rather to defend than correct a fault, he spent not a word more nor fruitless labor, but you alone might be fond of yourself and your own works, without a rival. A good and sensible man will censure spiritless verses, he will condemn the rugged, on the incorrect he will draw across a black stroke with his pen; he will lop off ambitious [and redundant] ornaments; he will make him throw light on the parts that are not perspicuous; he will arraign what is expressed ambiguously; he will mark what should be altered; [in short,] he will be an Aristarchus: he will not say, “Why should I give my friend offense about mere trifles?” These trifles will lead into mischiefs of serious consequence, when once made an object of ridicule, and used in a SINISTER manner.



*******************************

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
In vaine, but you, and yours, YOU SHOULD LOVE STILL
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.


***************************************

sinistre -

Horace, Art of Poetry

Earl of Roscommon


Quintilius (if his advice were ask'd)
Would freely tell you what you should correct,
Or (if you could not) bid you blot it out,
And with more care supply the vacancy;
But if he found you fond, and obstinate
(And apter to defend than mend your faults)
With silenc leave you to admire your self,
And without Rival hugg your darling Book.
The prudent care of an Impartial friend,
Will give you notice of each idle Line,
Shew what sounds harsh, & what wants ornament,
Or where it is too lavishly bestowed;
Make you explain all that he finds Obscure,
And with a strict Enquiry mark your faults;
Nor for these trifles fear to loose your love;
Those things, which now seem frivolous, & slight,
Will be of serious consequence to you,
When they have made you once Ridiculous.

*******************************************


Horace and the Rhetoric of Authority
Ellen Oliensis

It is Rome’s misvaluation of the art of poetry, Horace argues, that has kept her from achieving pre-eminence in the field of letters. Rome’s poets are “offended” by what Horace calls “the time-consuming labour of the file; they will not condescend to labour over their creations, like the lowly artisan who sweats to give his statues the requisite finish. The roots of this prejudice are exposed in Satires 2, where Horace, adopting the perspective of his detractors, often figures art as the recourse of those who have been handicapped by fortune. Those who believe that art does nothing more than supplement (and thus signal) a deficiency will shun art as inherently degrading, instructed by Horace, the Pisones will know better. The poem in a state of NATURE cries out for CULTIVATION. (291-4)

“Sons of the late blood of King Numa Pompilius, censure a poem that has not been refined and corrected ten times over by many a day’s blotting until its finish satisfies a trimmed nail.”

Aesthetic labour is not occasionally but always called upon to smooth the rough surface of the newly created poem. The poem that has not been thus corrected by its maker deserves to be corrected by its readers. In this context, Horace’s COMICALLY INFLATED APOSTROPHE to the “Sons of the Blood of King Numa Pompilius” serves as a friendly warning. No matter how purple their blood, in the field of poetry the PIsones must bow to the claim of lowly ars.

*********************************************

Author: Holland, Abraham

Title: Naumachia, or Hollands sea-fight Date: 1622


A Caveat to his Muse

Well Minion you'le be gadding forth then? Goe,
Goe, hast unto thy speedy overthrow:
And since thou wilt not take my warning: Hence,
Learne thy owne ruine by experience.
Alas poore Maid (if so I her may call
Who itches to be prostitute to all
Adulterate censures) were it not for thee
Better, to live in sweet securitie
In my small cell, than flying rashly out,
Be whoop't, and hiss't, and gaz'd at all about
Like a day-owle: Faith Misris you'le be put
One of these daies to serve some driveling slut,
To wrap her sope in, or a least be droven
To keepe a Pie from scorching in the Oven:
Or else expos'd a laughing stock to sots,
To cloke Tobacco, or stop Mustard pots,
Thou wilt be grac't if so thou canst but win
To infold Frankincense or Mackrills in,
You deem it a matter of high worth
To have a fame among 'em: New come forth:
And thinke your chiefe felicity is marr'd
If you be not perch't up in Paules Church-yard
Where men a farre may know you in a trice,
By some new-fangled, brasse-cut Frontispice.
Such book's indeed as now-dayes can passé
Had need to have their FACES made of BRASSE.

Is it not then sufficient for you
To stay at home among the residue
Of better sisters: where my dearest Will, (my note - Will Browne?)
And other friends would praise and love thee still:
Him and my other harts-halfes I account
Intire assemblies, and thinke they surmount
A GLOBE OF ADDLE GALLANTS: I averre
One judging Plato worth a Theater.



*********************************



Both Jonson's 1616 Folio and his play _The Alchemist_ bore an epigraph adapted from Horace:

"Neque, me ut miretur turba, laboro: / Contentus paucis lectoribus"

" I do not expend my efforts so that the multitude may wonder at me: I am contented with a few readers"
Dennis
2018-01-15 23:02:03 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Dennis
"The tunic, coat, or whatever the garment may have been called at the time, is so strangely illustrated that the right hand-side of the forepart is obviously the left-hand side of the backpart, and so give[s] a harlequin appearance to the figure, which it is not unnatural to assume was intentional and done with express object and purpose.
*******************************
Nabokov - Bend Sinister
Who is he?
William X, cunningly composed of *two left arms* and a mask?
***********************************
O,I LEFT-WITTED , that purge every spring
For Choler! if I did not, none could bring
Our better Poems: but I cannot buy
My title at their rate.
********************************
adj. dull, stupid, foolish, silly
********************************
...Shakespeare to thee was DULL, whose best jest lyes
I'th Ladies questions, and the Fooles replyes;
Old fashion'd wit, which walkt from town to town
In turn'd Hose, which our fathers call'd the CLOWN;
Whose wit our nice times would obsceannesse call,
Nature was all his Art, thy veine was FREE
As his, but without his SCURILITY;
***********************************
ALL FOOLS - Chapman
And what is beauty? a meer Quintessence,
And therefore is not to all eyes the same
But like a *cozening picture* which one way
shows like a Crow, another like a SWAN.
*******************************
Quintus Horatius Flaccus his Book of the Art of Poetry to the PISO'S.
transl. Ben Jonson
IF to a womans head, a painter would
A horse neck joyn, & sundry plumes or-fold
On every limb, ta'ne from a several creature,
Presenting upwards a fair female feature,
Admitted to the sight, although his friends,
Could you containe your laughter? credit me,
That Book, my Piso's, and this piece agree,
Whose shapes like sick mens dreams are form'd so vain,
As neither head, nor foot, one forme retain.
**************************
Selfhood and the Soul
Shadi Bartsch
"The Ars Poetica, which began with a* disconnected human head as a sign of faulty poetic skill* now ends, with the three words 'plena cruoris hirudo',a leech full of blood" to indict not the untalented man, but the crazy one.'
**************************
Persius: A Study in Food, Philosophy and the Figural
Shadi Bartsch
The Ars poetica’s teachings on propriety, then, touch on several interrelated themes that span the literal and the metaphorical. Figuratively, Horace opens with misplaced and missing limbs in order to populate a repeated metaphor for what epic and tragic poetry should avoid: lack of unity, purple passages, the grotesque. On the literal level, he informs us that certain kinds of subject matter have no place in tragedy, especially those related to the mutilation or consumption of the human body. Finally, when he mentions characters such as Thyestes or Lamia, their consumption of human body parts sets up a suggestive but underplayed parallel with the mutilation and rearrangement of the poetic text.
*************************
Jonson, on Shakespeare (Discoveries)
I remember, the Players have often mentioned it as an honour to Shakespeare, that in his writing, (whatsoever he penn'd) hee never BLOTTED out line. My answer hath beene, would he had BLOTTED a thousand. Which they thought a MALEVOLENT speech. I had not told posterity this, but for their IGNORANCE, who choose that circumstance to COMMEND their friend by, wherein he most FAULTED...
*************************
malevolent/benevolent - Jonson's 'true' criticism characterized as malevolent -
Cartwright, William, Jonsonus Virbius
...Blest life of Authors, unto whom we owe
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
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 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
THY thoughts were their owne Lawrell, and did win
That best applause of being crown'd within..
**************************
To draw no envy, SHAKSPEARE, on thy name,
Am I thus ample to thy book and fame ;
While I confess thy writings to be such,
As neither Man nor Muse can praise too much.
'Tis true, and all men's suffrage.
****************************
Left-Witted -
Horace, Art of Poetry - transl. Ben Jonson
But you, Pompilius off-spring spare you not
To taxe that Verse, which many a day and blot
Have not kept in, and (least perfection faile)
Not, ten times o're, corrected to the naile.
Because Democritus believes a wit
420 Happier than wretched Art, and doth by it
Exclude all sober Poets from their share
In Helicon; a great sort will not pare
Their nails, nor shave their beards, but seek by-paths
In secret places, flee the publick baths.
For so, they shall not onely gaine the worth,
But fame of Poets, if they can come forth,
And from the Barber Licinus conceale
*The head that three Anticira's cannot heale.*
O,I LEFT-WITTED , that purge every spring
For Choler! if I did not, none could bring
Our better Poems: but I cannot buy
My title at their rate. I had rather, I,
Be like a whetstone, that an edge can put
On steele, though't selfe be dull, and cannot cut.
435 I, writing nought my selfe, will teach them yet
What nourisheth, what formed, what begot
Whether truth will, and whether errour bring.
********************************
HORACE, Art of Poetry (Transl. Smart and Blakeney)
If you had recited any thing to Quintilius, he would say, “Alter, I pray, this and this.” If you replied, you could do it no better, having made the experiment twice or thrice in vain; he would order you to blot out, and once more apply to the anvil your ill-formed verses: if you choose rather to defend than correct a fault, he spent not a word more nor fruitless labor, but you alone might be fond of yourself and your own works, without a rival. A good and sensible man will censure spiritless verses, he will condemn the rugged, on the incorrect he will draw across a black stroke with his pen; he will lop off ambitious [and redundant] ornaments; he will make him throw light on the parts that are not perspicuous; he will arraign what is expressed ambiguously; he will mark what should be altered; [in short,] he will be an Aristarchus: he will not say, “Why should I give my friend offense about mere trifles?” These trifles will lead into mischiefs of serious consequence, when once made an object of ridicule, and used in a SINISTER manner.
*******************************
Horace, of the Art of Poetrie
transl. Ben Jonson
Hee'd say, Mend this, good friend, and this; "Tis naught.
If you denied, you had no better straine,
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
In vaine, but you, and yours, YOU SHOULD LOVE STILL
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
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.
***************************************
sinistre -
Horace, Art of Poetry
Earl of Roscommon
Quintilius (if his advice were ask'd)
Would freely tell you what you should correct,
Or (if you could not) bid you blot it out,
And with more care supply the vacancy;
But if he found you fond, and obstinate
(And apter to defend than mend your faults)
With silenc leave you to admire your self,
And without Rival hugg your darling Book.
The prudent care of an Impartial friend,
Will give you notice of each idle Line,
Shew what sounds harsh, & what wants ornament,
Or where it is too lavishly bestowed;
Make you explain all that he finds Obscure,
And with a strict Enquiry mark your faults;
Nor for these trifles fear to loose your love;
Those things, which now seem frivolous, & slight,
Will be of serious consequence to you,
When they have made you once Ridiculous.
*******************************************
Horace and the Rhetoric of Authority
Ellen Oliensis
It is Rome’s misvaluation of the art of poetry, Horace argues, that has kept her from achieving pre-eminence in the field of letters. Rome’s poets are “offended” by what Horace calls “the time-consuming labour of the file; they will not condescend to labour over their creations, like the lowly artisan who sweats to give his statues the requisite finish. The roots of this prejudice are exposed in Satires 2, where Horace, adopting the perspective of his detractors, often figures art as the recourse of those who have been handicapped by fortune. Those who believe that art does nothing more than supplement (and thus signal) a deficiency will shun art as inherently degrading, instructed by Horace, the Pisones will know better. The poem in a state of NATURE cries out for CULTIVATION. (291-4)
“Sons of the late blood of King Numa Pompilius, censure a poem that has not been refined and corrected ten times over by many a day’s blotting until its finish satisfies a trimmed nail.”
Aesthetic labour is not occasionally but always called upon to smooth the rough surface of the newly created poem. The poem that has not been thus corrected by its maker deserves to be corrected by its readers. In this context, Horace’s COMICALLY INFLATED APOSTROPHE to the “Sons of the Blood of King Numa Pompilius” serves as a friendly warning. No matter how purple their blood, in the field of poetry the Pisones must bow to the claim of lowly ars.
*********************************************
Horace - O Ego Laevus! (Ars poetica)

laevus, laeva, laevum
λαιός
adjective (2-1-2)
1. left, on the left side
2. [as subst. n] the left
3. [neut. As adv.] on the left
4. [figuratively] awkward, stupid, foolish, silly
5. [of ill omen] unfavorable, inconvenient, unfortunate, unlucky, bad, pernicious
6. [in the language of augurs] fortunate, lucky, propitious (because the augur faced the south, and the east or propitious side was on the left; see sinister)

*************************************
MALE TORNATOS

FROM Quinti Horatii Flacci opera omnia:



note to line 441.Male tornatos. Emended ingeniously, but unacceptably, by Bentl. to 'ter natos'; after three unsuccessful births.' He allows that either the lathe or the anvil by itself is an habitual figure for the production of poetry; the first of its neat finish (from Aristophanes' (greek text) Thesm. 54 to Propertius' 'augusto versus includere torno' 2.25.43);' SEE Ov.Trist. 1.7.29) Fea, who has treated this point most elaborately, shows that there is no inherent difficulty, as Bentley thought, in the combination of the two. He proves that metal work was turned. Horace will then say, 'if the turning has been done badly, send the piece of metal back to the fire and hammer, and recommence the process.' Fea quotes from Symmachus (4th cent.) Epp. I.4, a complete parallel, 'illa [epigrammata] fono metallo cusa torno exigi nescierunt.'
note line 442. vertere, 'to alter.'

************************************
Shakespeare, Turning and Seeming:

Jonson, on Shakespeare:

Yet must I not give Nature all: thy art,
My gentle Shakespeare, must enjoy a part.
For though the poet's matter nature be,
His art doth give the fashion; and, that he
Who casts to write a living line, must sweat,
(Such as thine are) and strike the second heat
Upon the Muses' anvil; turn the same
(And himself with it) that he thinks to frame,
Or, for the laurel, he may gain a SCORN;
For a good poet's made, as well as born;
And such wert thou. Look how the father's face
Lives in his issue, even so the race
Of 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.

**************************

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

XIII. — EPISTLE TO KATHARINE LADY AUBIGNY.

(snip)

..............What if alone,
Without companions ? 'tis safe to have none.
In single paths dangers with ease are watch'd ;
Contagion in the press is soonest catch'd.
This makes, that wisely you decline your life 50
Far from the maze of custom, error, strife,
And keep an even, and unalter'd gait ;
Not looking by, or back, like those that wait
Times and occasions, to START FORTH, and SEEM.
Which though the turning world may disesteem,
Because that studies spectacles and shows,
And after varied, as fresh objects, goes,
Giddy with change, and therefore cannot see
Right, the right way ; yet must your comfort be
Your conscience, and not wonder if none asks 60
For truth's complexion, where they all wear masks.

***************************
Triumph, my Britain, thou hast one to SHOW - Jonson on ~Shakespeare

******************************
Eyes of Ignorance:

Jonson, Staple of News

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

*****************************
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.'

********************************************

Mount Bank
Sweet Swan of Avon ! what a SIGHT it were
To SEE thee in our waters yet appear,
And make those flights upon the banks of Thames,
That so did TAKE Eliza, and our James !
**********************************************

Jonson, Discoveries
{Topic 54}} {{Subject: mass taste}}
Vulgi expectatio.
333 Expectation of the Vulgar is more drawne, and held with newnesse, then
334 goodnesse; wee see it in Fencers, in Players, in Poets, in Preachers, in all,
335 where Fame promiseth any thing; so it be {{new}} [[now]], though never so naught,
336 and depraved, they run to it, AND ARE TAKEN. Which shewes, that the only
337 decay, or hurt of the best mens reputation with the people, is, their wits
338 have out-liv'd the peoples palats. They have beene too much, or too
339 long a feast.

***************************
Jonson, _The Alchemist_

TO THE READER.

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

*****************************



TOTEM AND TABOO IN THE TRIBE OF BEN: THE DUPLICITY OF GENDER AND JONSON'S SATIRES
BY VICTORIA SILVER

Thus the epigram "On Something, that Walks Somewhere" (Epigrams XI)equates "brave" or ostentatious dress with the activity of "SEEMING" good, substantial and duly paternal -- namely, "a statesman" (1-2).This configuration of effects or signs typifies the presumptive courtier and fashionable man-about-town in such satires as "On the New Motion," "On Don Surly," "To Mime," or supremely "On the Town's Honest Man," one of Jonson's attacks on Inigo Jones, the author of "shows, shows, mighty shows" ("An Expostulation with Inigo Jones" [39]). And because they commit this fraud to acquire illegitimate status and power (an argument usually taken up in the verse epistles like "To a Friend, to Persuade Him to the Wars" [Underwoods XV]), the effeminate invariably break the grand taboo of insurgency against the status quo, in the process becoming prodigious and deformed. Accordingly, to the moral imposture of statesmanship manufactured from clothes, title and grave looks, Jonson's little epigram adds the concomitance of sexual disfigurement and monstrosity, simultaneously neutering and denaturing the courtier with his choice of pronoun and the command to "walk dead still" (8). If one may return again to Epicoene, the synergy of moral imposture and artificial display is the argument made by Clerimont's song ("Still to be neat, still to be dressed"): the presumption that especially where "art's hid causes are not found, / All is not sweet, all is not sound" (4-6). Every vice in Jonson's satires involves a similar practice of deceit, especially of the EYE, and is exposed to the shrewd observer by the sort of excessive display put on by the lady here: "Still to be neat, still to be dressed, / As you were going to a feast; / Still to be powdered, still perfumed" (1-3). The iteration of "still" conveys a further quality of the semblances of vice, which is that they involve an immense activity merely to "appear" like virtue. The vicious are thus singularly mobile in Jonson, an image of their seditious and epidemic pictorial energy. And the shrubs, the courtlings, the Captains Hungry and Surly, the Guts and Groins, my Lords Ignorant, the plagiarists and censors, the spies, the Fine Lady Would-be's, Court Pucell's, all in one way or another follow this same pattern. They each undertake to create an illusion that Jonson detects in the very excess or ostentation, the virulent energy of its display, whether this illusion is created by speech, by dress, by title, by profession, or in the case of Sir Voluptuous Beast, by panoramic sex.
********************

Horace, Art of Poetry - transl. Jonson

Rich men are said with many cups to ply,
And rack with wine the man whom they would try,
If of their friendship he be worth or no:
When you write verses, with your judge do so:
Look through him, and be sure you take not mocks
For praises, where the mind conceals a fox.

****************************
Nicole
Don
2018-01-16 00:54:08 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Left
----
Wondering what you know about Shakespeare and "left handed," because I
have no memory of when such biases started, in Shakespeare commentary,
English literary commentary, British commentary.

I have a vague memory about British-French contrary penchant for
eating small or large of hard-boiled eggs first, as in Swift on the
"little-endians" and "big endians." But all I know is that British
are famous for eating with their left hands and the fork upside down,
and probably doing other things like that in high style. In the
Middle East, of course, left handed eating is not allowed, but we
needn't go into that.

So if you have some evidence supporting a left-handed Shakespeare, or
how he considered lefties, I would be interested to know. Just
finding out why Brits should use "left-handed" in a derogatory way
would be fun. bookburn
Dennis
2018-01-16 06:23:18 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Don
Left
----
Wondering what you know about Shakespeare and "left handed," because I
have no memory of when such biases started, in Shakespeare commentary,
English literary commentary, British commentary.
I have a vague memory about British-French contrary penchant for
eating small or large of hard-boiled eggs first, as in Swift on the
"little-endians" and "big endians." But all I know is that British
are famous for eating with their left hands and the fork upside down,
and probably doing other things like that in high style. In the
Middle East, of course, left handed eating is not allowed, but we
needn't go into that.
So if you have some evidence supporting a left-handed Shakespeare, or
how he considered lefties, I would be interested to know. Just
finding out why Brits should use "left-handed" in a derogatory way
would be fun. bookburn
Hi bookburn - I didn't mean to give the impression that Shakespeare was literally left-handed - but that the Droeshout Figure 'figures' the author Shakespeare as having 2 left arms. Among other frightful faults. An ambisinister figure suggests that Shakespeare was incapable of 'right' or 'dexterous' writing. As surprising and illogical as that sounds it isn't really that far-fetched when you really look at some of the things Jonson said about Shakespeare.
He was (indeed) honest, and of an open, and free nature: had an excellent Phantsie; brave notions, and gentle expressions: wherein hee flow’d 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 owne power; would the RULE of it had been so too. Many times hee fell into those things, could not escape laughter:

Right
Middle English, from Old English riht; akin to Old High German reht right, Latin rectus straight, right, regere to lead straight, direct, RULE, rogare to ask, Greek oregein to stretch out.

This inability of Shakespeare to rule or contain himself is almost the worst thing Jonson could say about a writer. Self-regulation and control were at the heart of Jonson's literary and ethical project. As the English Horace - Jonson seems to have figured Shakespeare as Horace's bad poet - the poet that privileges a natural ingenium over the rules of ars.

I read the First Folio encomium as a mock encomium - much like Dryden who called it an 'insolent, sparing and invidious panegyric.' For example - the line 'to see thee in our waters yet appear' that suggests that Shakespeare is a kind of contagious national disease. In my symbolic universe the Droeshout contains a lot of information about Shakespeare's faults/lack of art - the lack of symmetry and proportion, the absurd left arms - it is a ridiculous figure. Just as Jonson said Shakespeare was, at times, ridiculous. In the posting I compared it to the ridiculous figure that appears at the beginning of Horace's Art of Poetry - a foundational text for Jonson.
This does seem to fall in with Jonson's declared intention to tax the faults and spare the man - as there is simply no way I can believe that Jonson intended a careful viewer to believe that this was in any way a faithful representation of a human face or body. As ever, Jonson challenges us to exercise our own judgement:

"Attuned to the likelihood of affective contagion in theater, Jonson asks playgoers to resist the overwhelming communicability of sensation and sentiment such that “every man here exercise his own judgement, and not censure by contagion or upon trust from another's voice or face that sits by him”(Allison Hobgood)

Affective contagion. That is the stuff of Bardolatry. Shakespeare-as-disease.

Jonson, _The Alchemist_

TO THE READER.

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

***********************************
Repeatedly Jonson said he 'taxed the vice and spared the man'. The question is, if the Droeshout figures a mass of stylistic faults - who was he sparing?

best,
Nicole
Don
2018-01-16 07:37:16 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Dennis
TO THE READER.
I think it was Napoleon who started Europe driving on the right side
of the road, as a way to manage his delivery of military supplies,
etc.. Only other right-left preference I can think of is the
political designation, with loyal opposition on left and supporters on
right side of king. "Right hand man", "all right", "right you are",
do something "right", "right side up," etc..
Dennis
2018-01-16 16:46:50 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Don
Post by Dennis
TO THE READER.
I think it was Napoleon who started Europe driving on the right side
of the road, as a way to manage his delivery of military supplies,
etc.. Only other right-left preference I can think of is the
political designation, with loyal opposition on left and supporters on
right side of king. "Right hand man", "all right", "right you are",
do something "right", "right side up," etc..
Don't forget gauche and maladroit.

sinister (feminine sinistra, neuter sinistrum); first/second declension
1. left
2. perverse, bad; or adverse, hostile
3. (religion) auspicious (for Romans) or inauspicious (for Greeks)


Lucky for Romans – augurs faced south so that the east was on their left-hand side. Inauspicious for Greeks.

laevus (feminine laeva, neuter laevum); first/second declension
1. left; on the left side.
2. (by extension) awkward, foolish
3. (figuratively) unlucky



euónumos: of good name, euph. for left
Original Word: εὐώνυμος, ον
Part of Speech: Adjective
Transliteration: euónumos
Phonetic Spelling: (yoo-o'-noo-mos)
Short Definition: on the left-hand side, left
Definition: (lit: well-named, to avoid the evil omen attaching to the left), on the left-hand side, left.

left-handed compliment
Also, backhanded compliment. An insult in the guise of an expression of praise. For example, She said she liked my hair, but it turned out to be a left-handed compliment when she asked how long I'd been dyeing it. This expression uses left-handed in the sense of “questionable or doubtful,” a usage dating from about 1600.

best,
Nicole
John W Kennedy
2018-01-16 20:32:24 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Don
Post by Dennis
TO THE READER.
I think it was Napoleon who started Europe driving on the right side
of the road, as a way to manage his delivery of military supplies,
etc..
Road handedness did not even exist until 1300, when the Pope issued an
order for the jubilee year in Rome. Dante mentions it as an innovation.
Which of the two sides is preferred seems to be an issue of whether
right-handed riders or right-handed teamsters (riding on the left wheel
horse to free the right hand for the whip) dominated.
Post by Don
Only other right-left preference I can think of is the
political designation, with loyal opposition on left and supporters on
right side of king.
It started with the French National Assembly of 1789.
Post by Don
"Right hand man", "all right", "right you are",
do something "right", "right side up," etc..
Almost every tool displays a right-hand bias, unless it is physically
impossible. Scissors are right-handed, not just in the sculpted grips of
better scissors, but in the way the overlap of the blades tightens under
force in a right hand, but loosens in a left. Where there are apparent
exceptions, it is usually a case of a modern left-hand bias being the
result of an older right-hand bias. For example, on French horns, the
valves are worked by the fingers of the left hand—but that is because,
at the time that valves were introduced, the horn already depended on
the right hand to stop the bell, not only by way of muting the
instrument, as is still in use today, but to alter the pitch in the
absence of valves to do the job.
--
John W. Kennedy
"The blind rulers of Logres
Nourished the land on a fallacy of rational virtue."
-- Charles Williams. "Taliessin through Logres: Prelude"
Don
2018-01-17 00:11:39 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
On Tue, 16 Jan 2018 15:32:24 -0500, John W Kennedy
Post by John W Kennedy
Post by Don
Post by Dennis
TO THE READER.
I think it was Napoleon who started Europe driving on the right side
of the road, as a way to manage his delivery of military supplies,
etc..
Road handedness did not even exist until 1300, when the Pope issued an
order for the jubilee year in Rome. Dante mentions it as an innovation.
Which of the two sides is preferred seems to be an issue of whether
right-handed riders or right-handed teamsters (riding on the left wheel
horse to free the right hand for the whip) dominated.
Post by Don
Only other right-left preference I can think of is the
political designation, with loyal opposition on left and supporters on
right side of king.
It started with the French National Assembly of 1789.
Post by Don
"Right hand man", "all right", "right you are",
do something "right", "right side up," etc..
Almost every tool displays a right-hand bias, unless it is physically
impossible. Scissors are right-handed, not just in the sculpted grips of
better scissors, but in the way the overlap of the blades tightens under
force in a right hand, but loosens in a left. Where there are apparent
exceptions, it is usually a case of a modern left-hand bias being the
result of an older right-hand bias. For example, on French horns, the
valves are worked by the fingers of the left hand—but that is because,
at the time that valves were introduced, the horn already depended on
the right hand to stop the bell, not only by way of muting the
instrument, as is still in use today, but to alter the pitch in the
absence of valves to do the job.
I can see that there may be a side to a preference for
right-handedness that would evolve by social norms, but I doubt you
could go so far as to say that Darwin has a mechanism that supports
it. Yes, we're all bilaterally symmetrical, have decided that we have
a similar arm on each side that's called right and left, and an eye on
one side that we call dominant. Seems like Darwin just leaves it at
variations and adaptation to get to inherited preferences, or
something. Not sure if animal species, like crustaceans, have one
claw more developed or for what reason. Darwin does mention social
grouping as part of the survival equation, though.

Now, if you could demonstrate how handedness is a function of sexual
reproduction, that would be interesting. I doubt if I could go
farther than to observe that "high fives", "fist bumps," and hugs seem
to require a hand-shake like form. Reminds me that, as of old, when
men met on equal terms and accepted each other without sword in hand,
they would use the right hand to shake. Don't know what Darwin would
make of that.

Actually, it seems lost in the vagaries of history why we label
conservatives as rightists, liberals as leftists; as if there are only
two possibilities, and calling several Western states the "Left
Coast." Is it an accident that Congress is primarily Democrat/leftists
and Republican/rightists; equally divided and offset in bipartisan
gridlock? Might be that someone like Spenser and his Social Darwinism
explains that. bookburn
John W Kennedy
2018-01-18 05:16:41 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Don
On Tue, 16 Jan 2018 15:32:24 -0500, John W Kennedy
Post by John W Kennedy
Post by Don
Post by Dennis
TO THE READER.
I think it was Napoleon who started Europe driving on the right side
of the road, as a way to manage his delivery of military supplies,
etc..
Road handedness did not even exist until 1300, when the Pope issued an
order for the jubilee year in Rome. Dante mentions it as an innovation.
Which of the two sides is preferred seems to be an issue of whether
right-handed riders or right-handed teamsters (riding on the left wheel
horse to free the right hand for the whip) dominated.
Post by Don
Only other right-left preference I can think of is the
political designation, with loyal opposition on left and supporters on
right side of king.
It started with the French National Assembly of 1789.
Post by Don
"Right hand man", "all right", "right you are",
do something "right", "right side up," etc..
Almost every tool displays a right-hand bias, unless it is physically
impossible. Scissors are right-handed, not just in the sculpted grips of
better scissors, but in the way the overlap of the blades tightens under
force in a right hand, but loosens in a left. Where there are apparent
exceptions, it is usually a case of a modern left-hand bias being the
result of an older right-hand bias. For example, on French horns, the
valves are worked by the fingers of the left hand—but that is because,
at the time that valves were introduced, the horn already depended on
the right hand to stop the bell, not only by way of muting the
instrument, as is still in use today, but to alter the pitch in the
absence of valves to do the job.
I can see that there may be a side to a preference for
right-handedness that would evolve by social norms, but I doubt you
could go so far as to say that Darwin has a mechanism that supports
it. Yes, we're all bilaterally symmetrical, have decided that we have
a similar arm on each side that's called right and left, and an eye on
one side that we call dominant. Seems like Darwin just leaves it at
variations and adaptation to get to inherited preferences, or
something. Not sure if animal species, like crustaceans, have one
claw more developed or for what reason. Darwin does mention social
grouping as part of the survival equation, though.
Now, if you could demonstrate how handedness is a function of sexual
reproduction, that would be interesting. I doubt if I could go
farther than to observe that "high fives", "fist bumps," and hugs seem
to require a hand-shake like form. Reminds me that, as of old, when
men met on equal terms and accepted each other without sword in hand,
they would use the right hand to shake. Don't know what Darwin would
make of that.
Actually, it seems lost in the vagaries of history why we label
conservatives as rightists, liberals as leftists; as if there are only
two possibilities, and calling several Western states the "Left
Coast." Is it an accident that Congress is primarily Democrat/leftists
and Republican/rightists; equally divided and offset in bipartisan
gridlock? Might be that someone like Spenser and his Social Darwinism
explains that. bookburn
You are leaning too heavily on the one-page explanation of evolution in
your high-school biology textbook. Nature doesn’t just drop a token
stamped “fitness” in a slot to get a “Success” candy bar at the bottom
of the chute; there’s plenty of chance involved, as well as genetic
association of superficially unrelated somatic features.
--
John W. Kennedy
"The blind rulers of Logres
Nourished the land on a fallacy of rational virtue."
-- Charles Williams. "Taliessin through Logres: Prelude"
John W Kennedy
2018-01-16 20:14:59 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Don
Left
----
Wondering what you know about Shakespeare and "left handed," because I
have no memory of when such biases started, in Shakespeare commentary,
English literary commentary, British commentary.
I have a vague memory about British-French contrary penchant for
eating small or large of hard-boiled eggs first, as in Swift on the
"little-endians" and "big endians." But all I know is that British
are famous for eating with their left hands and the fork upside down,
and probably doing other things like that in high style. In the
Middle East, of course, left handed eating is not allowed, but we
needn't go into that.
The British do not eat left-handed; they use their forks left-handed, to
leave the right hand for the knife. Americans affect to use the right
hand for both, which means that the fork has to endlessly shift between
the left hand (when cutting) and the right (when eating); this is
apparently a case of hypercorrection. (I have actually seen the American
practice defended on the grounds that, the more awkward and difficult
the etiquette, the higher the culture.)
Post by Don
So if you have some evidence supporting a left-handed Shakespeare, or
how he considered lefties, I would be interested to know. Just
finding out why Brits should use "left-handed" in a derogatory way
would be fun. bookburn
The entire human race is predominantly right-handed, and all human
cultures reflect this to some degree, except those that intentionally
reject such judgments out of liberal idealism. America was still
“breaking” left-handed children in my parents’ generation, and I dare
say the practice continues in the more backward US communities even today.
--
John W. Kennedy
"The blind rulers of Logres
Nourished the land on a fallacy of rational virtue."
-- Charles Williams. "Taliessin through Logres: Prelude"
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