Discussion:
Jonson Moulded England's Marble Monuments
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Dennis
2017-12-03 00:38:50 UTC
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Never, ever underestimate Jonson.


Ethical Thought and Ben Jonson's Poetry
G.A.E Parfitt
Abstract
Underestimation of Jonson's poetry is linked with misunderstanding of the nature of his classicism: a consideration of his ethical view helps to reduce this misunderstanding. "To Penshurst" indicates the extent to which Jonson's poetry is based on ethical discriminations and anchored in a contemporary environment, while a more general survey shows that most of the ethical views embodied in the poetry are familiar Elizabethan attitudes and that what Jonson thought does not, in any isolating sense, make him a classical writer, even where his poetry owes a verbal debt to Rome. Yet Jonson's poetry is distinctive, and this is because of the consistency of his ethical position throughout a long career and because of the centrality of this ethical position in his verse. This central ethical view is socially rather than religiously biassed and it is this that makes Jonson distinct among Elizabethan writers and that constitutes a significant link with Rome. The ethical emphasis is seen to be connected with the great virtues of Jonson's poetry: its "tough reasonableness" and its concentrated insights into aspects of human experience.

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Only Virtue Gives Fame:

For Jonson, good men who were worthy of imitation were to be set up as exemplary figures. Those that were of questionable or inconstant virtue were the subject of scorn, and did not deserve to have their names immortalized.

So why does Jonson feel it is necessary in the First Folio to conceal his scorn for Shakespeare under the cover of figurative language?

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The Idea of Ancient Literary Criticism


By Yun Lee

...In his treatise On Style, Demetrius declares that figured language must be employed if somebody wishes to address and to criticize eithera tyrant or a powerful individual, and he advocates this as a middle course between flattery, which is base, and direct criticism, which is dangerous. Ahl notes, in an essay entitled 'The Art of Safe Criticism', that Quintilian, Vespasian's imperial rhetorician, subsequently elaborates Demetrius' account of the political use of figured language at Institutio oratoria 9.2.66. Quintilian sets out three different occasions on which figured language, which he defines as language that is changed from its most obvious and uncomplicated usage by poetic or oratorical usage (9.1.13), may be employed. The first of these concerns when it is dangerous to speak openly; the second concerns propriety - where the Latin 'it is not fitting/suitable ('non decet' ) perhaps renders the Greek 'improper' (aprepes); while the third advocates the use of figured language where the novelty of such structures may produce delight and pleasure. Of these three occasions, the first is the most obviously political, and what Quintilian proposes is a need for the author in question to tread warily around authority, particularly as author and political leader may be at odds.

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Judicious Jonson appears to have maintained an attitude of disdain for Shakespeare’s tendency to pander to public tastes, and his apparent willingness to deform his own ‘art’ in the pursuit of audience pleasing. Jonson’s rigorous attentions to the rules of his own ars and his determination to stay true to the ethical component of his literary project set him at odds with the more popular and fashionable Shakespeare.

In 1623 when the First Folio was published, most of the ‘matter’ encoded in the comically inflated encomium must have been unintelligible to most – but with the publication of Jonson’s 'Discoveries', English speakers without a classical education could begin to notice the jarring disconnects between the superficial and figural praise of Shakespeare in the First Folio and the ‘matter’ that Jonson had wrested out of his reading and preserved in his 'Discoveries'.

A couple of hundred years of Bardolatry have rendered Jonson’s criticisms almost illegible – even at times transforming the rude and disproportionate Droeshout engraving into something beautiful! The simple idea that an unexemplary figure could be cut to represent an unexemplary poet has become impossible to reconcile with the immensity of Shakespeare’s posthumous reputation. It is easier to believe that severe Jonson somehow became as indiscriminating as a star-struck teen-age girl - despite years of sniping and griping at Shakespearean excesses and extravagances. The Monument Shakespeare (monument from monere – to remind/WARN) stands as a warning to serious men – not an endorsement.

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Jonson, Poetaster

Sweet POESIES sacred Garlands crown your Gentry:
Which is, of all the Faculties on Earth,
The most abstract, and perfect; if she be
True born, and nurst with all the Sciences.
She can so mould Rome, and her Monuments,
Within the LIQUID MARBLE of her Lines,
That they shall stand fresh and miraculous,
Even, when they mix with innovating Dust;

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

De Shakespeare Nostrat - Jonson, Discoveries


I REMEMBER the players have often mentioned it as an honor to Shakespeare, that in his writing, whatsoever he penned, he never blotted out a line. My answer hath been, “Would he had blotted a thousand,” which they thought a malevolent speech. I had not told posterity this but for their ignorance, who chose that circumstance to commend their friend by wherein he most faulted;

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Horace and the Rhetoric of Authority
Ellen Oliensis

…It is Rome’s misevaluation 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 labor of the file (latin quote); they will not condescend to labor 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. (l. 291-4)

“Sons of the 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 labor 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 down to the claim of lowly ars. (p.209)

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“That Shakespeare wanted Art.”
―Ben Jonson
Source/Notes:
Conversations with William Drummond of Hawthornden (1711)

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Comically Inflated Encomium:
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;

**************************************
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.

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Jonson, on Shakespeare:

To draw no envy, Shakespeare, on thy name,
Am I thus ample to thy book and fame;
While I confess thy writings to be such
As neither man nor muse can praise too much;
'Tis true, and all men's suffrage. But these ways
Were not the paths I meant unto thy praise;
For seeliest ignorance on these may light,
Which, when it sounds at best, but echoes right;
Or blind affection, which doth ne'er advance
The truth, but gropes, and urgeth all by chance;
Or crafty malice might pretend this praise,
And think to ruin, where it seem'd to raise.
These are, as some infamous bawd or whore
Should praise a matron; what could hurt her more?
But thou art proof against them, and indeed,
Above th' ill fortune of them, or the need.
I therefore will begin. Soul of the age!
The applause, delight, the wonder of our stage!

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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..

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P R O L O G U E. Jonson, 'Cynthia's Revels':

IF gracious silence, sweet attention,
Quick sight, and quicker apprehension,
(The lights of Judgments throne) shine any where;
Our doubtful Author hopes this is their Sphere.
And therefore opens he himself to those;
To other weaker Beams his labours close:
As loth to prostitute their Virgin strain,
To ev'ry vulgar and adult'rate Brain,
In this alone, his Muse her sweetness hath,
She shuns the print of any beaten Path;
And proves new ways to come to learned Ears:
Pied ignorance she neither loves nor, fears.
Nor hunts she after popular Applause,
Or fomy praise, that drops from common Jaws:
The Garland that she wears, their bands must twine,
Who can both censure, understand, define
What merit is: Then cast those piercing Rays,
Round as a Crown, instead of honour'd Bays,
About his Poesie; which (he knows) affords
Words, above action: matter, above words.

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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..

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

Poetaster, Jonson Act IV, Sc. vi


Mecoenas. O, good my Lord, forgive; be like the Gods.
Horace. Let Royal bounty (Cæsar) mediate.
Cæsar. There is no bounty to be shew'd to such,
As have no real goodness: Bounty is
A spice of Vertue: and what vertuous Act
Can take effect on them, that have no power
Of equal habitude to apprehend it,
But live in worship of that Idol, Vice,
As if there were no vertue, but in shade
Of strong imagination, meerly enforc't?
This shews their knowledge is meer Ignorance;
Their farfetch Dignity of Soul, a Phansie;
And all their square pretext of Gravity
A meer vain glory: hence, away with 'em.
I will prefer for knowledge, none, but such
As rule their Lives by it, and can becalm
All Sea of humour with the MARBLE TRIDENT
Of their strong Spirits: Others fight below
With Gnats and Shadows, others nothing know.

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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

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Cartwright to Fletcher:

Shakespeare to thee was DULL

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Oldham, Jonson
III.
Let DULL and ignorant Pretenders Art condemn
(Those only Foes to Art, and Art to them)
The meer Fanaticks, and Enthusiasts in Poetry
(For Schismaticks in that, as in Religion be)
Who make't all Revelation, Trance, and Dream,
Let them despise her Laws, and think
That Rules and Forms the Spirit stint:
Thine was no mad, unruly Frenzy of the brain,
Which justly might deserve the Chain,
'Twas brisk, and mettled, but a manag'd Rage,
Sprightly as vig'rous Youth, and cool as temp'rate Age:
Free, like thy Will, it did all Force disdain,
But suffer'd Reason's loose, and easie rein,
By that it suffer'd to be led,
Which did not curb Poetick liberty, but guide:
Fancy, that wild and haggard Faculty,
Untam'd in most, and let at random fly,
Was wisely govern'd, and reclaim'd by thee,
Restraint, and Discipline was made endure,
And by thy calm, and milder Judgment brought to lure;
Yet when 'twas at some nobler Quarry sent,
With bold, and tow'ring wings it upward went,
Not lessen'd at the greatest height,
Not turn'd by the most giddy flights of dazling Wit.

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


Jonson, Discoveries


Censura de poetis. - Nothing in our AGE, I have observed, is more PREPOSTEROUS than the running judgments upon poetry and poets; when we shall hear those things commended and cried up for the best writings which a man would scarce vouchsafe to wrap any wholesome drug in; he would never light his tobacco with them. And those men almost named for MIRACLES, who yet are so VILE that if a man should go about to examine and correct them, he must make all they have done but one BLOT. Their good is so entangled with their bad as forcibly one must draw on the other’s death with it. A sponge dipped in ink will do all:-

“ - Comitetur Punica librum
Spongia. - ” {44a}

Et paulò post,

“Non possunt . . . multæ . . . lituræ

. . . una litura potest.”

Cestius - Cicero - Heath - Taylor - Spenser. - Yet their vices have not hurt them; nay, a great many they have profited, for they have been loved for nothing else. And this false opinion grows strong against the best men, if once it take root with the IGNORANT. Cestius, in his time, was preferred to Cicero, so far as the ignorant durst. They learned him without book, and had him often in their mouths; but a man cannot imagine that thing so foolish or rude but will find and enjoy an admirer; at least a reader or spectator. The puppets are seen now in despite of the players; Heath' s epigrams and the Sculler' s poems have their applause. There are never wanting that dare prefer the worst preachers, the worst pleaders, the worst poets; not that the better have left to write or speak better, but that they that hear them judge worse; Non illi pejus dicunt, sed hi corruptius judicant. Nay, if it were put to the question of the water- rhymer' s works, against Spenser' s, *I doubt not but they would find more suffrages; because the most favour common vices, out of a prerogative the VULGAR have to lose their judgments and like that which is naught.*
Poetry, in this latter age, hath proved but a mean mistress to such as have wholly addicted themselves to her, or given their names up to her family. They who have but saluted her on the by, and now and then tendered their visits, she hath done much for, and advanced in the way of their own professions (both the law and the gospel) beyond all they could have hoped or done for themselves without her favour. Wherein she doth emulate the judicious but preposterous bounty of the time' s grandees, who accumulate all they can upon the parasite or fresh-man in their friendship; but think an old client or honest servant bound by his place to write and starve.
Indeed, the multitude commend writers as they do fencers or wrestlers, who if they come in robustiously and put for it with a deal of violence are received for the braver fellows; when many times their own rudeness is a cause of their disgrace, and a slight touch of their adversary gives all that boisterous force the foil. But in these things the unskilful are naturally deceived, and judging wholly by the bulk, think rude things greater than polished, and scattered more numerous than composed; nor think this only to be true in the sordid multitude, but the neater sort of our gallants; for all are the multitude, only they differ in clothes, not in judgment or understanding.

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Seneca


EPISTLE CXIV.

~CXIV+ ON STYLE AS A MIRROR OF CHARACTER

...In short, whenever you notice that a DEGENERATE STYLE pleases the critics, you may be sure that character also has deviated from the right standard. Just as luxurious banquets and elaborate dress are indications of disease in the state, similarly a lax style, if it be popular, shows that the mind (which is the source of the word) has lost its balance. Indeed you ought not to wonder that corrupt speech is welcomed not merely by the more squalid mob but also by our more cultured throng; for it is only in their dress and not in their judgments that they differ. You may rather wonder that not only the effects of vices, but even vices themselves, meet with approval. For it has ever been thus: no man's ability has ever been approved without something being pardoned. Show me any man, however famous; I can tell you what it was that his age forgave in him, and what it was that his age purposely overlooked. * I can show you many men whose vices have caused them no harm, and not a few who have been even helped by these vices. Yes, I will show you persons of the highest reputation, set up as models for our admiration; and yet if you seek to correct their errors, you destroy them; for vices are so intertwined with virtues that they drag the virtues along with them.* (SNIP)

Some individual makes these vices fashionable - some person who controls the eloquence of the day; the rest follow his lead and communicate the habit to each other.

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Selfhood and the Soul – Shadi Bartsch

The ARS POETICA [Horace], which began with a DISCONNECTED HUMAN HEAD as a sign of faulty poetic skill now ends with the three words ‘plean cruoris hirudo,’ ‘a leech full of blood” to indict not the untalented man, but the crazy one.


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

Joseph Hall Satire

Though LABEO reaches right (who can deny?)
The true strains of heroic poesy
For he can tell how fury reft his sense,
And Phoebus filled him with intelligence.

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Davies, Scourge of Folly
Of the staid FURIOUS POET FUCUS.
Epig. 114

Fucus the FURIOUS POET writes but Plaies;
So, playing, writes: that’s, idly writeth all:

Yet, idle Plaies, and Players are his Staies;
Which stay him that he can no lower fall:

For, he is fall’n into the deep’st decay,
Where Playes and Players keepe him at a stay.

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Tom O'Bedlam - 'Anonymous'

With a host of FURIOUS FANCIES
Whereof I am commander,
With a burning spear and a horse of air,
To the wilderness I wander.
By a knight of ghostes and shadowes
I summon'd am to tourney
Ten leagues beyond the wild world's end.
Methinks it is no journey.


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Poetaster, Jonson
Act V. Scene I.

Cæsar, Mecœnas, Gallus, Tibullus, Horace, Equites Ro.

W
E, that have conquer'd still, to save the conquer'd,
And lov'd to make inflictions fear'd, not felt;
Griev'd to reprove, and joyful to reward,
More proud of Reconcilement than Revenge,
Resume into the late state of our love,
Worthy Cornelius Callus, and Tibullus:
You both are Gentlemen; you, Cornelius,
A Soldier of Renown, and the first Provost
That ever let our Roman Eagles fly
On swarthy Ægypt, quarried with her Spoils.
Yet (not to bear cold Forms, nor Mens Out-terms,
Without the inward Fires, and Lives of Men)
You both have Vertues, shining through your shapes;
To shew, your Titles are not writ on Posts,
Or hollow Statues, which the best Men are,
Without Promethean stuffings reach't from Heaven!
Sweet Poesies sacred Garlands crown your Gentry:
Which is, of all the Faculties on Earth,
The most abstract, and perfect; if she be
True born, and nurst with all the Sciences.
She can so mould Rome, and her Monuments,
Within the liquid Marble of her Lines,
That they shall stand fresh and miraculous,
Even, when they mix with innovating Dust;
In her sweet Streams shall our brave Roman Spirits
Chase, and swim after Death, with their choise Deeds
Shining on their white Shoulders; and therein
Shall Tyber, and our famous Rivers fall
With such attraction, that th' ambitious Line
Of the round World shall to her center shrink,
To hear their Musick: And, for these high Parts,
Cæsar shall reverence the Pierian Arts.

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Inimitable Shakespeare:

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.

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

Nicole
Don
2017-12-03 03:44:16 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Dennis
Never, ever underestimate Jonson.
Ethical Thought and Ben Jonson's Poetry
G.A.E Parfitt
Abstract
Underestimation of Jonson's poetry is linked with misunderstanding of the nature of his classicism: a consideration of his ethical view helps to reduce this misunderstanding. "To Penshurst" indicates the extent to which Jonson's poetry is based on ethical discriminations and anchored in a contemporary environment, while a more general survey shows that most of the ethical views embodied in the poetry are familiar Elizabethan attitudes and that what Jonson thought does not, in any isolating sense, make him a classical writer, even where his poetry owes a verbal debt to Rome. Yet Jonson's poetry is distinctive, and this is because of the consistency of his ethical position throughout a long career and because of the centrality of this ethical position in his verse. This central ethical view is socially rather than religiously biassed and it is this that makes Jonson distinct among Elizabethan writers and that constitutes a significant link with Rome.
Except that some assume that Jonson's "link with Rome" came as a
consequence of his association with Shakespeare's Catholocism, but
after Shakespeare's death reverted to a more PC Protestantism.
Post by Dennis
The ethical emphasis is seen to be
connected with the great virtues of Jonson's poetry: its "tough reasonableness" and its concentrated insights into aspects of human experience.
*****************************************
For Jonson, good men who were worthy of imitation were to be set up as exemplary figures. Those that were of questionable or inconstant virtue were the subject of scorn, and did not deserve to have their names immortalized.
I think it was Eliot and/or Johnson who followed Jonson in this?
Post by Dennis
So why does Jonson feel it is necessary in the First Folio to conceal his scorn for Shakespeare under the cover of figurative language?
That's explained by the need to conceal Shakespeare's alter ego, of
course.
Post by Dennis
****************************************
The Idea of Ancient Literary Criticism
By Yun Lee
...In his treatise On Style, Demetrius declares that figured language must be employed if somebody wishes to address and to criticize eithera tyrant or a powerful individual, and he advocates this as a middle course between flattery, which is base, and direct criticism, which is dangerous. Ahl notes, in an essay entitled 'The Art of Safe Criticism', that Quintilian, Vespasian's imperial rhetorician, subsequently elaborates Demetrius' account of the political use of figured language at Institutio oratoria 9.2.66. Quintilian sets out three different occasions on which figured language, which he defines as language that is changed from its most obvious and uncomplicated usage by poetic or oratorical usage (9.1.13), may be employed. The first of these concerns when it is dangerous to speak openly; the second concerns propriety - where the Latin 'it is not fitting/suitable ('non decet' ) perhaps renders the Greek 'improper' (aprepes); while the third advocates the use of figured language
where the novelty of such structures may produce delight and pleasure. Of these three occasions, the first is the most obviously political, and what Quintilian proposes is a need for the author in question to tread warily around authority, particularly as author and political leader may be at odds.
****************************************
Judicious Jonson appears to have maintained an attitude of disdain for Shakespeare’s tendency to pander to public tastes, and his apparent willingness to deform his own ‘art’ in the pursuit of audience pleasing. Jonson’s rigorous attentions to the rules of his own ars and his determination to stay true to the ethical component of his literary project set him at odds with the more popular and fashionable Shakespeare.
Except that Jonson was more popular than Shakespeare.
Post by Dennis
In 1623 when the First Folio was published, most of the ‘matter’ encoded in the comically inflated encomium must have been unintelligible to most – but with the publication of Jonson’s 'Discoveries', English speakers without a classical education could begin to notice the jarring disconnects between the superficial and figural praise of Shakespeare in the First Folio and the ‘matter’ that Jonson had wrested out of his reading and preserved in his 'Discoveries'.
A couple of hundred years of Bardolatry have rendered Jonson’s criticisms almost illegible – even at times transforming the rude and disproportionate Droeshout engraving into something beautiful! The simple idea that an unexemplary figure could be cut to represent an unexemplary poet has become impossible to reconcile with the immensity of Shakespeare’s posthumous reputation. It is easier to believe that severe Jonson somehow became as indiscriminating as a star-struck teen-age girl - despite years of sniping and griping at Shakespearean excesses and extravagances. The Monument Shakespeare (monument from monere – to remind/WARN) stands as a warning to serious men – not an endorsement.
I assume some see the Droeshout engraving/portrait in the frontispiece
of the FF as something of a very clever composite, which in the
abstract signifies more than the literal representation. Shakespeare
was "abstract" like Hamlet, you know. I bet some like Picasso like
it.

To cut to the chase, I really agree with your premise that Jonson is a
great critic and all-around Renaissance Man. I like the idea that he
may have composed the epitaph on Shakespeare's tomb. bookburn
Post by Dennis
***********************************
Jonson, Poetaster
Which is, of all the Faculties on Earth,
The most abstract, and perfect; if she be
True born, and nurst with all the Sciences.
She can so mould Rome, and her Monuments,
Within the LIQUID MARBLE of her Lines,
That they shall stand fresh and miraculous,
Even, when they mix with innovating Dust;
**********************************
De Shakespeare Nostrat - Jonson, Discoveries
I REMEMBER the players have often mentioned it as an honor to Shakespeare, that in his writing, whatsoever he penned, he never blotted out a line. My answer hath been, “Would he had blotted a thousand,” which they thought a malevolent speech. I had not told posterity this but for their ignorance, who chose that circumstance to commend their friend by wherein he most faulted;
********************************
Horace and the Rhetoric of Authority
Ellen Oliensis
…It is Rome’s misevaluation 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 labor of the file (latin quote); they will not condescend to labor 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. (l. 291-4)
“Sons of the 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 labor 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 down to the claim of lowly ars. (p.209)
***************************************
“That Shakespeare wanted Art.”
?Ben Jonson
Conversations with William Drummond of Hawthornden (1711)
***************************************
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;
**************************************
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.
******************************************
To draw no envy, Shakespeare, on thy name,
Am I thus ample to thy book and fame;
While I confess thy writings to be such
As neither man nor muse can praise too much;
'Tis true, and all men's suffrage. But these ways
Were not the paths I meant unto thy praise;
For seeliest ignorance on these may light,
Which, when it sounds at best, but echoes right;
Or blind affection, which doth ne'er advance
The truth, but gropes, and urgeth all by chance;
Or crafty malice might pretend this praise,
And think to ruin, where it seem'd to raise.
These are, as some infamous bawd or whore
Should praise a matron; what could hurt her more?
But thou art proof against them, and indeed,
Above th' ill fortune of them, or the need.
I therefore will begin. Soul of the age!
The applause, delight, the wonder of our stage!
*******************************************
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..
******************************************
IF gracious silence, sweet attention,
Quick sight, and quicker apprehension,
(The lights of Judgments throne) shine any where;
Our doubtful Author hopes this is their Sphere.
And therefore opens he himself to those;
As loth to prostitute their Virgin strain,
To ev'ry vulgar and adult'rate Brain,
In this alone, his Muse her sweetness hath,
She shuns the print of any beaten Path;
Pied ignorance she neither loves nor, fears.
Nor hunts she after popular Applause,
The Garland that she wears, their bands must twine,
Who can both censure, understand, define
What merit is: Then cast those piercing Rays,
Round as a Crown, instead of honour'd Bays,
About his Poesie; which (he knows) affords
Words, above action: matter, above words.
***********************************
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..
********************************
Poetaster, Jonson Act IV, Sc. vi
Mecoenas. O, good my Lord, forgive; be like the Gods.
Horace. Let Royal bounty (Cæsar) mediate.
Cæsar. There is no bounty to be shew'd to such,
As have no real goodness: Bounty is
A spice of Vertue: and what vertuous Act
Can take effect on them, that have no power
Of equal habitude to apprehend it,
But live in worship of that Idol, Vice,
As if there were no vertue, but in shade
Of strong imagination, meerly enforc't?
This shews their knowledge is meer Ignorance;
Their farfetch Dignity of Soul, a Phansie;
And all their square pretext of Gravity
A meer vain glory: hence, away with 'em.
I will prefer for knowledge, none, but such
As rule their Lives by it, and can becalm
All Sea of humour with the MARBLE TRIDENT
Of their strong Spirits: Others fight below
With Gnats and Shadows, others nothing know.
***********************************
From 'To the Deceased Author of these Poems' (William Cartwright)
by Jasper Mayne
... For thou to Nature had'st joyn'd Art, and skill.
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
**********************************
Shakespeare to thee was DULL
**********************************
Oldham, Jonson
III.
Let DULL and ignorant Pretenders Art condemn
(Those only Foes to Art, and Art to them)
The meer Fanaticks, and Enthusiasts in Poetry
(For Schismaticks in that, as in Religion be)
Who make't all Revelation, Trance, and Dream,
Let them despise her Laws, and think
Thine was no mad, unruly Frenzy of the brain,
Which justly might deserve the Chain,
'Twas brisk, and mettled, but a manag'd Rage,
Free, like thy Will, it did all Force disdain,
But suffer'd Reason's loose, and easie rein,
By that it suffer'd to be led,
Fancy, that wild and haggard Faculty,
Untam'd in most, and let at random fly,
Was wisely govern'd, and reclaim'd by thee,
Restraint, and Discipline was made endure,
And by thy calm, and milder Judgment brought to lure;
Yet when 'twas at some nobler Quarry sent,
With bold, and tow'ring wings it upward went,
Not lessen'd at the greatest height,
Not turn'd by the most giddy flights of dazling Wit.
*************************************************
Jonson, Discoveries
Censura de poetis. - Nothing in our AGE, I have observed, is more PREPOSTEROUS than the running judgments upon poetry and poets; when we shall hear those things commended and cried up for the best writings which a man would scarce vouchsafe to wrap any wholesome drug in; he would never light his tobacco with them. And those men almost named for MIRACLES, who yet are so VILE that if a man should go about to examine and correct them, he must make all they have done but one BLOT. Their good is so entangled with their bad as forcibly one must draw on the other’s death with it. A sponge dipped in ink will do all:-
“ - Comitetur Punica librum
Spongia. - ” {44a}
Et paulò post,
“Non possunt . . . multæ . . . lituræ
. . . una litura potest.”
Cestius - Cicero - Heath - Taylor - Spenser. - Yet their vices have not hurt them; nay, a great many they have profited, for they have been loved for nothing else. And this false opinion grows strong against the best men, if once it take root with the IGNORANT. Cestius, in his time, was preferred to Cicero, so far as the ignorant durst. They learned him without book, and had him often in their mouths; but a man cannot imagine that thing so foolish or rude but will find and enjoy an admirer; at least a reader or spectator. The puppets are seen now in despite of the players; Heath' s epigrams and the Sculler' s poems have their applause. There are never wanting that dare prefer the worst preachers, the worst pleaders, the worst poets; not that the better have left to write or speak better, but that they that hear them judge worse; Non illi pejus dicunt, sed hi corruptius judicant. Nay, if it were put to the question of the water- rhymer' s works, against Spenser' s, *I doubt not
but they would find more suffrages; because the most favour common vices, out of a prerogative the VULGAR have to lose their judgments and like that which is naught.*
Poetry, in this latter age, hath proved but a mean mistress to such as have wholly addicted themselves to her, or given their names up to her family. They who have but saluted her on the by, and now and then tendered their visits, she hath done much for, and advanced in the way of their own professions (both the law and the gospel) beyond all they could have hoped or done for themselves without her favour. Wherein she doth emulate the judicious but preposterous bounty of the time' s grandees, who accumulate all they can upon the parasite or fresh-man in their friendship; but think an old client or honest servant bound by his place to write and starve.
Indeed, the multitude commend writers as they do fencers or wrestlers, who if they come in robustiously and put for it with a deal of violence are received for the braver fellows; when many times their own rudeness is a cause of their disgrace, and a slight touch of their adversary gives all that boisterous force the foil. But in these things the unskilful are naturally deceived, and judging wholly by the bulk, think rude things greater than polished, and scattered more numerous than composed; nor think this only to be true in the sordid multitude, but the neater sort of our gallants; for all are the multitude, only they differ in clothes, not in judgment or understanding.
****************************
Seneca
EPISTLE CXIV.
~CXIV+ ON STYLE AS A MIRROR OF CHARACTER
...In short, whenever you notice that a DEGENERATE STYLE pleases the critics, you may be sure that character also has deviated from the right standard. Just as luxurious banquets and elaborate dress are indications of disease in the state, similarly a lax style, if it be popular, shows that the mind (which is the source of the word) has lost its balance. Indeed you ought not to wonder that corrupt speech is welcomed not merely by the more squalid mob but also by our more cultured throng; for it is only in their dress and not in their judgments that they differ. You may rather wonder that not only the effects of vices, but even vices themselves, meet with approval. For it has ever been thus: no man's ability has ever been approved without something being pardoned. Show me any man, however famous; I can tell you what it was that his age forgave in him, and what it was that his age purposely overlooked. * I can show you many men whose vices have caused them no harm, and not a few who
have been even helped by these vices. Yes, I will show you persons of the highest reputation, set up as models for our admiration; and yet if you seek to correct their errors, you destroy them; for vices are so intertwined with virtues that they drag the virtues along with them.* (SNIP)
Some individual makes these vices fashionable - some person who controls the eloquence of the day; the rest follow his lead and communicate the habit to each other.
************************************************
Selfhood and the Soul – Shadi Bartsch
The ARS POETICA [Horace], which began with a DISCONNECTED HUMAN HEAD as a sign of faulty poetic skill now ends with the three words ‘plean cruoris hirudo,’ ‘a leech full of blood” to indict not the untalented man, but the crazy one.
***********************************************
Joseph Hall Satire
Though LABEO reaches right (who can deny?)
The true strains of heroic poesy
For he can tell how fury reft his sense,
And Phoebus filled him with intelligence.
**********************************************
Davies, Scourge of Folly
Of the staid FURIOUS POET FUCUS.
Epig. 114
Fucus the FURIOUS POET writes but Plaies;
Yet, idle Plaies, and Players are his Staies;
For, he is fall’n into the deep’st decay,
Where Playes and Players keepe him at a stay.
*********************************************
Tom O'Bedlam - 'Anonymous'
With a host of FURIOUS FANCIES
Whereof I am commander,
With a burning spear and a horse of air,
To the wilderness I wander.
By a knight of ghostes and shadowes
I summon'd am to tourney
Ten leagues beyond the wild world's end.
Methinks it is no journey.
http://youtu.be/J5FyRoF9LTg
***************************************************************************
Poetaster, Jonson
Act V. Scene I.
Cæsar, Mecœnas, Gallus, Tibullus, Horace, Equites Ro.
W
E, that have conquer'd still, to save the conquer'd,
And lov'd to make inflictions fear'd, not felt;
Griev'd to reprove, and joyful to reward,
More proud of Reconcilement than Revenge,
Resume into the late state of our love,
You both are Gentlemen; you, Cornelius,
A Soldier of Renown, and the first Provost
That ever let our Roman Eagles fly
On swarthy Ægypt, quarried with her Spoils.
Yet (not to bear cold Forms, nor Mens Out-terms,
Without the inward Fires, and Lives of Men)
You both have Vertues, shining through your shapes;
To shew, your Titles are not writ on Posts,
Or hollow Statues, which the best Men are,
Without Promethean stuffings reach't from Heaven!
Which is, of all the Faculties on Earth,
The most abstract, and perfect; if she be
True born, and nurst with all the Sciences.
She can so mould Rome, and her Monuments,
Within the liquid Marble of her Lines,
That they shall stand fresh and miraculous,
Even, when they mix with innovating Dust;
In her sweet Streams shall our brave Roman Spirits
Chase, and swim after Death, with their choise Deeds
Shining on their white Shoulders; and therein
Shall Tyber, and our famous Rivers fall
With such attraction, that th' ambitious Line
Of the round World shall to her center shrink,
To hear their Musick: And, for these high Parts,
Cæsar shall reverence the Pierian Arts.
********************************************
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
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.
*******************************************
Nicole
Dennis
2017-12-03 20:31:55 UTC
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Raw Message
Post by Don
Post by Dennis
Never, ever underestimate Jonson.
Ethical Thought and Ben Jonson's Poetry
G.A.E Parfitt
Abstract
Underestimation of Jonson's poetry is linked with misunderstanding of the nature of his classicism: a consideration of his ethical view helps to reduce this misunderstanding. "To Penshurst" indicates the extent to which Jonson's poetry is based on ethical discriminations and anchored in a contemporary environment, while a more general survey shows that most of the ethical views embodied in the poetry are familiar Elizabethan attitudes and that what Jonson thought does not, in any isolating sense, make him a classical writer, even where his poetry owes a verbal debt to Rome. Yet Jonson's poetry is distinctive, and this is because of the consistency of his ethical position throughout a long career and because of the centrality of this ethical position in his verse. This central ethical view is socially rather than religiously biassed and it is this that makes Jonson distinct among Elizabethan writers and that constitutes a significant link with Rome.
Except that some assume that Jonson's "link with Rome" came as a
consequence of his association with Shakespeare's Catholocism, but
after Shakespeare's death reverted to a more PC Protestantism.
I think more along the lines of Parfitt (see above) who writes that Jonson's 'central ethical view is socially rather than religiously biassed.' He took much of his matter from classical authors and seems to have set himself up as an arbiter of British manners and mores. And since I take Amorphus of 'Cynthia's Revels' to be Jonson's satirical portrait of Oxford/Shakespeare, I have to think that 'Shakespeare' was essentially inimitable, and therefore completely unsuitable for Jonson's humanist project of education via exemplary models. Very early in Oxford's life Golding had warned him of the special responsibilities of an aristocrat in setting good examples and the fate of his name if he became an evil one.

I think Jonson was completely involved in the project of correcting and shaping the national character - perhaps even making it suitable stuff for empire-building?

I find myself in the absurd position of believing that although 'Shakespeare' is at the heart of Britishness - Oxford himself may have been judged to be too foreign, fantastic and effeminate to be set up as a role model for Britons and has consequently been set outside the pale! But paradox is at the heart of Shakespeare so why not this?
Post by Don
Post by Dennis
The ethical emphasis is seen to be
connected with the great virtues of Jonson's poetry: its "tough reasonableness" and its concentrated insights into aspects of human experience.
*****************************************
For Jonson, good men who were worthy of imitation were to be set up as exemplary figures. Those that were of questionable or inconstant virtue were the subject of scorn, and did not deserve to have their names immortalized.
I think it was Eliot and/or Johnson who followed Jonson in this?
I think it is a fairly commonplace idea.

Christopher Brook on Prince Henry's Death:

In morall TRVTH some later Poets faine,
How when we leaue this vaile of misery,
That Time giues Abstracts, which our names containe,
Which flickering Fowle, that about Lethe flye,
Catch in their Beakes, but let them fall againe,
Such are rude men that drowne all memory;
But if a Swan doe get a Heroes name,
He consecrates it straight t'immortall Fame.
(snip)
... HEE knew that Armes was th'exercise of KINGS;
The spurre to Fame, roote of NOBILITIES
Hee knew his BIRTH and SPIRIT had lent him wings
To mount the pitch of all his AVNCESTRIE:
Hee likewise knew Fames Trumpet neuer rings
Of delicate Courtship, but with Infamy;
Hee knew that Souldiers vs'd n'affected words,
Whose Tongues are SPEARES, their Oratory swords.



...Or perhaps I should say 'was a commonplace idea.' Fame and infamy seem to be indistinguishable these days.
Memory sanctions could be a simple as scratching out a name on a tablet or resorting to a Royal Proclamation, as did King Charles II in the period following the Civil War with his Act of Oblivion. Theoretically, the most successful examples of this activity would never be detected? But then how is the lesson to be learned? Perhaps a partial erasure is more instructive. Jonson wrote a poem about this, -it originally accompanied a book of Raleigh'sbut I think it is useful here:

Jonson
XLII. — THE *MIND* OF THE FRONTISPIECE
TO A BOOK.

From death and dark oblivion (near the same)
The mistress of man’s life, grave History,
*Raising the world to good and evil fame*,
Doth vindicate it to eternity.
Wise Providence would so : that nor the good
Might be defrauded, nor the great secured,
But both might know their ways were understood,
When vice alike in time with virtue dured :
Which makes that, lighted by the beamy hand
Of Truth, that searcheth the most hidden springs,
And guided by Experience, whose straight wand
Doth mete, whose line doth sound the depth of things ;
She cheerfully supporteth what she rears,
Assisted by no strengths but are her own,
Some note of which each varied pillar bears,
By which, as proper titles, she is known
Time's witness, herald of Antiquity,
The light of Truth, and life of Memory.
Post by Don
Post by Dennis
So why does Jonson feel it is necessary in the First Folio to conceal his scorn for Shakespeare under the cover of figurative language?
That's explained by the need to conceal Shakespeare's alter ego, of
course.
I agree. But I differ from many in that I do not think that Shakespeare's real name was concealed because he was too fabulous or too genetically special - but because of his apparent refusal to reform himself and his art along more correct lines. Jonson used the authority of classical authors as a stick to beat and chop Shakespeare with, and he was also a great admirer of the Sidney circle. IMO, Oxford was obliterated as a result of the factional politics at the end of Elizabeth's reign. Prospero's stolen dukedom?
But his Book - or rather his Wit, could no more be drowned - could 'no more lie hid, then it could be lost.'(FF)
Post by Don
Post by Dennis
****************************************
The Idea of Ancient Literary Criticism
By Yun Lee
...In his treatise On Style, Demetrius declares that figured language must be employed if somebody wishes to address and to criticize eithera tyrant or a powerful individual, and he advocates this as a middle course between flattery, which is base, and direct criticism, which is dangerous. Ahl notes, in an essay entitled 'The Art of Safe Criticism', that Quintilian, Vespasian's imperial rhetorician, subsequently elaborates Demetrius' account of the political use of figured language at Institutio oratoria 9.2.66. Quintilian sets out three different occasions on which figured language, which he defines as language that is changed from its most obvious and uncomplicated usage by poetic or oratorical usage (9.1.13), may be employed. The first of these concerns when it is dangerous to speak openly; the second concerns propriety - where the Latin 'it is not fitting/suitable ('non decet' ) perhaps renders the Greek 'improper' (aprepes); while the third advocates the use of figured language
where the novelty of such structures may produce delight and pleasure. Of these three occasions, the first is the most obviously political, and what Quintilian proposes is a need for the author in question to tread warily around authority, particularly as author and political leader may be at odds.
****************************************
Judicious Jonson appears to have maintained an attitude of disdain for Shakespeare’s tendency to pander to public tastes, and his apparent willingness to deform his own ‘art’ in the pursuit of audience pleasing. Jonson’s rigorous attentions to the rules of his own ars and his determination to stay true to the ethical component of his literary project set him at odds with the more popular and fashionable Shakespeare.
Except that Jonson was more popular than Shakespeare.
Given how many times Jonson declared his disgust for the ignorant nut-crackers I don't think he was trying for popularity. Admiring Jonson more than Shakespeare became a sign of intellectual and moral discretion - but I think Shakespeare could always fill up a room. And I'm sure I can't even imagine what was going on with those jigs and enterludes.
Post by Don
Post by Dennis
In 1623 when the First Folio was published, most of the ‘matter’ encoded in the comically inflated encomium must have been unintelligible to most – but with the publication of Jonson’s 'Discoveries', English speakers without a classical education could begin to notice the jarring disconnects between the superficial and figural praise of Shakespeare in the First Folio and the ‘matter’ that Jonson had wrested out of his reading and preserved in his 'Discoveries'.
A couple of hundred years of Bardolatry have rendered Jonson’s criticisms almost illegible – even at times transforming the rude and disproportionate Droeshout engraving into something beautiful! The simple idea that an unexemplary figure could be cut to represent an unexemplary poet has become impossible to reconcile with the immensity of Shakespeare’s posthumous reputation. It is easier to believe that severe Jonson somehow became as indiscriminating as a star-struck teen-age girl - despite years of sniping and griping at Shakespearean excesses and extravagances. The Monument Shakespeare (monument from monere – to remind/WARN) stands as a warning to serious men – not an endorsement.
I assume some see the Droeshout engraving/portrait in the frontispiece
of the FF as something of a very clever composite, which in the
abstract signifies more than the literal representation. Shakespeare
was "abstract" like Hamlet, you know. I bet some like Picasso like
it.
The Figure is most notable for being ambisinister - two left arms. In Jonson's lexicon that means Shakespeare couldn't/wouldn't write the 'right' way. Horace uses the word 'sinistre' to describe writing the 'wrong' way.


Jonson, 'Discoveries'

...BUT WHY DO men depart at all from the RIGHT and NATURAL WAYS of speaking?

____________________________________________

Horace Of the Art of Poetry - transl. Ben Jonson

...Most writers, noble sire and either son,
Are, with the likeness of the truth, undone.
Myself for shortness labour, and I grow
Obscure. This, striving to run smooth,
and flow,
Hath neither soul nor sinews. Lofty he
Professing greatness, swells; that, low by lee,
Creeps on the ground; too safe, afraid of storm.
This seeking, in a various kind, to form
One thing PRODIGIOUSLY, paints in the woods
A dolphin, and a boar amid the floods.
So shunning faults to greater fault doth lead,
When in a WRONG AND ARTLESS WAY WE TREAD.

_________________________________________

Sidney, Defence of Poetry

...But besides these GROSSE ABSURDITIES, howe all their Playes bee neither RIGHT Tragedies, nor RIGHT Comedies, mingling Kinges and Clownes, not because the matter so carrieth it, but thrust in the Clowne by head and shoulders to play a part in majesticall matters, with neither DECENCIE NOR DISCRETION: so as neither the admiration and Commiseration, nor the the RIGHT sportfulnesse is by their mongrell Tragicomedie obtained.

________________________________
On the Droeshout Engraving of Shakespeare:

"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" (Gentlemen's Tailor Magazine April 1911)

_____________________________________________________________

*A body without proportion cannot be goodly*' (Disc., ll. 2739-40) -- Jonson

_______________________________________
Jonson, Cynthia's Revels
TO THE
SPECIAL FOUNTAIN of MANNERS,
The Court.

THou art a Bountiful and Brave Spring, and waterest all the Noble Plants of this Island. In thee the whole Kingdom dresseth it self, and is ambitious to use thee as her Glass. Beware then thou RENDER MENS FIGURES TRULY, and teach them no less to hate their Deformities, than to love their Forms: For, to Grace, there should come Reverence; and no Man can call that Lovely, which is not also Venerable. It is not Powd'ring, Perfuming, and every day smelling of the Taylor, that converteth to a Beautiful Object: but a Mind shining through any Sute, which needs no False Light, either of Riches or Honours, to help it.
Post by Don
To cut to the chase, I really agree with your premise that Jonson is a
great critic and all-around Renaissance Man. I like the idea that he
may have composed the epitaph on Shakespeare's tomb. bookburn
Hi bookburn. I don't know what the heck is going on over in Stratford - except that Fulke Greville was Recorder and he greatly favoured Sidney over Oxford. Greville was completely dedicated to ensuring the pre-eminence of Sidney's fame. He even planned a double tomb for the two of them! Sidney's Achates. He was a great student of history and all of these literary machinations were most definitely in his wheelhouse.
Jonson just seems so much more straightforward to pin down if you really make an effort to read him - it's as if he wanted to be known for triumphing over Shakespeare. But figured/coded - not surprising for me since I believe 'Shakespeare' was an aristocrat - but also to protect the De Vere name for the rest of the family.
For example - take Jonson's 'Soul of the Age'. Jonson never had a good word for the age - called it a lying age, a deceitful age, and an ignorant age. The description of the Age as Ignorant is particularly interesting because it appears in the dedication of Catiline to William Herbert - one of the FF dedicatees.

Do you think Herbert didn't notice Jonson implication of Shakespeare as the 'Soul' of that same 'ignorant' age?

TO THE GREAT EXAMPLE OF HONOR, AND VERTVE, THE MOST NOBLE WILLIAM EARLE OF PENBROOKE, &c.

MY LORD,

IN so thicke, and darke an IGNORANCE, as now almost couers the AGE, I craue leaue to stand neare your Light: and, by that, to be read. Posterity may pay your Benefit the Honour, and Thanks; when it shall know, that you dare, in these JIG-GIVEN times, to countenance a Legitimate Poëme. I must call it so, against all noise of Opinion: from whose crude, and airy Reports, I appeale, to that great and singular Faculty of Iudgment in your Lordship, able to vindicate Truth from Error.
___________________________________________________

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


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


Best, Nicole
Post by Don
Post by Dennis
***********************************
Jonson, Poetaster
Which is, of all the Faculties on Earth,
The most abstract, and perfect; if she be
True born, and nurst with all the Sciences.
She can so mould Rome, and her Monuments,
Within the LIQUID MARBLE of her Lines,
That they shall stand fresh and miraculous,
Even, when they mix with innovating Dust;
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De Shakespeare Nostrat - Jonson, Discoveries
I REMEMBER the players have often mentioned it as an honor to Shakespeare, that in his writing, whatsoever he penned, he never blotted out a line. My answer hath been, “Would he had blotted a thousand,” which they thought a malevolent speech. I had not told posterity this but for their ignorance, who chose that circumstance to commend their friend by wherein he most faulted;
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Horace and the Rhetoric of Authority
Ellen Oliensis
…It is Rome’s misevaluation 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 labor of the file (latin quote); they will not condescend to labor 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. (l. 291-4)
“Sons of the 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 labor 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 down to the claim of lowly ars. (p.209)
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“That Shakespeare wanted Art.”
?Ben Jonson
Conversations with William Drummond of Hawthornden (1711)
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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;
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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.
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To draw no envy, Shakespeare, on thy name,
Am I thus ample to thy book and fame;
While I confess thy writings to be such
As neither man nor muse can praise too much;
'Tis true, and all men's suffrage. But these ways
Were not the paths I meant unto thy praise;
For seeliest ignorance on these may light,
Which, when it sounds at best, but echoes right;
Or blind affection, which doth ne'er advance
The truth, but gropes, and urgeth all by chance;
Or crafty malice might pretend this praise,
And think to ruin, where it seem'd to raise.
These are, as some infamous bawd or whore
Should praise a matron; what could hurt her more?
But thou art proof against them, and indeed,
Above th' ill fortune of them, or the need.
I therefore will begin. Soul of the age!
The applause, delight, the wonder of our stage!
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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..
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IF gracious silence, sweet attention,
Quick sight, and quicker apprehension,
(The lights of Judgments throne) shine any where;
Our doubtful Author hopes this is their Sphere.
And therefore opens he himself to those;
As loth to prostitute their Virgin strain,
To ev'ry vulgar and adult'rate Brain,
In this alone, his Muse her sweetness hath,
She shuns the print of any beaten Path;
Pied ignorance she neither loves nor, fears.
Nor hunts she after popular Applause,
The Garland that she wears, their bands must twine,
Who can both censure, understand, define
What merit is: Then cast those piercing Rays,
Round as a Crown, instead of honour'd Bays,
About his Poesie; which (he knows) affords
Words, above action: matter, above words.
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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..
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Poetaster, Jonson Act IV, Sc. vi
Mecoenas. O, good my Lord, forgive; be like the Gods.
Horace. Let Royal bounty (Cæsar) mediate.
Cæsar. There is no bounty to be shew'd to such,
As have no real goodness: Bounty is
A spice of Vertue: and what vertuous Act
Can take effect on them, that have no power
Of equal habitude to apprehend it,
But live in worship of that Idol, Vice,
As if there were no vertue, but in shade
Of strong imagination, meerly enforc't?
This shews their knowledge is meer Ignorance;
Their farfetch Dignity of Soul, a Phansie;
And all their square pretext of Gravity
A meer vain glory: hence, away with 'em.
I will prefer for knowledge, none, but such
As rule their Lives by it, and can becalm
All Sea of humour with the MARBLE TRIDENT
Of their strong Spirits: Others fight below
With Gnats and Shadows, others nothing know.
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From 'To the Deceased Author of these Poems' (William Cartwright)
by Jasper Mayne
... For thou to Nature had'st joyn'd Art, and skill.
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
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Shakespeare to thee was DULL
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Oldham, Jonson
III.
Let DULL and ignorant Pretenders Art condemn
(Those only Foes to Art, and Art to them)
The meer Fanaticks, and Enthusiasts in Poetry
(For Schismaticks in that, as in Religion be)
Who make't all Revelation, Trance, and Dream,
Let them despise her Laws, and think
Thine was no mad, unruly Frenzy of the brain,
Which justly might deserve the Chain,
'Twas brisk, and mettled, but a manag'd Rage,
Free, like thy Will, it did all Force disdain,
But suffer'd Reason's loose, and easie rein,
By that it suffer'd to be led,
Fancy, that wild and haggard Faculty,
Untam'd in most, and let at random fly,
Was wisely govern'd, and reclaim'd by thee,
Restraint, and Discipline was made endure,
And by thy calm, and milder Judgment brought to lure;
Yet when 'twas at some nobler Quarry sent,
With bold, and tow'ring wings it upward went,
Not lessen'd at the greatest height,
Not turn'd by the most giddy flights of dazling Wit.
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Jonson, Discoveries
Censura de poetis. - Nothing in our AGE, I have observed, is more PREPOSTEROUS than the running judgments upon poetry and poets; when we shall hear those things commended and cried up for the best writings which a man would scarce vouchsafe to wrap any wholesome drug in; he would never light his tobacco with them. And those men almost named for MIRACLES, who yet are so VILE that if a man should go about to examine and correct them, he must make all they have done but one BLOT. Their good is so entangled with their bad as forcibly one must draw on the other’s death with it. A sponge dipped in ink will do all:-
“ - Comitetur Punica librum
Spongia. - ” {44a}
Et paulò post,
“Non possunt . . . multæ . . . lituræ
. . . una litura potest.”
Cestius - Cicero - Heath - Taylor - Spenser. - Yet their vices have not hurt them; nay, a great many they have profited, for they have been loved for nothing else. And this false opinion grows strong against the best men, if once it take root with the IGNORANT. Cestius, in his time, was preferred to Cicero, so far as the ignorant durst. They learned him without book, and had him often in their mouths; but a man cannot imagine that thing so foolish or rude but will find and enjoy an admirer; at least a reader or spectator. The puppets are seen now in despite of the players; Heath' s epigrams and the Sculler' s poems have their applause. There are never wanting that dare prefer the worst preachers, the worst pleaders, the worst poets; not that the better have left to write or speak better, but that they that hear them judge worse; Non illi pejus dicunt, sed hi corruptius judicant. Nay, if it were put to the question of the water- rhymer' s works, against Spenser' s, *I doubt not
but they would find more suffrages; because the most favour common vices, out of a prerogative the VULGAR have to lose their judgments and like that which is naught.*
Poetry, in this latter age, hath proved but a mean mistress to such as have wholly addicted themselves to her, or given their names up to her family. They who have but saluted her on the by, and now and then tendered their visits, she hath done much for, and advanced in the way of their own professions (both the law and the gospel) beyond all they could have hoped or done for themselves without her favour. Wherein she doth emulate the judicious but preposterous bounty of the time' s grandees, who accumulate all they can upon the parasite or fresh-man in their friendship; but think an old client or honest servant bound by his place to write and starve.
Indeed, the multitude commend writers as they do fencers or wrestlers, who if they come in robustiously and put for it with a deal of violence are received for the braver fellows; when many times their own rudeness is a cause of their disgrace, and a slight touch of their adversary gives all that boisterous force the foil. But in these things the unskilful are naturally deceived, and judging wholly by the bulk, think rude things greater than polished, and scattered more numerous than composed; nor think this only to be true in the sordid multitude, but the neater sort of our gallants; for all are the multitude, only they differ in clothes, not in judgment or understanding.
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Seneca
EPISTLE CXIV.
~CXIV+ ON STYLE AS A MIRROR OF CHARACTER
...In short, whenever you notice that a DEGENERATE STYLE pleases the critics, you may be sure that character also has deviated from the right standard. Just as luxurious banquets and elaborate dress are indications of disease in the state, similarly a lax style, if it be popular, shows that the mind (which is the source of the word) has lost its balance. Indeed you ought not to wonder that corrupt speech is welcomed not merely by the more squalid mob but also by our more cultured throng; for it is only in their dress and not in their judgments that they differ. You may rather wonder that not only the effects of vices, but even vices themselves, meet with approval. For it has ever been thus: no man's ability has ever been approved without something being pardoned. Show me any man, however famous; I can tell you what it was that his age forgave in him, and what it was that his age purposely overlooked. * I can show you many men whose vices have caused them no harm, and not a few who
have been even helped by these vices. Yes, I will show you persons of the highest reputation, set up as models for our admiration; and yet if you seek to correct their errors, you destroy them; for vices are so intertwined with virtues that they drag the virtues along with them.* (SNIP)
Some individual makes these vices fashionable - some person who controls the eloquence of the day; the rest follow his lead and communicate the habit to each other.
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Selfhood and the Soul – Shadi Bartsch
The ARS POETICA [Horace], which began with a DISCONNECTED HUMAN HEAD as a sign of faulty poetic skill now ends with the three words ‘plean cruoris hirudo,’ ‘a leech full of blood” to indict not the untalented man, but the crazy one.
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Joseph Hall Satire
Though LABEO reaches right (who can deny?)
The true strains of heroic poesy
For he can tell how fury reft his sense,
And Phoebus filled him with intelligence.
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Davies, Scourge of Folly
Of the staid FURIOUS POET FUCUS.
Epig. 114
Fucus the FURIOUS POET writes but Plaies;
Yet, idle Plaies, and Players are his Staies;
For, he is fall’n into the deep’st decay,
Where Playes and Players keepe him at a stay.
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Tom O'Bedlam - 'Anonymous'
With a host of FURIOUS FANCIES
Whereof I am commander,
With a burning spear and a horse of air,
To the wilderness I wander.
By a knight of ghostes and shadowes
I summon'd am to tourney
Ten leagues beyond the wild world's end.
Methinks it is no journey.
http://youtu.be/J5FyRoF9LTg
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Poetaster, Jonson
Act V. Scene I.
Cæsar, Mecœnas, Gallus, Tibullus, Horace, Equites Ro.
W
E, that have conquer'd still, to save the conquer'd,
And lov'd to make inflictions fear'd, not felt;
Griev'd to reprove, and joyful to reward,
More proud of Reconcilement than Revenge,
Resume into the late state of our love,
You both are Gentlemen; you, Cornelius,
A Soldier of Renown, and the first Provost
That ever let our Roman Eagles fly
On swarthy Ægypt, quarried with her Spoils.
Yet (not to bear cold Forms, nor Mens Out-terms,
Without the inward Fires, and Lives of Men)
You both have Vertues, shining through your shapes;
To shew, your Titles are not writ on Posts,
Or hollow Statues, which the best Men are,
Without Promethean stuffings reach't from Heaven!
Which is, of all the Faculties on Earth,
The most abstract, and perfect; if she be
True born, and nurst with all the Sciences.
She can so mould Rome, and her Monuments,
Within the liquid Marble of her Lines,
That they shall stand fresh and miraculous,
Even, when they mix with innovating Dust;
In her sweet Streams shall our brave Roman Spirits
Chase, and swim after Death, with their choise Deeds
Shining on their white Shoulders; and therein
Shall Tyber, and our famous Rivers fall
With such attraction, that th' ambitious Line
Of the round World shall to her center shrink,
To hear their Musick: And, for these high Parts,
Cæsar shall reverence the Pierian Arts.
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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
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.
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Nicole
Don
2017-12-03 22:35:37 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Dennis
Post by Don
Post by Dennis
Never, ever underestimate Jonson.
Ethical Thought and Ben Jonson's Poetry
G.A.E Parfitt
Abstract
Underestimation of Jonson's poetry is linked with misunderstanding of the nature of his classicism: a consideration of his ethical view helps to reduce this misunderstanding. "To Penshurst" indicates the extent to which Jonson's poetry is based on ethical discriminations and anchored in a contemporary environment, while a more general survey shows that most of the ethical views embodied in the poetry are familiar Elizabethan attitudes and that what Jonson thought does not, in any isolating sense, make him a classical writer, even where his poetry owes a verbal debt to Rome. Yet Jonson's poetry is distinctive, and this is because of the consistency of his ethical position throughout a long career and because of the centrality of this ethical position in his verse. This central ethical view is socially rather than religiously biassed and it is this that makes Jonson distinct among Elizabethan writers and that constitutes a significant link with Rome.
Except that some assume that Jonson's "link with Rome" came as a
consequence of his association with Shakespeare's Catholocism, but
after Shakespeare's death reverted to a more PC Protestantism.
I think more along the lines of Parfitt (see above) who writes that Jonson's 'central ethical view is socially rather than religiously biassed.' He took much of his matter from classical authors and seems to have set himself up as an arbiter of British manners and mores. And since I take Amorphus of 'Cynthia's Revels' to be Jonson's satirical portrait of Oxford/Shakespeare, I have to think that 'Shakespeare' was essentially inimitable, and therefore completely unsuitable for Jonson's humanist project of education via exemplary models. Very early in Oxford's life Golding had warned him of the special responsibilities of an aristocrat in setting good examples and the fate of his name if he became an evil one.
I think Jonson was completely involved in the project of correcting and shaping the national character - perhaps even making it suitable stuff for empire-building?
I find myself in the absurd position of believing that although 'Shakespeare' is at the heart of Britishness - Oxford himself may have been judged to be too foreign, fantastic and effeminate to be set up as a role model for Britons and has consequently been set outside the pale! But paradox is at the heart of Shakespeare so why not this?
Post by Don
Post by Dennis
The ethical emphasis is seen to be
connected with the great virtues of Jonson's poetry: its "tough reasonableness" and its concentrated insights into aspects of human experience.
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For Jonson, good men who were worthy of imitation were to be set up as exemplary figures. Those that were of questionable or inconstant virtue were the subject of scorn, and did not deserve to have their names immortalized.
I think it was Eliot and/or Johnson who followed Jonson in this?
I think it is a fairly commonplace idea.
In his thesis about Heroes and Hero Worship, I think Carlyle mentions
Shakespeare as heroic.
Post by Dennis
In morall TRVTH some later Poets faine,
How when we leaue this vaile of misery,
That Time giues Abstracts, which our names containe,
Which flickering Fowle, that about Lethe flye,
Catch in their Beakes, but let them fall againe,
Such are rude men that drowne all memory;
But if a Swan doe get a Heroes name,
He consecrates it straight t'immortall Fame.
(snip)
... HEE knew that Armes was th'exercise of KINGS;
The spurre to Fame, roote of NOBILITIES
Hee knew his BIRTH and SPIRIT had lent him wings
Hee likewise knew Fames Trumpet neuer rings
Of delicate Courtship, but with Infamy;
Hee knew that Souldiers vs'd n'affected words,
Whose Tongues are SPEARES, their Oratory swords.
...Or perhaps I should say 'was a commonplace idea.' Fame and infamy seem to be indistinguishable these days.
Jonson
XLII. — THE *MIND* OF THE FRONTISPIECE
TO A BOOK.
From death and dark oblivion (near the same)
The mistress of man’s life, grave History,
*Raising the world to good and evil fame*,
Doth vindicate it to eternity.
Wise Providence would so : that nor the good
Might be defrauded, nor the great secured,
But both might know their ways were understood,
Which makes that, lighted by the beamy hand
Of Truth, that searcheth the most hidden springs,
And guided by Experience, whose straight wand
Doth mete, whose line doth sound the depth of things ;
She cheerfully supporteth what she rears,
Assisted by no strengths but are her own,
Some note of which each varied pillar bears,
By which, as proper titles, she is known
Time's witness, herald of Antiquity,
The light of Truth, and life of Memory.
Post by Don
Post by Dennis
So why does Jonson feel it is necessary in the First Folio to conceal his scorn for Shakespeare under the cover of figurative language?
That's explained by the need to conceal Shakespeare's alter ego, of
course.
I agree. But I differ from many in that I do not think that Shakespeare's real name was concealed because he was too fabulous or too genetically special - but because of his apparent refusal to reform himself and his art along more correct lines. Jonson used the authority of classical authors as a stick to beat and chop Shakespeare with, and he was also a great admirer of the Sidney circle. IMO, Oxford was obliterated as a result of the factional politics at the end of Elizabeth's reign. Prospero's stolen dukedom?
But his Book - or rather his Wit, could no more be drowned - could 'no more lie hid, then it could be lost.'(FF)
Post by Don
Post by Dennis
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The Idea of Ancient Literary Criticism
By Yun Lee
...In his treatise On Style, Demetrius declares that figured language must be employed if somebody wishes to address and to criticize eithera tyrant or a powerful individual, and he advocates this as a middle course between flattery, which is base, and direct criticism, which is dangerous. Ahl notes, in an essay entitled 'The Art of Safe Criticism', that Quintilian, Vespasian's imperial rhetorician, subsequently elaborates Demetrius' account of the political use of figured language at Institutio oratoria 9.2.66. Quintilian sets out three different occasions on which figured language, which he defines as language that is changed from its most obvious and uncomplicated usage by poetic or oratorical usage (9.1.13), may be employed. The first of these concerns when it is dangerous to speak openly; the second concerns propriety - where the Latin 'it is not fitting/suitable ('non decet' ) perhaps renders the Greek 'improper' (aprepes); while the third advocates the use of figured
language
Post by Don
Post by Dennis
where the novelty of such structures may produce delight and pleasure. Of these three occasions, the first is the most obviously political, and what Quintilian proposes is a need for the author in question to tread warily around authority, particularly as author and political leader may be at odds.
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Judicious Jonson appears to have maintained an attitude of disdain for Shakespeare’s tendency to pander to public tastes, and his apparent willingness to deform his own ‘art’ in the pursuit of audience pleasing. Jonson’s rigorous attentions to the rules of his own ars and his determination to stay true to the ethical component of his literary project set him at odds with the more popular and fashionable Shakespeare.
Except that Jonson was more popular than Shakespeare.
Given how many times Jonson declared his disgust for the ignorant nut-crackers I don't think he was trying for popularity. Admiring Jonson more than Shakespeare became a sign of intellectual and moral discretion - but I think Shakespeare could always fill up a room. And I'm sure I can't even imagine what was going on with those jigs and enterludes.
Post by Don
Post by Dennis
In 1623 when the First Folio was published, most of the ‘matter’ encoded in the comically inflated encomium must have been unintelligible to most – but with the publication of Jonson’s 'Discoveries', English speakers without a classical education could begin to notice the jarring disconnects between the superficial and figural praise of Shakespeare in the First Folio and the ‘matter’ that Jonson had wrested out of his reading and preserved in his 'Discoveries'.
A couple of hundred years of Bardolatry have rendered Jonson’s criticisms almost illegible – even at times transforming the rude and disproportionate Droeshout engraving into something beautiful! The simple idea that an unexemplary figure could be cut to represent an unexemplary poet has become impossible to reconcile with the immensity of Shakespeare’s posthumous reputation. It is easier to believe that severe Jonson somehow became as indiscriminating as a star-struck teen-age girl - despite years of sniping and griping at Shakespearean excesses and extravagances. The Monument Shakespeare (monument from monere – to remind/WARN) stands as a warning to serious men – not an endorsement.
I assume some see the Droeshout engraving/portrait in the frontispiece
of the FF as something of a very clever composite, which in the
abstract signifies more than the literal representation. Shakespeare
was "abstract" like Hamlet, you know. I bet some like Picasso like
it.
The Figure is most notable for being ambisinister - two left arms. In Jonson's lexicon that means Shakespeare couldn't/wouldn't write the 'right' way. Horace uses the word 'sinistre' to describe writing the 'wrong' way.
I read, too, that one can do portraits with a mirror, reflecting one
completed half to the other side, somehow; bilateral symmetry.
Post by Dennis
Jonson, 'Discoveries'
...BUT WHY DO men depart at all from the RIGHT and NATURAL WAYS of speaking?
____________________________________________
Horace Of the Art of Poetry - transl. Ben Jonson
...Most writers, noble sire and either son,
Are, with the likeness of the truth, undone.
Myself for shortness labour, and I grow
Obscure. This, striving to run smooth,
and flow,
Hath neither soul nor sinews. Lofty he
Professing greatness, swells; that, low by lee,
Creeps on the ground; too safe, afraid of storm.
This seeking, in a various kind, to form
One thing PRODIGIOUSLY, paints in the woods
A dolphin, and a boar amid the floods.
So shunning faults to greater fault doth lead,
When in a WRONG AND ARTLESS WAY WE TREAD.
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Sidney, Defence of Poetry
...But besides these GROSSE ABSURDITIES, howe all their Playes bee neither RIGHT Tragedies, nor RIGHT Comedies, mingling Kinges and Clownes, not because the matter so carrieth it, but thrust in the Clowne by head and shoulders to play a part in majesticall matters, with neither DECENCIE NOR DISCRETION: so as neither the admiration and Commiseration, nor the the RIGHT sportfulnesse is by their mongrell Tragicomedie obtained.
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"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" (Gentlemen's Tailor Magazine April 1911)
_____________________________________________________________
*A body without proportion cannot be goodly*' (Disc., ll. 2739-40) -- Jonson
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Jonson, Cynthia's Revels
TO THE
SPECIAL FOUNTAIN of MANNERS,
The Court.
THou art a Bountiful and Brave Spring, and waterest all the Noble Plants of this Island. In thee the whole Kingdom dresseth it self, and is ambitious to use thee as her Glass. Beware then thou RENDER MENS FIGURES TRULY, and teach them no less to hate their Deformities, than to love their Forms: For, to Grace, there should come Reverence; and no Man can call that Lovely, which is not also Venerable. It is not Powd'ring, Perfuming, and every day smelling of the Taylor, that converteth to a Beautiful Object: but a Mind shining through any Sute, which needs no False Light, either of Riches or Honours, to help it.
Post by Don
To cut to the chase, I really agree with your premise that Jonson is a
great critic and all-around Renaissance Man. I like the idea that he
may have composed the epitaph on Shakespeare's tomb. bookburn
Hi bookburn. I don't know what the heck is going on over in Stratford - except that Fulke Greville was Recorder and he greatly favoured Sidney over Oxford. Greville was completely dedicated to ensuring the pre-eminence of Sidney's fame. He even planned a double tomb for the two of them! Sidney's Achates. He was a great student of history and all of these literary machinations were most definitely in his wheelhouse.
Jonson just seems so much more straightforward to pin down if you really make an effort to read him - it's as if he wanted to be known for triumphing over Shakespeare. But figured/coded - not surprising for me since I believe 'Shakespeare' was an aristocrat - but also to protect the De Vere name for the rest of the family.
For example - take Jonson's 'Soul of the Age'. Jonson never had a good word for the age - called it a lying age, a deceitful age, and an ignorant age. The description of the Age as Ignorant is particularly interesting because it appears in the dedication of Catiline to William Herbert - one of the FF dedicatees.
Do you think Herbert didn't notice Jonson implication of Shakespeare as the 'Soul' of that same 'ignorant' age?
TO THE GREAT EXAMPLE OF HONOR, AND VERTVE, THE MOST NOBLE WILLIAM EARLE OF PENBROOKE, &c.
MY LORD,
IN so thicke, and darke an IGNORANCE, as now almost couers the AGE, I craue leaue to stand neare your Light: and, by that, to be read. Posterity may pay your Benefit the Honour, and Thanks; when it shall know, that you dare, in these JIG-GIVEN times, to countenance a Legitimate Poëme. I must call it so, against all noise of Opinion: from whose crude, and airy Reports, I appeale, to that great and singular Faculty of Iudgment in your Lordship, able to vindicate Truth from Error.
___________________________________________________
John Beaumont ,_Jonsonus Virbius_
…Twas he that found (plac'd) in the seat of wit,
Dull grinning IGNORANCE, and banish'd it;
He on the prostituted stage appears
To make men hear, not by their eyes, but ears;
Who painted virtues, that each one might know,
So that who could in JONSON'S lines be high
Needed not honours, or a riband buy ;
But vice he only shewed us in a glass,
Which by reflection of those rays that pass,
Retains the figure lively, set before,
And that withdrawn, reflects at us no more;
So, he observ'd the like decorum, when
When heretofore, the Vice's only note,
And sign from virtue was his party-coat;
When devils were the last men on the stage,
And pray'd for plenty, and the present AGE.
FALKLAND, _Jonsonus Virbius_
...How in an IGNORANT, and learn'd AGE he swaid,
(Of which the first he found, the second made)
How He, when he could know it, reapt his Fame,
Best, Nicole
Nice of you to weigh in with so much. Irony is that while agreeing
with what you say, I admit that my best argument for Stratman is the
evidence Jonson provides. bookburn

(snipping very long last part)
Dennis
2017-12-03 23:21:27 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Don
Post by Dennis
Post by Don
Post by Dennis
Never, ever underestimate Jonson.
Ethical Thought and Ben Jonson's Poetry
G.A.E Parfitt
Abstract
Underestimation of Jonson's poetry is linked with misunderstanding of the nature of his classicism: a consideration of his ethical view helps to reduce this misunderstanding. "To Penshurst" indicates the extent to which Jonson's poetry is based on ethical discriminations and anchored in a contemporary environment, while a more general survey shows that most of the ethical views embodied in the poetry are familiar Elizabethan attitudes and that what Jonson thought does not, in any isolating sense, make him a classical writer, even where his poetry owes a verbal debt to Rome. Yet Jonson's poetry is distinctive, and this is because of the consistency of his ethical position throughout a long career and because of the centrality of this ethical position in his verse. This central ethical view is socially rather than religiously biassed and it is this that makes Jonson distinct among Elizabethan writers and that constitutes a significant link with Rome.
Except that some assume that Jonson's "link with Rome" came as a
consequence of his association with Shakespeare's Catholocism, but
after Shakespeare's death reverted to a more PC Protestantism.
I think more along the lines of Parfitt (see above) who writes that Jonson's 'central ethical view is socially rather than religiously biassed.' He took much of his matter from classical authors and seems to have set himself up as an arbiter of British manners and mores. And since I take Amorphus of 'Cynthia's Revels' to be Jonson's satirical portrait of Oxford/Shakespeare, I have to think that 'Shakespeare' was essentially inimitable, and therefore completely unsuitable for Jonson's humanist project of education via exemplary models. Very early in Oxford's life Golding had warned him of the special responsibilities of an aristocrat in setting good examples and the fate of his name if he became an evil one.
I think Jonson was completely involved in the project of correcting and shaping the national character - perhaps even making it suitable stuff for empire-building?
I find myself in the absurd position of believing that although 'Shakespeare' is at the heart of Britishness - Oxford himself may have been judged to be too foreign, fantastic and effeminate to be set up as a role model for Britons and has consequently been set outside the pale! But paradox is at the heart of Shakespeare so why not this?
Post by Don
Post by Dennis
The ethical emphasis is seen to be
connected with the great virtues of Jonson's poetry: its "tough reasonableness" and its concentrated insights into aspects of human experience.
*****************************************
For Jonson, good men who were worthy of imitation were to be set up as exemplary figures. Those that were of questionable or inconstant virtue were the subject of scorn, and did not deserve to have their names immortalized.
I think it was Eliot and/or Johnson who followed Jonson in this?
I think it is a fairly commonplace idea.
In his thesis about Heroes and Hero Worship, I think Carlyle mentions
Shakespeare as heroic.
Post by Dennis
In morall TRVTH some later Poets faine,
How when we leaue this vaile of misery,
That Time giues Abstracts, which our names containe,
Which flickering Fowle, that about Lethe flye,
Catch in their Beakes, but let them fall againe,
Such are rude men that drowne all memory;
But if a Swan doe get a Heroes name,
He consecrates it straight t'immortall Fame.
(snip)
... HEE knew that Armes was th'exercise of KINGS;
The spurre to Fame, roote of NOBILITIES
Hee knew his BIRTH and SPIRIT had lent him wings
Hee likewise knew Fames Trumpet neuer rings
Of delicate Courtship, but with Infamy;
Hee knew that Souldiers vs'd n'affected words,
Whose Tongues are SPEARES, their Oratory swords.
...Or perhaps I should say 'was a commonplace idea.' Fame and infamy seem to be indistinguishable these days.
Jonson
XLII. — THE *MIND* OF THE FRONTISPIECE
TO A BOOK.
From death and dark oblivion (near the same)
The mistress of man’s life, grave History,
*Raising the world to good and evil fame*,
Doth vindicate it to eternity.
Wise Providence would so : that nor the good
Might be defrauded, nor the great secured,
But both might know their ways were understood,
Which makes that, lighted by the beamy hand
Of Truth, that searcheth the most hidden springs,
And guided by Experience, whose straight wand
Doth mete, whose line doth sound the depth of things ;
She cheerfully supporteth what she rears,
Assisted by no strengths but are her own,
Some note of which each varied pillar bears,
By which, as proper titles, she is known
Time's witness, herald of Antiquity,
The light of Truth, and life of Memory.
Post by Don
Post by Dennis
So why does Jonson feel it is necessary in the First Folio to conceal his scorn for Shakespeare under the cover of figurative language?
That's explained by the need to conceal Shakespeare's alter ego, of
course.
I agree. But I differ from many in that I do not think that Shakespeare's real name was concealed because he was too fabulous or too genetically special - but because of his apparent refusal to reform himself and his art along more correct lines. Jonson used the authority of classical authors as a stick to beat and chop Shakespeare with, and he was also a great admirer of the Sidney circle. IMO, Oxford was obliterated as a result of the factional politics at the end of Elizabeth's reign. Prospero's stolen dukedom?
But his Book - or rather his Wit, could no more be drowned - could 'no more lie hid, then it could be lost.'(FF)
Post by Don
Post by Dennis
****************************************
The Idea of Ancient Literary Criticism
By Yun Lee
...In his treatise On Style, Demetrius declares that figured language must be employed if somebody wishes to address and to criticize eithera tyrant or a powerful individual, and he advocates this as a middle course between flattery, which is base, and direct criticism, which is dangerous. Ahl notes, in an essay entitled 'The Art of Safe Criticism', that Quintilian, Vespasian's imperial rhetorician, subsequently elaborates Demetrius' account of the political use of figured language at Institutio oratoria 9.2.66. Quintilian sets out three different occasions on which figured language, which he defines as language that is changed from its most obvious and uncomplicated usage by poetic or oratorical usage (9.1.13), may be employed. The first of these concerns when it is dangerous to speak openly; the second concerns propriety - where the Latin 'it is not fitting/suitable ('non decet' ) perhaps renders the Greek 'improper' (aprepes); while the third advocates the use of figured
language
Post by Don
Post by Dennis
where the novelty of such structures may produce delight and pleasure. Of these three occasions, the first is the most obviously political, and what Quintilian proposes is a need for the author in question to tread warily around authority, particularly as author and political leader may be at odds.
****************************************
Judicious Jonson appears to have maintained an attitude of disdain for Shakespeare’s tendency to pander to public tastes, and his apparent willingness to deform his own ‘art’ in the pursuit of audience pleasing. Jonson’s rigorous attentions to the rules of his own ars and his determination to stay true to the ethical component of his literary project set him at odds with the more popular and fashionable Shakespeare.
Except that Jonson was more popular than Shakespeare.
Given how many times Jonson declared his disgust for the ignorant nut-crackers I don't think he was trying for popularity. Admiring Jonson more than Shakespeare became a sign of intellectual and moral discretion - but I think Shakespeare could always fill up a room. And I'm sure I can't even imagine what was going on with those jigs and enterludes.
Post by Don
Post by Dennis
In 1623 when the First Folio was published, most of the ‘matter’ encoded in the comically inflated encomium must have been unintelligible to most – but with the publication of Jonson’s 'Discoveries', English speakers without a classical education could begin to notice the jarring disconnects between the superficial and figural praise of Shakespeare in the First Folio and the ‘matter’ that Jonson had wrested out of his reading and preserved in his 'Discoveries'.
A couple of hundred years of Bardolatry have rendered Jonson’s criticisms almost illegible – even at times transforming the rude and disproportionate Droeshout engraving into something beautiful! The simple idea that an unexemplary figure could be cut to represent an unexemplary poet has become impossible to reconcile with the immensity of Shakespeare’s posthumous reputation. It is easier to believe that severe Jonson somehow became as indiscriminating as a star-struck teen-age girl - despite years of sniping and griping at Shakespearean excesses and extravagances. The Monument Shakespeare (monument from monere – to remind/WARN) stands as a warning to serious men – not an endorsement.
I assume some see the Droeshout engraving/portrait in the frontispiece
of the FF as something of a very clever composite, which in the
abstract signifies more than the literal representation. Shakespeare
was "abstract" like Hamlet, you know. I bet some like Picasso like
it.
The Figure is most notable for being ambisinister - two left arms. In Jonson's lexicon that means Shakespeare couldn't/wouldn't write the 'right' way. Horace uses the word 'sinistre' to describe writing the 'wrong' way.
I read, too, that one can do portraits with a mirror, reflecting one
completed half to the other side, somehow; bilateral symmetry.
Post by Dennis
Jonson, 'Discoveries'
...BUT WHY DO men depart at all from the RIGHT and NATURAL WAYS of speaking?
____________________________________________
Horace Of the Art of Poetry - transl. Ben Jonson
...Most writers, noble sire and either son,
Are, with the likeness of the truth, undone.
Myself for shortness labour, and I grow
Obscure. This, striving to run smooth,
and flow,
Hath neither soul nor sinews. Lofty he
Professing greatness, swells; that, low by lee,
Creeps on the ground; too safe, afraid of storm.
This seeking, in a various kind, to form
One thing PRODIGIOUSLY, paints in the woods
A dolphin, and a boar amid the floods.
So shunning faults to greater fault doth lead,
When in a WRONG AND ARTLESS WAY WE TREAD.
_________________________________________
Sidney, Defence of Poetry
...But besides these GROSSE ABSURDITIES, howe all their Playes bee neither RIGHT Tragedies, nor RIGHT Comedies, mingling Kinges and Clownes, not because the matter so carrieth it, but thrust in the Clowne by head and shoulders to play a part in majesticall matters, with neither DECENCIE NOR DISCRETION: so as neither the admiration and Commiseration, nor the the RIGHT sportfulnesse is by their mongrell Tragicomedie obtained.
________________________________
"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" (Gentlemen's Tailor Magazine April 1911)
_____________________________________________________________
*A body without proportion cannot be goodly*' (Disc., ll. 2739-40) -- Jonson
_______________________________________
Jonson, Cynthia's Revels
TO THE
SPECIAL FOUNTAIN of MANNERS,
The Court.
THou art a Bountiful and Brave Spring, and waterest all the Noble Plants of this Island. In thee the whole Kingdom dresseth it self, and is ambitious to use thee as her Glass. Beware then thou RENDER MENS FIGURES TRULY, and teach them no less to hate their Deformities, than to love their Forms: For, to Grace, there should come Reverence; and no Man can call that Lovely, which is not also Venerable. It is not Powd'ring, Perfuming, and every day smelling of the Taylor, that converteth to a Beautiful Object: but a Mind shining through any Sute, which needs no False Light, either of Riches or Honours, to help it.
Post by Don
To cut to the chase, I really agree with your premise that Jonson is a
great critic and all-around Renaissance Man. I like the idea that he
may have composed the epitaph on Shakespeare's tomb. bookburn
Hi bookburn. I don't know what the heck is going on over in Stratford - except that Fulke Greville was Recorder and he greatly favoured Sidney over Oxford. Greville was completely dedicated to ensuring the pre-eminence of Sidney's fame. He even planned a double tomb for the two of them! Sidney's Achates. He was a great student of history and all of these literary machinations were most definitely in his wheelhouse.
Jonson just seems so much more straightforward to pin down if you really make an effort to read him - it's as if he wanted to be known for triumphing over Shakespeare. But figured/coded - not surprising for me since I believe 'Shakespeare' was an aristocrat - but also to protect the De Vere name for the rest of the family.
For example - take Jonson's 'Soul of the Age'. Jonson never had a good word for the age - called it a lying age, a deceitful age, and an ignorant age. The description of the Age as Ignorant is particularly interesting because it appears in the dedication of Catiline to William Herbert - one of the FF dedicatees.
Do you think Herbert didn't notice Jonson implication of Shakespeare as the 'Soul' of that same 'ignorant' age?
TO THE GREAT EXAMPLE OF HONOR, AND VERTVE, THE MOST NOBLE WILLIAM EARLE OF PENBROOKE, &c.
MY LORD,
IN so thicke, and darke an IGNORANCE, as now almost couers the AGE, I craue leaue to stand neare your Light: and, by that, to be read. Posterity may pay your Benefit the Honour, and Thanks; when it shall know, that you dare, in these JIG-GIVEN times, to countenance a Legitimate Poëme. I must call it so, against all noise of Opinion: from whose crude, and airy Reports, I appeale, to that great and singular Faculty of Iudgment in your Lordship, able to vindicate Truth from Error.
___________________________________________________
John Beaumont ,_Jonsonus Virbius_
…Twas he that found (plac'd) in the seat of wit,
Dull grinning IGNORANCE, and banish'd it;
He on the prostituted stage appears
To make men hear, not by their eyes, but ears;
Who painted virtues, that each one might know,
So that who could in JONSON'S lines be high
Needed not honours, or a riband buy ;
But vice he only shewed us in a glass,
Which by reflection of those rays that pass,
Retains the figure lively, set before,
And that withdrawn, reflects at us no more;
So, he observ'd the like decorum, when
When heretofore, the Vice's only note,
And sign from virtue was his party-coat;
When devils were the last men on the stage,
And pray'd for plenty, and the present AGE.
FALKLAND, _Jonsonus Virbius_
...How in an IGNORANT, and learn'd AGE he swaid,
(Of which the first he found, the second made)
How He, when he could know it, reapt his Fame,
Best, Nicole
Nice of you to weigh in with so much. Irony is that while agreeing
with what you say, I admit that my best argument for Stratman is the
evidence Jonson provides. bookburn
(snipping very long last part)
Hi bookburn,

I think the best evidence is the evidence Jonson provides. I'm just not sure people realize how severe Jonson was. I think Hamlet is a lot of the problem. IMO, Hamlet ventriloquizes Jonson - 'I know not seems' and the advice to the players are classic Jonson - so I think people believe there is more common ground between Shakespeare and Jonson (Horace/Horatio?) than there may have been.
I remember feeling quite depressed a few years ago when I realized that I would have to study Jonson rather than Shakespeare in order to address the authorship issue. But he repays all effort. However, to paraphrase Dryden - I admire Jonson, but I love Shakespeare.
regards,Nicole
Don
2017-12-04 01:23:22 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Dennis
Post by Don
Post by Dennis
Post by Don
Post by Dennis
Never, ever underestimate Jonson.
Ethical Thought and Ben Jonson's Poetry
G.A.E Parfitt
Abstract
Underestimation of Jonson's poetry is linked with misunderstanding of the nature of his classicism: a consideration of his ethical view helps to reduce this misunderstanding. "To Penshurst" indicates the extent to which Jonson's poetry is based on ethical discriminations and anchored in a contemporary environment, while a more general survey shows that most of the ethical views embodied in the poetry are familiar Elizabethan attitudes and that what Jonson thought does not, in any isolating sense, make him a classical writer, even where his poetry owes a verbal debt to Rome. Yet Jonson's poetry is distinctive, and this is because of the consistency of his ethical position throughout a long career and because of the centrality of this ethical position in his verse. This central ethical view is socially rather than religiously biassed and it is this that makes Jonson distinct among Elizabethan writers and that constitutes a significant link with Rome.
Except that some assume that Jonson's "link with Rome" came as a
consequence of his association with Shakespeare's Catholocism, but
after Shakespeare's death reverted to a more PC Protestantism.
I think more along the lines of Parfitt (see above) who writes that Jonson's 'central ethical view is socially rather than religiously biassed.' He took much of his matter from classical authors and seems to have set himself up as an arbiter of British manners and mores. And since I take Amorphus of 'Cynthia's Revels' to be Jonson's satirical portrait of Oxford/Shakespeare, I have to think that 'Shakespeare' was essentially inimitable, and therefore completely unsuitable for Jonson's humanist project of education via exemplary models. Very early in Oxford's life Golding had warned him of the special responsibilities of an aristocrat in setting good examples and the fate of his name if he became an evil one.
I think Jonson was completely involved in the project of correcting and shaping the national character - perhaps even making it suitable stuff for empire-building?
I find myself in the absurd position of believing that although 'Shakespeare' is at the heart of Britishness - Oxford himself may have been judged to be too foreign, fantastic and effeminate to be set up as a role model for Britons and has consequently been set outside the pale! But paradox is at the heart of Shakespeare so why not this?
Post by Don
Post by Dennis
The ethical emphasis is seen to be
connected with the great virtues of Jonson's poetry: its "tough reasonableness" and its concentrated insights into aspects of human experience.
*****************************************
For Jonson, good men who were worthy of imitation were to be set up as exemplary figures. Those that were of questionable or inconstant virtue were the subject of scorn, and did not deserve to have their names immortalized.
I think it was Eliot and/or Johnson who followed Jonson in this?
I think it is a fairly commonplace idea.
In his thesis about Heroes and Hero Worship, I think Carlyle mentions
Shakespeare as heroic.
Post by Dennis
In morall TRVTH some later Poets faine,
How when we leaue this vaile of misery,
That Time giues Abstracts, which our names containe,
Which flickering Fowle, that about Lethe flye,
Catch in their Beakes, but let them fall againe,
Such are rude men that drowne all memory;
But if a Swan doe get a Heroes name,
He consecrates it straight t'immortall Fame.
(snip)
... HEE knew that Armes was th'exercise of KINGS;
The spurre to Fame, roote of NOBILITIES
Hee knew his BIRTH and SPIRIT had lent him wings
Hee likewise knew Fames Trumpet neuer rings
Of delicate Courtship, but with Infamy;
Hee knew that Souldiers vs'd n'affected words,
Whose Tongues are SPEARES, their Oratory swords.
...Or perhaps I should say 'was a commonplace idea.' Fame and infamy seem to be indistinguishable these days.
Jonson
XLII. — THE *MIND* OF THE FRONTISPIECE
TO A BOOK.
From death and dark oblivion (near the same)
The mistress of man’s life, grave History,
*Raising the world to good and evil fame*,
Doth vindicate it to eternity.
Wise Providence would so : that nor the good
Might be defrauded, nor the great secured,
But both might know their ways were understood,
Which makes that, lighted by the beamy hand
Of Truth, that searcheth the most hidden springs,
And guided by Experience, whose straight wand
Doth mete, whose line doth sound the depth of things ;
She cheerfully supporteth what she rears,
Assisted by no strengths but are her own,
Some note of which each varied pillar bears,
By which, as proper titles, she is known
Time's witness, herald of Antiquity,
The light of Truth, and life of Memory.
Post by Don
Post by Dennis
So why does Jonson feel it is necessary in the First Folio to conceal his scorn for Shakespeare under the cover of figurative language?
That's explained by the need to conceal Shakespeare's alter ego, of
course.
I agree. But I differ from many in that I do not think that Shakespeare's real name was concealed because he was too fabulous or too genetically special - but because of his apparent refusal to reform himself and his art along more correct lines. Jonson used the authority of classical authors as a stick to beat and chop Shakespeare with, and he was also a great admirer of the Sidney circle. IMO, Oxford was obliterated as a result of the factional politics at the end of Elizabeth's reign. Prospero's stolen dukedom?
But his Book - or rather his Wit, could no more be drowned - could 'no more lie hid, then it could be lost.'(FF)
Post by Don
Post by Dennis
****************************************
The Idea of Ancient Literary Criticism
By Yun Lee
...In his treatise On Style, Demetrius declares that figured language must be employed if somebody wishes to address and to criticize eithera tyrant or a powerful individual, and he advocates this as a middle course between flattery, which is base, and direct criticism, which is dangerous. Ahl notes, in an essay entitled 'The Art of Safe Criticism', that Quintilian, Vespasian's imperial rhetorician, subsequently elaborates Demetrius' account of the political use of figured language at Institutio oratoria 9.2.66. Quintilian sets out three different occasions on which figured language, which he defines as language that is changed from its most obvious and uncomplicated usage by poetic or oratorical usage (9.1.13), may be employed. The first of these concerns when it is dangerous to speak openly; the second concerns propriety - where the Latin 'it is not fitting/suitable ('non decet' ) perhaps renders the Greek 'improper' (aprepes); while the third advocates the use of figured
language
Post by Don
Post by Dennis
where the novelty of such structures may produce delight and pleasure. Of these three occasions, the first is the most obviously political, and what Quintilian proposes is a need for the author in question to tread warily around authority, particularly as author and political leader may be at odds.
****************************************
Judicious Jonson appears to have maintained an attitude of disdain for Shakespeare’s tendency to pander to public tastes, and his apparent willingness to deform his own ‘art’ in the pursuit of audience pleasing. Jonson’s rigorous attentions to the rules of his own ars and his determination to stay true to the ethical component of his literary project set him at odds with the more popular and fashionable Shakespeare.
Except that Jonson was more popular than Shakespeare.
Given how many times Jonson declared his disgust for the ignorant nut-crackers I don't think he was trying for popularity. Admiring Jonson more than Shakespeare became a sign of intellectual and moral discretion - but I think Shakespeare could always fill up a room. And I'm sure I can't even imagine what was going on with those jigs and enterludes.
Post by Don
Post by Dennis
In 1623 when the First Folio was published, most of the ‘matter’ encoded in the comically inflated encomium must have been unintelligible to most – but with the publication of Jonson’s 'Discoveries', English speakers without a classical education could begin to notice the jarring disconnects between the superficial and figural praise of Shakespeare in the First Folio and the ‘matter’ that Jonson had wrested out of his reading and preserved in his 'Discoveries'.
A couple of hundred years of Bardolatry have rendered Jonson’s criticisms almost illegible – even at times transforming the rude and disproportionate Droeshout engraving into something beautiful! The simple idea that an unexemplary figure could be cut to represent an unexemplary poet has become impossible to reconcile with the immensity of Shakespeare’s posthumous reputation. It is easier to believe that severe Jonson somehow became as indiscriminating as a star-struck teen-age girl - despite years of sniping and griping at Shakespearean excesses and extravagances. The Monument Shakespeare (monument from monere – to remind/WARN) stands as a warning to serious men – not an endorsement.
I assume some see the Droeshout engraving/portrait in the frontispiece
of the FF as something of a very clever composite, which in the
abstract signifies more than the literal representation. Shakespeare
was "abstract" like Hamlet, you know. I bet some like Picasso like
it.
The Figure is most notable for being ambisinister - two left arms. In Jonson's lexicon that means Shakespeare couldn't/wouldn't write the 'right' way. Horace uses the word 'sinistre' to describe writing the 'wrong' way.
I read, too, that one can do portraits with a mirror, reflecting one
completed half to the other side, somehow; bilateral symmetry.
Post by Dennis
Jonson, 'Discoveries'
...BUT WHY DO men depart at all from the RIGHT and NATURAL WAYS of speaking?
____________________________________________
Horace Of the Art of Poetry - transl. Ben Jonson
...Most writers, noble sire and either son,
Are, with the likeness of the truth, undone.
Myself for shortness labour, and I grow
Obscure. This, striving to run smooth,
and flow,
Hath neither soul nor sinews. Lofty he
Professing greatness, swells; that, low by lee,
Creeps on the ground; too safe, afraid of storm.
This seeking, in a various kind, to form
One thing PRODIGIOUSLY, paints in the woods
A dolphin, and a boar amid the floods.
So shunning faults to greater fault doth lead,
When in a WRONG AND ARTLESS WAY WE TREAD.
_________________________________________
Sidney, Defence of Poetry
...But besides these GROSSE ABSURDITIES, howe all their Playes bee neither RIGHT Tragedies, nor RIGHT Comedies, mingling Kinges and Clownes, not because the matter so carrieth it, but thrust in the Clowne by head and shoulders to play a part in majesticall matters, with neither DECENCIE NOR DISCRETION: so as neither the admiration and Commiseration, nor the the RIGHT sportfulnesse is by their mongrell Tragicomedie obtained.
________________________________
"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" (Gentlemen's Tailor Magazine April 1911)
_____________________________________________________________
*A body without proportion cannot be goodly*' (Disc., ll. 2739-40) -- Jonson
_______________________________________
Jonson, Cynthia's Revels
TO THE
SPECIAL FOUNTAIN of MANNERS,
The Court.
THou art a Bountiful and Brave Spring, and waterest all the Noble Plants of this Island. In thee the whole Kingdom dresseth it self, and is ambitious to use thee as her Glass. Beware then thou RENDER MENS FIGURES TRULY, and teach them no less to hate their Deformities, than to love their Forms: For, to Grace, there should come Reverence; and no Man can call that Lovely, which is not also Venerable. It is not Powd'ring, Perfuming, and every day smelling of the Taylor, that converteth to a Beautiful Object: but a Mind shining through any Sute, which needs no False Light, either of Riches or Honours, to help it.
Post by Don
To cut to the chase, I really agree with your premise that Jonson is a
great critic and all-around Renaissance Man. I like the idea that he
may have composed the epitaph on Shakespeare's tomb. bookburn
Hi bookburn. I don't know what the heck is going on over in Stratford - except that Fulke Greville was Recorder and he greatly favoured Sidney over Oxford. Greville was completely dedicated to ensuring the pre-eminence of Sidney's fame. He even planned a double tomb for the two of them! Sidney's Achates. He was a great student of history and all of these literary machinations were most definitely in his wheelhouse.
Jonson just seems so much more straightforward to pin down if you really make an effort to read him - it's as if he wanted to be known for triumphing over Shakespeare. But figured/coded - not surprising for me since I believe 'Shakespeare' was an aristocrat - but also to protect the De Vere name for the rest of the family.
For example - take Jonson's 'Soul of the Age'. Jonson never had a good word for the age - called it a lying age, a deceitful age, and an ignorant age. The description of the Age as Ignorant is particularly interesting because it appears in the dedication of Catiline to William Herbert - one of the FF dedicatees.
Do you think Herbert didn't notice Jonson implication of Shakespeare as the 'Soul' of that same 'ignorant' age?
TO THE GREAT EXAMPLE OF HONOR, AND VERTVE, THE MOST NOBLE WILLIAM EARLE OF PENBROOKE, &c.
MY LORD,
IN so thicke, and darke an IGNORANCE, as now almost couers the AGE, I craue leaue to stand neare your Light: and, by that, to be read. Posterity may pay your Benefit the Honour, and Thanks; when it shall know, that you dare, in these JIG-GIVEN times, to countenance a Legitimate Poëme. I must call it so, against all noise of Opinion: from whose crude, and airy Reports, I appeale, to that great and singular Faculty of Iudgment in your Lordship, able to vindicate Truth from Error.
___________________________________________________
John Beaumont ,_Jonsonus Virbius_
…Twas he that found (plac'd) in the seat of wit,
Dull grinning IGNORANCE, and banish'd it;
He on the prostituted stage appears
To make men hear, not by their eyes, but ears;
Who painted virtues, that each one might know,
So that who could in JONSON'S lines be high
Needed not honours, or a riband buy ;
But vice he only shewed us in a glass,
Which by reflection of those rays that pass,
Retains the figure lively, set before,
And that withdrawn, reflects at us no more;
So, he observ'd the like decorum, when
When heretofore, the Vice's only note,
And sign from virtue was his party-coat;
When devils were the last men on the stage,
And pray'd for plenty, and the present AGE.
FALKLAND, _Jonsonus Virbius_
...How in an IGNORANT, and learn'd AGE he swaid,
(Of which the first he found, the second made)
How He, when he could know it, reapt his Fame,
Best, Nicole
Nice of you to weigh in with so much. Irony is that while agreeing
with what you say, I admit that my best argument for Stratman is the
evidence Jonson provides. bookburn
(snipping very long last part)
Hi bookburn,
I think the best evidence is the evidence Jonson provides. I'm just not sure people realize how severe Jonson was. I think Hamlet is a lot of the problem. IMO, Hamlet ventriloquizes Jonson - 'I know not seems' and the advice to the players are classic Jonson - so I think people believe there is more common ground between Shakespeare and Jonson (Horace/Horatio?) than there may have been.
I remember feeling quite depressed a few years ago when I realized that I would have to study Jonson rather than Shakespeare in order to address the authorship issue. But he repays all effort. However, to paraphrase Dryden - I admire Jonson, but I love Shakespeare.
regards,Nicole
BTW, inspired by your references, I looked up Picasso Shakespeare, and
came up with
http://www.shakespearemelodijo.com/2015/10/william-j-ray-droeshout-portrait-and.html
which is more than academic wit, but funny and knowledgeable about how
art works and the need for doing reference work. Seems better than
finding a dry analysis of Droeshout and Picasso. bookburn
Dennis
2017-12-04 17:02:44 UTC
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Post by Don
Post by Dennis
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Never, ever underestimate Jonson.
Ethical Thought and Ben Jonson's Poetry
G.A.E Parfitt
Abstract
Underestimation of Jonson's poetry is linked with misunderstanding of the nature of his classicism: a consideration of his ethical view helps to reduce this misunderstanding. "To Penshurst" indicates the extent to which Jonson's poetry is based on ethical discriminations and anchored in a contemporary environment, while a more general survey shows that most of the ethical views embodied in the poetry are familiar Elizabethan attitudes and that what Jonson thought does not, in any isolating sense, make him a classical writer, even where his poetry owes a verbal debt to Rome. Yet Jonson's poetry is distinctive, and this is because of the consistency of his ethical position throughout a long career and because of the centrality of this ethical position in his verse. This central ethical view is socially rather than religiously biassed and it is this that makes Jonson distinct among Elizabethan writers and that constitutes a significant link with Rome.
Except that some assume that Jonson's "link with Rome" came as a
consequence of his association with Shakespeare's Catholocism, but
after Shakespeare's death reverted to a more PC Protestantism.
I think more along the lines of Parfitt (see above) who writes that Jonson's 'central ethical view is socially rather than religiously biassed.' He took much of his matter from classical authors and seems to have set himself up as an arbiter of British manners and mores. And since I take Amorphus of 'Cynthia's Revels' to be Jonson's satirical portrait of Oxford/Shakespeare, I have to think that 'Shakespeare' was essentially inimitable, and therefore completely unsuitable for Jonson's humanist project of education via exemplary models. Very early in Oxford's life Golding had warned him of the special responsibilities of an aristocrat in setting good examples and the fate of his name if he became an evil one.
I think Jonson was completely involved in the project of correcting and shaping the national character - perhaps even making it suitable stuff for empire-building?
I find myself in the absurd position of believing that although 'Shakespeare' is at the heart of Britishness - Oxford himself may have been judged to be too foreign, fantastic and effeminate to be set up as a role model for Britons and has consequently been set outside the pale! But paradox is at the heart of Shakespeare so why not this?
Post by Don
Post by Dennis
The ethical emphasis is seen to be
connected with the great virtues of Jonson's poetry: its "tough reasonableness" and its concentrated insights into aspects of human experience.
*****************************************
For Jonson, good men who were worthy of imitation were to be set up as exemplary figures. Those that were of questionable or inconstant virtue were the subject of scorn, and did not deserve to have their names immortalized.
I think it was Eliot and/or Johnson who followed Jonson in this?
I think it is a fairly commonplace idea.
In his thesis about Heroes and Hero Worship, I think Carlyle mentions
Shakespeare as heroic.
Post by Dennis
In morall TRVTH some later Poets faine,
How when we leaue this vaile of misery,
That Time giues Abstracts, which our names containe,
Which flickering Fowle, that about Lethe flye,
Catch in their Beakes, but let them fall againe,
Such are rude men that drowne all memory;
But if a Swan doe get a Heroes name,
He consecrates it straight t'immortall Fame.
(snip)
... HEE knew that Armes was th'exercise of KINGS;
The spurre to Fame, roote of NOBILITIES
Hee knew his BIRTH and SPIRIT had lent him wings
Hee likewise knew Fames Trumpet neuer rings
Of delicate Courtship, but with Infamy;
Hee knew that Souldiers vs'd n'affected words,
Whose Tongues are SPEARES, their Oratory swords.
...Or perhaps I should say 'was a commonplace idea.' Fame and infamy seem to be indistinguishable these days.
Jonson
XLII. — THE *MIND* OF THE FRONTISPIECE
TO A BOOK.
From death and dark oblivion (near the same)
The mistress of man’s life, grave History,
*Raising the world to good and evil fame*,
Doth vindicate it to eternity.
Wise Providence would so : that nor the good
Might be defrauded, nor the great secured,
But both might know their ways were understood,
Which makes that, lighted by the beamy hand
Of Truth, that searcheth the most hidden springs,
And guided by Experience, whose straight wand
Doth mete, whose line doth sound the depth of things ;
She cheerfully supporteth what she rears,
Assisted by no strengths but are her own,
Some note of which each varied pillar bears,
By which, as proper titles, she is known
Time's witness, herald of Antiquity,
The light of Truth, and life of Memory.
Post by Don
Post by Dennis
So why does Jonson feel it is necessary in the First Folio to conceal his scorn for Shakespeare under the cover of figurative language?
That's explained by the need to conceal Shakespeare's alter ego, of
course.
I agree. But I differ from many in that I do not think that Shakespeare's real name was concealed because he was too fabulous or too genetically special - but because of his apparent refusal to reform himself and his art along more correct lines. Jonson used the authority of classical authors as a stick to beat and chop Shakespeare with, and he was also a great admirer of the Sidney circle. IMO, Oxford was obliterated as a result of the factional politics at the end of Elizabeth's reign. Prospero's stolen dukedom?
But his Book - or rather his Wit, could no more be drowned - could 'no more lie hid, then it could be lost.'(FF)
Post by Don
Post by Dennis
****************************************
The Idea of Ancient Literary Criticism
By Yun Lee
...In his treatise On Style, Demetrius declares that figured language must be employed if somebody wishes to address and to criticize eithera tyrant or a powerful individual, and he advocates this as a middle course between flattery, which is base, and direct criticism, which is dangerous. Ahl notes, in an essay entitled 'The Art of Safe Criticism', that Quintilian, Vespasian's imperial rhetorician, subsequently elaborates Demetrius' account of the political use of figured language at Institutio oratoria 9.2.66. Quintilian sets out three different occasions on which figured language, which he defines as language that is changed from its most obvious and uncomplicated usage by poetic or oratorical usage (9.1.13), may be employed. The first of these concerns when it is dangerous to speak openly; the second concerns propriety - where the Latin 'it is not fitting/suitable ('non decet' ) perhaps renders the Greek 'improper' (aprepes); while the third advocates the use of figured
language
Post by Don
Post by Dennis
where the novelty of such structures may produce delight and pleasure. Of these three occasions, the first is the most obviously political, and what Quintilian proposes is a need for the author in question to tread warily around authority, particularly as author and political leader may be at odds.
****************************************
Judicious Jonson appears to have maintained an attitude of disdain for Shakespeare’s tendency to pander to public tastes, and his apparent willingness to deform his own ‘art’ in the pursuit of audience pleasing. Jonson’s rigorous attentions to the rules of his own ars and his determination to stay true to the ethical component of his literary project set him at odds with the more popular and fashionable Shakespeare.
Except that Jonson was more popular than Shakespeare.
Given how many times Jonson declared his disgust for the ignorant nut-crackers I don't think he was trying for popularity. Admiring Jonson more than Shakespeare became a sign of intellectual and moral discretion - but I think Shakespeare could always fill up a room. And I'm sure I can't even imagine what was going on with those jigs and enterludes.
Post by Don
Post by Dennis
In 1623 when the First Folio was published, most of the ‘matter’ encoded in the comically inflated encomium must have been unintelligible to most – but with the publication of Jonson’s 'Discoveries', English speakers without a classical education could begin to notice the jarring disconnects between the superficial and figural praise of Shakespeare in the First Folio and the ‘matter’ that Jonson had wrested out of his reading and preserved in his 'Discoveries'.
A couple of hundred years of Bardolatry have rendered Jonson’s criticisms almost illegible – even at times transforming the rude and disproportionate Droeshout engraving into something beautiful! The simple idea that an unexemplary figure could be cut to represent an unexemplary poet has become impossible to reconcile with the immensity of Shakespeare’s posthumous reputation. It is easier to believe that severe Jonson somehow became as indiscriminating as a star-struck teen-age girl - despite years of sniping and griping at Shakespearean excesses and extravagances. The Monument Shakespeare (monument from monere – to remind/WARN) stands as a warning to serious men – not an endorsement.
I assume some see the Droeshout engraving/portrait in the frontispiece
of the FF as something of a very clever composite, which in the
abstract signifies more than the literal representation. Shakespeare
was "abstract" like Hamlet, you know. I bet some like Picasso like
it.
The Figure is most notable for being ambisinister - two left arms. In Jonson's lexicon that means Shakespeare couldn't/wouldn't write the 'right' way. Horace uses the word 'sinistre' to describe writing the 'wrong' way.
I read, too, that one can do portraits with a mirror, reflecting one
completed half to the other side, somehow; bilateral symmetry.
Post by Dennis
Jonson, 'Discoveries'
...BUT WHY DO men depart at all from the RIGHT and NATURAL WAYS of speaking?
____________________________________________
Horace Of the Art of Poetry - transl. Ben Jonson
...Most writers, noble sire and either son,
Are, with the likeness of the truth, undone.
Myself for shortness labour, and I grow
Obscure. This, striving to run smooth,
and flow,
Hath neither soul nor sinews. Lofty he
Professing greatness, swells; that, low by lee,
Creeps on the ground; too safe, afraid of storm.
This seeking, in a various kind, to form
One thing PRODIGIOUSLY, paints in the woods
A dolphin, and a boar amid the floods.
So shunning faults to greater fault doth lead,
When in a WRONG AND ARTLESS WAY WE TREAD.
_________________________________________
Sidney, Defence of Poetry
...But besides these GROSSE ABSURDITIES, howe all their Playes bee neither RIGHT Tragedies, nor RIGHT Comedies, mingling Kinges and Clownes, not because the matter so carrieth it, but thrust in the Clowne by head and shoulders to play a part in majesticall matters, with neither DECENCIE NOR DISCRETION: so as neither the admiration and Commiseration, nor the the RIGHT sportfulnesse is by their mongrell Tragicomedie obtained.
________________________________
"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" (Gentlemen's Tailor Magazine April 1911)
_____________________________________________________________
*A body without proportion cannot be goodly*' (Disc., ll. 2739-40) -- Jonson
_______________________________________
Jonson, Cynthia's Revels
TO THE
SPECIAL FOUNTAIN of MANNERS,
The Court.
THou art a Bountiful and Brave Spring, and waterest all the Noble Plants of this Island. In thee the whole Kingdom dresseth it self, and is ambitious to use thee as her Glass. Beware then thou RENDER MENS FIGURES TRULY, and teach them no less to hate their Deformities, than to love their Forms: For, to Grace, there should come Reverence; and no Man can call that Lovely, which is not also Venerable. It is not Powd'ring, Perfuming, and every day smelling of the Taylor, that converteth to a Beautiful Object: but a Mind shining through any Sute, which needs no False Light, either of Riches or Honours, to help it.
Post by Don
To cut to the chase, I really agree with your premise that Jonson is a
great critic and all-around Renaissance Man. I like the idea that he
may have composed the epitaph on Shakespeare's tomb. bookburn
Hi bookburn. I don't know what the heck is going on over in Stratford - except that Fulke Greville was Recorder and he greatly favoured Sidney over Oxford. Greville was completely dedicated to ensuring the pre-eminence of Sidney's fame. He even planned a double tomb for the two of them! Sidney's Achates. He was a great student of history and all of these literary machinations were most definitely in his wheelhouse.
Jonson just seems so much more straightforward to pin down if you really make an effort to read him - it's as if he wanted to be known for triumphing over Shakespeare. But figured/coded - not surprising for me since I believe 'Shakespeare' was an aristocrat - but also to protect the De Vere name for the rest of the family.
For example - take Jonson's 'Soul of the Age'. Jonson never had a good word for the age - called it a lying age, a deceitful age, and an ignorant age. The description of the Age as Ignorant is particularly interesting because it appears in the dedication of Catiline to William Herbert - one of the FF dedicatees.
Do you think Herbert didn't notice Jonson implication of Shakespeare as the 'Soul' of that same 'ignorant' age?
TO THE GREAT EXAMPLE OF HONOR, AND VERTVE, THE MOST NOBLE WILLIAM EARLE OF PENBROOKE, &c.
MY LORD,
IN so thicke, and darke an IGNORANCE, as now almost couers the AGE, I craue leaue to stand neare your Light: and, by that, to be read. Posterity may pay your Benefit the Honour, and Thanks; when it shall know, that you dare, in these JIG-GIVEN times, to countenance a Legitimate Poëme. I must call it so, against all noise of Opinion: from whose crude, and airy Reports, I appeale, to that great and singular Faculty of Iudgment in your Lordship, able to vindicate Truth from Error.
___________________________________________________
John Beaumont ,_Jonsonus Virbius_
…Twas he that found (plac'd) in the seat of wit,
Dull grinning IGNORANCE, and banish'd it;
He on the prostituted stage appears
To make men hear, not by their eyes, but ears;
Who painted virtues, that each one might know,
So that who could in JONSON'S lines be high
Needed not honours, or a riband buy ;
But vice he only shewed us in a glass,
Which by reflection of those rays that pass,
Retains the figure lively, set before,
And that withdrawn, reflects at us no more;
So, he observ'd the like decorum, when
When heretofore, the Vice's only note,
And sign from virtue was his party-coat;
When devils were the last men on the stage,
And pray'd for plenty, and the present AGE.
FALKLAND, _Jonsonus Virbius_
...How in an IGNORANT, and learn'd AGE he swaid,
(Of which the first he found, the second made)
How He, when he could know it, reapt his Fame,
Best, Nicole
Nice of you to weigh in with so much. Irony is that while agreeing
with what you say, I admit that my best argument for Stratman is the
evidence Jonson provides. bookburn
(snipping very long last part)
Hi bookburn,
I think the best evidence is the evidence Jonson provides. I'm just not sure people realize how severe Jonson was. I think Hamlet is a lot of the problem. IMO, Hamlet ventriloquizes Jonson - 'I know not seems' and the advice to the players are classic Jonson - so I think people believe there is more common ground between Shakespeare and Jonson (Horace/Horatio?) than there may have been.
I remember feeling quite depressed a few years ago when I realized that I would have to study Jonson rather than Shakespeare in order to address the authorship issue. But he repays all effort. However, to paraphrase Dryden - I admire Jonson, but I love Shakespeare.
regards,Nicole
BTW, inspired by your references, I looked up Picasso Shakespeare, and
came up with
http://www.shakespearemelodijo.com/2015/10/william-j-ray-droeshout-portrait-and.html
which is more than academic wit, but funny and knowledgeable about how
art works and the need for doing reference work. Seems better than
finding a dry analysis of Droeshout and Picasso. bookburn
So many opinions. I can't blame Jonson for trying to create a 'ground' for his writings.

Jonson - Pleasure Reconciled
"I know it is now such a time as the Saturnals for all the world, that every man stands under the eves of his own hat, and sings what pleases him; that's the right and the liberty of it."

Sidney poet/maker:
Poesy, therefore, is an art of imitation; for so Aristotle termeth it in the word Mimesis; that is to say, a representing, counterfeiting, or figuring forth: to speak metaphorically, a speaking picture, with this end, to teach and delight.
It is not rhyming and versing that maketh a poet… but it is that feigning notable images of virtues, vices, or what else, with that delightful teaching, which must be the right describing note to know a poet by…

Jonson called himself a poet - not a playwright. He also called his plays 'poems.'

'To The Reader / This FIGURE, that thou here seest put, It was for gentle Shakespeare cut; Wherein the graver had a strife With nature, to out-doo the life: O, could he but have drawn his wit / As well in brasse as he hath hit His FACE...

Fashioning Shakespeare:

Facies - Face
make, form, configuration, figure, shape.
In partic., face, visage, countenance

facio
to make, construct, fashion, frame, build, erect, produce, compose

For a good poet's MADE, as well as born;
And such wert thou. Look how the father's FACE
Lives in his issue, Jonson – on Shakespeare

My Shakespeare, rise! - Jonson


Roman Honour: The Fire in the Bones
Carlin A. Barton

Making Faces

As a mortal, what one risked in the contest was one’s “face.” Latin ‘facies’ (from ‘facere’, to be effective, to pose, place, make) was not, like our “face,” something one was born with; it was something that one made, that one willed into existence. It was the manifestation of one’s being, the thing presented to view, the spectacle, form, or aspect. “some think that the ‘facies’ of a man refers only to the face, eyes and cheeks, what the Greeks call ‘prosopon’: whereas ‘facies’ refers to the whole form, the dimensions and, as it were, the construction (factura) or the entire body, being formed from ‘facio’ as ‘species’ is from ‘aspectus’ and ‘figura’ from ‘fingere’” (Gellius, Noctes Atticae 13.30.2). In its proper sense ‘facere’, ‘to make,’ is from facies ‘appearance’; he is said to facere, ‘to make,’ a thing, who puts a ‘facies’ ON THE THING HE MAKES. As the fictor, when he says fingo, ‘I shape,’ puts a figura, ‘shape,’ on the OBJECT.

Regards,
Nicole

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