Discussion:
Droeshout Figure as the Sign of Ugly Shakespeare
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Dennis
2021-02-14 22:51:08 UTC
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Edward de Vere was 'the best for comedy amongst us' - Palladis Tamia (1598) Francis Meres (1598)

Critical opinion thought comedy was a wretched thing. An aristocrat (high) who loved comedy (low) was paradoxical in nature.

My mind shies at the word ugly yoked with Shakespeare. It can be replaced with the translation 'bad' which is slightly more tolerable. The Droeshout signifies Bad Shakespeare or the bad poet Shakespeare.

Jonson - the father of English Literary Criticism - has put a terrible brand on 'Shake-speare' at the front of the First Folio. A 'fatherless' book 'Shakespeare' - like Melville's 'foundling' Billy Budd/Beauty.

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Aristotle, Poetics

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

The ridiculous, which Aristotle defines above as an error (hamartema) or ugliness (aischos) which does not cause pain and is not destructive, is clearly related to the doctrine of the inappropriate or incongruous which stands in the Rhetoric, associated with nemesan, in polar opposition to pity and fear. The ridiculous along with its constitutive elements of error and ugliness are certainly inappropriate characteristics of the spoudaios person and action as well as of the person and action that Aristotle would designate as the norm. We suggest that what the ridiculous (to geloion) characterizes is an important and special case of "the inappropriate and incongruous": the special case of comedy where the errors and ugliness involved must be painless.
We have then argued that a theory of comic emotion and comic action, analogous to that of tragic emotion and tragic action, can be discerned in passages in the Poetics and the Rhetoric that are fully consistent with each other in comedy, instead of pity and fear, we have nemesan, an emotion which must range from the savage indignation of Aristophanes to the muted admonishments of Chekhov for whatever is ridiculous and inappropriate in human behaviour. (Aristotle on Comedy, Leon Golden)

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Cutting a Ridiculous Droeshout Figure

Horace

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

(footnote - he is not ridiculous because the barber has cut his hair too short, but because he has cut it unequally - inaequalis tonsor)
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Jonson seems to be attempting some comedy of his own in the incongruity of the Droeshout Figure and the extravagant praise of the mock encomium (invective) of the accompanying poem. 'Flights upon the banks' - mountebank - and 'see thee in our waters yet appear' triggering images of urology, disease and contagion perhaps elicit feelings of 'righteous indignation' in certain minds - in my mind I see the destruction of Oxford's good name and fame.

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Jonson, _Timber_

The parts of a comedy and tragedy. - The parts of a comedy are the same with a tragedy, and the end is partly the same, for they both delight and teach; the comics are called διδασκαλοι, of the Greeks no less than the tragics.
Aristotle. - Plato. - Homer. - Nor is the moving of laughter always the end of comedy; that is rather a fowling for the people' s DELIGHT, or their fooling. For, as Aristotle says rightly, the moving of laughter is a fault in comedy, a kind of turpitude that depraves some part of a man' s nature without a disease. As a wry face without pain moves laughter, or a deformed vizard, or a rude clown dressed in a lady' s habit and using her actions; we dislike and scorn such representations which made the ancient philosophers ever think laughter unfitting in a wise man. And this induced Plato to esteem of Homer as a sacrilegious person, because he presented the gods sometimes laughing. As also it is divinely said of Aristotle, that to seen RIDICULOUS is a part of DISHONESTY, and foolish.


The wit of the old comedy. - So that what either in the words or sense of an author, or in the language or actions of men, is awry or depraved does strangely stir mean affections, and provoke for the most part to laughter. And therefore it was clear that all *insolent and obscene* speeches, jests upon the best men, injuries to particular persons, PERVERSE and SINISTER SAYINGS (and the rather unexpected) in the old comedy did move laughter, especially where it did imitate any DISHONESTY, and SCURRILITY came forth in the place of wit, which, who understands the nature and genius of laughter cannot but perfectly know.


Aristophanes. - Plautus. - Of which Aristophanes affords an ample harvest, having not only outgone Plautus or any other in that kind, but expressed all the moods and figures of what is RIDICULOUS oddly. In short, as vinegar is not accounted good until the wine be
corrupted, so jests that are true and natural seldom raise laughter with the beast the multitude. *They love nothing that is right and proper. The farther it runs from reason or possibility with them the better it is*.


Socrates. - Theatrical wit. - What could have made them laugh, like to see Socrates presented, that example of all good life, honesty, and virtue, to have him hoisted up with a pulley, and there play the philosopher in a basket; measure how many foot a flea could skip geometrically, by a just scale, and edify the people from the engine. This was theatrical wit, right stage jesting, and relishing a playhouse, invented for scorn and laughter; whereas, if it had savoured of equity, truth, perspicuity, and candour, to have tasted a wise or a learned palate, - spit it out presently! this is bitter and profitable: this instructs and would inform us: what need we know any thing, that are nobly born, more than a horse-race, or a hunting- match, our day to break with citizens, and such innate mysteries?

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Criticisms of Shakespeare appear to emphasize his extravagance - his disregard of boundaries, his imaginative excesses and his non-observance of classical rules.

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Mirth Making_, Chris Holcomb


In his Ethics, Aristotle suggests that *changes in stylistic and substantive predilections indicate advances in civilization*. While enumerating the differences between the jesting of a BUFFOON and a witty gentleman, Aristotle compares each character type to Old and New Comedy, respectively: "The difference (between a buffoon and a gentleman) may be seen by comparing the old and modern comedies; the earlier dramatists found their fun in obscenity, the modern prefer innuendo, which marks a great advance in decorum; (4.8.6). This comparison suggest that smutty humor is less civilized than the more refined humor delivered through innuendo. (footnote pp. 199-200)

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Bartholomew Fair, Jonson, From the Induction to the Stage


...If there be ne- ver a Servant-monster i' the Fair, who can help it, he says, nor a Nest of Antiques? He is loth to make Nature afraid in his Plays, like those that beget Tales, Tempests, and such like Drolleries, to MIX HIS HEAD with other MENS HEELS; let the concupiscence of Jigs and Dances, reign as strong as it will amongst you: yet if the Puppets will please any body, they shall be entreated to come in.

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-- CARTWRIGHT, WILLIAM, 1647,
Upon the Dramatick Poems of Mr. John Fletcher.

...Shakespeare to thee was DULL, whose best jest lyes
I'th Ladies questions, and the Fooles replyes; [70]
Old fashion'd wit, which walkt from town to town
In turn'd Hose, which our fathers call'd the CLOWN;
Whose wit our nice times would obsceannesse call,
And which made Bawdry passe for Comicall:
Nature was all his Art, thy veine was free
As his, but without his SCURILITY...

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Ben Jonson


De Shakespeare Nostrat 1

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; and to justify mine own candor, for I loved the man, and do honor his memory on this side idolatry as much as any. He was, indeed, honest, and of an open and free nature; had an excellent fancy, brave notions, and gentle expressions, wherein he flowed with that facility that sometime it was necessary he should be stopped. “Sufflaminandus erat,” 2 as Augustus said of Haterius. His wit was in his own power; would the rule of it had been so too. Many times he fell into those things, could not escape laughter, as when he said in the person of Cæsar, one speaking to him: “Cæsar, thou dost me wrong.” He replied: “Cæsar did never wrong but with just cause; 3 and such like, which were ridiculous. But he redeemed his vices with his virtues. There was ever more in him to be praised than to be pardoned.

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Puttenham, Arte of English Poesie


Now haue ye other VICIOUS MANNERS of speech, but sometimes and in some cases tollerable, and chiefly to the intent to mooue laughter, and to make sport, or to giue it some prety strange grace, and is when we vse such wordes as may be drawen to a foule and vnshamefast sence, as one that would say to a young woman, I pray you let me iape with you, which in deed is no more but let me sport with you. Yea and though it were not altogether so directly spoken, the very sounding of the word were not commendable, as he that in the presence of Ladies would vse this common Prouerbe,

Iape with me but hurt me not
Bourde with me but shame me not.

For it may be taken in another peruerser sence by that sorte of persons that heare it, in whose eares no such matter ought almost to be called in memory, this vice is called by the Greekes Cacemphaton, we call it the vnshamefast or figure of foule speech, which our courtly maker shall in any case shunne, least of a Poet he become a BUFFON or rayling companion, the Latins called him SCURRA. There is also another sort of ILFAVOURED speech subiect to this vice, but resting more in the manner of the ilshapen sound and accent, than for the matter it selfe, which may easily be auoyded in choosing your wordes those that bee of the pleasantest orthography, and not to rime too many like sounding words together.

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Sidney, Defence of Poetry:


But I have lavished out too many words of this playmatter. I do it, because as they are excelling parts of poesy, so is there none so much used in England, and none can be more pitifully ABUSED; which, like an unMANNERly daughter, showing a bad education, causeth her mother Poesy`s HONESTY to be called in question.

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(AN EXCELLENT FANCY)

No, I am that I am, and they that LEVEL
At my ABUSES reckon up their own:

Sidney, _Defence of Poesy_: eikastike vs. phantastike

But grant love of bewtie to be a beastly fault, although it be verie hard, since onely man and no beast hath that gift to discerne bewtie, graunt that lovely name of love to deserve all hatefull reproches, although even some of my maisters the Philosophers spent a good deale of their Lampoyle in setting foorth the excellencie of it, graunt I say, what they will have graunted, that not onelie love, but lust, but vanitie, but if they will list SCURRILITIE, possesse manie leaves of the Poets bookes, yet thinke I, when this is graunted, they will finde their sentence may with good manners put the last words foremost; and not say, that Poetrie ABUSETH mans wit, but that mans wit ABUSETH Poetrie. For I will not denie, but that mans wit may make Poesie, which should be EIKASTIKE, which some learned have defined figuring foorth good things to be PHANTASTIKE, which doth contrariwise INFECT the FANCIE with unWOORTHie objects, as the Painter should give to the eye either some excellent perspective, or some fine Picture fit for building or fortification, or containing in it some notable example, as Abraham sacrificing his sonne Isaack, Judith killing Holofernes, David fighting with Golias, may leave those, and please an ILL PLEASED EYE with WANTON SHEWES of better hidden matters. But what, shal the ABUSE of a thing, make the RIGHT use odious?

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Sidney, Defence of Poetry


But, besides these gross absurdities, how all their plays be neither right tragedies nor right comedies, mingling kings and clowns, not because the matter so carrieth it, but thrust in the clown by head and shoulders to play a part in majestical matters, with neither DECENCY nor DISCRETION; so as neither the admiration and commiseration, nor the right sportfulness, is by their mongrel tragi-comedy obtained. I know Apuleius did somewhat so, but that is a thing recounted with space of time, not represented in one moment; and I know the ancients have one or two examples of tragi-comedies, as Plautus hath Amphytrio. But, if we mark them well, we shall find that they never, or very daintily, match hornpipes and funerals. So falleth it out that, having indeed NO RIGHT COMEDY in that comical part of our tragedy, we have nothing but SCURRILITY, unworthy of any chaste ears, or some extreme show of doltihsness, indeed fit to lift up a loud laughter, and nothing else; where the whole tract of a comedy should be full of delight, as the tragedy should be still maintained in a well-raised admiration.

But OUR COMEDIANS think there is no delight without laughter, which is very wrong; for though laughter may come with delight, yet cometh it not of delight, as though delight should be the cause of laughter; but well may one thing breed both together. Nay, rather in themselves they have, as it were, a kind of contrariety. For delight we scarcely do, but in things that have a conveniency to ourselves, or to the general nature; laughter almost ever cometh of things most DISPROPORTIONED to ourselves and nature.
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Speculum Tuscanismi, Harvey.


'Tell me in good sooth, doth it not too evidently appeare, that this English Poet [Oxford] wanted but a good PATTERNE before his eyes, as it might be some delicate, and choyce elegant Poesie of good M. Sidneys, or M. Dyers (ouer very Castor, & Pollux for such and many greater matters) when this trimme geere was in hatching: Much like some Gentlewooman, I coulde name in England, who by all Phisick and Physiognomie too, Might as well have BROUGHT FORTH all goodly faire CHILDREN, as they have Now some YLFAVOURED and DEFORMED, had they at the tyme of their Conception, had in sight, the amiable and gallant beautifull Pictures of ADONIS, Cupido, Ganymedes, or the like, which no doubt would have wrought such deepe impression in their fantasies, and imaginations, astheir children, and perhappes their Childrens children to, myght have thanked them for, as long as they shall have Tongues in their heades."

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Author: Breton, Nicholas, 1545?-1626?

Title: The good and the badde, or Descriptions of the vvorthies, and vnworthies of this age Where the best may see their graces, and the worst discerne their basenesse.
Date: 1616

A Noble man.
A Noble man is a marke of Honour, where [ 8] the eye of wisedome in the obseruation of de|sert sees the fruit of Grace: hee is the Orient Pearle that Reason polisheth for the beauty of Na|ture, and the Diamond sparke where diuine Grace giues Vertue honour: he is the Note-booke of Mo|rall Discipline, where the conceit of care may finde the true Courtier: he is the Nurse of hospitality, the reliefe of necessitie, the loue of Charity, and the life of Bounty: hee is Learnings grace, and Valours fame, Wisedomes fruit, and kindnesse loue: hee is the true Falcon that feedes on no Carrion, the true Horse that will bee no Hackney, the true Dolphin that feares not the Whale, and the true man of God, that feares not the diuell. In summe, he is the Dar|ling of Nature, in Reasons Philosophy; the Load|starre of light in Loues Astronomie, the rauishing Sweet in the musique of Honour, and the golden number in Graces Arithmeticke.


An Vnnoble man.
AN Vnnoble man is the griefe of Reason, [ 9] when the title of Honour is put vpon the sub|iect of disgrace; when, either the imperfe|ction of wit, or the folly of will shewes an vnfitnesse in Nature for the vertue of Aduancement: he is the eye of basenesse, and spirit of grossenesse, and in the demeane of rudenesse the skorne of Noblenesse: he is a suspicion of a right Generation in the nature of his disposition, and a miserable plague to a femi|nine patience: Wisedome knowes him not, lear|ning bred him not, Vertue loues him not, and Ho|nour fits him not: Prodigality or Auarice are the notes of his inclination, and folly or mischiefe are the fruits of his inuention. In summe, he is the shame of his name, the disgrace of his place, the blot of his Title, and the ruine of his house.

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Sonnet 121

'Tis better to be vile than vile esteem'd,
When not to be receives reproach of being,
And the just pleasure lost which is so deem'd
Not by our feeling but by others' seeing:
For why should others false adulterate eyes
Give salutation to my sportive blood?
Or on my frailties why are frailer spies,
Which in their wills count bad what I think good?
No, I am that I am, and they that level
At my abuses reckon up their own:
I may be straight, though they themselves be bevel;
By their rank thoughts my deeds must not be shown;
Unless this general evil they maintain,
All men are bad, and in their badness reign.

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

Jasper Mayne
…And as thy Wit was like a Spring, so all
The soft streams of it we may Chrystall call:
No cloud of Fancie, no mysterious stroke,
No Verse like those which antient Sybils spoke;
No Oracle of Language, to amaze
The Reader with a dark, or Midnight Phrase,
Stands in thy Writings, which are all pure Day,
A cleer, bright Sunchine, and the mist away.
That which Thou wrot’st was sense, and that sense good,
Things not first written, and then understood:
Or if sometimes thy Fancy soar’d so high
As to seem lost to the unlearned Eye,
‘Twas but like generous Falcons, when high flown,
Which mount to make the Quarrey more their own.

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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Greville - Life of Sidney

Neither am I (for my part) so much in love with this life, nor believe so little in a better to come, as to complain of God for taking him [Sidney], and such like exorbitant WORTHYness from us: fit (as it were by an Ostracisme) to be divided, and not incorporated with our corruptions: yet for the sincere affection I bear to my Prince, and Country, my prayer to God is, that this WORTH, and Way may not fatally be buried with him; in respect, that both before his time, and since,experience hath published the usuall discipline of greatnes to have been tender of it self onely; making honour a triumph, or rather TROPHY of desire, set up in the eyes of Mankind, either to be worshiped as IDOLS, or else as Rebels to perish under her glorious oppressions. Notwithstanding, when the PRIDE of FLESH, and power of favour shall cease in these by death, or disgrace; what then hath time to register, or FAME to publish in these great mens names, that will not be offensive, or infectious to others? What Pen without BLOTTING can write the story of their deeds? Or what Herald blaze their Arms without a blemish? And as for their counsels and projects, when they come once to light, shall they not live as noysome, and loathsomely above ground, as their Authors carkasses lie in the grave? So as the return of such greatnes to the world, and themselves, can be but private reproach, publique ill example, and a fatall scorn to the Government they live in. Sir Philip Sidney is none of this number; for the greatness which he affected was built upon true WORTH; esteeming Fame more than Riches, and Noble actions far above Nobility it self.

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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.

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"To My Book" by Ben Jonson

It will be looked for, book, when some but see
Thy title, Epigrams, and named of me,
Thou should'st be bold, licentious, full of gall,
Wormwood, and sulphur, sharp, and toothed withal;
Become a petulant thing, hurl ink, and wit,
As madmen stones: not caring whom they hit.
Deceive their malice, who could wish it so.
And by thy wiser temper, let men know
Thou are not covetous of least self-fame.
Made from the hazard of another's shame:
Much less with lewd, profane, and beastly phrase,
To catch the world's loose laughter, or vain gaze.
He that departs with his own HONESTY.

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

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Jonson

De mollibus & effoemenatis There is nothing valiant, or solid to be hoped for from such, as are always kempt and perfumed; and every day smell of the tailor: the exceedingly curious, that are wholly in mending such an imperfection in the face, in taking away the morphew in the neck; or bleaching their hands at midnight, gumming and bridling their beards; or making the waist small, binding it with hoops, while the mind runs at WASTE: too much pickedness is not manly. Nor from those that will jest at their own outward imperfections, but hide their ulcers within, their pride, lust, envy, ill nature, with all the art and authority they can. These persons are in danger; for whilst they think to justify their ignorance by impudence, and their persons and clothes and outward ornaments; they use but a comission to deceive themselves. Where, if we will look with our understanding, and not our senses, we may behold virtue and beauty (though covered with rags) in their brightness; and vice, and DEFORMITY so much the fouler, in having all the splendour of riches to gild them, or the false light of honour and power to help them. Yet this is that, wherewith the world is taken, and runs mad to gaze on: clothes and titles, the birdlime of fools. (Discoveries 1751)
marc hanson
2021-02-15 13:33:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dennis
Edward de Vere was 'the best for comedy amongst us' - Palladis Tamia (1598) Francis Meres (1598)
Critical opinion thought comedy was a wretched thing. An aristocrat (high) who loved comedy (low) was paradoxical in nature.
My mind shies at the word ugly yoked with Shakespeare. It can be replaced with the translation 'bad' which is slightly more tolerable. The Droeshout signifies Bad Shakespeare or the bad poet Shakespeare.
Jonson - the father of English Literary Criticism - has put a terrible brand on 'Shake-speare' at the front of the First Folio. A 'fatherless' book 'Shakespeare' - like Melville's 'foundling' Billy Budd/Beauty.
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Aristotle, Poetics
As we have said, comedy is an imitation of baser men. These are characterized not by every kind of vice but specifically by the "ridiculous," which is a subdivision of the category of "deformity." What we mean by "the ridiculous' is some error or ugliness that is painless and has no harmful effects. The example that comes immediately to mind is the comic mask, which is ugly and distorted but causes no pain.
The ridiculous, which Aristotle defines above as an error (hamartema) or ugliness (aischos) which does not cause pain and is not destructive, is clearly related to the doctrine of the inappropriate or incongruous which stands in the Rhetoric, associated with nemesan, in polar opposition to pity and fear. The ridiculous along with its constitutive elements of error and ugliness are certainly inappropriate characteristics of the spoudaios person and action as well as of the person and action that Aristotle would designate as the norm. We suggest that what the ridiculous (to geloion) characterizes is an important and special case of "the inappropriate and incongruous": the special case of comedy where the errors and ugliness involved must be painless.
We have then argued that a theory of comic emotion and comic action, analogous to that of tragic emotion and tragic action, can be discerned in passages in the Poetics and the Rhetoric that are fully consistent with each other in comedy, instead of pity and fear, we have nemesan, an emotion which must range from the savage indignation of Aristophanes to the muted admonishments of Chekhov for whatever is ridiculous and inappropriate in human behaviour. (Aristotle on Comedy, Leon Golden)
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Cutting a Ridiculous Droeshout Figure
Horace
If I meet you with my hair cut by an uneven barber, you laugh [at me]: if I chance to have a ragged shirt under a handsome coat, or if my disproportioned gown fits me ill, you laugh.
(footnote - he is not ridiculous because the barber has cut his hair too short, but because he has cut it unequally - inaequalis tonsor)
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Jonson seems to be attempting some comedy of his own in the incongruity of the Droeshout Figure and the extravagant praise of the mock encomium (invective) of the accompanying poem. 'Flights upon the banks' - mountebank - and 'see thee in our waters yet appear' triggering images of urology, disease and contagion perhaps elicit feelings of 'righteous indignation' in certain minds - in my mind I see the destruction of Oxford's good name and fame.
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Jonson, _Timber_
The parts of a comedy and tragedy. - The parts of a comedy are the same with a tragedy, and the end is partly the same, for they both delight and teach; the comics are called διδασκαλοι, of the Greeks no less than the tragics.
Aristotle. - Plato. - Homer. - Nor is the moving of laughter always the end of comedy; that is rather a fowling for the people' s DELIGHT, or their fooling. For, as Aristotle says rightly, the moving of laughter is a fault in comedy, a kind of turpitude that depraves some part of a man' s nature without a disease. As a wry face without pain moves laughter, or a deformed vizard, or a rude clown dressed in a lady' s habit and using her actions; we dislike and scorn such representations which made the ancient philosophers ever think laughter unfitting in a wise man. And this induced Plato to esteem of Homer as a sacrilegious person, because he presented the gods sometimes laughing. As also it is divinely said of Aristotle, that to seen RIDICULOUS is a part of DISHONESTY, and foolish.
The wit of the old comedy. - So that what either in the words or sense of an author, or in the language or actions of men, is awry or depraved does strangely stir mean affections, and provoke for the most part to laughter. And therefore it was clear that all *insolent and obscene* speeches, jests upon the best men, injuries to particular persons, PERVERSE and SINISTER SAYINGS (and the rather unexpected) in the old comedy did move laughter, especially where it did imitate any DISHONESTY, and SCURRILITY came forth in the place of wit, which, who understands the nature and genius of laughter cannot but perfectly know.
Aristophanes. - Plautus. - Of which Aristophanes affords an ample harvest, having not only outgone Plautus or any other in that kind, but expressed all the moods and figures of what is RIDICULOUS oddly. In short, as vinegar is not accounted good until the wine be
corrupted, so jests that are true and natural seldom raise laughter with the beast the multitude. *They love nothing that is right and proper. The farther it runs from reason or possibility with them the better it is*.
Socrates. - Theatrical wit. - What could have made them laugh, like to see Socrates presented, that example of all good life, honesty, and virtue, to have him hoisted up with a pulley, and there play the philosopher in a basket; measure how many foot a flea could skip geometrically, by a just scale, and edify the people from the engine. This was theatrical wit, right stage jesting, and relishing a playhouse, invented for scorn and laughter; whereas, if it had savoured of equity, truth, perspicuity, and candour, to have tasted a wise or a learned palate, - spit it out presently! this is bitter and profitable: this instructs and would inform us: what need we know any thing, that are nobly born, more than a horse-race, or a hunting- match, our day to break with citizens, and such innate mysteries?
***********************************
Criticisms of Shakespeare appear to emphasize his extravagance - his disregard of boundaries, his imaginative excesses and his non-observance of classical rules.
*********************************
Mirth Making_, Chris Holcomb
In his Ethics, Aristotle suggests that *changes in stylistic and substantive predilections indicate advances in civilization*. While enumerating the differences between the jesting of a BUFFOON and a witty gentleman, Aristotle compares each character type to Old and New Comedy, respectively: "The difference (between a buffoon and a gentleman) may be seen by comparing the old and modern comedies; the earlier dramatists found their fun in obscenity, the modern prefer innuendo, which marks a great advance in decorum; (4.8.6). This comparison suggest that smutty humor is less civilized than the more refined humor delivered through innuendo. (footnote pp. 199-200)
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Bartholomew Fair, Jonson, From the Induction to the Stage
...If there be ne- ver a Servant-monster i' the Fair, who can help it, he says, nor a Nest of Antiques? He is loth to make Nature afraid in his Plays, like those that beget Tales, Tempests, and such like Drolleries, to MIX HIS HEAD with other MENS HEELS; let the concupiscence of Jigs and Dances, reign as strong as it will amongst you: yet if the Puppets will please any body, they shall be entreated to come in.
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-- CARTWRIGHT, WILLIAM, 1647,
Upon the Dramatick Poems of Mr. John Fletcher.
...Shakespeare to thee was DULL, whose best jest lyes
I'th Ladies questions, and the Fooles replyes; [70]
Old fashion'd wit, which walkt from town to town
In turn'd Hose, which our fathers call'd the CLOWN;
Whose wit our nice times would obsceannesse call,
Nature was all his Art, thy veine was free
As his, but without his SCURILITY...
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Ben Jonson
De Shakespeare Nostrat 1
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; and to justify mine own candor, for I loved the man, and do honor his memory on this side idolatry as much as any. He was, indeed, honest, and of an open and free nature; had an excellent fancy, brave notions, and gentle expressions, wherein he flowed with that facility that sometime it was necessary he should be stopped. “Sufflaminandus erat,” 2 as Augustus said of Haterius. His wit was in his own power; would the rule of it had been so too. Many times he fell into those things, could not escape laughter, as when he said in the person of Cæsar, one speaking to him: “Cæsar, thou dost me wrong.” He replied: “Cæsar did never wrong but with just cause; 3 and such like, which were ridiculous. But he redeemed his vices with his virtues. There was ever more in him to be praised than to be pardoned.
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Puttenham, Arte of English Poesie
Now haue ye other VICIOUS MANNERS of speech, but sometimes and in some cases tollerable, and chiefly to the intent to mooue laughter, and to make sport, or to giue it some prety strange grace, and is when we vse such wordes as may be drawen to a foule and vnshamefast sence, as one that would say to a young woman, I pray you let me iape with you, which in deed is no more but let me sport with you. Yea and though it were not altogether so directly spoken, the very sounding of the word were not commendable, as he that in the presence of Ladies would vse this common Prouerbe,
Iape with me but hurt me not
Bourde with me but shame me not.
For it may be taken in another peruerser sence by that sorte of persons that heare it, in whose eares no such matter ought almost to be called in memory, this vice is called by the Greekes Cacemphaton, we call it the vnshamefast or figure of foule speech, which our courtly maker shall in any case shunne, least of a Poet he become a BUFFON or rayling companion, the Latins called him SCURRA. There is also another sort of ILFAVOURED speech subiect to this vice, but resting more in the manner of the ilshapen sound and accent, than for the matter it selfe, which may easily be auoyded in choosing your wordes those that bee of the pleasantest orthography, and not to rime too many like sounding words together.
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But I have lavished out too many words of this playmatter. I do it, because as they are excelling parts of poesy, so is there none so much used in England, and none can be more pitifully ABUSED; which, like an unMANNERly daughter, showing a bad education, causeth her mother Poesy`s HONESTY to be called in question.
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(AN EXCELLENT FANCY)
No, I am that I am, and they that LEVEL
Sidney, _Defence of Poesy_: eikastike vs. phantastike
But grant love of bewtie to be a beastly fault, although it be verie hard, since onely man and no beast hath that gift to discerne bewtie, graunt that lovely name of love to deserve all hatefull reproches, although even some of my maisters the Philosophers spent a good deale of their Lampoyle in setting foorth the excellencie of it, graunt I say, what they will have graunted, that not onelie love, but lust, but vanitie, but if they will list SCURRILITIE, possesse manie leaves of the Poets bookes, yet thinke I, when this is graunted, they will finde their sentence may with good manners put the last words foremost; and not say, that Poetrie ABUSETH mans wit, but that mans wit ABUSETH Poetrie. For I will not denie, but that mans wit may make Poesie, which should be EIKASTIKE, which some learned have defined figuring foorth good things to be PHANTASTIKE, which doth contrariwise INFECT the FANCIE with unWOORTHie objects, as the Painter should give to the eye either some excellent perspective, or some fine Picture fit for building or fortification, or containing in it some notable example, as Abraham sacrificing his sonne Isaack, Judith killing Holofernes, David fighting with Golias, may leave those, and please an ILL PLEASED EYE with WANTON SHEWES of better hidden matters. But what, shal the ABUSE of a thing, make the RIGHT use odious?
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Sidney, Defence of Poetry
But, besides these gross absurdities, how all their plays be neither right tragedies nor right comedies, mingling kings and clowns, not because the matter so carrieth it, but thrust in the clown by head and shoulders to play a part in majestical matters, with neither DECENCY nor DISCRETION; so as neither the admiration and commiseration, nor the right sportfulness, is by their mongrel tragi-comedy obtained. I know Apuleius did somewhat so, but that is a thing recounted with space of time, not represented in one moment; and I know the ancients have one or two examples of tragi-comedies, as Plautus hath Amphytrio. But, if we mark them well, we shall find that they never, or very daintily, match hornpipes and funerals. So falleth it out that, having indeed NO RIGHT COMEDY in that comical part of our tragedy, we have nothing but SCURRILITY, unworthy of any chaste ears, or some extreme show of doltihsness, indeed fit to lift up a loud laughter, and nothing else; where the whole tract of a comedy should be full of delight, as the tragedy should be still maintained in a well-raised admiration.
But OUR COMEDIANS think there is no delight without laughter, which is very wrong; for though laughter may come with delight, yet cometh it not of delight, as though delight should be the cause of laughter; but well may one thing breed both together. Nay, rather in themselves they have, as it were, a kind of contrariety. For delight we scarcely do, but in things that have a conveniency to ourselves, or to the general nature; laughter almost ever cometh of things most DISPROPORTIONED to ourselves and nature.
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Speculum Tuscanismi, Harvey.
'Tell me in good sooth, doth it not too evidently appeare, that this English Poet [Oxford] wanted but a good PATTERNE before his eyes, as it might be some delicate, and choyce elegant Poesie of good M. Sidneys, or M. Dyers (ouer very Castor, & Pollux for such and many greater matters) when this trimme geere was in hatching: Much like some Gentlewooman, I coulde name in England, who by all Phisick and Physiognomie too, Might as well have BROUGHT FORTH all goodly faire CHILDREN, as they have Now some YLFAVOURED and DEFORMED, had they at the tyme of their Conception, had in sight, the amiable and gallant beautifull Pictures of ADONIS, Cupido, Ganymedes, or the like, which no doubt would have wrought such deepe impression in their fantasies, and imaginations, astheir children, and perhappes their Childrens children to, myght have thanked them for, as long as they shall have Tongues in their heades."
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Author: Breton, Nicholas, 1545?-1626?
Title: The good and the badde, or Descriptions of the vvorthies, and vnworthies of this age Where the best may see their graces, and the worst discerne their basenesse.
Date: 1616
A Noble man.
A Noble man is a marke of Honour, where [ 8] the eye of wisedome in the obseruation of de|sert sees the fruit of Grace: hee is the Orient Pearle that Reason polisheth for the beauty of Na|ture, and the Diamond sparke where diuine Grace giues Vertue honour: he is the Note-booke of Mo|rall Discipline, where the conceit of care may finde the true Courtier: he is the Nurse of hospitality, the reliefe of necessitie, the loue of Charity, and the life of Bounty: hee is Learnings grace, and Valours fame, Wisedomes fruit, and kindnesse loue: hee is the true Falcon that feedes on no Carrion, the true Horse that will bee no Hackney, the true Dolphin that feares not the Whale, and the true man of God, that feares not the diuell. In summe, he is the Dar|ling of Nature, in Reasons Philosophy; the Load|starre of light in Loues Astronomie, the rauishing Sweet in the musique of Honour, and the golden number in Graces Arithmeticke.
An Vnnoble man.
AN Vnnoble man is the griefe of Reason, [ 9] when the title of Honour is put vpon the sub|iect of disgrace; when, either the imperfe|ction of wit, or the folly of will shewes an vnfitnesse in Nature for the vertue of Aduancement: he is the eye of basenesse, and spirit of grossenesse, and in the demeane of rudenesse the skorne of Noblenesse: he is a suspicion of a right Generation in the nature of his disposition, and a miserable plague to a femi|nine patience: Wisedome knowes him not, lear|ning bred him not, Vertue loues him not, and Ho|nour fits him not: Prodigality or Auarice are the notes of his inclination, and folly or mischiefe are the fruits of his inuention. In summe, he is the shame of his name, the disgrace of his place, the blot of his Title, and the ruine of his house.
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Sonnet 121
'Tis better to be vile than vile esteem'd,
When not to be receives reproach of being,
And the just pleasure lost which is so deem'd
For why should others false adulterate eyes
Give salutation to my sportive blood?
Or on my frailties why are frailer spies,
Which in their wills count bad what I think good?
No, I am that I am, and they that level
I may be straight, though they themselves be bevel;
By their rank thoughts my deeds must not be shown;
Unless this general evil they maintain,
All men are bad, and in their badness reign.
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From To the Deceased Author of these Poems (William Cartwright)
Jasper Mayne
…And as thy Wit was like a Spring, so all
No cloud of Fancie, no mysterious stroke,
No Verse like those which antient Sybils spoke;
No Oracle of Language, to amaze
The Reader with a dark, or Midnight Phrase,
Stands in thy Writings, which are all pure Day,
A cleer, bright Sunchine, and the mist away.
That which Thou wrot’st was sense, and that sense good,
Or if sometimes thy Fancy soar’d so high
As to seem lost to the unlearned Eye,
‘Twas but like generous Falcons, when high flown,
Which mount to make the Quarrey more their own.
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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Greville - Life of Sidney
Neither am I (for my part) so much in love with this life, nor believe so little in a better to come, as to complain of God for taking him [Sidney], and such like exorbitant WORTHYness from us: fit (as it were by an Ostracisme) to be divided, and not incorporated with our corruptions: yet for the sincere affection I bear to my Prince, and Country, my prayer to God is, that this WORTH, and Way may not fatally be buried with him; in respect, that both before his time, and since,experience hath published the usuall discipline of greatnes to have been tender of it self onely; making honour a triumph, or rather TROPHY of desire, set up in the eyes of Mankind, either to be worshiped as IDOLS, or else as Rebels to perish under her glorious oppressions. Notwithstanding, when the PRIDE of FLESH, and power of favour shall cease in these by death, or disgrace; what then hath time to register, or FAME to publish in these great mens names, that will not be offensive, or infectious to others? What Pen without BLOTTING can write the story of their deeds? Or what Herald blaze their Arms without a blemish? And as for their counsels and projects, when they come once to light, shall they not live as noysome, and loathsomely above ground, as their Authors carkasses lie in the grave? So as the return of such greatnes to the world, and themselves, can be but private reproach, publique ill example, and a fatall scorn to the Government they live in. Sir Philip Sidney is none of this number; for the greatness which he affected was built upon true WORTH; esteeming Fame more than Riches, and Noble actions far above Nobility it self.
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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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"To My Book" by Ben Jonson
It will be looked for, book, when some but see
Thy title, Epigrams, and named of me,
Thou should'st be bold, licentious, full of gall,
Wormwood, and sulphur, sharp, and toothed withal;
Become a petulant thing, hurl ink, and wit,
As madmen stones: not caring whom they hit.
Deceive their malice, who could wish it so.
And by thy wiser temper, let men know
Thou are not covetous of least self-fame.
Much less with lewd, profane, and beastly phrase,
To catch the world's loose laughter, or vain gaze.
He that departs with his own HONESTY.
(honesty/integritas)
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William Empson points out that 'honest' and 'honesty' are used 52 times in Othello, writing that 'in Othello, divergent uses of th(is) key word are found for all the main characters; even the attenuated clown plays upon it; the unchaste Bianca, for instance, snatches a moment to claim that she is more honest than Emilia the thief of the handkerchief; and with all the variety of use the ironies on the word mount up steadily to the end. Such is the general power of the writing that this is not obtrusive, but if all but the phrases involving honest were in the style of Ibsen the effect would be a symbolical charade. Everyone calls Iago honest once or twice, but with Othello it becomes an obsession; at the crucial moment just before Emilia exposes Iago he keeps howling the word out. (William Empson, _Honest in Othello_)
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Jonson
De mollibus & effoemenatis There is nothing valiant, or solid to be hoped for from such, as are always kempt and perfumed; and every day smell of the tailor: the exceedingly curious, that are wholly in mending such an imperfection in the face, in taking away the morphew in the neck; or bleaching their hands at midnight, gumming and bridling their beards; or making the waist small, binding it with hoops, while the mind runs at WASTE: too much pickedness is not manly. Nor from those that will jest at their own outward imperfections, but hide their ulcers within, their pride, lust, envy, ill nature, with all the art and authority they can. These persons are in danger; for whilst they think to justify their ignorance by impudence, and their persons and clothes and outward ornaments; they use but a comission to deceive themselves. Where, if we will look with our understanding, and not our senses, we may behold virtue and beauty (though covered with rags) in their brightness; and vice, and DEFORMITY so much the fouler, in having all the splendour of riches to gild them, or the false light of honour and power to help them. Yet this is that, wherewith the world is taken, and runs mad to gaze on: clothes and titles, the birdlime of fools. (Discoveries 1751)
There are a variety of ways to look at the portrait:

what year was the Droeshout done - after WS death? [was it still life, or from a painting]

it could be more the "skill" of the artist, as opposed to Shakespeare's looks
[Jonson seems to be saying something similar, in the first folio]

it's fun to imagine, fantasize, speculate about 400 years ago, and especially the gentleman WS
[but evidently during his time, he was just a common everyday playwright/poet, at least at the beginning of his career]

marc
Dennis
2021-02-16 01:29:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by marc hanson
Post by Dennis
Edward de Vere was 'the best for comedy amongst us' - Palladis Tamia (1598) Francis Meres (1598)
Critical opinion thought comedy was a wretched thing. An aristocrat (high) who loved comedy (low) was paradoxical in nature.
My mind shies at the word ugly yoked with Shakespeare. It can be replaced with the translation 'bad' which is slightly more tolerable. The Droeshout signifies Bad Shakespeare or the bad poet Shakespeare.
Jonson - the father of English Literary Criticism - has put a terrible brand on 'Shake-speare' at the front of the First Folio. A 'fatherless' book 'Shakespeare' - like Melville's 'foundling' Billy Budd/Beauty.
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Aristotle, Poetics
As we have said, comedy is an imitation of baser men. These are characterized not by every kind of vice but specifically by the "ridiculous," which is a subdivision of the category of "deformity." What we mean by "the ridiculous' is some error or ugliness that is painless and has no harmful effects. The example that comes immediately to mind is the comic mask, which is ugly and distorted but causes no pain.
The ridiculous, which Aristotle defines above as an error (hamartema) or ugliness (aischos) which does not cause pain and is not destructive, is clearly related to the doctrine of the inappropriate or incongruous which stands in the Rhetoric, associated with nemesan, in polar opposition to pity and fear. The ridiculous along with its constitutive elements of error and ugliness are certainly inappropriate characteristics of the spoudaios person and action as well as of the person and action that Aristotle would designate as the norm. We suggest that what the ridiculous (to geloion) characterizes is an important and special case of "the inappropriate and incongruous": the special case of comedy where the errors and ugliness involved must be painless.
We have then argued that a theory of comic emotion and comic action, analogous to that of tragic emotion and tragic action, can be discerned in passages in the Poetics and the Rhetoric that are fully consistent with each other in comedy, instead of pity and fear, we have nemesan, an emotion which must range from the savage indignation of Aristophanes to the muted admonishments of Chekhov for whatever is ridiculous and inappropriate in human behaviour. (Aristotle on Comedy, Leon Golden)
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Cutting a Ridiculous Droeshout Figure
Horace
If I meet you with my hair cut by an uneven barber, you laugh [at me]: if I chance to have a ragged shirt under a handsome coat, or if my disproportioned gown fits me ill, you laugh.
(footnote - he is not ridiculous because the barber has cut his hair too short, but because he has cut it unequally - inaequalis tonsor)
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Jonson seems to be attempting some comedy of his own in the incongruity of the Droeshout Figure and the extravagant praise of the mock encomium (invective) of the accompanying poem. 'Flights upon the banks' - mountebank - and 'see thee in our waters yet appear' triggering images of urology, disease and contagion perhaps elicit feelings of 'righteous indignation' in certain minds - in my mind I see the destruction of Oxford's good name and fame.
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Jonson, _Timber_
The parts of a comedy and tragedy. - The parts of a comedy are the same with a tragedy, and the end is partly the same, for they both delight and teach; the comics are called διδασκαλοι, of the Greeks no less than the tragics.
Aristotle. - Plato. - Homer. - Nor is the moving of laughter always the end of comedy; that is rather a fowling for the people' s DELIGHT, or their fooling. For, as Aristotle says rightly, the moving of laughter is a fault in comedy, a kind of turpitude that depraves some part of a man' s nature without a disease. As a wry face without pain moves laughter, or a deformed vizard, or a rude clown dressed in a lady' s habit and using her actions; we dislike and scorn such representations which made the ancient philosophers ever think laughter unfitting in a wise man. And this induced Plato to esteem of Homer as a sacrilegious person, because he presented the gods sometimes laughing. As also it is divinely said of Aristotle, that to seen RIDICULOUS is a part of DISHONESTY, and foolish.
The wit of the old comedy. - So that what either in the words or sense of an author, or in the language or actions of men, is awry or depraved does strangely stir mean affections, and provoke for the most part to laughter. And therefore it was clear that all *insolent and obscene* speeches, jests upon the best men, injuries to particular persons, PERVERSE and SINISTER SAYINGS (and the rather unexpected) in the old comedy did move laughter, especially where it did imitate any DISHONESTY, and SCURRILITY came forth in the place of wit, which, who understands the nature and genius of laughter cannot but perfectly know.
Aristophanes. - Plautus. - Of which Aristophanes affords an ample harvest, having not only outgone Plautus or any other in that kind, but expressed all the moods and figures of what is RIDICULOUS oddly. In short, as vinegar is not accounted good until the wine be
corrupted, so jests that are true and natural seldom raise laughter with the beast the multitude. *They love nothing that is right and proper. The farther it runs from reason or possibility with them the better it is*.
Socrates. - Theatrical wit. - What could have made them laugh, like to see Socrates presented, that example of all good life, honesty, and virtue, to have him hoisted up with a pulley, and there play the philosopher in a basket; measure how many foot a flea could skip geometrically, by a just scale, and edify the people from the engine. This was theatrical wit, right stage jesting, and relishing a playhouse, invented for scorn and laughter; whereas, if it had savoured of equity, truth, perspicuity, and candour, to have tasted a wise or a learned palate, - spit it out presently! this is bitter and profitable: this instructs and would inform us: what need we know any thing, that are nobly born, more than a horse-race, or a hunting- match, our day to break with citizens, and such innate mysteries?
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Criticisms of Shakespeare appear to emphasize his extravagance - his disregard of boundaries, his imaginative excesses and his non-observance of classical rules.
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Mirth Making_, Chris Holcomb
In his Ethics, Aristotle suggests that *changes in stylistic and substantive predilections indicate advances in civilization*. While enumerating the differences between the jesting of a BUFFOON and a witty gentleman, Aristotle compares each character type to Old and New Comedy, respectively: "The difference (between a buffoon and a gentleman) may be seen by comparing the old and modern comedies; the earlier dramatists found their fun in obscenity, the modern prefer innuendo, which marks a great advance in decorum; (4.8.6). This comparison suggest that smutty humor is less civilized than the more refined humor delivered through innuendo. (footnote pp. 199-200)
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Bartholomew Fair, Jonson, From the Induction to the Stage
...If there be ne- ver a Servant-monster i' the Fair, who can help it, he says, nor a Nest of Antiques? He is loth to make Nature afraid in his Plays, like those that beget Tales, Tempests, and such like Drolleries, to MIX HIS HEAD with other MENS HEELS; let the concupiscence of Jigs and Dances, reign as strong as it will amongst you: yet if the Puppets will please any body, they shall be entreated to come in.
**************************************
-- CARTWRIGHT, WILLIAM, 1647,
Upon the Dramatick Poems of Mr. John Fletcher.
...Shakespeare to thee was DULL, whose best jest lyes
I'th Ladies questions, and the Fooles replyes; [70]
Old fashion'd wit, which walkt from town to town
In turn'd Hose, which our fathers call'd the CLOWN;
Whose wit our nice times would obsceannesse call,
Nature was all his Art, thy veine was free
As his, but without his SCURILITY...
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Ben Jonson
De Shakespeare Nostrat 1
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; and to justify mine own candor, for I loved the man, and do honor his memory on this side idolatry as much as any. He was, indeed, honest, and of an open and free nature; had an excellent fancy, brave notions, and gentle expressions, wherein he flowed with that facility that sometime it was necessary he should be stopped. “Sufflaminandus erat,” 2 as Augustus said of Haterius. His wit was in his own power; would the rule of it had been so too. Many times he fell into those things, could not escape laughter, as when he said in the person of Cæsar, one speaking to him: “Cæsar, thou dost me wrong.” He replied: “Cæsar did never wrong but with just cause; 3 and such like, which were ridiculous. But he redeemed his vices with his virtues. There was ever more in him to be praised than to be pardoned.
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Puttenham, Arte of English Poesie
Now haue ye other VICIOUS MANNERS of speech, but sometimes and in some cases tollerable, and chiefly to the intent to mooue laughter, and to make sport, or to giue it some prety strange grace, and is when we vse such wordes as may be drawen to a foule and vnshamefast sence, as one that would say to a young woman, I pray you let me iape with you, which in deed is no more but let me sport with you. Yea and though it were not altogether so directly spoken, the very sounding of the word were not commendable, as he that in the presence of Ladies would vse this common Prouerbe,
Iape with me but hurt me not
Bourde with me but shame me not.
For it may be taken in another peruerser sence by that sorte of persons that heare it, in whose eares no such matter ought almost to be called in memory, this vice is called by the Greekes Cacemphaton, we call it the vnshamefast or figure of foule speech, which our courtly maker shall in any case shunne, least of a Poet he become a BUFFON or rayling companion, the Latins called him SCURRA. There is also another sort of ILFAVOURED speech subiect to this vice, but resting more in the manner of the ilshapen sound and accent, than for the matter it selfe, which may easily be auoyded in choosing your wordes those that bee of the pleasantest orthography, and not to rime too many like sounding words together.
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But I have lavished out too many words of this playmatter. I do it, because as they are excelling parts of poesy, so is there none so much used in England, and none can be more pitifully ABUSED; which, like an unMANNERly daughter, showing a bad education, causeth her mother Poesy`s HONESTY to be called in question.
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(AN EXCELLENT FANCY)
No, I am that I am, and they that LEVEL
Sidney, _Defence of Poesy_: eikastike vs. phantastike
But grant love of bewtie to be a beastly fault, although it be verie hard, since onely man and no beast hath that gift to discerne bewtie, graunt that lovely name of love to deserve all hatefull reproches, although even some of my maisters the Philosophers spent a good deale of their Lampoyle in setting foorth the excellencie of it, graunt I say, what they will have graunted, that not onelie love, but lust, but vanitie, but if they will list SCURRILITIE, possesse manie leaves of the Poets bookes, yet thinke I, when this is graunted, they will finde their sentence may with good manners put the last words foremost; and not say, that Poetrie ABUSETH mans wit, but that mans wit ABUSETH Poetrie. For I will not denie, but that mans wit may make Poesie, which should be EIKASTIKE, which some learned have defined figuring foorth good things to be PHANTASTIKE, which doth contrariwise INFECT the FANCIE with unWOORTHie objects, as the Painter should give to the eye either some excellent perspective, or some fine Picture fit for building or fortification, or containing in it some notable example, as Abraham sacrificing his sonne Isaack, Judith killing Holofernes, David fighting with Golias, may leave those, and please an ILL PLEASED EYE with WANTON SHEWES of better hidden matters. But what, shal the ABUSE of a thing, make the RIGHT use odious?
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Sidney, Defence of Poetry
But, besides these gross absurdities, how all their plays be neither right tragedies nor right comedies, mingling kings and clowns, not because the matter so carrieth it, but thrust in the clown by head and shoulders to play a part in majestical matters, with neither DECENCY nor DISCRETION; so as neither the admiration and commiseration, nor the right sportfulness, is by their mongrel tragi-comedy obtained. I know Apuleius did somewhat so, but that is a thing recounted with space of time, not represented in one moment; and I know the ancients have one or two examples of tragi-comedies, as Plautus hath Amphytrio. But, if we mark them well, we shall find that they never, or very daintily, match hornpipes and funerals. So falleth it out that, having indeed NO RIGHT COMEDY in that comical part of our tragedy, we have nothing but SCURRILITY, unworthy of any chaste ears, or some extreme show of doltihsness, indeed fit to lift up a loud laughter, and nothing else; where the whole tract of a comedy should be full of delight, as the tragedy should be still maintained in a well-raised admiration.
But OUR COMEDIANS think there is no delight without laughter, which is very wrong; for though laughter may come with delight, yet cometh it not of delight, as though delight should be the cause of laughter; but well may one thing breed both together. Nay, rather in themselves they have, as it were, a kind of contrariety. For delight we scarcely do, but in things that have a conveniency to ourselves, or to the general nature; laughter almost ever cometh of things most DISPROPORTIONED to ourselves and nature.
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Speculum Tuscanismi, Harvey.
'Tell me in good sooth, doth it not too evidently appeare, that this English Poet [Oxford] wanted but a good PATTERNE before his eyes, as it might be some delicate, and choyce elegant Poesie of good M. Sidneys, or M. Dyers (ouer very Castor, & Pollux for such and many greater matters) when this trimme geere was in hatching: Much like some Gentlewooman, I coulde name in England, who by all Phisick and Physiognomie too, Might as well have BROUGHT FORTH all goodly faire CHILDREN, as they have Now some YLFAVOURED and DEFORMED, had they at the tyme of their Conception, had in sight, the amiable and gallant beautifull Pictures of ADONIS, Cupido, Ganymedes, or the like, which no doubt would have wrought such deepe impression in their fantasies, and imaginations, astheir children, and perhappes their Childrens children to, myght have thanked them for, as long as they shall have Tongues in their heades."
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Author: Breton, Nicholas, 1545?-1626?
Title: The good and the badde, or Descriptions of the vvorthies, and vnworthies of this age Where the best may see their graces, and the worst discerne their basenesse.
Date: 1616
A Noble man.
A Noble man is a marke of Honour, where [ 8] the eye of wisedome in the obseruation of de|sert sees the fruit of Grace: hee is the Orient Pearle that Reason polisheth for the beauty of Na|ture, and the Diamond sparke where diuine Grace giues Vertue honour: he is the Note-booke of Mo|rall Discipline, where the conceit of care may finde the true Courtier: he is the Nurse of hospitality, the reliefe of necessitie, the loue of Charity, and the life of Bounty: hee is Learnings grace, and Valours fame, Wisedomes fruit, and kindnesse loue: hee is the true Falcon that feedes on no Carrion, the true Horse that will bee no Hackney, the true Dolphin that feares not the Whale, and the true man of God, that feares not the diuell. In summe, he is the Dar|ling of Nature, in Reasons Philosophy; the Load|starre of light in Loues Astronomie, the rauishing Sweet in the musique of Honour, and the golden number in Graces Arithmeticke.
An Vnnoble man.
AN Vnnoble man is the griefe of Reason, [ 9] when the title of Honour is put vpon the sub|iect of disgrace; when, either the imperfe|ction of wit, or the folly of will shewes an vnfitnesse in Nature for the vertue of Aduancement: he is the eye of basenesse, and spirit of grossenesse, and in the demeane of rudenesse the skorne of Noblenesse: he is a suspicion of a right Generation in the nature of his disposition, and a miserable plague to a femi|nine patience: Wisedome knowes him not, lear|ning bred him not, Vertue loues him not, and Ho|nour fits him not: Prodigality or Auarice are the notes of his inclination, and folly or mischiefe are the fruits of his inuention. In summe, he is the shame of his name, the disgrace of his place, the blot of his Title, and the ruine of his house.
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Sonnet 121
'Tis better to be vile than vile esteem'd,
When not to be receives reproach of being,
And the just pleasure lost which is so deem'd
For why should others false adulterate eyes
Give salutation to my sportive blood?
Or on my frailties why are frailer spies,
Which in their wills count bad what I think good?
No, I am that I am, and they that level
I may be straight, though they themselves be bevel;
By their rank thoughts my deeds must not be shown;
Unless this general evil they maintain,
All men are bad, and in their badness reign.
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From To the Deceased Author of these Poems (William Cartwright)
Jasper Mayne
…And as thy Wit was like a Spring, so all
No cloud of Fancie, no mysterious stroke,
No Verse like those which antient Sybils spoke;
No Oracle of Language, to amaze
The Reader with a dark, or Midnight Phrase,
Stands in thy Writings, which are all pure Day,
A cleer, bright Sunchine, and the mist away.
That which Thou wrot’st was sense, and that sense good,
Or if sometimes thy Fancy soar’d so high
As to seem lost to the unlearned Eye,
‘Twas but like generous Falcons, when high flown,
Which mount to make the Quarrey more their own.
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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Greville - Life of Sidney
Neither am I (for my part) so much in love with this life, nor believe so little in a better to come, as to complain of God for taking him [Sidney], and such like exorbitant WORTHYness from us: fit (as it were by an Ostracisme) to be divided, and not incorporated with our corruptions: yet for the sincere affection I bear to my Prince, and Country, my prayer to God is, that this WORTH, and Way may not fatally be buried with him; in respect, that both before his time, and since,experience hath published the usuall discipline of greatnes to have been tender of it self onely; making honour a triumph, or rather TROPHY of desire, set up in the eyes of Mankind, either to be worshiped as IDOLS, or else as Rebels to perish under her glorious oppressions. Notwithstanding, when the PRIDE of FLESH, and power of favour shall cease in these by death, or disgrace; what then hath time to register, or FAME to publish in these great mens names, that will not be offensive, or infectious to others? What Pen without BLOTTING can write the story of their deeds? Or what Herald blaze their Arms without a blemish? And as for their counsels and projects, when they come once to light, shall they not live as noysome, and loathsomely above ground, as their Authors carkasses lie in the grave? So as the return of such greatnes to the world, and themselves, can be but private reproach, publique ill example, and a fatall scorn to the Government they live in. Sir Philip Sidney is none of this number; for the greatness which he affected was built upon true WORTH; esteeming Fame more than Riches, and Noble actions far above Nobility it self.
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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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"To My Book" by Ben Jonson
It will be looked for, book, when some but see
Thy title, Epigrams, and named of me,
Thou should'st be bold, licentious, full of gall,
Wormwood, and sulphur, sharp, and toothed withal;
Become a petulant thing, hurl ink, and wit,
As madmen stones: not caring whom they hit.
Deceive their malice, who could wish it so.
And by thy wiser temper, let men know
Thou are not covetous of least self-fame.
Much less with lewd, profane, and beastly phrase,
To catch the world's loose laughter, or vain gaze.
He that departs with his own HONESTY.
(honesty/integritas)
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William Empson points out that 'honest' and 'honesty' are used 52 times in Othello, writing that 'in Othello, divergent uses of th(is) key word are found for all the main characters; even the attenuated clown plays upon it; the unchaste Bianca, for instance, snatches a moment to claim that she is more honest than Emilia the thief of the handkerchief; and with all the variety of use the ironies on the word mount up steadily to the end. Such is the general power of the writing that this is not obtrusive, but if all but the phrases involving honest were in the style of Ibsen the effect would be a symbolical charade. Everyone calls Iago honest once or twice, but with Othello it becomes an obsession; at the crucial moment just before Emilia exposes Iago he keeps howling the word out. (William Empson, _Honest in Othello_)
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Jonson
De mollibus & effoemenatis There is nothing valiant, or solid to be hoped for from such, as are always kempt and perfumed; and every day smell of the tailor: the exceedingly curious, that are wholly in mending such an imperfection in the face, in taking away the morphew in the neck; or bleaching their hands at midnight, gumming and bridling their beards; or making the waist small, binding it with hoops, while the mind runs at WASTE: too much pickedness is not manly. Nor from those that will jest at their own outward imperfections, but hide their ulcers within, their pride, lust, envy, ill nature, with all the art and authority they can. These persons are in danger; for whilst they think to justify their ignorance by impudence, and their persons and clothes and outward ornaments; they use but a comission to deceive themselves. Where, if we will look with our understanding, and not our senses, we may behold virtue and beauty (though covered with rags) in their brightness; and vice, and DEFORMITY so much the fouler, in having all the splendour of riches to gild them, or the false light of honour and power to help them. Yet this is that, wherewith the world is taken, and runs mad to gaze on: clothes and titles, the birdlime of fools. (Discoveries 1751)
what year was the Droeshout done - after WS death? [was it still life, or from a painting]
it could be more the "skill" of the artist, as opposed to Shakespeare's looks
[Jonson seems to be saying something similar, in the first folio]
it's fun to imagine, fantasize, speculate about 400 years ago, and especially the gentleman WS
[but evidently during his time, he was just a common everyday playwright/poet, at least at the beginning of his career]
marc
Yes I think Shakespeare does appear to be common.

Margaret Tudeau-Clayton describes an author whom Jonson truly admired - one whom she calls 'a figure and an example of Language and Life. It might be useful to compare this figure - Virgil - to the example and figure of Shakespeare.

Ben Jonson's Discoveries/Timber was published posthumously - and making available a lot of information that may not have been accessible to the common reader of the day. Personally I do not think anyone can read Jonson's First Folio encomium to Shakespeare without familiarizing themselves with its contents. In that book Jonson makes many statements/observations/translations that render his praise of Shakespeare ridiculous.

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Jonson, Shakespeare & Early Modern Virgil - Margaret Tudeau-Clayton

...But the play's [The Tempest] critical thrust goes beyond the authority of Virgil - whether as formal model or as natural philosopher - to engage with the uses to which this authority is put, in particular in the Jonsonian corpus. For the Boatswain's derisory imperative "use your authority" recalls not only the Virgilian locus of the tempest in Aeneid 1, but the closing scene of _Poetaster_ when Augustus uses the same imperative - 'use your authoritie' to invest Virgil (earlier portrayed in terms of the same Virgilian locus) with power to oversee the judgement of the poetasters, *especially their language.* It is indeed throughout the Jonsonian corpus that Virgil is thus used as a normative, regulatory figure of authority - whether the schoolboys' Virgil, as here, or the learned man's. In either case, his use of Virgil tends to (re)produce a hierarchy of privilege, whether between the 'learned' and the 'ignorant', or between those who speak 'Language' and those who speak 'no-Language', or what is represented, especially in the anti-masques, as 'noise'. In _Poetaster_, these hierarchies come together as a hierarchy precisely between Virgil's stage audience - a privileged elite of virtuous and 'learned heads', who speak the play's normative Language at the centre of power, the court- and the vicious and ignorant majority of 'common men' and women, who speak multiple, particular 'languages'. The interrogation and contestation articulated in _The Tempest_ are thus directed both at the authority of Virgil - as Natural philosopher and as model of a normative 'proper' Language - and at the uses made of these figures to preproduce the difference between high and low, nobles/gentles and common men.
In the Jonsonian corpus, it is above all in _Poetaster_ and _Timber_ that the schoolboys' figure of Virgil as model of a normative 'proper' Language is reproduced. There are two passages in _Timber_ in particular, which will be considered in more detail in chapter 5, (...)as their pedagogic register and purpose are overt. In both passages, practices recommended (mainly) by Quintilian for the instruction of Roman schoolboys are translated into the contemporary context, the overt aim being instruction in 'Language', a normative ideal standard for the vernacular as for Latin, which Virgilian practice exemplifies and represents - a standard of 'proper' English (as well as 'proper' Latin) serving to distinguish the 'gentleman' or , as Jonson - in his recommendations for the education of a _noble_ man's son - calls him, 'man'.
In the first passage, translating Quintilian's advice (from book two of the _Institutio_) as to which authors schoolboys should read first, Jonson writes:

As Livy before Salust, Sydney before Donne: and beware of letting them taste Gower, or Chaucer at first, lest falling too much in love with Antiquity...they grow rough and barren in language onely...Spenser, in affecting the Ancients, writ no Language: Yet I would have him read for his matter; but as Virgil read Ennius. The reading of Homer and Virgil is counsell'd by Quintilian, as the best way of informing youth, and confirming man.

Here Quintilian's examples of ancient authors (Cato and the Gracchi) have been replace by contemporary equivalents (Gower and Chaucer) so that the 'rough and barren' style of the Roman schoolboy exposed to the former becomes that of the English schoolboy, and writer, exposed to the latter and, like Spenser, 'affecting the Ancients;. In what is an addition to the passage from Quintilian, Virgilian practice is given as exemplary of the normative standard - the 'Language' - from which Spenserian practice is a departure, a 'DEFORMATION'. To read Virgil for such 'Language' is, moreover, explicitly recommended as the practice which will in-form - give subjective shape, and muscles to - the civilised human subject, 'man'.

Nearly two hundred lines later Virgilian practice is again cited as EXAMPLE AND FIGURE of a normative standard of 'Language', and again as a corrective to contemporary practice in the use of archaisms.

_Custome_ is the most certaine Mistresse of Language, as the publicke stampe makes the current money. But wee must not be too frequent with the mint, every day coyning. Nor fetch words from the extreme and utmost ages...the eldest of the present, and the newest of the past Language is best. For what was the ancient Language, which some men so doate upon, but the ancient Custome? Yet when I name Custome I understand not the vulgar Custome: For that were a precept no lesse dangerous to Language, the life, if wee should speake or live after the manners of the vulgar: But that I call Custome of speech, which is the consent of the Learned; as Custome of life, which is the consent of the good. Virgill was most loving of Antiquity; yet how rarely doth he insert _aquai_ and _pictai_? Lucretius is scabrous and rough in these; hee seekes 'hem: As some doe Chaucerismes with us, which were better expung'd and banish'd.

Explicitly characterised by the monetary analogy (from Quintilian) as a form of property, the ideal normative discourse - 'Language' - to be acquired is associated here, as in the earlier passage, specifically with restraint in the use of archaisms, a restraint which is said (by Jonson though not, as we shall see in chapter 5, by Quintilian) to have been Virgil's practice. Spenserian practice is thus condemned again as at once 'non Language' and not-Virgilian; the two phrases are indeed virtual synonyms.
In the terms 'expung'd' and 'banish'd' in the second passage a purification of the language, by means of, and to produce 'Language', is envisaged. In _Poetaster_, such a purification is staged: the poetaster Crispinus is judged, like Spenser, to produce 'no Language' and receives a purge, which (like the judgement) is overseen by Virgil, figure once again of the normative economy of 'Language'. Indeed, the parallel is more specific; for, once purged, Crispinus if 'prescrib'd' a 'dyet' of recommended authors and practices by Virgil, and amongst these prescriptions is, 'Shun...old Ennius', which is to say, shun the use of archaisms.
In both _Timber_ and _Poetaster_, that is, Virgil is MOBILISED AS EXAMPLE AND FIGURE of a 'pure' economy of 'Language', which works so as to produce itself in the (thereby) 'purified' vernacular. It is similarly as a normative 'pure' Language that Virgil is taught to schoolboys, and imitated in cultural productions of the elite. (...) Invested with absolute value as 'pure' - above the corruption of change - this Language - tends, as we shall see, to regulate and stabilise not only the (rapidly expanding) vernacular, but also gestures of the body (which it encodes), and, with these, the structure of the social order doubly inscribed both within and by this exclusive economy. More specifically, the economy of pure 'Language' Jonson's Virgil represents is characterised by what if described, metonymically, as Virgil's 'CHASTE...EARE' (Poetaster), a phrase (derived from J. C Scaliger) which draws linguistic and moral/sexual orders into a single economy, marked by habitual restraint - precisely such restraint as, in the second passage from Timber quoted above, Jonson attributes to Virgil in the representation of his 'loving' but restrained practice in the use of archaisms.
Like the representation of Virgilian 'Language' as 'pure' in pedagogical discourses we shall look at in the next chapter, Jonson's more specific representation tends to reassert the humanist alignment of eloquence and virtue, to close the separation between 'words' and 'moral matter', which exegetical and pedagogical practices produce. (My note: Or Not! - as in case of mad Wittenberg Hamlet and his 'Horace') Such idealisations of its object(s), as of those in possession of these objects as the guardians of 'Language' and 'Life' (as in the second passage from _Timber_ above), recur in representations of the practices and purposes of a humanist education (or education in the humanities), the term 'discipline', for example, doing much the same ideological work as Jonson's phrase 'chaste...eare', bringing together formal and moral economies, 'Language' and 'Life'. 'Language' as 'Life' in a single, strenuous and, we might add, strenuously masculine ethos. What such idealisations (a matter of faith finally) cover are, on the one hand, the separations- the different objects produced in practice - and on the other hand, the ideological work of inclusion/exclusion that is done by the production and circulation of these different objects. In the case of early modern Virgil, this work is done by the production and circulation both of the schoolboys' Virgil(s), and of the 'learned" man's Virgil(s). In the case of the former, to which we now turn, the idealisation of Virgil as EXAMPLE AND FIGURE OF LANGUAGE AND LIFE reinforces the exclusion produced by their production and circulation. For these Virgilian objects are invested with universal meaning and value, while those in possession of them are identified as the privileged guardians of what 'makes'/marks the civilised human subject, which implicitly or explicitly denies what is civilised, indeed what is human to those without access to these objects - those who, in Poetaster, are called 'common men' and above whom Virgil and his circle of 'gentle' and 'learned' heads are places as beings of a different and superior 'human' 'kind'.

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Tudeau-Clayton (con't)
The contrast between the Ovidian and Virgilian scenes [in Poetaster], and more particularly between the characters of Ovid and Virgil, is explicitly drawn in the speech by Augustus absolutely condemning the banquet. For the dismissal of Ovid and his circle as vicious is followed by a description of those Augustus will 'prefer' (i.e. promote), which anticipates the formal 'preferment' of Virgil in Act V scene ii (where the verb is uses again).


I will preferre for knowledge, none but such
As rule their lives by it, and can becalme
All sea of humour, with the marble trident
Of their strong spirits: Others fight below
With gnats, and shaddowes, others nothing know. (IV.VI. 74-78)

The type Virgil exemplifies is portrayed here in terms of the scene of Neptune's calming of the tempest in Aeneid I (lines 124-57), moralised as the exercises of reason over turbulent desires (translated into the Jonsonian idiom 'humours'). The portrait justifies, even as it announces, both the formal preferment and, more particularly, the investment of Virgil with authority as judge in Act V, when he will "exercise the monologic authority that Neptune exercises over the unruly winds Those he judges are indeed placed, like and with 'the others' here, 'below', in the realm of the turbulent humours which Virgil has mastered and which, in Ovid's case, is, specifically, the humour of the passion 'they...call Love', 'inconstant, like the sea; rough, swelling like a storme;: 'in a continuall tempest.'

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De Shakespeare Nostrat 1(our/native)

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; and to justify mine own candor, for I loved the man, and do honor his memory on this side idolatry as much as any. He was, indeed, honest, and of an open and free nature; had an excellent fancy, brave notions, and gentle expressions, wherein he FLOWED with that facility that sometime it was necessary he should be STOPPED. “Sufflaminandus erat,” 2 as Augustus said of Haterius. His wit was in his own power; would the RULE of it had been so too. Many times he fell into those things, could not escape laughter, as when he said in the person of Cæsar, one speaking to him: “Cæsar, thou dost me wrong.” He replied: “Cæsar did never wrong but with just cause; 3 and such like, which were RIDICULOUS. But he redeemed his vices with his virtues. There was ever more in him to be praised than to be pardoned.

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Disproportioned Droeshout:

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

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Alien/Native
Jonson, Timber
Decipimur specie. - There is a greater reverence had of things remote or strange to us than of much better if they be nearer and fall under our sense. Men, and almost all sorts of creatures, have their reputation by distance. Rivers, the farther they run, and more from their spring, the broader they are, and greater. And where our original is known, we are less the confident; among strangers we trust fortune. Yet a man may live as renowned at home, in his own country, or a private village, as in the whole world. For it is VIRTUE that gives glory; that will endenizen a man everywhere. It is only that can naturalise him. A NATIVE, if he be VICIOUS, deserves to be a stranger, and *cast out of the commonwealth as an alien*.

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John Oldham on Jonson

V.
Sober, and grave was still the Garb thy Muse put on,
No tawdry careless slattern Dress,
Nor starch'd, and formal with Affectedness,
Nor the cast Mode, and Fashion of the Court, and Town;
But neat, agreeable, and janty 'twas,
Well-fitted, it sate close in every place,
And all became with an uncommon Air, and Grace:
Rich, costly and substantial was the stuff,
Not barely smooth, nor yet too coarsly rough:
No refuse, ill-patch'd Shreds o'th Schools,
The motly wear of read, and learned Fools,
No French Commodity which now so much does take,
And our own better Manufacture spoil,
Nor was it ought of forein Soil;
But Staple all, and all of English Growth, and Make:
What Flow'rs soe're of Art it had, were found
No tinsel'd slight Embroideries,
But all appear'd either the native Ground,
Or twisted, wrought, and interwoven with the Piece.

VI.
Plain Humor, shewn with her whole various Face,
Not mask'd with any antick Dress,
Nor screw'd in forc'd, ridiculous Grimace
(The gaping Rabbles DULL delight,
And more the Actor's than the Poet's Wit)
(snip)

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William Cartwright:

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

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Oldham on Jonson, con't.

Such did she enter on thy Stage,
And such was represented to the wond'ring Age:
Well wast thou skill'd, and read in human kind,
In every wild fantastick Passion of his mind,
Didst into all his hidden Inclinations dive,
What each from Nature does receive,
Or Age, or Sex, or Quality, or Country give;
What Custom too, that mighty Sorceress,
Whose pow'rful Witchcraft does transform
Enchanted Man to several monstrous Images,
Makes this an odd, and freakish Monky turn,
And that a grave and solemn Ass appear,
And all a thousand beastly shapes of Folly wear:
Whate're Caprice or Whimsie leads awry
Perverted, and seduc'd Mortality,
Or does incline, and byass it
From what's Discreet, and Wise, and Right, and Good, and Fit;
All in thy faithful Glass were so express'd,
As if they were Reflections of thy Breast,
As if they had been stamp'd on thy own mind,
And thou the universal vast Idea of Mankind.

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Shakespeare and the Uses of Antiquity
Michelle Martindale

…It is customary to begin discussion of the extent of Shakespeare’s classical knowledge with the opinions of Ben Jonson. So, for the sake of variety, let us open with some well-known lines by Milton, a devotee of Shakespeare but one who had no reason for partiality over the issue:

Then to the well-trod stage anon,
If Jonson’s learned sock be on,
Or sweetest Shakespeare, Fancy’s child,
Warble his native wood-notes wild. (L’Allegro, 121-34)

A careless reading of these lines, together with an anachronistic understanding of their key terms, has encouraged the picturing of Shakespeare as a purely spontaneous genius. In fact the distinction, which is not polemical, is between Jonson’s ‘learning’, that is his assiduous imitation of classical models and insistence on their superiority, and Shakespeare’s delight in a general ambience of English language and inspiration. The dominant contrast is not between Art and Nature, but between the classical and the ‘native’; and that contrast involves a pastiche of the characteristic styles of the two authors, not surprisingly in a poem devoted to literary parody and allusion. In the lines on Jonson, where the vocabulary has a plain, hard-edged, concrete quality, ‘sock’ Englishes a Latin metonymy (soccus, the slipper worn by comic actors, for comedy), and there may be a punning jest by which the ‘sock’ would be wither on stage or on Jonson’s foodt(cf. Jonson’s ‘Ode to Himself: On The New Inn’, 37; Horace, Ars Poetica, 80). The lines on Shakespeare use suggestive but somewhat unfocused metaphorical writing, with a distinct shift midway, as Shakespeare, first the child of a semi-personified Fancy, becomes a bird or rustic singer of the forest. ‘Sweetest’ hints at the Shakespearean style, described in his own time as ‘sugared’ and ‘sweet’; it was the Shakespeare of plays like A Midsummer Night’s Dream whom Milton especially favoured, and Shakespeare is anyway treated here as a writer of comedy only. Since these complimentary lines are couched in Shakespearean terms, we should take the key words in something of their Shakespearean sense. IN particular, ‘fancy’ means imagination, and is not equivalent to ‘nature’, to which indeed it is sometimes opposed: for example in Antony and Cleopatra II.ii.200f. (‘O’er-picturing that Venus where we see/The fancy outwork nature’) fancy, man’s creative faculty, amounts almost to art, or at least to an aspect of art. That Shakespeare is “Fancy’s child’ does not mean that he is Nature’s child, untutuored and artless, but that he is a great exponent of the powers of the imagination. The passage thus has no bearing on the question of how much ancient literature Shakespeare had read, even if Milton is nodding, with some wit, at the tradition already established by Jonson.(…)

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Speculum Tuscanismi - Satire on Earl of Oxford

Gabriel Harvey:

See Venus, archegoddess, howe trimly she masterith owld Mars.
See litle CUPIDE, howe he bewitcheth lernid Apollo.
Bravery in apparell, and maiesty in hawty behaviour,
Hath conquerd manhood, and gotten a victory in Inglande.
Ferse Bellona, she lyes enclosd at Westminster in leade.
Dowtines is dulnes ; currage mistermid is outrage.
Manlines is madnes ; beshrowe Lady Curtisy therefore.
Most valorous enforced to be vassals to Lady Pleasure.
And Lady Nicity rules like a soveran emperes of all.
TYMES, MANNERS, FRENCH, ITALISH ENGLISHE.
Where be y e mindes and men that woont to terrify strangers ?
Where that constant zeale to thy cuntry glory, to vertu ?
Where labor and prowes very founders of quiet and peace,
Champions of warr, trompetours of fame, treasurers of welth ?
Where owld Inglande ? Where owld Inglish fortitude and
might ?
Oh, we ar owte of the way, that Theseus, Hercules, Arthur,
And many a worthy British knight were woo'nte to triumphe in.
What should I speake of Talbotts, Brandons, Grayes, with a thousande
Such and such ? Let Edwards go ; letts blott y e remem-braunce
Of puissant Henryes ; or letts exemplify there actes.
Since Galateo came in and Tuscanismo gan usurpe
Vanity above all ; villanye next her ; Statelynes empresse,
NO MAN but minion : stowte, lowte, playne, swayne, quoth a
LORDINGE.

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Jonson - Poetaster - Apologetical Dialogue

...This 'tis, that strikes me silent, seals my Lips,
And apts me rather to sleep out my time,
Than I would waste it in contemned strifes,
With these *VILE IBIDES, these unclean Birds,
That make their Mouths their CLYSTERS, and still PURGE
From their hot entrails.* But, I leave the Monsters
To their own fate*. And, since the Comick Muse
Hath prov'd so ominous to me, I will try
If Tragœdie have a more kind aspect;
Her favours in my next I will pursue,
Where, if I prove the pleasure but of one,
So he judicious be; He shall b' alone

A Theatre unto me; Once I’ll say
To strike the ear of time in those fresh strains,
As shall, beside the cunning of their ground,
Give cause to some of wonder, some despite,
And more despair, to IMITATE their SOUND.

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Author: Holland, Abraham
Title: Naumachia, or Hollands sea-fight Date: 1622


A Caveat to his Muse

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

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Jonson figured as suppressing Fame:

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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Jonson, Cynthia’s Revels, The Fountain of Self-Love

…The better race in Court
That have the true nobility, called virtue,
Will apprehend it as a grateful right
Done to their separate merit: and approve
The fit rebuke of so ridiculous heads,
Thos with their apish customs and forced garbs
Would bring the name of courtier in contempt,
Did it not live unblemished in some few
Whom equal Jove hath loved, and Phoebus formed
Of better metal, and in better mould. (5.1.30-39)

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Framing Authority: Sayings, Self, and Society in Sixteenth-Century England

By Mary Thomas Crane


…[It] was a deeply threatening idea that a particular kind of education (or, indeed, a prose style indicative of that education) could replace birth and wealth as criteria for access to power. It posed the greatest threat, as Lawrence Stone points out, to the aristocrats whom it disenfranchised, and until they were able, in the seventeenth century, to recast educational credentials on the basis of attendance at certain elite (and expensive) schools, they were forced to reassert an alternative training for aristocratic youth. It also threatened the humanists themselves, who saw in their own upward mobility not only potentially dangerous eminence but also a disquieting acquiescence in capitalist and republican tendencies and a palpable threat to the concepts of order and hierarchy that they promulgated. These issues surface (in the 1520s through the 1540s) in the form of preoccupation with “value,” and in discussions of what society ought to value and how “wealth” (both monetary and cultural) should be displayed and shared.
Stone has shown how the “educational revolution” effected by English humanists contributed to the “crisis of the aristocracy” in the seventeenth century. He argues that in the sixteenth century, the new ideal of “gentleman” based on education “increased the opportunities of the gentry to compete for office on more equal terms with the nobility.” There are signs, however, of ARISTOCRATIC RESISTANCE to the humanist model of counsel, and in this resistance lie the seeds of the alternative model of courtly advancement, the ITALIANATE COURTIER. According to this model, “WORTH” is manifested through the conspicuous consumption of “worthless” TRIFLES (clothes, jewelry) and participation in frivolous pastimes (hunting, dicing, dancing, composing love lyrics).

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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
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.

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THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. SATURDAY. FEBRUARY 17. 1934
...With regard to Martin Droeshout, whose portrait of Shakespeare, appears on the title page of the First Folio , in 1923; as Durning-Lawrence savs, "Droeshout is scarcely likely to have ever seen Shakespeare, as he was only 15 years of age when Shakespeare died." DULL DRAWING. The face in Droeshout's picture certainly expresses no trace of that almost divine intelligence which one would expect to find there, and the figure, out of all drawing, is clothed in an Impossible coat, the sleeves of which are composed, to all appearance, of the back and front of the same left arm. This fact was remarked upon In "The Tailor and Cutter." in its issue of March 9, 1911; and in the April following, under the heading "Problem for the Trade," the "Gentleman's. Tailor" magazine printed the two halves of the coat arranged tailor fashion, shoulder to shoulder, and said : "It is passing strange that something like three centuries should have, been allowed to elapse before the tailor's handiwork should have been appealed to In this' particular manner." Facing this portrait in ' the First Folio, are these words, attributed to Ben Jonson, which after stating that "the Figure" was Intended for that of Shakespeare, and that the "graver" had a struggle to out-do the life, conclude with: O, could he but have drawn, hit wit As well lo brasse. as he hath hit His face; the Print would then surpasse All, that was ever writ In Brasse. But, since he cannot. Reader looks Not on his Picture, but his Booke. Ben Jonson could never have seriously considered that the dull, wooden, face in the engraving was anything like that of the author of the plays, and may have sarcastically bidden the beholder "looke not on his picture, but his book." BEN JONSON. Facing the title page of the 1640 folio of Ben Jonson's works, is a portrait of that poet by Robert Vaughan. a contemporary engraver, . which, like that of Martin Droeshout, Is a very rough, uncouth, piece of work, though it certainly expresses a certain amount of individuality and intelligence, yet not very much; and the figure Is very ungainly, though Jonson became very stout as he grew older, as we know by one of his Epigrams, and would be difficult to draw. Durning-Lawrence savs that In a very rare and curious little volume published anonymously in 1645, under the title of "The Great Assises holden In Parnassus by Apollo and his Assessours," Ben Jonson is described as the "Keeper of the Trophonian Denne," and in an Imaginary Westminster Abbey his medallion bust appeared clothed in a left-handed coat, like the figure by Martin Droeshout in the First Folio, and Stowe is quoted as having written regarding this: O' rare Ben Jonson what, a turncoat grown! Thou ne'er want such. till clad In stone; Then let not this disturb thy sprite. Another age shall set thy buttons right.


Nicole

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