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An Inquiry into the Extent and Nature of Ben Jonson's Familiar Knowledge of Classical Latin Authors, and the Reflection and Influence of That Knowledge on His Work and Character

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A Thesis
by
W illia E i
Ifo A rth u r.
S u ta nitted f o r
th e Degree o f Ph.D.
O c t.1939.
ProQ uest N u m b e r: 13905602
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G eneral S u b je o t.
An I n q u ir y I n t o th e E x te n t and Ifeture o f
Ben Jonson*s f a m il ia r Knowledge o f O la s s io a l L a t in
a u th o rs , and th e R e fle c tio n and in flu e n o e o f t h a t
Knowledge on h is Work and C h a ra c te r.
C o n te n ts .
Page.
1.
C h a p te r I : In t r o d u c t o r y .
2.
C h a p .II: Jonson th e S choolboy.
7.
C h a p . I ll: The Range and rfeture o f h is
R eferences to L a t in .
12.
Chap. I v: th e M inora S id e ra o f h is Regard.
51.
Chap. v : The M ajors S id e ra , v i z :
51*
(a ) Seneca.
61.
(b ) M a r t ia l.
73.
(c ) The P lin ie s .
78.
(d ) P la u tu s .
92.
(e ) v i r g i l .
99.
( f ) O vid .
108.
(g ) J u v e n a l.
119.
. (h ) H orace.
133.
( i)
162.
The L a t in H is to r ia n s .
Chap. VI : Jonson th e Man, S o h o la r, and Pedagogue
A ppendix I : Jonson* s O h ie f T ra n s la tio n s .
Appendix I I :
B ib lio g r a p h y .
1.
Chap* I .
In tr o d u c to r y .
By allow ing th e n a tu re o f h i s
dorro w in g s ,
oy a tte m p tin g
to assess w hat a p p a re n tly a t t r a c t e d him tow ards
in d iv id u a l L a t in c la s s ic s ,
qy showing h is more
a b s o lu te as w e ll as r e la t iv e li k e s and d i s l i k e s ,
and by e s tim a tin g h is t o t a l as w e l l as s p e c ifio
in de bted ne ss to h is M ajora S id e ra , i n p a r t ic u l a r ,
I hope to b u ild up a n io t u r e , from one p o in t o f v ie w ,
o f both th e man and h i s l i t e r a r y m ethods, and to
make c le a r th e p o s it io n and th e f u n o tio n t h a t
I b e lie v e he essayed i n the l i t e r a t u r e and c u ltu r e
o f h is day.
C hap• 2 •
Jonson th e S o h o o il^ - o r “ S m a ll L a t in " .
I n W e stm in ste r S c h o o l,u n d e r Camden,Jonson presumablys tu d ie d an avorag9 c u r ric u lu m , as tim e s w e n t, o f L a t in
grammar and l i t e r a t u r e . He began, l i t t l e
d o u b t, w it h
L i l y ’ s G-rsmr.ar, "A b s o lu tis s im u s de o c to o r a t io n is p a r t im r
c o n s t n o tio n e l i b e l l u s e tc .* * , th e sta n d a rd p rim e r on the
s u b je c t f o r more th a n two o e n tu r ie s . And i t may w e ll be
t h a t t h is book, i n Qsmden1s ha nd s, p ro fo u n d ly in flu e n c e d
the r e s t o f Jo n so n 1s c a re e r. We p o s s e s s , anyhow, h is
s u g g e s tiv e t r ib u t e to Camden1s p e rs o n a l in flu e n c e ; and,
f o r o e r t a i n ^ i t w i l l appear t h a t g rs m n a tic a l in t e r e s t s
h e ld him p a iw n o u n tly a l l h i s l i f e . H is re g a rd f o r t h is
book may have extended even to i t s
p re fa c e i n w h ic h O o le t
i n s i s t s on c o n s ta n t a t t e n t io n t o th e p r a c t ic e o f chosen
poe^s and pro se w r i t e r s , a f a v o u r it e p re c e p t o f Jo n so n i n
h is m a t u r ity .
H aving found h i s f e e t i n L i l y 1s Grammar, the ooy
Ben w ould n e x t have h is c h a r a c te r and h i s v o c a b u la ry
im proved cy one o r more o f s e v e ra l p o p u la r a a m p iia tio n s
o f “ S e n te n tia e .P ueriles**. A l l m anuals o f t h i s k in d combined
g r a u n a tio a l w it h m o ra l te a c h in g , ih e y in c u lc a te d efckio
tr u is m s , f i r s t i n two L a t in w o rd s , th e n i n th r e e , and^on
u n t i l th e g a iw in g boy had a g u id in g p re c e p t and an a p p o s ite
L a t in ta g a g a in s t a l l th e e t h ic a l dilemmas o f l i f e . A de vio e
t h i s t h a t was s u re ly o f p o te n t in fx u e n o e i n c r e a tin g th e
s c ra p -c o o k h a b it t h a t Jenson and so man:/- o f h is f e llo w
s c h o la rs n e v e r lo s t i n l a t e r y e a rs . And t h i s method e i t h e r
3.
s u ite d o r swayed th e y o u th fu l Jonson: e i t h e r i t
sowed o r i t
germ inated suoh o f h i s s a lie n t q u a x ii/ie s o f xa ^e r years
as m o ra l f e r v o u r , padagogio do g n a t ism , s e n te n tio u s n e s s ,
and an a lm o st r e lig io u s re g a rd f o r d i s t i l l e d wisdom i n
th e L a t in to n g u e . A l l th e se are c le a r l y a t w ork i n th e
“ D is c o v e rie s 44 w h e re in he c o m p ile s , t r a n s la t e s , hammers o u t
“ s e n te n tia e " f o r h im s e lf, though n e ve r,e n e m ust concede,
w it h a n y th in g l i k e the a r it h m e t ic a l b r e v it y o f h is e a r li e s t
exem plars.
When Jonson had m astered a co n sid era b le number o f
these D rief and a r t le s s apophthegns, he p ro b a b ly proceeded
to C ato! s “ D is tio h a M o ra iia 4*, w h ic h w ould do n o th in g t o
le s s e n h is tendency to admire sound sense i n th e L a t i n
to n gu e. I t m u s t, however, be n o te d as c u rio u s t h a t i n the
w orks o f h is m a t u r ity n e it h e r he n o r h is commentators have
remarked ®n txw i r r e f u t a b l e o b lig a t io n to C a to , a ra re
e x c e p tio n among h i s m o r a lis in g and l i t e r a r y b e n e fa c to rs .
A t th e same tim e when he d id ocme to w r it e
‘‘C a t ilin e * he
eschewed th e c lo s e t o p p o s it io n s o f S a llu s t and p u t i n Catd s
mouth speeches more i n k e e p in g w i t h h is boyhood s tu d ie s
o f th e oxd man1s s t y le .
A l i t t i e more i n t e r e s t , even a n im a tio n , was n e x t
in tro d u c e d in t o the t r a in in g o f young E liz a b e th a n s i n suoh
in s t r i o tis te and d ra m a tic monologues as those o f C o rd e riu s .
And th e s e , i n t u r n , m ig h t pave th e way f o r th e "C o llo q u ie s *
o f E ra a m u ^ w h io h were s im ila r i n form b u t more advanced i n
m a tte r . One o f th e s e , th e **De A lo u m ls ta * , c e r t a in ly was i n
h is m in d when he came t o w r it e th e * A lc h e m is t “ to w h ich i t
bear’s c e r t a in v e r y c lo s e r e s e m b la n c e ^
(1 ) See numerous re fe re n c e s to Erasmus i n liE . l i . u u t . " A c tI,S c .i«
C a r lo 1s in s t r u c t io n s to S o g lia rd © on b e in g a f in e gentlem an.
(2 ) P ro fs . H e re fo rd and Simpson ( h e r e a fte r H.& S .) summarise
the se p a r a l le l s i n fo o tn o te lo V o I . I I . p p . 9 8 , 9 9 .
4 I b t Cato the e ld e r o r y o u n g e r, but a p ro d u c t o f much l a t e r
d a te .
4.
Aesop’ s Fables p ro v id e d in te rc o n n e c te d t r a in in g i n
G reek, L a t in and E n g lis h , w hat t in e th e y p ro v id e d , to o , one
hopes, scare a l le g o r i c a l illu m i n a t i o n to the c a r r i e r and
a r id “ s e n b e n tia e 44.
The ‘‘ B u c o lic s 44 of^ B a t t is t a S p a n u o li, o r Mantuanus V ir g il^
s e rio u s lo c a l r i v a l i n th e eyes o f Jonson1s
c o n te m p o ra rie s , th o u g i n o t i n h is - was a ls o e x tre m e ly to
th e ta s te o r E liz a b e th a n sohool a u t h o r it ie s , so t h a t o u r
a u th o r p ro b a b ly made i t s
acq u a in ta n ce to o .
D is p u ta tio n i n L a t in on s u b je c ts l i k e gramnar was
a n o th e r occmon method o f approach to the c la s s ic s p ro p e r.
I t i s reasonable to suppose t h a t th e y o u th fu l Jonson
e n jo yed the scope p ro v id e d by such c o n te s ts f o r h i s
L a t i n i t y , r h e t o r ic a l v ig o u r , and p u g n a c ity .
i t i s in t e r e s t in g a t t h is p o in t to r e c a ll Jon son1s
own m a tu re r vie w s on th e m ost s u ita b le L a t in a u th o rs f o r
a d o le s c e n t s tu d y , a problem ©n w h ic h h is e a rn e s t in t e r e s t w
w ould n o t p e rm it him to speak l i g h t l y , however much i t mays
seem to us t h a t h i s c h o ic e i s beyond th e c a p a c ity o f
y o u th . I n 44D is c o v e rie s * he ccEmends as “ openest and
d e a r e s t 4': L iv y , S a llu s t , V i r g i l , E n n iu s , Q u in t ilia n ,
P la u tu s , and Terence.
The la s t tots on t h i s c u rr ic u lu m rem ind one o f
a n o th e r E liz a b e th a n method o f te a c h in g L a t in , nam ely,
th ro u g h th e drama. Thus, the supposed boy o f th e “ M agnetic
L a dy44 d e c la re s , 441 le a rn e d Terence i n th e t h i r d form a t
W e s tm in s te r*. We may s a f e ly conclude from t h i s t h a t Ben
made the acq ua in ta nce o f acted c la s s ic a l drama a t a
r e l a t i v e l y te n d e r age, w it h p o t e n t i a l e f f e c t s on h is
subsequent ch o ice © f a c a re e r and subsequent vie w s on th e
d i g n it y o f h is c r a f t . I n l a t e r l i f e , how ever, he expresses
( I ) P 18 m ig r a t e s e t f o r t h as a n o d a l f o r I m it a t io n i n th e
w r i t i n g o f L a t in v e rs e s . These Camden w ould have h is p u p ils
d r a f t f i r s t i n E n g lis h , w it h p o t e n t ia l consequences on
Ben’ s m a tu re r s t y le and m ethods. Would t h is method o f aporoafl
n o t te n d to produce a t once th e s t if f n e s s and th e "b o d y1'
o f h is v e rs e .
5.
d is a p p ro v a l
sch o o l p ia y s , L a t in o r E n g lis h . Suoh f a c i l e
m ethods, he appears to have th o u g h t, produced p a r ro ts and
s m a tte re rs , and endangered th e soundness c f t h e i r g ro u n d in g
i n grammar. ( I t may be, o f c o u rs e , th a t t h is an im adversion
was la r g e ly due to a s o u r rec o n e c o io n th a t i n t h is
p r a c tic e o f the sch o o ls o r ig in a t e d these menaces to the
a d u it p la y e r s , the o h iid r e n 1s com p an ie s.)
on Jon son1s own te s tim o n y we conclude t h a t O icero
was a pidm a ry L a t in re a d e r, s in c e h is w o rk had u n p le a s a n t
a s s o c ia tio n s f o r th e “Readers i n o rd in a iy * 1 o f “ C a tilin e * 4.
And i n
“ D is c o v e rie s * Jonsen m e n tio n s a ls o P e rs iu s and J u v a tfh l,
“whose names we now so g l o r i f y i n s c h o o ls , a t le a s t p re te n d
it " .
A p p a re n tly he suspected t h a t these two sinew y a u th o rs
were o fte n e r on the c u r r ic u la th a n on the de sks. B u t, a g a in ,
as w i l l a p p e a r, t h is s n o r t may m e re ly im p ly t h a t Jonson
expected o f sch o o ls an im p r a c tic a b ly h ig h sta n d a rd o f
L a t in knowledge.
I n c o n c lu s io n , a lth o u g h Jonson nowhere expresses
s a t is f a c t io n w i t h the L a t in e d u c a tio n o f h is d a y , th e
g e n e ra l sta n d a rd m ust have been h ig h , and th e p u p ils , to u s ,
i n t h is s u b je c t p re c o c io u s } a t le a s t t h a t i s
so i f we can
acce pt as n o rm a l, o r even as sm acking o f v e r i s i m i l i t u d e , th e
f a c i l i t y i n t r a n s la t io n d is p la y e d b y Frank~© f th e 44New In n ”
■when c a te c h is e d by th e H o s t. (2 ) I do n o t t h in k t h a t many
J u v e n ile s o f to - d a y , d e s o iib a b le anyhow as “p r e t t y b o y “ and
“ a f in e c h i l d * , c o u ld show suoh ease and eleganoe and
re a d in e s s i n a L a t in c ro s s -e x s m in a tio fe ^ From w h ic h i t
appears t h a t Ben, though he l e f t sohooi u n tim e ly , had
p ro b a b ly a knowledge o f L a t in g r e a te r both i n e x te n t and
d e p th th a n m ost boys o f to -d a y who p re s e n t them selves f o r
t h 9 O rd in a iy degree o f M.A. i n th e s u b je c t o f L a t in .
(1 ) See th e “ S ta p le o f News44, A o t I I I . S o . 2 : "Do we p a y o u r
money f o r th is ? We send them to le a r n t h e i r grammar and t h e i r
T erence, and th e y le a r n t h e i r p la y b o o k s ."
(2 ) A ot I . S c . i .
(3 ) O f. Shakespeare’ s re p r e s e n ta tio n o f an e q u a lly
know ledgeable c h i ld u n d e r a s im i la r c a te c h is e .’ J fe rry W .’ i v . i .
6.
I n e v it a b ly hore one r e c a lls Shakespoare and h i s
knowledge of* L a t in . C le a r ly , though educated a t the s m a lltown sch o o l o f S t r a f f o r d , and though he l e f t sch o o l even
inore u n tim e ly th a n Ben, Shakespeare m ust have walked w ith
Jonson a io n g a g o o d ly p a r t o f t h i s t r y i n g way o f L a t in
( I)
knowledge. A t le a s t i t seems s a fe to con clu de t h a t , thu s
f a r , t h e i r L a t in
b a lla s t was a lik e i n n a tu re and i n w e ig h t; f o r
anyone a c q u a in te d w ith scho ols © r human n a tu re w i l l
concede i t
to he u n lik e ly t h a t the p r o v in c ia l s c h o o l o f
S t r a t f o i d w o u ld e vo lve a m a rk e d ly in d iv id u a l c u rric u lu m .
S u re ly both i n c u rric u lu m o f s tu d y and i n s ta n d a rd o f
a t+ a irm e n t S+r a f f o r d w ould seek to f o llo w and to r i v a l such
famous b i g - c i t y scho ols as W e stm in ste r. I f so , a t b o th
e s ta b lis h m e n ts t h e i r m ost famous alum n i re c e iv e d th e same
us m a il L a t in a, w hich to us appears a v e r y g re a t d e a l.
( i ) A c c o rd in g to Smart the l i s t o f L a t in a u th o rs s tu d ie d a t
S a ffro n Walden in c lu d e d : Ovid* s Metamorphoses, S a llu s t , V i r g i l ’ s
E clogues and A e n e id , O ic e ro ! s E p is t le s , T erence, H orace,
and Erasmus1s C opia Reiurn e t v erborum , to g e th e r w it h much
L a t in co m p o sitio n designed to g iv e an easy f a m i l i a r i t y w ith
th e language r a th e r than a r e fin e d and s c h o la r ly knowledge.
Jonson, i n c id e n t a lly i n a l l p r o b a b i lit y e n jo yed the
ne w ly m in te d c o n tr ib u tio n s to s c h o la rs h ip o f Aschaen and
M u lc a s te r w h io h Shakespeare "escaped!!
Ohap.3.
The Range and Nature © f Jenson* s R eferences te L a t in .
As a p r e lim in a r y te any re v ie w e f Jensen* s tre a tm e n t
e f in d iv id u a l L a t in a u t h o r it ie s , t h e i r in flu e n c e en h is
w eifciand c o r r e la te d q u e s tio n s , i t i s e s s e n tia l te in d ic a te
th e number and names o f the a u t h o r it ie s i n q u e s tie n . P er
co n ve n ie n ce , I append i n t a b u la r fenn th e nones e f a i l h is
known c la s s ic b e n e fa c to rs . O pp osite each appears th e number
o f occa sio n s on w h ic h Jonson c e r t a i n l y makes use o f th e w orks
o f t h i s p a r t i c u l a r a u th o r. To a v o id erroneous d e d u c tio n s
frc in t h i s a lto g e th e r to o s im p le At c a ta lo g u e one m ust keep
c o n s ta n tly i n m ind th e m o d ify in g circu m sta n ce s o f i t s
c o m p ila tio n . Thus, th e l i s t ig n o re s dubious and i n d i r e c t
d e b ts , some as v i t a l as b a s ic id e a s f o r p l o t s ; i t
Ig n o re s ,
o f o o u rs e , h is p r iv a t e correspondence as t h a t i s g iv e n b y
P ro fe s s o rs H e rfo rd and Simpson, h is " D is c o v e r ie s " to o , o r
notebook& P and a l l th e p la y s o f w h ic h he may be a j o i n t
a u th o r, such as "E astw ard H o !*
O tw io u s ly , t h e r e f o r e , th e
l i s t i s a c o n s id e ra b le u n d e rs ta te m e n t o f Jonson* s t o t a l
in d e b te d n e ss to th e L a t in o la s s io s , tho ug h i t
in c lu d e s h is
m ain and m ost s ig n i f i c a n t b o rro w in g s . B u t i t s c h i e f v a lu e
i s as a ro u g h , r e la t iv e in d ic a t io n o f th e degree o f
im portance t h a t Jonson a tta c h e d to s p e c if ic L a t in a u th o rs .
She l i s t com prises w hat m ig it be c a lle d i l l u s t r a t i v e
q u o ta tio n s , L a t in p a r a l l e l s , and suoh L a t in ph rase s as m ig h t
s p rin g to h is m in d , unasked and c u r r i t e
c alamo’i o r m ig h t be
f
( I ) P o r an e s tim a te o f th e L a t in a u t h o r it ie s i n ^ D is c o v e rie s *
v id e G regory Sm ith* s *Ben J o n s o n *, p . 253. P o r e x a n p ie ,
Q u in t ili a n , 25 re fe re n o e s (I make i t 2 « ) ; Seneda th e y o u n g e r,2 1 5
th e e ld e r I I ; P lin y , P la u t . , H o r . ,4 ( I reckon 10: b u t see f o o t ­
n o te to "Horace 1!)
added as an a fte r th o u g h t d u r in g r e v is io n where he f e l t h is
m o th e r tongue wanted th e grace and s a n c tio n o f o la s s ie
a u t h o r it y , i n e i t h e r ease s ig n i f i c a n t o f the man and h is
m ethods. The l i s t in c lu d e s , t o o , such re fe re n c e s as o u r p o e t
adduced i n p r o o f o f s ta te m e n ts , in t e r p r e t a t io n s , and tr a n s la tio n s
i n h is “ L a t in * p la y s ! W ith th e se lim it a t io n s and q u a lif ic a t io n s
th e fig u r e s g iv e n are a c lo s e r a th e r th a n a rough, a p p ro x im a tio n .
Efapg Q t L a t in A u th o r
-A p p ro x.
H i. o f R eferences i n Jonson.
T a c itu s ..............................
.165.
H o ra c e .
.................
99.
J u v e n a l..............................
74.
O v id
.....................
.6 2 .
V i r g i l ...................
4w.
S u e to n iu s ........................................ 42. (p lu s “ C a t i l i n e 1,p a s s im .)
P la u tu s
.......................
.3 6 .
P lin y , t h e e ld e r
^
M a r t ia l.......................1....................31.
S eneca,the yo u n g e rj
C a tu llu s .......................................... 13.
P e rs iu s .............................................12.
C ic e r o ........................................ . . . I I ( p l u s in d e te m in a b le n o .* C a ti?
S t a t iu s .................
9.
7
Terence ..............................
L iv y
V a rro
1 .
.
. a
M aorobius J
P e tro n iu s ...................
t • # • • .5
• .»
Q u in t ilia n
v a l. Maximus
A p u le iu s
S. . . . 4 .
P ro p e rtiu s
S a llu s t (p lu s “ C a t i l i n e “ )(
V it r u v iu s
J
P a te rc u lu s >
P u b liu s SyrusL
............ 3.
J u liu s Cas s a g
L a n rp rld iu s \
A u l. G e lliu s ]
S io u lu s
I
.......................2 .
A m o b iu s
(
V a l. F la o c u s l
T ib u llu s
1
S o lin u s
J
t , S il. Ita lio u s
(2 )F lo ru s
Pcm. M ela
v ic to r
F estus
I.
H onoratus
J u lia n u s
T reb. P o llio
J u s tin u s
Seneca, th e e ld e r
L u c r e tiu s .
)
(1 ) v id e d e t a ils i n Chap. o n ’ T a c itu s and H is t o r ia n s / '
(2 ) Dubious d e te c tio n b y W h a lle y . V id . i 0 y n th l s .R e v s .“ I v , 2 .
Ocmpensation may be th e m o t on C u n n .I.p .5 8 . v e ry d o u b tfu l to o .
As a p ie c e o f s t a t i s t i c s t h i s l i s t c a l ls f o r c e r t a in
c eminent s.
Since th e le a s t o f them , f o r Benf s p u rp o se s, i s c it e d
more th a n tw ic e as oiffcen as any t h a t f o llo w on th e l i s t , we
may re a s o n a b ly say t h a t from T a c itu s down to Seneca we have
th e M ajora S id e ra o f Jon son1s esteem , who th e r e fo r e re q u ire
m ost d e t a ile d tre a tm e n t i n t h i s e n q u iry .
J b te , to o , t h a t th e l i s t i s p a r t i c u l a r l y m is le a d in g i n
th e case o f th e e ld e r Seneca, Q u in t ili a n , and C ic e ro , as w i l l
appear i n th e p ro p e r p la c e , because a c o n s id e ra tio n o f th e
" D is c o v e rie s 1 in d ic a te s t h a t these a u th o rs were o fte n e r i n
Jonson* s m in d th a n h is more Im a g in a tiv e w orks w ould le a d us to
suppose.
To anyone p re ju d ic e d b y a m odem v a lu a tio n o f th e L a t in
c la s s ic s i t w i l l appear t h a t t h is l i s t makes stra n g e b e d -fe llo w s .
To take an extreme case, L u c r e tiu s hob-nobs w ith such v e ry
la t e L a tin s as V ic t o r and H o no ratus. I n p a r t , o f c o u rs e ,
such s u rp ris e s are due t o a change o f v a lu a tio n between
E liz a b e th a n tim e s and o u r own; b u t th e y are a ls o i n p a r t due to
o u r a u t h o r s p e rs o n a l ta s te and re q u ire m e n ts : and the n a tu re
o f these needs and th e fe a tu re s o f t h a t ta s te form th e s ta p le
o f th e f o llo w in g re v ie w .
S im ila r problem s to t h a t o f L u c r e tiu s r e a d ily suggest
them selves an en t o th e rs on th e l i s t .
Thus, why d id th e charm
and d i f f i c u l t y o f P ro p e rtiu s - th e l a t t e r q u a l i t y a m e r it i n
Jonson1s eyes - n o t r a is e him h ig h e r th a n th e p ro s a ic V itru v iu s ?
Why does Lucan ta ke precedence o v e r Terence and L iv y ? What
e le v a tin g m e r it d id Jonson f in d i n Avienus and C laudianus?
I s tb s w o rth o f T a c itu s , f o r Jo n so n , f a i r l y r e f le c t e d i n h is
appa ren t supremacy here? Or i s T a c itu * m e re ly an h i s t o r i c a l
e n c y c lo p e d ia , fre q u e n t b u t s c a rc e ly f a v o u r it e reading? Suoh
a re th e k in d s o f problem s t h a t we s h a ll have to answer.
One f i n a l c a u tio n as t o th e in t e r p r e t a t io n o f th e above
l i s t i s t h i s : w it h e x c e p tio n s to be n o te d i n p la c e , th e o rd e r
o f the names i s f a i r l y re p re s e n ta tiv e o f Jonson* s o p in io n *
as t h a t can be v e r i f i e d frcm o th e r sources* b u t the a c tu a l
fig u r e s m ust n o t be o v e rs tre s s e d i n t h a t th e y do n o t d is c rim in a te
between v i t a l and le s s im p o rta n t b o rro w in g s * n o r even between
b r i e f and le n g th y b o rro w in g s so t h a t a w hole o r a tio n o f C ic e ro
counts f o r no more th a n a g la n c in g a llu s io n to a m y th ic a l
personage i n P lin y *
T h is l i s t *
th e n * g iv e s a r e la t iv e im p re s s io n o f the e x te n t
o f Jon son1s in d e b te d n e ss to L a t in l i t e r a t u r e . I t rem ains to
in d ic a te s i m i l a r l y th e e x te n t o f h is g ra m m a tica l and v o c a b u la ry
b o rro w in g s frcm th e L a t in ton gu e.
W ith o u t w s in g a v e ry f in e meSh* I have com p iled a l i s t
o f 362 g la n c in g re fe re n c e s to L a t in p h ra se s* L a tin a te E n g lis h
w ords* u n a llo c a te d L a t in q u o ta tio n s , m o tto e s composed by
jo n s o n on c la s s io m o d e ls, and n o n d e s c rip t L a t in w o rds.
To i l l u s t r a t e
th e v a r io u s usages in o lu d e d i n t h is t o t a l
and to show th e v a r y in g degrees o f remoteness frcm no unal
E n g lis h p r a c t ic e one m i # i t in s ta n c e th e fo llo w in g c a te g o rie s
and exam ples:
(afc A ra re word - even i n L a t in
“ e q u i oiib an um ” .
(b ) L a tin ia m s made n o ta b le b y d is re g a rd f o r d re m a tio p r o p r ie t y :
as " o ib a t io n ” and “ th e v e n tu re t r i p a r t i t e 1 on th e f a i r l i p s
o f D o ll Ccranon* c o n e y -c a tc h e r and t r u l l .
(o ) E n g lis h e d L a t in : • r ip e f o r a m an".
(d ) L a t in words and p h ra s e o lo g y p e A a p s used f o r J u d ic io u s
m y s t if ic a t io n o f th e ra b b le : "fa e c e s o f th e p e o p le t h a t s i t
i n th e obscure c a re a and wedges o f y o u r house* ( t h e a t r e ) .
W S u re ly th e lo w e s t form o f pu n: *D io k T a to r * .
( f ) “P o p u la r* s c i e n t i f i c texm s: “ d e c e p tio v is a s * .
(g ) T e c h n ic a l texms from v a rio u s m y s te rie s * suoh as alchemy*
o o a n e try * and demonology: *m a g is te iiu m * * * i n fum o*. There are
about 70 suoh i n th e * A lc h * n is t * .
(h ) L e g a l texm s: as i n th e i n te rm in a b le l i s t o f le g a l
im pedim ents i n th e c lo s in g scenes o f th e “ S ile n t Wcman*.
II.
( i)
Terns o f abuse ( n o t t h a t he found h is m o th e r tongue r e a ll y
in ad eq ua te i n t h i s ) : "m a n g o n is in g ".
(J ) Texms o f th e s c h o o ls : " x?edargae".
(k ) Marked v e r b a l m annerism s: " t o th e n a i l 1* •su ccuba e**
“ m erds* * m e n s tiu e " * and “ s e n te n c e s ".
A l l these and a n o n d e s c iip t h o s t b e s id e .
I n a l l * I re p e a t* th e re aire i n J o n s o n ^ d ra m a tic and p o e tic
w o ik s mox?e th a n th r e e - h u n d ie d - a n d - f if t y such t r ib u t e s to the
L a t in te a c h in g o f h i s tim e and t o the pi»esumptive knowledge o f
L a t in among h is re a d e rs and a u dien ce. P o r th e m anent we r e f r a i n
fxxtn cccment on th e p a r t p la y e d i n h is dxramatic p ro d u c tio n s
b y a l l suoh b o rro w in g s .
I n c o n ju n c tio n * the se two l i s t s
g iv e sane id e a o f th e
e x te n t o f Jonson1s acq ua in ta nce w ith c la s s ic a l L a t in * sane
to o * o f the xreadiness w it h w h ich i t
id e a ,
s ta r te d to h is m in d . We now
have t o c o n s id e r th e d e p th o f t h is knowledge* i t s q u a l it ie s
and emphafces and id io s y n c r a s ie s * as a means to a s s e s s in g i t s
in flu e n c e on Jonson1s w o rk and th e l i g h t i t
on h is p e rs o n a l c h a ra c te r.
i n c id e n t a lly th x w s
12.
Chap. 4 .
The M in o ra S id e ra .
I propose t o t r e a t h is le a s e r I e t i n sources i n ascending
ordG r o f r e la t iv e im p o rta n ce o r fre q u e n c y o f re fe re n c e , u n t i l
we reach tho se a u th o rs whose c o n t r ib u t io n ^ may be s a id to c o lo u r
Jonson* s w o rk r a t h e r th a n to c o n tr ib u te to i t ,
and who, as
fo rm a tiv e in flu e n c e s i n t h e i r own r i g h t , deserve in d iv id u a l
and d e t a ile d tre a tm e n t.
L u o r e t in a
O f a l l th e a u th o rs whom Jonson c it e s b u t once th e m ost
s u r p r is in g case i s t h a t o f L u c r e tiu s . I n so f a r as th e in fr e q u e n t
o f h is re fe re n c e s t o the w orks o f th e o th e rs i n t h i s f i r s t group
r e f le c t s th e r e la t iv e la c k o f esteem he f e l t f o r them Jonson
appears t o be i n g e n e ra l agreement w it h l a t e r s c h o la rs , who
w o u ld h a r d ly c a v il a t th e n e g le c t o f such as J u lia n , H o n o ra tu s,
and P o l l i o . But L u c r e tiu s i s a n o th e r m a tte r . R>r i s
th e mere
s o lit a r in e s s o f th e re fe re n c e a l l t h a t one m ust n o te . P or even
i n t h is one re fe re n c e th e re i s no sense o f p e rs o n a l o r p e c u lia r
o b lig a t io n , much le s s in f e r a b le esteem , s in c e i t i s n o t a
d i r e c t q u o ta tio n and s in c e , i n h is own fo o tn o te , Jonson
re c o g n ise s t h a t the id e a he borrow s frcm L u c r e tiu s ( o f Trenus
f r u c t i f y i n g th e wcmg) m ig h t j u s t as w e ll have cone frcm many
o th e r a u t h o r it ie s - o f whan he a c t u a lly c it e s ^ i r g i l and Hcmer.
F u r th e r , t h i s n o te o f h i s i s appended t o the “ Masque o f queens"
w h io h i s a s o r t o f a rc h a e o lo g ic a l re v u e , o r parade o f q u a in t
and a c c u ra te p e d a n try , t h a t i s , a oase a p a rt from h i s more
norm al poems, a oase f o r a #occmand p e rform an ce* o f le a r n in g
d iv o rc e d from 1he f a i n t e s t em otion o f even l i t e r a r y g r a t it u d e ,
th e r e fo r e th e o n ly s ig n ific a n c e o f Jonson1s s o l i t a r y re fe re n c e
t p L u c r e tiu s i s n e g a tiv e and i n d i r e c t . I t shows t h a t Jonson
13.
(a ) s tu d ie d L u c r e tiu s o n ly la t e i n l i f i p o r (b ) know ing the
*De rerum • i n good tim e , d is lik e d and d e lib e r a t e ly ig n o re d i t
P ro fe s s o rs H e rfo rd and Simpson fa v o u r th e fo rm e r a lte r n a t iv e
.
P e rs o n a lly , I in c lin e tow ards th e second. As w i n , however,
appear i t i s b u t p r o b a b i l i t y a g a in s t p r o b a b i lit y . The
la te - in - lif e
th e o ry assumes t h a t the e x ta n t l i b r a r y oopy, the
Amsterdam L u c r e tiu s o f 1620, f ix e s th e e a r l i e s t da te o f Ben1s
a cq ua in ta nce w it h L u c r e tiu s , th e more so i h t h a t i t
i s h e a v ily
a n n o ta te d i n h is own h a n d w r itin g . The absence o f re fe re n c e s to
L u c r e tiu s th e y th e r e fo r e e x p la in q u ite n a t u r a lly , s in c e by
1620 th e b u lk o f Jo n so n 1s w o ik was done. A g a in s t t h i s , however,
I t h in k even h e a v ie r evidence may be b r o u $ it . Thus, th e re i s
a prdma fa c ie I m p r o b a b ilit y i n th e id e a t h a t Jon son , m a s te r
o f so much more obscure le a r n in g , d id n o t s tu d y L u c r e tiu s
th o ro u g h ly b e fo re he was 4b y e a rs o f age, remembering always
t h a t f o r Jonson "s tu d y * and "th o ro u g h ly " were synonymous. More
Im p o rta n t s t i l l i s th e f a c t t h a t th e "Masque o f Queens* was a c te d
and p u b lis h e d i n 1609. S ince th e fo o tn o te i n q u e s tio n may be
a l a t e r a d d itio n , t h i s does n o t in v a lid a t e , but i t
does
weaken s u g g e s tio n ( a ) . Jonson1* f i r s t copy o f L u c r e t iu s ,
m o re o v e r, p r in t e d o r m a n u s c rip t, may w e ll have p e ris h e d i n th e
S tud y f i r e
o f 162 r , t a k in g w ith i t
h is m a rg in a l g le a n in g s , and
th e se he may have sought t o re p la c e o r r e c o lle c t b y a n n o ta tin g
h is f in e new volume w h ic h , th o u g h p u b lis h e d i n 1620, may n o t
have oane in t o th e p o sse ssio n o f etjen so eager a b i b l io p h i le
t i l l a f t e r th e P i r e . I n any oase, 1he v e r y newness o f the
p u b lic a t io n w o u ld n a t u r a lly be a c h a lle n g e to suoh an
in d u s tr io u s n o te - ta k e r and m aker. A l l th in g s c o n s id e re d , I
le a n - be i t w i t h l i t t l e
co n fid e n ce - tow ards s u p p o s itio n ( b ) .
T ha t a cce p te d , h is p e r s is t e n t n e g le c t o f L u c r e tiu s c a lls f o r
e x p la n a tio n on grounds o f w i l l and t a s t e , and, s u r p r is in g
though i t
scans, I b e lie v e such grounds e x is t .
( I ) Ben* s o n ly known l i b r a r y oopy i s d o te d 1620. F u lly
d e s c rib e d b y H e rfo rd and S im p s o n ,V o l.I,p p .2 5 5 -7 .
a
A l l q u e s tio n s o f p o e tic m e r it a p a r t, th e h i g i m o ra l fe rv o u r
and d id a c tic e a rn e stn e ss o f th e Roman were a f t e r Ben’ s own h e a r t.
And he d id reo og nise th e e x is te n c e o f these q u a lit ie s i n L u c re tiu s
(I)
long b e fo re h e came to have th e Amsterdam e d i t i o n o f 1620.
Ndw ,
as a r u le What Jo n so n a p p e a rs to h av e adm ired h e f r e e l y q u o ted i n
h is own w o rk. We m u s t, t h e r e fo r e , lo o k i n L u c r e tiu s f o r o e r t a in
grave d i s a b i l i t i e s Whioh to Jon son1s m ind w o uld outw eiga these
s t e r l i n g l i t e r a r y v ir t u e s . I w o u ld sug ge st t h a t , f o r Jonson, no
m e r it i n L u c r e tiu s c o u ld compensate f o r h is p h ilo s o p h ic m e la n c h o ly
and detachm ent, a s p i r i t and an a t t it u d e n a t u r a lly r e p e lla n t to
Jonson1s p o s it iv e , wann, a g g re s s iv e d is p o s it io n . True i t
i s , aadbcrot
m e la n c h o ly a f f l i c t e d Ben o fte n enough: g e n e r a lly , how ever, i t was
a m e la n c h o ly from w ith o u t. In d e e d , th e t r y i n g circ u m s ta n c e s o f a
g re a t p a r t o f h i s c a re e r made s u b je c tiv e m e la n c h o ly a lu x u r y i n
Tfoioh he dared n o t in d u lg e . H is was n o t A n to n io 's n o r Ja cq u e s’
m e la n c h o ly ; i t was e a s ily d ia g n o s a b le as th e s c h o la r 's m e la n c h o ly ,
th e c o n v e n tio n a l m e la n c h o ly o f th e s a t i r i s t , o r th e a fte n n a th o f
p o p u la r d is a p p ro v a l.
Ifever a ra m a n tio o r e m o tio n a l p e ssim ism , newer
a hum our o f m e la n c h o ly . And doubt he h a te d too.Prom b o th he once
s o u g it re fu g e i n th e dogna and p o s itiv e n e s s o f Rcane. He h a d , I
im a g in e , h is own, h i s a g e 's , and th e man o f a c t io n 's a v e rs io n to
r e s ig n a tio n however noble and n o b ly expressed,'w eaknesses* these
o f L u c re tiu s n o t atoned f o r by th o se v ir t u e s w h ic h i n a n o th e r
case w ould have aroused h is u s p u m t s & t n am pler commendation and
peuhaps h i s
I
The o th e r members o f t h is group o f p e t t y c r e d it o r s
o ffe r l i t t l e
s tin
'fo u p id ity * '.
l i g i t o r guidance on o u r a u th o r and may be d ism isse d
b r i e f l y . Thus, J u s t in i s b u t p a r t c o n t r ib u t o r o f a s o l i t a r y name
to an im p re s s iv e c a ta lo g u e o f n o b le dames, w h ic h suggests t h a t
h e r e in Ben was squeezing h i s r e s id u a l know ledge. The o n ly
llio
re fe re n c e to T r e b e iliu s P o lli o appears to f l a t t e r t h a t
( l) A s appears i n th e p h ra s e , " L u c r e t iu s ' l o f t y numbers” i n 'The
P o e ta s te r, A o t I , S o . i. d a t e IGOI.The w o rd in g i s to o c o n v e n tio n a l
to a f f e c t e i t h e r c o n te n tio n . Much l a t e r p ro b a b ly , v i z . i n D is o o v e iy
M I X , Jonson ta k e s .g ra v e e x c e p tio n t o th e archaism s o f L u c r e t iu s ,
d e s c r ib in g him as "scabrous and rough i n th e s e ” .
f
i
15
Roman’ s im p o rta n ce and q u a l i t y , as Judged by more re c e n t standards.
F o r P o l l i o , Jonson appears to sa y, t r e a t s Zenobia as a nobje queen
s h o u ld be tr e a te d by a d i g n if ie d h is t o r ia n . L a te r e s tim a te s o f
P o lli o h a r d ly endorse Ren’ s p h ra s e , “m ost noble d e s c r ip tio n 8, o r
h is c o n c lu s io n , ■which i s , 8 “w ith th e d i g n i t y o f an h is t o r ia n ! ’ I t
w i l l be n o te d , however, t h a t b o th phrases are am biguous, the f i r s t
m a rk e d ly s o , th e o th e r l i t t l e
le s s , sin o e i t may owe more to
Jonson*s re s p e c t f o r th e h i s t o r ia n ’ s c a l l i n g th a n to any p e rs o n a l
a p p r e c ia tio n f o r t h i s t y r o i n th e a r t ,
Florus.
The re fe re n c e to F lo ra s I take th e l i b e r f y to q u e s tio n , f o r
two reasons. F ir s t ,t h o u g h i t i s a d m itte d ly no more in d i r e c t th a n
many w h ic h Ben h im s e lf acknowledges to L a t in l i t e r a t u r e , i t appeari
to me t h a t o n ly th e p o e t’ s own w ord c o u ld v a l i d l y be accepted
f o r suoh an obscure w o rk in g o f h is m in d. A dm it suoh a ssu m ptio ns,
as W h a lle y d id , and o n ly w e a rin e ss and th e n a t u r a l c o n tr a c tio n
o f th e span o f th e c c c m e n ta to r1s l i f e
c o u ld p re v e n t th e a s c r ip t io n
t o somebody e ls e o f e v r y th in g t h a t Jonson w ro te . The second
o b je c tio n i s s c a r c e ly le s s c o g e n t. I n Jonson* s w o rk th e
supposedly borrowed fa n o y i s le s s e la b o ra te d th a n i n F lo ra s ,a n d
such r e s t r a i n t i s
the n e g a tio n o f Jonson* s method o f d e a lin g
w it h im p o rta tio n s
from abroad. I th e r e fo r e sug ge st t h a t Ben
owes n o th in g to F lo r a s , a c o n c lu s io n h a r d ly u p s e t even by
g r a n tin g t h a t he adopts the id e a i n q u e s tio n .
O f p a s s in g in t e r e s t i s th e one re fe re n c e to th e v a s t e p ic
©US. o f S il iu s I t a l i a n s . I t o ccu rs i n th e ■King’ s E n te rta in m e n t8,
a n o th e r m ine o f c la s s ic re fe re n c e s o f th e a n tiq u a r ia n s o r t .
S h rew dly t a c t f u l , Jonson produces t h is m o tto s
8Una T riu m p h is In n u m e iis P o t io r
Pax O ptim a Reram - 8
The sunstance and
th e language
o f -the q u o ta tio n & o w t h a t h e
read a r ig h t th e ta s te o f a t le a s t
one d is tin g u is h e d a u d ito r ; no
a c c id e n t t h i s f o r he re p e a te d the d e v ic e fr e q u e n t ly .
( I ) 80 y n th ’ s . R e v ls .8 V ,2 . #He charges l i k e a Frenohman, t h ic k
and h o t l y 1. Jftr o b je c tio n i s s l i g h t l y su p p o rte d by th e absence o f
F lo ra s frcm h i s e x ta n t l i b r a r y l i s t .
16.
Even t h i s e l i c i t degree o f in t e r e s t can h a r d ly "be f e l t f o r
th e o th e r " s o l i t a r i e s "
o f o u r l i s t . C o lle c t iv e ly , however, th e y
i l l u s t r a t e w h at we s h a ll have e n d le s s ly and more e f f e c t iv e ly
i l l u s t r a t e d e lse w h e re , Jo n so n 1s a b id in g in t e r e s t i n g ra m m atica l
s tu d ie s and e ty n o lo g y and m y th o lo g y . Thus, f o r the d e r iv a tio n
lo n o r a tu s
o f "ju g a " he tu rn s to H o n o ra tu s , a G e rm a n -like grammarian o f the
4 th C e n tu ry , and f o r th e names o f two young s a ty rs he c it e s
J u lia n as c o r ro b o ra tiv e o f V i r g i l , S ic u lu s ,a n d S yn e siu s. W ith
suoh ease d id Ben f l i t a cro ss th e c e n tu r ie s . R a th e r, one may
s u g g e s t, he in o lin e d to d is re g a rd tim e as a f a c t o r i n h is
s u rv e y o f L a t in l i t e r a t u r e . P o r Ben, i t was f a r frcm b e in g a
dead language, though i t
shared i n the reverence and s a n o tifL e d
f i x i t y w h ich n o rm a lly o n ly death can c o n fe r on the re p u te o f
man o r to n g u e .. .W ith t h a t we may le a ve these gra ra n a ria n s, j u r i s t s
and j o u r n a l i s t i c h is to r ia n s among whom Jonson had p ro b a b ly
acq ua in ta nce enough to d is c o v e r the t e x t o f th e S ir e n s 1 song
and m a tte rs o f l i k e moment, had any masque o r c o u r t ly b a r r ie r s
re q u ire d o f him. such c u rio u s know ledge.
I n th e n e x t o f o u r sanewhat a r b i t r a r y g ro u p s, G e n iu s ,
tin o rs
L a n p r ld iu s , S ic u lu s , A m o b iu s , P la o c u s , and T ib u llu s , th e l a s t
member i s a g a in s u r p r is in g , though n o t i n th e sane degree as
L u c r e tiu s .
P±iJttllUS.
A m odem v ie w o f T ib u llu s w o u ld le a d one to e x p e c t t h a t
jo n s o n w ould ra te T ib u llu s more h ig h ly th a n o u r l i s t su g g e sts.
Y e t I do n o t t h in k th e p re s e n t g ra d in g i s a t a l l m is le a d in g . To
b e g in w i t h , th e two re fe re n c e s Jonson does make to T ib u llu s '
w o rk a re p u r e ly f a c t u a l, n o t to say p e d a n tic and s u p e rflu o u s .
Thus, i n case even h is c o u r t ly audience sh o u ld assume t h a t h is
l i n e , "Phoebus when he crowned s a n g ", was ah u n s a n c tio n e d ,
however m od est, f l i g j i t o f m o th e r w i t , Jonson i s a t p a in s to
lo c a lis e th e c la s s ic anecdote on w h ic h he ta ke s h is s ta n d .
The o th e r re fe re n c e i s e q u a lly t r i f l i n g , b e in g no more than
T lp ^ 7 m ^ .2 5 .
\2 ) d o . p . 72.
(3 ) He re se n te d a tte m p ts t o m odernise o r exte m p o rise on i t ,
s c o f f in g a t s y n th e tic L a t in as " B e lg o - G a llic p h ra s e ".
(4 ) O u n n .III.p .7 3 .
17.
o o rro b o ra tiv e evidence from T ib u llu s t h a t pu re bands and
( i)
vestm ents are r e q u is it e to tbe r i t u a l o f s a c r if ic e .
Tbese two re fe re n c e s , to g e th e r w it h the known f a c t th a t
Jo n so n ’ s l i b r a r y oopy o f T ib u llu s in c lu d e s a marked f a v o u r it e ,
( 2)
C a tu llu s , make i t a v i r t u a l c e r t a in t y t h a t the s p a r s it y o f
q u o ta tio n s frcm T ib u llu s i s n o t due to any la c k o f f a m i l i a r i t y .
Why d id he make such s l i g h t use o f T ib u llu s , even i n , sa y,
th e MP o e ta 6 te rB? I b e lie v e th e reason was an a n a l gem, i n
unknown p ro p o rtio n s , o f these e le m e n ts. F i r s t , T ib u llu s i s n o t
a q u o ta b le p o e t i n t h a t he i s n o t a p h o r is t ic o r s a t i r i c .
S e con dly, he i s n o t a m ine o f a rc h a ic lo r e , l i k e so many o f
Jon son1s m in o r so u rce s. F in a ll y , h is e le g ia c c h a m , h is d e iic a c y |
o f to u c h , h is m usic i n th e monor ke y are q u a l it ie s r a r e ly to be
fou nd i n Jonson* s o r i g i n a l w o rk , and, though i t does n o t asma
n e c e s s a r ily f o llo w , I do n o t t h in k these q u a l it ie s were
e s s e n tia l humours o f o u r a u th o r’ s s p i r i t o r ta s te . Jonson*s
ta s te was n o t , I f e a r , c a th o lio enough to r e l i s h T ib u llu s .
I n g e n e ra l, Jonson* s use o f author's i n t h is group
i n no way d i f f e r s frcm h is use o f those i n th e f i r s t c a te g o ry :
th e y are b u t re fe re n c e books o f f a c t . I t i s , however, im p o rta n t
t o n o te once a g a in t h a t the fa c t s he sought i n the se w orks
are v i r t u a l l y a l l concerned w it h m y t h o lo g ic o - h is t o r ic a l
Lanprid.
b e in gs and pagan r i t u a l : P e n t h e s ile a i^ I d m o n , ^
S o lin u s .
P a r a c e ls u s , ^ A r tim e s ia , ^ ^
A m ob .
to g e th e r w it h two re fe re n c e s to e le g a n t g lu t t o n y frcm L a n p rid iJ S 4
G in x ia , ^
ir ie ,^
Chrcm is and M h a s ii ^ ) ,
same q u a in t geography frcm P lin y * s ja c k a l, S o lin u s ^ 11! and a
fitf
m a tte r o f etym o lo g y frc m A m o b iu s . Though th e re fe re n c e s are
i n d i v i d u a l l y p e t t y , th e n a tu re o f t h e i r g e n e ra l s u b je c t m a tte r ia|
f u l l y s ig n i f i c a n t o f Jon son *s i n t e l l e c t u a l in t e r e s t s .
( I ) S S t S e ^ iS j^ a t u ll^ s ? * T t ix illu s , P ro p e rtiu s - Opera Omnia
quae e x ta n t* . Oopy i s in ju r e d b y damp, and p o s s ib ly i s salvage
frcm the F ir e ; i f so , a v e r y o ld f r ie n d .
(3 ) O u n n .III.p .5 7 ( 4 ) d o . p . 166.
(5 )
d o . I I . p . 567.
(4)
d o . I I I . p . 98 (7 ) d o .p .5 7 .
ib )
d o .p .25.
(9 )
d o .p .7 2 .
(10) d o lp .3 7 1 . ( I I ) d o . I I I . p . 3 . and I I . p . 5 6 6 .
(12 ) d o . I I I . p . 2 5 .
18.
V a l.
F la c c u s .
The s o le in t e r e s t t h a t a tta c h e s to h is f i r s t re fe re n c e to
(I)
V a le riu s F ia ccu s
i s i t s extrem e o b liq u e n e s s . Had Jonson n o t
p o in te d i t o u t, I f e a r even Uoton and W h a iie y m ig h t have passed
i t b y . The mere acknowledgement o f t h is d e b t m ig h t be take n to
b e a r upon Jonson1s l i t e r a r y hones ty, s u g g e s tin g even a p r id e i n
in d e b te d n e s s , b u t sin ce i t
appeal’s ir^th e fo o tn o te to a masque
i t m ust be s u s p e c t, i t need n o t be as no rm al Jo n so n ia n r e f le x ,
b u t i s p o t e n t i a l l y an answer to a c h a lle n g e tp produce c la s s ic
a u t h o r it y f o r a m in u tia o f s c h o la rs h ip .
F in a ll y , as i n th e f i r s t group o f L a t in a u th o rs , p ra c tic a l* , y
a i l th e re fe re n c e s t o those i n the second a re to be found i n h is
own fo o tn o te s to th9 masques, the w orks w h ich we s h a ll f in d to
be th e p r iv ile g e d occa sio ns f o r the d is p la y o f h i s deepest
e r u d it io n .
The fa c ts o f th e n e x t group may be fo rc e d to y ie ld a l i t t l e
l i g h t on Jonson* s m ind and m ethods. I t i s h a r d ly s u r p r is in g t h a t ,
i n th e norm al c o u rs e , Ben had l i t t l e
Pub.
ocoasion to c it e the o r ig in a l,
i
!
w o rk o f J u liu s Caesar and P a te rc u lu s , b u t one m ig h t re a so n a b ly
S y 37118.
e x p e c t P u b liu s S yrus to make a b ra v e r show. A f t e r a i l , i t i s
t.
th ro u g h h is v e ry q u o t a b i l i t y t h a t Syrus has d e fie d tim e and m o rta l
custom . What we do know o f h is w o rk i s j u s t w hat man c o u ld n o t
f o r g e t . The f a c t t h a t Ben, though f a m il ia r w ith these saying s
from h is sch o o ld a ys, qu ote s no move th a n th re e may be e x p la in e d by
two - p o s s ib ly
—
ccm piem entary - th e o r ie s : (a ) He regarded
S yrus as haokneyed, o h ild is h s t u f if ; and we s h a ll have o cca sio n to
n o te h is contem pt f o r easy L a t in ; o r (b ) Jonson f a i t sane s o r t o f
i n h i b i t i o n b e fo re t h is typ e o f e x p re s s io n . In d ee d, much as he
adm ired* s a y , M a r t ia l, extrem e co n d e n sa tio n he h im s e lf o o u id n o t
r e g u la r ly can b in e w ith s i m p l i c i t y and com p ara tive ease i n h is
o r i g i n a l w o rk . And c l e a r l y these q u a l it ie s are beyond a t r a n s la t o r
who reg ard s v e r b a l f a it h f u ln e s s as param ount. Then, i t may be
t h a t h is f a v o u r it e H o ra tia n o b je c tio n to p u rp ie p a tche s o o u id
( I ) 0 u n n .II.p .5 6 7 .0 u iio u 8 , Ben’ s o n iy w o re fe re n c e s to Flaocus
!
are fr a n th e F i r s t book o f th e "A rg o n a u tio a *. There seldom i s
|
fo u n d even suoh s l i g h t evidence t h a t he fo u n d sane t h in g beyond h-by
( 2 ) Two e x c e p tio n s a r e : " V o l. #I I I , 6 j 'A lo h .* I I , i . - b o th frcm
Lanp. on s y b a r it ic g lu t t o n y .
19
"be extended to g l i t t e r i n g aphorism s and com monplaces.This
th e o r e tic o b je c tio n w o uld oountenance a sense o f h i s own
i n a b i l i t y to be a t th e same thna pungent and p ie fc s in g , f o r c e f u l
and f a c iie * And t h i s i s
borne o u t somewhat by the tre a tm e n t
he aooords even th e th re e passages he does quote from S yru s,
w h io h a r e , in t u r n , o y n io a i, shrew d, and t r i t e . The f i r s i ^ ^ e
(2 )
(3 )
t r a n s la te s l i t e r a l l y ; th e second he m o d e rn ise s; th e o th e r , b e in g
in tro d u c e d on an o cca sio n o f s t a t e , he le a ve s i n th e f u n d i g n i t y
o f i t s L a t in d re s s . H is t r a n s la t io n , i n p a r t i c u l a r , does le s s
th a n ju s t ic e to the o r i g i n a l ’ s ease. I t appears to me t h a t
b o th th e n a tu re o f these tre a tm e n ts and th e q u a l i t y o f two o f
them b e a r o u t th e s u g g e s tio n t h a t Jonson n e it h e r was, no*- f e i t
h d m s e if to be, a t h i s b e s t i n d e a lin g w it h e p ig ra n m a tic
c o n d e n sa tio n - and t h is d e s p ite h is a m b itio n to be th e E n g lis h
M a r t ia l.
Jonson makes use o f P a te rc u lu s as a t e x t book i n the
P a te r o u l
c o n s tr u c tio n o f " C a t ili n e 11. As suoh he i s n o t p r o p e r ly
in c lu d e d i n t h i s n o r e a s il y in c lu d e d i n any o f o u r a r b it r a r y
g ro u p in g s . A c c o rd in g ly , w h a t ha s to be s a id o f P a te rc u lu s , as
o f S a llu s t i n th e n e x t d i v is io n , has been postponed t o th e
se p a ra te c h a p te r on T a c itu s and th e H is to r ia n s . T here, to o ,
w i l l appear L iv y and V a le riu s Maximus, i n so f a r as Ben’ s
b o rrow ing s from these can re a s o n a b ly be d e s c rib e d as f a c t u a l orr
th e m a tte r o f h i s t o r y .
^-C aesar.
I t i s n o ta b le t h a t Jonson* s th re e re fe re n c e s to Caesar
d i s q u a l if y th e l a t t e r frc m in c lu s io n among th e h is t o r ia n s .
P o r t4 o ^ o f th e re fe re n c e s d e a l w it h Caesar’ s a p p r e c ia tio n o f
p o in ts o f l i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m : and the o th e £ 5l s an anecdote o f
(1 )
SeJanus,1 1 ,4 . "He th re a te n s many t h a t h a th in ju r e d one"
f o r , "M e n tis m in a tu r q u i u n i f a c i t in ju r ia m . "
(2 )
V o lp o n e ,I , i. ( 0 u n n .I . p . 3 4 7 . "The w eeping o f an h e i r sho uld
s t i l l be la u g h te r
U nder a v i s o r . "
f o r , "H a e re d is f ie t u s sub p e rso n a r is u s e s t . 1
"K in g ’ s E n te rta in m e n t". "P in n a oonoensus f a c i t " .
C um . 111, p . 413 and 415.
d o .I.p .3 0 1 . “ S e ja n ." R e f e r . is to th e lo s t " A n ti- C a to " .
,-x
v */
(4 )
(5 )
20 .
how Caesar once w ie ld e d h is pen in s te a d o f a d i c t a t o r o f o ld* s
more norm al weapons. I n s h o r t, Ben r e fe r s to Caesar th e li t t e r a t e u r *
and n o t a t a l l to th e h is t o r ia n . I n "C aesar- , how ever, th e
c h a ra c te r i n " C a t ili n e " , f u l l J u s tic e i s done to the s e l f - c o n t r o l ,
w ilin e s s , and g e n e ra l O a s s iu s - q u a lity o f C aesar th e p o l i t i c i a n
and man o f a f f a i r s . The p a u c ity o f re fe re n c e to Jon son1s f e llo w
w a r r io r - s c h o la r i s h a r d ly e x p lic a b le on grounds o f ig n o ra n ce o r
d i s l i k e , and presum ably m ust be accounted f o r by th e Honan* s
d e lib e r a te r e s t r a i n t o f d i c t i o n and specious c o n c e n tra tio n on
th e sim p le " f a c t s " o f th e case he chooses t o p re s e n t.
A p u le iu s i s in e v i t a b l y adduoed b y Jonson as an a u t h o r it y
on w it c h c r a f t and b la c k -m a g ic . I n p a r t he i s a p p a re n tly regarded
as m e re ly o o rro b o ra tiv e o f Lucan and H orace, whom Jonson to o k to
be h is m a jo r c la s s ic s on the hoous poous o f w it c h c r a f t . And,
o f c o u rs e , a l l th re e are g iv e n th e s li g h t e r s u p p o rt o f t h e i r
p l a g i a r i s t s , th e m e d ia e va l fa th e r s o f Ifecrananoy.
There i s no evidence t h a t A p u le iu s as a " n o v o lis t " o r
p o p u ia r is e r o f p h ilo s o p h y made any appeal to Jonson. Complete
and p ro b a b le e x p la n a tio ^ o f t h is m e re ly p re su m p tive obtuaeness
are n o t h a rd to f in d . F i r s t , Ben was a s tu d e n t o f s t y le , fra n
W e stm in ste r onwards, and, T ftia te ver h i s s ta n d a rd o f c la s s ic
L a t i n i t y , he o o u id have been i n no doubt t h a t the s t y le o f
A p u le iu s was as r o m a n tic a lly f a n t a s t ic as t h a t o f h is m a tte r ,
la c k in g i n a l l c la s s ic r e s t r a i n t . S e con dly, fr a n A p u le iu s ’
d e a lin g s w it h w i t c h c r a f t , b o th i n h is w orks and h is l i f e , he was
more than su sp e ct to h is m o n k is h rea de rs i n th e M id d le Ages.
And no w onder* f o r he had Ambrose B ie rc e ’ s e e rie f a c u lt y o f
m aking th e s u p e rn a tu ra l seem p re s e n t and n a t u r a l. He w ro te o f
i t w it h a g u sto t h a t e n th r a lle d and h o r r i f i e d the M id d le Ages,
and earned f o r hdm a p a r t share i n the e ve n -re a d y s o u b riq u e t,
" A n t i- C h r is t " . Ibw , w h a te v e r Jo n so n ’ s own vie w s on th e o c c u lt and he in v e s tig a te d a t le a s t th e th e o ry o f i t
as c u r io u s ly as
James h im s e lf — he i s c a r e f u l to n o te o f th e d a rk m y s te rie s he
21.
in tro d u c e d o r a n n o ta te d * " A ll. . .a re mere a r t s o f S a ta n *. S u re ly
th e w in d y s id e o f th e la w ! Thus* b o th i n c u r i o s i t y ab o u t w itc h e s
and i n c o rre c tn e s s o f a t t it u d e tow ards th e m y s te ry he was
\m
a t one w it h th e m ost in t e r e s t e d member o f th e audience who
( I)
f i r s t be heid th e “Masque o f Queens*.
V itr u v iu s .
The r e la t iv e eminence o f V it r u v iu s on o u r r o l l may be
c o n s id e re d r a t h e r a p r o o f otf d ise ste e m * f o r the Ih re e o r f o u r ^ )
re fe re n c e s d e te c te d are accounted f o r ty Jo n so n 1s i d e n t i f i c a t i o n
o f V it r u v iu s w it h h is con tem p orary c o u n te rp a rt* In ig o Jones*
i n Ben* s e le p h a n tin e a tte m p ts to tea se h is e x - c o a d ju to r .
P r o p e r t iu s .
Jonson*s tre a tm e n t o f P r o p e r tiu s * u n d e rra te d i n h is
day anyhow^3 \>ends to c o n fin n w hat was suggested above about h is
a t t it u d e to lu c r e t iu s . P o r he eschews the q u o ta tio n o f a l l
o h a r a c te r u s tic P ro p e rtia n s e n tim e n ta l and amorous m e la n c h o ly .
True* i n p r o p r ia persona* P r o p e r tiu s appears f i e e t i n g l y on th e
stage i n " P o e ta s te r* * and th e re * Indeed* f u l l J u s tic e i s done to
him and h is m e la n c h o ly . I n t h is case* however* Jonson*s method i s
m e re ly o b je c tiv e d e s c r ip tio n . P ro p e rtiu s i s
lauded and lam ented
by th e o th e r c h a ra c te rs as 1he p e r s o n if ic a t io n o f in c o n s o la b le
g r i e f * as th e bereaved vho <fc bestows on th e dead lo v e d one th e
in m o r t a l it y o f o b s e s s io n !s t remembrance. I n h is own p e rson
“ P r o p e rtiu s " l i m i t s h im s e lf to th e m e io s is t h a t he i s n o t
gamesome. I b e lie v e t h a t i t was more ih a n la c k o f space t h a t
p re v e n te d Jonson frcm b r in g in g t h is la y f ig u r e to l i f e .
I t is
s i g n i f i c a n t o f th e man Jonson t h a t n e it h e r h e re n o r elsew here
does he t r y t o g e t u n d e r th e s k in o f a c h a ra c te r l i k e
th is .
P o r an example o f t h i s a n ti- r o m a n tic * a n ti-m e la n c h o lic tem per
o f Ben we may in s ta n c e b r i e f l y h is tre a tm e n t o f O v id . I n more
th a n f i f t y
c it a t io n s o f O vid -
some le n g th y - th e re i s b u t one
v I) Three o f th e f o u r re fe re n c e s to A p u le iu s are i n th e “ Ifesque
o f Queens" * v iz . 0 u n n . I I I . p p . 5 0 * 5 I * 5 $ * t h e i r c o n t ig u it y s u g g e s tin g
& c a r e f u l c o n s u lta tio n o f th e re fe re n c e book. The l a s t i s i n
C u n n . I I I . p . 395.
(2 ) O u n n .II.p .4 7 6 ; I I I . p . 2 I I ; d o .221; d o .409. The l a s t alone i s
p r o p e r ly a re fe re n c e to th e w orks o f * i t i u v i u s .
(3 ) H.& S . I . p . 429.
22
.
(I)
f&am th e " T r is t ia " - and even t h a t b e lie s the t i t l e .
I n s h o rt*
tho ug h •Poetaster** p ro v e s t h a t Jonson knew as an o b je c tiv e
f a c t t h a t P ro p e rtiu s was m e la n o h o lio i n a lo v e cause * I suggest
t h a t he was c o n s t i t u t i o n a l l y d e b a rre d from f e e lin g t h a t
P r o p e rtiu s was suoh a c h a ra c te r* and t h a t n o th in g i n Jonson1s
own w e xp e rie n ce o r make-up e v e r suggested to him t h a t * as
o th e r th a n m a tte r f o r “humorous* s a t ir e * such a ro m a n tic *
p o e tic * m e ia n o h o lio s ig h c o u ld w a lk about on two le g s as a man
among men.
From th e a c tu a l t e x t o f P ro p e rtiu s he borrow s b u t
oib
to u c h any way c h a r a c t e r is t ic o f th e Roman - and t h a t once more
i n th e "Masque o f queens*. T h is b o rro w in g i s a s t r i k i n g * though
somewhat con scio us o r r h e t o r ic a l* t r ib u t e to a woman1s b e a u ty . (2 )
O th erw ise* P ro p e r tiu s o f f e r s Jonson n o th in g ta n g ib le save eo r ye
c o r r o b o r a tio n o f the lu x u r io u s stage d e v ic e * v a in d e sid e ra tu m
(3)
i n th e days o f Bess* th e c r e a tio n o f a * m is t o f p e rfu m e s**
and th e even more f u l l y documented c o n fir m a tio n o f th e e x is te n c e
o f n o t one b u t many c u p id s * and o f v a rie g a te d
th a t.
c o lo u rs a t
C le a r ly P r o p e rtiu s i s a h iv e t h a t Ben d id n o t r i f l e
v e r y th o ro u g h ly * ta k in g a t m ost a l i t t l e
r a th e r le s s honey. And i f
honeyocmb and
fre q u e n c y o f q u o ta tio n - f a c t u a l
b o rro w in g s a p a rt - p ro ve s a k in s h ip o f th e s p i r i t *
th e converse
i s e q u a lly t r u e : Jonson* we may con olud e* had as l i t t l e
in
common w it h th e lo v e - in s p ir e d * d e c o ra tiv e m e la n c h o ly o f
P r o p e rtiu s as w it h the more a u s te re and p h ilo s o p h ic m e la n c h o ly
o f L u c r e tiu s .
P e tro n iu s
How much o f th e b it t e r n e s s * " o n ly a l i t t l e
s a lt* * o f
"V olpone* was due to Jo n so n 1s p e rs o n a l e x p e rie n c e o f lif e * a n d
(1 ) v id e th e A p o lo g e tio a l D ia lo g u e to the “ P o e ta s te r" (C unn.1.266)
(2 ) C u n n .I I I. p .5 7 . " L i b . I I I . e l e g . 10* i s Jo n so n 1s n o te * In th e
C larendon P ress t e x t th e lin e s appear i n Bk. I I I . e x e g . X I .
(3) "The B a r r ie r s * . A p p a re n tly t h i s m a tte r o f te c h n iq u e had
a t le a s t a p r o fe s s io n a l i n t e r e s t f o r Jonson: M m m on.too,
v is u a lis e s suoh lu x u r y .
44) C u n n . I I I . p . I 4 * and i d . p . 26. A f a c t t h i s t h a t he a p p a re n tly
fo r g e ts else w h e re . T ide TTo l . I . * p . I * iin 2 0 * and id .p .3 3 7 * b o th
e a r l i e r w o rks.
23.
how much to h is r e s p e c tfu l r e c o lle c t io n and f a i t h f u l re p ro d u c tio n
o f th e v ic e s s a t ir is e d by P e tro n iu s - and Juvenal? The gre e d ,
th e d u p l io it y , and th e c h o k in g o f a i l man*s g e n t le r and n o b le r
q u a l it ie s by "c u p id o h a w re d ip e ta iu m ". Ifc c a te g o r ic answer i s
p o s s ib le ; b u t one m ig h t re a s o n a b ly p u t i t
t h i s way: l i k e J u v e n a l,
Jonson had e xp e rie n ce d p o v e r ty , and in e v i t a b l y , as a man o f
l e t t e r s , the need to f l a t t e r th e w e a lth y and to c a rp e ts w ith
o th e r f l a t t e r s ; l i k e P e tr o n iu s , he had p ro b a b ly w itn e s s e d about
th e c o u r t and playhouse th e a r t s d e fe n s iv e and o ffe n s iv e o f
p a tro n and p a r a s ite r e s p e c tiv e ly . So f a r Jonson and h is l i t e r a r y
c r e d it o r s t r o d ocmmon ground. And f o r t h is reason i t i s
fa ir
to suppose t h a t n e it h e r o f these a u th o rs h e re in m is ie d h im .
B ut th e y d id g iv e sauce to an a p p e t it ie a lre a d y sha rp.
K e ep ing i n m ind the b r e v it y o f P e tro n iu s 1 e x ta n t
w o rk , one i s
J u s t if ie d i h c o n c lu d in g t h a t Ben ra te d him h ig h ly .
Two o f h is f o r t h r i g h t q u o ta tio n s fr a n P e tro n iu s d e a l
w it h th e a r t s o f s im u la tin g a m oribu nd c o n d itio n i n o r d e r to
secure " u n s o lic ite d * m a t e r ia l evidence o f the a f f e c t io n o f
th e * b e n e f ic ia r ie s * u n d e r one’ s c u rre n t w i l l .
R e v o ltin g
s a t ir e , o f c o u rs e , on human c u p id it y , i n d e t a ils f a r - fe tc h e d
may b e , b u t fir s l> - o la s s th e a tr e and adapted to s p le n d id e f f e c t .
The o th e r re fe re n c e s h e lp on o u r accur u l a t in g evidences
on the man and h is w ays. F i r s t , one must n o te +h ^t th e epigram ,
** Twas o n ly f e a r f i r s t i h th e w o rld made g o d s*, ±8 th e type o f
s a y in g t h a t Jonson bo rrow s w i t h s u r p r is in g r a r i t y .
A n o th e r i s a p h ilo s o p h io s ig h o r s t r ic t u r e on the
(3)
d e b a sin g n a tu re o f c o i t u ,
- a r e c u r r e n t id e a o f Ben, an
a r r e s t in g b u t, on c o n s id e r a tio n , n o t so -very uncommon m ix tu re
o f e d if y in g condem nation o f an id e a and s a t is f a c t io n i n
if]
( I ) O u n n .I.p p •338—9•
d o llif ? p l3 8 7 .
T lli8
i s p ro b a b ly s p u rio u s .
24
e x p re s s in g th e id e a i n th e process o f condem nation. We can
h a r d ly escape th e c o n c lu s io n , fro rr t h i s and o th e r cases, th a t
Ben had a c o n s id e ra b le s a t is f a c t io n i n bawdry, even u n p h ilo s o p h ic
and u n o la s s ie bawdry.
H is la s t o b lig a t io n to P e tro n iu s i s c o n s id e ra b le ,n o
le s s than th e g e n e ra l d e sig n and many d e t a ils o f th e ohoius t h a t
fo llo w s A c t I o f " C a t ili n e * . H is p a r t i c u l a r m odel i n t h is As
th e c e le b ra te d Rhapsody o f Bumolpus, and th e c h ie f o b je c ts o f
Jon son1s and P e tro n iu s * s a t ir e are lu x u rio u s l i v i n g and e ffe m in a c y
w ith t h e i r n a tu r a l se a u e is , greed f o r g o ld , p o l i t i c a l v e n a l it y
and i n s t a b i l i t y , f o m in g a lto g e th e r a p ic t u r e o f th e ro tte n n e s s
t h a t n o n n a lly fo llo w s the rip e n e s s o f any s t a t e .
T h is i s
the f i r s t in s ta n c e we have m et i n Ben*s w orks
o f a c o n s id e ra b le passage o f t r a n s la t io n and w o rth y o f n o tic e
n o t o n ly on t h a t a cco un t b u t because i t batmans to be v e r y
c h a r a c t e r is t ic o f h is g e n e ra l p r a c tic e and q u a l i t y as a t r a n s la t o r
T hat means t h a t t h is chorus la c k s any grand v ir t u e beyond v e r b a l
f a it h f u ln e s s to the o r i g i n a l . To b e g in w i t h , i t i s w r i t t e n i n
ia m b ic te tr a m e te r rhym ing c o u p le ts ; y e t no m a tte r le s s l y r i c a l
o r c h o ra l c o u ld e a s ily be im a g in e d . The lin e s cre a k. The ihynes
f a l l upon the e a r w it h th e sm acking f i n a l i t y o f d o g g e re l.
S t y l i s t i c a l l y spe a kin g one i s in c lin e d to agree w it h the
s u g g e s tio n vi i a t i n t h is
chorus Jonson* s m odel was n o t the
a n c ie n t Greeks and Remans b u t the a n c ie n t E liz a b e th a n s , and n o t
th e b e s t o f them e it h e r .
Suoh g a uo he rie o f t r a n s la t io n i s
sometimes d ism isse d
s im p ly w ith the o b s e rv a tio n t h a t Jonson was no t r a n s la t o r , i n
th e m odem sense a t any r a t e , s in c e he was g e n e r a lly c o n te n t
w it h a f a i t h f u l v e r b a l re n d e rin g . Why he sh o u ld have been so,
and why t h is i s n o t a com plete v ie w I hone t o make c le a r i n th e
end. I n p a s s in g , however, one may in s ta n c e as an o b je c tio n to
t h is v ie w th e f a c t t h a t i t ig n o re s th e t r a n s la t io n a l f e i i c i t i e s
( I ) G if f o r d * s . C u n n .II.p .« 9 .
25.
o f , say, "D rin k tom © o n ly 1.A more adequate vie w m ig h t be t h is .
I n no m ax p r a c tic e Jonson l a i d s tr e s s on m a tte r b e fo re manner:
be wass a oonsoious s t y l i s t b u t o n ly on o c c a s io n ; f o r , as I
hope to show, he was p r i m a r il y a te a c h e r o f h is f e llo w s , a man
w it h a message, e a rn e s t above a r t - however in te r e s te d i n the
fa c ts o f th e th e o rie s o f a r t * He rose w it h h is m a tte r ; be seid>zn
rose above i t ,
as o th e rs may a t tim e s
be suspected
o f d o in g .
^ h e re fb re , as h is m a tte r i s i n g e n e ra l an i n t e l l e c t u a l , s a t i r i c a l
message t h a t k in d le s ^ h im no **e human and i n s p i r i n g p a s s io n
t r a n s m itta b ie t o o th e r s , he e xp resse s i t i n a m anner o fte n
b le a k and w i n t r y as a O a iv i n i s t i c sermon, and o fte n to a
an audience as p h ie g n a tio to o . I n th e chorus i n p o in t he i s
engrossed i n h is c i v i l s a t ir e as w e l± as i n th e p h ra s in g o f
P e tro n iu s , f o r I f e e l l i t t l e
d o u b t t h a t he had i n m ind England
and h e r sum ptuary laws as w e il as decadent Rome. And h is m o ra l
fe r v o u r , as u s u a l, i s m o st s in c e re . B u t here i t
cannot r a is e
the passage to even a m oderate p o e t ic h e ig h t, because he has
chosen a l y r i c measure t h a t g iv e s way u n d e r th e w e ig h t o f h is
m o r a lis in g . On a w e ll known o c c a s io n Bum s re co g n ise s t h a t th e
e p is t le he contem plates w r i t i n g may tu r n o u t a song o r a sermon;
here Jonson, le s s w is e ly , essays them b o th a t once.
Ife oro b.
F iv e o f Jonson* s s ix re fe re n c e s to M acrobius ccme
from the
'Samnium S o ip io n is " ^
o f th e s e , f o u r are th e u s u a l
masque n o te s on m a tte rs o f m y th o lo g ic a l i n t e r e s t , and the
re fe re n c e t o th e S a t u r n a lia ^ s even le s s s ig n i f i c a n t .
There i s , how ever, a l i t t l e
i i $ i t shed on f a n n ld u t t
Jonson and h is ways i n one re fe re n c e to M acrobius i n th e
"Masque o f H y n e n ^ ^ S u o h was th e go ld en c h a in l e t down frcm
h e ave n". To t h is lin e Jonson appends one o f h is lo n g e s t
fo o tn o te s , w h ic h i n i t s e l f c a lls f o r comment. A f t e r m e n tio n in g
t h a t t h is o h a in o f Hcmer! s was th e sun, Ben observes t h a t he
(1) C u n n . I I I . p . I S ; d o .p . 15; d o .p .2 2 ; d o .p .2 3 . The p r o x im it y o f
these suggests t h a t he .was n o t t r u s t i n g e n t i r e l y to memory.
(2 ) C u n n ? lII.p .I2 2 .
(3 )
d o .p .2 5 .
26.
h im s 8 ± f has made use o f th e g lo s s o f M acrobius - * to whos9
in t e r p r e t a t io n I am s p e c ia lly a ffe c te d i n my a llu s io n * . And
t h is in t e r p r e t a t io n he t h e r e a f t e r co p ie s o u t i n i t s
and o r ig in a l L a t in .
f u i± le n g th
Ifcw^botk th e n a tu re and the le n g th o f the
fo o tn o te c o n s titu te an i l l u s t r a t i o n o f one o f Jonson* s
c h a r a c t e r is t ic te n d e n cie s , th e b o ls t e r in g up o f c e r ta in fa n c ie s
w ith a l l th e le a r n in g a t h is command. I t i s w o rth y o f
remark:
t h a t the le n g th and le a r n in g o f Ben*s g lo s s e s are seidctn J u s t if ie c
- as h e re - b y any a p p a re n t m e r it i n +Jae id e a t h a t aroused h is
c r i t i o a l in t e r e s t . He does n o t s u i t h is spanner to the n u t.
So we are d r iv e n to one o r o th e r o f these a lt e r n a t iv e c o n c lu s io n s
i n t h is m a tte r : e it h e r h is ta s te i n fa n c ie s was in e x p lic a b ly
c a p r ic io u s , o r e ls e the le n g th and a d ro itn e s s o f the fo o tn o te
is
re g u la te d , n o t b y h is sense o f the o r i g i n a l idea* s w o rth ,
b u t by a s o r t o f a d vo ca te ’ s Joy i n b u ild in g up a case ir r e s p e c t iv e
o f h is c l i e n t ’ s r e a l cla im s on th e c o u rt* s tim e and s y m p a th e tic
in t e r e s t .
va r r o •
I f one may a cce p t the ob vious in fe re n c e fra n a lin e
i n th e "P o e ta s te r" :
* 0 f V a rro ’ s none w hat e a r s h a ll n o t be to ld ? *
one m ust conclude t h a t Jonson had a f a r h ig h e r re g a rd
th a n the number o f h is known a llu s io n s w ould le a d one
f o r ^ a rro |
to suppose.
And I c o n s id e f i t v e r y p ro b a b le t h a t t h is l i n e ’ s im p lic a t io n
s h o u ld be a cce p te d , however few Jonson1s o v e r t re fe re n c e s .
T h is c o n c lu s io n may be a r r iv e d a t a lo n g these lin e s . Jonson
,
o ie a n y , c o n s c io u s ly , and v o lu b ly a p p re c ia te d h is own p e c u lia r
m e r its and te n d e n c ie s . T h e re fo re he was e x tre m e ly l i k e l y to
a p p re c ia te s im i la r m e r its and te n d e n c ie s ^ s p e c i a l l y i n a L a t in
removed by some c e n tu rie s beyond th e danger o f even posthumous
e m u la tio n . And w it h V a rro h is a f f i n i t i e s
numerous. I ta k e i t
are n o t o n ly clo se b u t
t h a t b r o a d ly the bases o f resemblance and
I
consequent a p p r e c ia tio n were th e s e :
(a ) Both d is p la y e d an u n t i r i n g energy' I n s c h o la rs h ip and
,
a u th o rs h ip t h a t i n va r r o 's case} o n ly l i t t l e
more th a n B e n 's ,
seems to r u le o u t the p o s s i b i l i t y o f any sie e p even i n t h e i r
lo n g lif e t im e s . I f e e l i n J o n s o n 's li n e above a s u g g e s tio n o f
th e re s p e c t he f e l t f o r V a rro as the a u th o r o f f a r more than
th re e -h u n d re d l o s t w o rk s , a s o r t o f h i s t o r i c a l re s p e c t
c o lo u re d b y p a rs o n a l u n d e rs ta n d in g o f the m agnitude o f the
achievem ent •
^b) O f pre dom inant in t e r e s t to b o th were m a tte rs o f grammar
and etym o lo g y. The a u th o r o f th e *De L in g u a L a tin a — the o n ly
(I)
w o rk Ben q u o te s - was c e r t a in ly o f g re a t in t e r e s t to th e au+Jfcr
o f th e "E n g lis h Grammar" and to th e s o r t o f pedagogue t h a t Ben
re v e a ls h im s e lf to be i n h is "D is c o v e rie s " and e lsew he re .
(0 ) They share an in t e r e s t i n the m in u tia e o f c i v i c and r e lig io u s
c e re m o n ia l. X7a r r o , v a s t ly th e more s y s te m a tic , was a s o r t o f
S i r James F ra z e r to h is day; whereas Benl s masques were i n s o r t
an in g e n io u s ly anim ated A n tiq u it a t e s Re ram Humanaram e t D ivinarum ,
o r , as i t w e re , W a lt D isn e y c a rto o n s s e e k in g by the h e ip o f
th e v a iio u s a r t s , m u s ic , p a in t in g , p o e tr y , and p a g e a n try , to
g iv e v i v i d and lo v e ly l i f B
to Jonson* s s c h o la r ly researches
among the d r i e s t fa c ts o f m y th o lo g ic a l and e c c le s ia s t ic a l lo r e .
(d) B oth are prone to d id a c tic is m .
(e) The humour o f b o th in c lin e s to be b r u t a l, o r a t le a s t
m a s c u lin e .
( f ) They are prone to te d io u s n e s s , n o t unconnected w it h (a) and K<$.
As l i t e r a r y p a re n ts b o th s e t s to r e by the mere t r a v a i l o f
a u th o rs h ip and s c h o la rs h ip . They "exposed" none o f t h e i r p ro g e n y,
and Ben a t le a s t was d isp o se d to ta k e up oudg eis f o r h is w i t h a
re a d in e ss i n p r o p o r tio n t o h is neighbours* o b je c tio n s , m ost
p a r e n t - lik e in d e e d . L ik e a l l u n d is c r im in a tin g p a r e n ts , th e r e fo r e
the se two are o c c a s io n a lly b o rin g .
F o r a l l w h io h reasons I conclude t h a t V arro s to o d h i g i i n
th e esteem o f h is k in d re d s p i r i t .
-m
.
*—
2°
— ...... — — (1 ) F iv e re fe re n c e s are found i n J o n s o n ^ own fo o tn o te s to
masques and one to t i e 'E n g lis h G ra m .'- as f o llo w s : 0 u n n . I I . 5 8 i,
5 6 6 ;d o .III.p p .2 2 ,2 3 ( tw o ) ,a n d 427.
28.
I t is
c le a r t h a t Jonson r e a lis e d th e w o rth o f Terence as a
L a t in s t y l i s t , f o r ta s te a p ie c e o f T erence, suck h is phrase
.(I)
In s te a d o f liq u o r ic e *
a d v is e s V i r g i l i n p r e s c r ib in g a
s a lu t a r y regim en to soothe th e s t y l i s t i c
c r u d it ie s o f C r is p in u s 1
d is o rd e re d stomach. And t h is Ben f e l t was a sa fe s p e c if ic f o r th e
p u rp o se ; whereas P la u tu s was "to o h a rs h f o r a weak stom ach".
Terence he regarded as a no rm al l i t e r a r y la x a t iv e f o r th e v e ry
y o u n g ^ ^ h ic h perhaps d o ub le s the i n s u l t here done to M a rs to n .B u t
s t y ie , qua s t y ie , was n o t Ben*s m ost v i t a l i n t e r e s t ; and he
a p p a re n tly found T e re n c e 's f i u i d
c o llo q u ie s n o t e a s ily im it a b le .
In d e e d , we need n o t e xp e ct t h a t Jonson, th e m ature
and p o w e rfu l
s c h o la r who even va lu e d d i f f i c u l t y - as w i l l appear - should
quote f r e q u e n tly frcm a sc hoo-p r im e r , o r from a s t y l i s t whan he
regarded as a n e ce ssa ry c o r r e c tiv e f o r suoh l i t e r a r y b a rba rism
as t h a t o f C r is p in u s . I n g e n e ra l, Jonson d e a lt w ith more a d u lt
d i f f i c u l t i e s i n L a t in , and h is p o w e r fu lly a c id stomach p re d ig e s te d
f o r h is w eaker co n te m p o ra rie s such s tro n g f o o d s tu ffs as P ia a tu s
and " o ld E n n iu s ", much as sane p a re n t sear b ir d s o f o u r tim e s ,
i f n o t q u ite so d o c il e ly o r s e l f - s a c r i f i c i n g l y as the p e lic a n o f
Ben1s own day.
(1 ) "P o e ta s te r, V, i .
(2) v id e C h p .I. on Jo n so n 1s s c h o o lin g .
-
29
-
Even i f we as sane t h a t a l l Ben’ s b o rro w in g s from
Terenoe are d i r e c t b o rro w in g s and n o t u lt im a t e ly G reek,
h is de bt to TBrenoe i s n o t heavy. One o f h is d e b ts , how ever,
i s v e ry s ig n if io a n t f o r my m a in o o n te n tio n . T h is i s a
Shrewd p ie c e o f advioe on te a c h in g and w o n d e r fu lly modern
i n s p i r i t , in d io a t in g a g a in h is in te n s e p re o c c u p a tio n w it h
th e business o f e d u c a tio n and th e e n lig h te n e d stand he to o k
i n methods pedagogic. I n e f f e c t , he sa ys, esohew th r e a t s ,
appeal to a sense o f h o n o u r and seek to g u id e by example
a d vice w h ic h , how ever t r i t e , a p p a re n tly re q u ire s to be
re s ta te d fr e q u e n tly and even re d is c o v e re d .
I t i s n o ta b le t h a t o n ly th e nu cle us o f t h i s id e a
appeared i n th e q u a rto : and t h i s c a s ts a dim l i g x t on
th e juntiE p la y - w r ig s t s c h o la r ’ s methods and w orfcM ftaftlp.
There are two reasonable e x p la n a tio n s o f th e d is c re p a n c ie s
between th e two v e rs io n s . These are (a ) That th e q u a rto i s
a o u t down o r a c t in g v e r s io n o f th e f u l l fo m irtiio h i s
seen i n th e f o l i o , and (b ) t h a t th e S h o rte r q u a rto f o m
was Ben*8 f i r s t tre a tm e n t, a tre a tm e n t l a t e r expanded f o r
-
f i n a l p u b lic a t io n , and f o r v h io h he n a t u r a lly ’ lo o ke d u p ’
th e M
A d e lp h iMo f Terence. I fa n o y t h a t (b ) i s by f a r th e
l i k e l i e r e x p la n a tio n because ( I ) i t o o n fo m s to h is n o m a l
p r a c t io e , (2 ) he i s n o t l i k e l y to be g u i l t y o f a weak
p a ro d y o f h i s own w o rk , and (3 ) th e f i n a l r e s u lt i s a c lo s e r
t r a n s la t io n (though f r e e r th a n h is n o m a l p r a c t ic e ) *
If*
th e n , t h i s i s th e case we are l e f t w ith a v e r y n a t u r a l p i c t u r ^
th e p ic t u r e o f th e v e te ra n s c h o la r p re p a rin g th e d e f i n i t i v e
e d it io n o f h i s w orks f o r th e p re s s , m in d fu l o f Shakespears^s
f a t e . And i n th e bourse o f t h i s re c e n s io n we S9e h im c h e c k in g
( I ) E very Man i n h i s H* A o t l, end o f S o.2. ’ There i s a w a y ...
. . th e y ’ 11 do f o r share
SO.
-
-
on t h i s f u g i t i v e a llu s io n o r , more p ro b a b ly ,
r e a lis in g f w r o le a r ly f o r fixe f i r s t tim e th e exaot sou roe
o f th e id e a and th e re u p o n w o rk in g o u t th e t r a n s la t io n i n
f u l l a g a in s t th e c h a lle n g e o f p o s t e r it y .
Terenoe p ro v id e s h im a ls o w ith the d ic tu m i n
th e Prologue* t o 1The S il e n t Woman1,
1T ru th says o f o ld th e a r t o f msrtcing p la y s
Was to c o n te n t th e p e o p le .1
T h is p re c e p t 'E p io o e n e ' f a i t h f u l l y o b se rve s, b u t on o th e r
o o c a s io n s - a ll to o o fte n -B e n w i l f u l l y f o r g o t i t
de nied i t ,
o r p e rv e rs e ly
s e t t in g th e a u t h o r it y o f Terenoe a l l a t n a u g rt.
I n th e o th e r re fe re n c e s to T e re n c ^ th e rte i s
n o th in g m a rk e d ly c h a r a c t e r is t ic e i t h e r o f c r e d it o r o r d e b to r.
Pram t h i s one m ig h t make e x c e p tio n o f a fo o tn o te to f The
;
Masque o f B e a u ty1 where he tr a n s la t e s f artem musicam* as
!
’ know ledge1. T h is t r a n s la t io n has a d u a l s ig n ific a n c e . F i r d t ,
j
it
j
i l l u s t r a t e s Ben’ s n o m a l m ethod o f t r a n s la t io n , a w ord
f o r a w o rd , and, s e c o n d ly , In iiinirri i t
r e f le c t s , b y Im p lic a tio n !
and, th e r e f o r e , w it h th e tr u t h f u ln e s s ad o f unoonsoious
r e a o tio n , h i s a t t it u d e to a r t . P o r Ben a r t i s n o t mere
g e n iu s , o r i n s p i r a t io n , o r any a f f l a t u s , how ever d iv in e .
I f a word had t o be fo u n d f o r i t ,
th e n t h a t word was
’ know ledge1.
A t f i r s t s i g t t i t w ould a p pe ar, on«e
I t a t iu s
a g a in ,
t h a t o u r a r it h m e t ic a l h ie r a r c h y exaggerates B en's d e b t
to S t a t iu s , s in c e no le s s th a n n in e o f h is b o rro w in g s are
f o r masques o r o o u r t ly e n te rta in n e n ts and conform to th e
ft)
p a t te r n o f th e se a lre a d y p o in te d o u t. Seven t e s t i f y to th e
(•>
Ounn. I • p . 238x404•
(2 ) i d . p . I 3 8 ; i d . p . 4 5 6 ; i d . I I I . p . I 2 ; i d . p . 2 0 .
(3 ) i d . I I . p . 507; id .p . 5 5 7 ; i d . I I I . p . 3 ; i d . I I I . p . I 4 ; i d . p . 26?
( tw o ) ; id . p . I 6 6 .
31.
-
ju s tn e s s o f h i s p e r s o n if ie d re p re s e n ta tio n s o f m yth o lo g y*
and o n ^ t o a oustam f o r Triiioh he o ite s s ix o th e r a u t h o r it ie s .
The la s t d e b t he acknowledges h lm s e if . T h is i s th e
famous aphorism * 1 1Twas o n ly f e a r f i r s t i n th e w o rld made
gods’ v Old a lre a d y i n th e days o f S ta tiu s * l i k e enou gi*
even p r o v e r b ia l wisdom* b u t a g o ld e n phrase none th e le s s
w h ich Jonson m i$ it w e ll have embezzled i n s ile n o e had he
been th e p l a g i a r i s t some assume* o r had he been in c lin e d to
s e t more s to re on O r i g i n a l 1 th o u g h t *han on h i s s e lf-im p o s e d
d u tie s as t u t o r * i l l p a id and i l l
a p p re c ia te d * to M s
u n c u ltu re d age and 1b rin g © r-h c $ e 1 o f k n o tty fo r e ig n a u th o rs .
O f muoh in t e r e s t * to o * ( and r e c e iv in g l a t e r treatm ent)
Y3)
i s Ben’ s note to ’ The Masque o f B e au ty1^ - a lre a d y touched on
i n th e case o f P r o p e r tiu s and C la u d ia n . Here th e s ig n i f i c a n t
phrase i s
’ th e b e s t and m ost re c e iv e d o f th e a n c ie n ts
b e s id e s P rop . S ta t. O laud. S id o .A p & ll. * e s p e c ia lly P h il i n
lo o n A m or.1 O le a r ly t h i s g ra d in g a c c o rd in g to Ben’ s own
Judgnent f u l l y J u s t if ie s th e ’ a r it h m e t ic a l’ eminence o f
i
S ta tiu s on o u r i n i t i a l l i s t .
I t a ls o provokes a com parison
between a modem ra n k in g o f th e a n c ie n ts and Jonson’ s
ra n k in g , and between p r e v a ilin g v ie w s o f Golden L a t i n i t y
and Jonson’ s Im p re s s io n o f th e same c r i t e r i o n .
C ic e ro
I t may be Judged from ’ D is c o v e rie s ’ t h a t th e
w orks o f C ic e ro were muoh more f r e q u e n t ly i n h i s m ind
th a n w ould be suggested b y th e com p a ra tive r a r i t y w it h
w hioh th e y p ro v id e him i n h is o r i g i n a l o r im a g in a tiv e
(1 ) C u n n .II.p .5 6 0 .
(2 ) SeJanus* A o t l l , S o .2 .
(3 ) O u n n .III.p .1 4 .
'4 ) e .g . D is c o v e rie s : L IX * OXIX, CXXIV, OXXX (fro m th e
e u lo g y o f th e P oet i n th e Pro A rc h i a).
I
-3 0 w o rk w ith m e tie r o f in s p i r a t io n o r guidance.
The o u ts ta n d in g d e b ts to O ioero o o n s is t o f an
in d e fin a b le number o f fa o ts f o r th e h i s t o r i c a l d e t a ils o f
’ C a t i lin e 1 and th e v e iy le n g th y t r a n s c r ip t io n s i n th e same
p la y from th e "In O a tilin a m . The fo a n e r are n a t u r a lly postponed
f o r c o n s id e ra tio n among th e H is to r ia n s . O f th e l a t t e r *
la r g e ly h i s t o r y to o * o f oours9* i t w i l l be s u f f i c i e n t to
say t h a t Ben s e t more s to re by them th a n h i s audience d id *
Co
t h a t t h e i r m e rc ile s s and u n d ra n a tio le n g th a s * s ig n i f i c a n t
o f h i s s e lf-im p o s e d d u ty as an e d u c a to r* and t h a t as p ie c e s
o f t r a n s la t io n t h e i r m e r its are a o e r t a in n o t in a p p ro p r ia te
d i g n it y a lt e m a t in g w it h s t if f n e s s and h i s u s u a l v e rb a l
a c c u ra c y and o c c a s io n a l i n f e l i c i t y .
The o th e r re fe re n c e s to C ic e ro n o t above d ism isse d
o r postponed may be grouped un de r s u b je o t m a tte r th u s :
Anecdotes from l i t e r a x y h i s t o r y . . .
L i t e r a r y D e f in it io n s
Grammar. ......................
M a tte rs % t h o lo g ic a l
I t w i l l be c le a r t h a t th e se re fe re n c e s i l l u s t r a t e ■ fu rth e r
w hat we elsew here le a r n were m a tte rs o f g re a t in t e r e s t to
Jonson* nam ely* p r o fe s s io n a l g o s s ip o f re p u ta b le v in ta g e *
th e d i g n i t y o f th e p o e t's and h i s t o r i a n 's c a l lin g * grammar
as th e n d h n e n ts o f t h a t p ro fe s s io n * and th e c u rio u s le a r n in g
o f m y th o lo g y i n •wftiioh k i s t o i y i s c o lo u re d w ith th e haze o f
romance and romance i s y e t g iv e n a u t h o r it y and s a n c tio n b y
th e a d m ixtu re o f h i s t o r y .
But o f O ioero th e p le a d e r o f "causes c e le b res" a p a rt
from O ioero th e o r a t o r - h is t o r ia n o f ' C a t i l i n e 1 th e re i s
n o th in g h e re * save ih e p a n e g y ric on l i t e r a t u r e
from th e
g r a c e fu l and g ra c io u s b u t h i s t o r i c a l l y le s s w e ig £ ty ''P ro A ra b ia "
And o f O ioero th e l e t t e r - w r i t e r n o th in g a t a l l .
Ufa un d re ss
h i s t o r y a p p a re n tly f o r Ben, no e a ve sd ro p p in g on th e p r iv a t e
(I)
C a t. I V * 2 .; (b ) C u n n .I.p .2 6 9 *x 4 fltk and 3 0 1 ;( c ) i d . p . 105,*and
E p ig .X O v ;( d ) C u n n . I ll• p .4 2 7 ; 0 u n n II . p • 562 a n d I I I , 2 6 ;
- 31 liv e s o f th e makers o f h i s t o r y , no h u m a n isin g touohes o r
! debanking* o f th e g r e a t. A t t e n t io n o n ly to th e h i s t o r i a n 's
c o n s id e re d n a r r a t iv e o f 1. . . th e in t e n t s ,
The c o u n s e ls , a c t io n s , o rd e rs and e v e n ts o f s t a t e .
The o m is s io n o f 'D is c o v e r ie s ' from Immediate
itiiia n
c o n s id e ra tio n f a ll a c i o u s l y a s s o c ia te s Q u in t ilis lji w it h J o n s o n 's
m in o r so u rce s. A o tu a lly he o u g it to ra n k w it h suoh as
Seneda. The v e ry number o f Ben'S re fe re n c e s i n D is o o v e rie s i s
c o n c lu s iv e p r o o f t h a t he had the h ig h e s t re g a rd f o r th e m a tte r
and o p in io n s oif Seneoa. I n a l l th e re are 28 suoh re fe re n c e s ,
th e g re a te s t number o f re fe re n c e s to any c la s s ic a u th o r to be
found i n h i s commonplaoe books. A c o n s id e ra tio n o f t h e i r typ e s
o f s u b je c t m a tte r re v e a ls Jonson as a d i l i g e n t s tu d e n t o f
l i t e r a r y a r t , u n d e r lin in g and u s in g Q u in t ilia n c o n s ta n tly on
suoh m a tte rs as e d u o a tio ru ty p e s o f in t e lle d ^ ? tr u e e lo q u e n c e ^
a r t ^ l i t e r a r y s t y l ^ m e n ta l e x e ro is e s and th e d is c ip lin e o f
stud yV methods o f te a c h in g ^ human co n d u ct and weaknesses^ I n a l l
th e s e oases Q u in t ili a n s u p p lie s th e t e x t f o r J o n s o n 's h o m ily ,
w h ich i s f r e q u e n t ly l i t t l e
more th a n a t r a n s la t io n , * a p p lic a t io n ;
o r expansion o f th e Raman's d ic tu m . Q u in t ili a n , i n s h o r t ,
Jonson p ro fo u n d ly reverenoed as a d i c t a t o r oH e d u c a tio n a l and
l i t e r a r y m a tte rs * th e two supreme in t e r e s t s o f J o n s o n 's l i f e .
That b e in g so, Q u in t ili a n can h a r d ly be c o n s id e re d second to
any o th e r in fiu e n o e on J o n s o n 's i n t e l l e c t u a l o a re e r.
W ith th e e x c e p tio n o f a lam ent f o r th e
c a re le s s n e s s o r t u r p it u d e o f p a re n ts who s e t an i l l
example to
t h e i r o h ild r e n and even applaud t h e i r f i r s t ste p s i n e v i l w a y s ^
th e s is
n o th in g n o ta b l^ a m o n g J o n s o n 's d ra m a tic w orks t h a t
need n e c e s s a r ily be a s c rib e d to Q u in t ilia n . T h is one passage
f P i g * x 2 J i ( 2 ) O X IV - o o n s i d e r a b l e . i l i O X m , O X V I.( S ) L x v .O X V .
U J X f r v f, O X IX , O X V I I I , O X IX . O X X I.
5) o x . (6 ) oxv; o x k u S
^ ^ » Q X X I l | t h r ^ e ) ,0 X X V I, O X IX (tw o ) • ( 7 ) OXV, O X V II. ( 8 ) C X V l( t w o ) .
<I0) Ounn.I.p.21.considerable passage.
(3 ^ ) * C o n v e rs a tio n s : H.& S . I . p . I 3 2 , ” He commended to my re a d in g
Q u in t ilia n who (he s a id ) w ould t e l l me th e f a u lt s o f my v e rs e s
as i f he had liv e d w it h m e .. *
- 3* how ever, i n K n o w e ll's op en in g s o lilo q u y , A o t I I I , S o . 2 . o f
'Everyman i n h is Humour' , has th e a i r o f b e in g among Ben's
f a v o u r ite s . I t i s e v id e n t ly th e f r u i t o f g r a t e f u l r e o o lle o tio n
s a t i r i o m e d ita tio n . A p p a re n tly , t o o , i t i s a l i t e r a r y
a d d itio n to th e p la y and n o t i n th e q u a rto . T h is tim e Ben has
added s tr e n g th , c o lo u r , and v i v a o i t y to th e s c a th in g but
,somewhat a b s tr a c t ^not to say s t i l te d f o r i g i n a l , tho ug h, f o r the
m ost p a rt^ h e i s
f a i t h f u l to Q u i n t ili a n 'd p a tte r n and la c k in g
o n ly i n epigram m atic q u a l it y . J u v e n a l and Horace c o n tr ib u te to
i t as w e l l , m ix in g a c e r b it y w ith hum our. C onsequently i t
is a
'm e a ty ' passage o f h ig h s e n te n ce , w h o lly u n d m m a tio i n th e
o r d in a r y sense, b u t b r i l l i a n t s a t ir e and tr u e comedy i n i t s
m ir r o r in g q u a l it y : t r u e t r a n s la t io n , a ls o , i n i t s
a c c u ra te
and p o lis h e d re s ta te m e n t o f i n t e l l e c t u a l c la s s ic s a t ir e .
But th e s ig n ific a n c e o f Q u in t ili a n f o r Jonson
oannot be found i n t h i s passage, how ever i n t r i n s i c a l l y in t e r e s t
II
II
in g . The D is o o v e rie s h o ld i t .
And th e Im p re s s io n th a y fo rc e
upon us o o n t in u a lly i s o f Ben th e t h e o r io ia n , s tu d e n t o f t h a t
e a r l i e r t h e o r io ia n , t i r e l e s s l y m aking n o te s on th e m in u tia e
o r t o o ls o f h i s o r a f t , s y s te m a tis in g , r a t io n a lis in g , s e e k in g
th e b e s t methods o f te a c h in g and le a r n in g , th e c r i t e r i a and
p r in c ip le s o f sfryle, and showing th r o u g io u t h is search a v e ry
s o lid sense. The n a tu re and number o f the se b o rro w in g s from
Q u in t ili a n has done muoh to form th e accepted p ic t u r e o f
Jonson. They are v i t a l to i t .
Y e t i t i s easy to d i s t o r t th e
p io t u r e th e y g iv e . Thus th e y suggest th e p ic t u r e o f a c ra fts m a n
w it h an e xce ssive in t e r e s t i n h i s to fc ls . They sug ge st t h a t
he com p iled a w hole museum o f o h iz e ls and shippons and t h a t
he f r e q u e n t ly h e ld f o r t h on t h e i r h i s t o r i c i n t e r e s t , th e
b e a u ty o f t h e i r d e s ig n and th e te o h n iq u e o f t h e i r m a n ip u la tio n
And h is id e a s o f te o h n iq u e , we m ig it g a th e r , were n a rro w ly
o o r r e o t. A c c e p tin g a l l t h i s we v is u a lis e h im as a mere
a r t is a n , no s o u lp to r , in d e e d , J u s t a monumental mason
p la g ia r is in g th e f r ie z e s o f Greece and Roane, a base m eohanioAl
o f g re a t in d u s tr y and l i t t l e
im a g in a tio n , whose g e n iu s was
in c a p a b le o f la rg e p r o je c t s and w ide d e s ig n s , u n le s s th e y had
-
3§
-
th e s s m i-m a th e m a tio a l, d e t e o tiv e - s t o r y p a t te r n o f •The A lo h e n is t
and 1The S ile n t Woman*. Suoh i s th e m is c o n c e p tio n to W hich
Ben*s re g a rd f o r Q u in t ili a n n o t u n n a tu r a lly g iv e s c o lo u r .
T h e re ,is however? a com plete answer t o t h i s . A g re a t
a r t i s t m ust be in te r e s te d i n h i s t o o ls , muoh le s s i n h is
tech niq ue ;beca use suoh an i n t e r e s t may e a s ily t u r n a c o b b le r
and b u n g le r in t o a r e a l c ra fts m a n , i t i s n o t a converse t r o t h
t h a t suoh an in t e r e s t does th e same t o a g re a t a r t i s t . F o r y « u r
g re a t s c u lp t o r i s , in c id e n t a lly , a g re a t m onunental m a so n ,to o :
and ig n o ra n ce o f fundam ental teo h n iq u e i s no m e r it even i n
th e m ost la w le s s r e v o lu tio n a r y . What i s
r e a l l y ah re se n te d i n
Ben i s n o t t h a t he had suoh e ^ ia u s tiv e te c h n ic a l knowledge
and in t e r e s t b u t t h a t he t r o o u la n t ly p ro c la im e d h is in t e r e s t
and h i s knowledge i n season and o u t, and th e r e f o r e , b y th e
above argument he was reduced to b e in g n o t m e re ly a p lo d d e r ,
b u t a v e r y d u l l p lo d d e r a t t h a t . Suoh was a n a t u r a l, i f
u n o r i t i o a l re a c tio n o f co n te m p o ra rie s and even l a t e r s c h o la rs
to th e e g o t is t ic propaganda o f c la s s ic p ra c tic e i n Ben^s
fo re w o rd s , p ro lo g u e s , ta v e rn t a l k s , t o o , one supposes, and
o e r t a in iy i n h is in te r s o e n a l ‘ choruses* and th e g lo sse s
i n h is commonplace books *fc io h r e f e r th e re a d e r to such
w orks as Q u in t ilia n * s 'I n s t it u t e s " o r Horace* s "De A rte P o e tic a l'
Jonson, many have f e l t ,
always c o n c e n tra te d on d e t a ils f o r
p re fe re n c e , d e t a ils o f any s c ie n c e , h i s t o r y , m y th o lo g y ,
a n t iq u it ie s , m agic o r m e d ic in e , i t was always th e sane. And so
w it h g ra m m a tica l d e t a il s . S u re ly suoh in s is t f h o e on d e t a i l
proved t h a t , i n p a r t a t le a s t , h is was a p e t t if o g g in g , p i f f l i t g
m in d . I b e lie v e - as I m a in ta in i n my c o n c lu s io n - t h a t t h is
c o n c e n tr a tio n , r e i t e r a t i o n , propaganda and th e l i k e o f Jonson* s
oan be e x p la in e d la r g e ly on o th e r grounds th a n h i s n a t u r a l
in c lin a t io n s . H is p u b lic in s is te n c e on th e m in u tia e o f h i s
o a il in g , th e r e a l l y o ffe n s iv e fe a tu r e o f h i s te o h n io a l in te r e s t s ,
i s , I b e lie v e , s u s c e p tib le to e x p la n a tio n on th e grounds o f
h is h i s t o r i c a l p o s it io n i n th e l i t e r a r y w o r ld , as w e ll as
th e m ire o b vio u s grounds o f tem per and p e rs o n a l e x p e rie n c e .
36.
Arid :.hou$i h i s message t o h i s f e llo w p la y w rig h ts and a u d ito rs
i s a im o st w h o n y concerned w it h the dangers o f te c h n ic a l
ig n o ra n c e , he was i n p r a c t ic e and i n th e o ry a liv e to the
o p p o s ite danger — though h e d id n o t escape i t w h o lly — th e
danger o f e xce ssive ‘’c o rr e c tn e s s 41 suggested oy these lin e s :
“Use a n
th e tro p e s
And schemes t h a t p rin c e Q u in t ili a n can a f f o r d you:
And much good do y o u r r h e t o r ic * s h e a r t .
Among h is v i t a l p re fa c e s occu rs a n o th e r T e ry
c o n s id e ra b le d e b t to Q u in t ilia n . The #A ddreesto the Reader4*
o f th e “ A lc h e m is t4* i s based on th e • I n s t i t u t e s 1
■{2in d was h e id
by Jonson to be o f m a jo r im p o rta n ce and in t e r e s t as we see
(3 )
by i t s reappearance i n “ D is c o v e r ie s * •
Persius.
A fa v o u id te , to o , l i k e so many s a t i r i s t s , was Persia s.
In d e e d , ta k in g in t o c o n s id e r a tio n th e b r e v it y o f P e rs iu s * w o rk ,
we may conclude t h a t Jonson*s round dozen re fe re n c e s in d ic a te
a higfc degree o f a d n ir a t io n f o r the q u a l it ie s o f P e rs iu s * w o rk .
In p a r t i c u l a r , i f we keep th e “ D is c o v e rie s 4* i n m in d, Jonson
appears to have a s p e c ia l l i k i n g f o r two q u o ta tio n s frc m P e rs iu s ,
i f one may so conclude frcxn 1he f a c t t h a t he uses each o f them
tw ic e .
l a t u r a l ly , th e re f o r e , th e y may be h e ld t o thro w s p e c ia l
l i g h t on h is ta s te s and c h a ra c te r.
These q u o ta tio n s a re :
(a ) "non te q u a e s ^ v e ris e x tr a "
(b ) "m a g is te r a r t i s in g e n iq u e l a r g i t o r
#(5 )
v e n te r.
>
To th e s e , as o f eq ua l s ig n ific a n c e we may w e n add,
( I ) Gunn. I I . p . 221,
[2 ) I I . X I , X I I ,
3) 63 and 65 , n o te s 9 and 10.
(4 ) G u n n .II.p . 194. ( " B a r t * s . P a ir " t h i s , t h a t
v e r y E n g lis h
ocmedv: speaker a p p r o p r ia te ly named Adam Overdo) and i d . p . 350
(5) "To th e Reader “ "P o e 'ta s 'te r*« and O n n n .III.p .1 2 2 .
37.
(c) “ Tecum h a b ita u t n o r is quam s i t t i b i c u r ta s u p e n e x H^
I h o ld t h a t (c ) i s as v /e ig h ty evidence as those he quotes tw ic e
i n v i r t u e o f i t s p la c e on th e t i t l e
page o f “ D is c o v e rie s " .
S u re ly as th e k e y -n o te f o r t h i s , h i s book o f q u in te s s e n tia l
m e d ita tio n s , Jonson chose a L a t in t e x t w h io h , i n a d d itio n to
im m ediate a p p l i c a b i l i t y - l i t t l e
l i m i t a t i o n t h i s - seemed to
Jo n so n , i n i t s p i t h and p o lis h , w o rth y o f t h i s im p o rta n t
s t a t io n , and w h ic h , because o f th e circu m sta n ce s o f i t s
is
se le ctio n ,
f o r us a s ig n i f i c a n t c lu e to sane fe a tu re s o f th e o u tlo o k
and ta s te o f the man who s e le c te d i t .
E q u a lly c h a r a c t e r is t ic , I f e e l, i s
t h a t o th e r frcm
P e rs iu s :
( 2)
“ A u ric u la s te n e ra s m o rd a c i rode re vero."
And i t i s in t e r e s t in g to n o te how much c o r ro b o r a tio n f o r known
t r a i t s o f Jonson oan be e l i c i t e d
frcm these f o u r ( o r s ix )
q u o ta tio n s .
Thus i n Ifce l a s t - ta k e n n a t u r a lly w ith the c o n te x t
t o w h ic h o u r b r ic k la y e r a p p a re n tly makes i t b o th c o rn e r-s to n e
and k e y -s to n e * - we have th e f a n i i i a r Jo n so n ia n a t t it u d e , t h a t
o f th e rig h te o u s s a t i r i s t a s to n is h e d a t th e u n re g e n e ra te
m anner i n w h ic h th e d u l l ass w ie ld s i t s h o o f when g a lle d by
b i t t e r t r u t h - o r Jo n so n 18 v e r s io n o f th e t r u t h . F o r Ben, h is
own c r i t e r i o n was a b s o lu te and u n q u e s tio n a b le . L ik e h i s fo e s ,
th e p u r it a n s , he d id n o t share I n P i l a t e 's d o u b ts , f o r i f
such in n e r q u e s tio n in g s d e s tro y fa n a tic is m th e y are e q u a lly
in im ic a l to s a t ir e i n th e grandrm anner.
Q u o ta tio n s (a ) and (c ) are i n a measure com plem entary.
Know y o u r own h e a r t ,s a id the o ld s a t i r i s t ; lo o k w i t h i n : and
such in tr o s p e c t io n w i l l d isp o se th e s e a rc h e r to i n t e l l e c t u a l
h u m ilit y . M an's i l i - f u m i s h e d g a r r e t l i t t l e
(I)
T itle - p a g e t o “ D is c o v e r ie s * .
(2 ) Gunn. I I I . p . 418.
J u s t if ie s th e p i i d 0
o f ow nership t h a t he i s w ont to d is p la y . I t i s , I u n d e rs ta n d ,
one o f the s tra n g e ccmmonplaces o f p sych o lo g y t h a t Jo n so n , one
o f the m ost i n t e l l e c t u a l l y a rro g a n t o f m ankind, sh o u ld have as
f a v o u r it e and p u b l i c l y fla u n te d m o tto e s two aphorism s t h a t
in c u lc a te i n t e l l e c t u a l h u m il it y . And y e t i n h is th o u g h ts and
a c ts a maybe e x p ia to r y h u m il it y o fte n a lte r n a te d w it h i n t e l l e c t u a l
braggadockio and s e lf-r ig h te o u s n e s s s a v o u rin g more o f a g g rie v e d
M a c iie n te th a n o f f r e e , magnanimous A sp er. The q u o ta tio n s
r e f l e c t a r e c u r r e n t mood.
Q u o ta tio n (b ) i s c h a r a c t e r is t ic o f th e tim e and th e
man, the tim e f s v i r i l e
in d e lic a c y i n abuse, c la s s ic a l enough,
and th e m an's f a v o u r it e w o rd , " b e l l y " . Among h is v e r y e x te n s iv e
r e p e r to ir e o f u n p le a s a n te rie s why sho uld t h is be a fa v o u r ite ?
Perhaps he chose to re p e a t the id e a o fte n to l e t f a m i l i a r i t y
s tifle
the shame t h a t Jonson the s o ld ie r and sw order may w e ll
have f e l t i n th e g ro w th o f h is own “m o u n ta in b e n y " . Perhaps
he le d the la ug h a g a in s t h im s e lf to damp h is lam pooners1 pow der,
i n b a r and book. Anyhow, th e g e n ia l grossness o f th e w o rd , as i n
h is p h ra s e , "woman's g r e a t b e l l y " , i s
c h a r a c t e r is t ic n o t o n ly
o f h is age b u t , i n a m ild way, o f h is p e rs o n a l r e l i s h f o r the
h e a r t ie s t c r u d it y , a r e l i s h re v e a le d i n i t s
le a s t c o m p lic a te d
form i n th e odyssey o f L o n d o n 's "C lo a ca ^Maxima".
I n t h a t the o th e r re fe re n c e s
more b r i g i t l y l i t
i l l u s t r a t e m a tte rs
by h is a llu s io n s to o th e r L a t in s , we may
leave P e rs iu s w it h th e r e i t e r a t i o n o f th e o b s e rv a tio n t h a t
Jonson h e ld him i n h i g i f a v o u r ^ o r h is k in s h ip i n s a t ir e .
(1 ) D is c o v e ry OXXX ( t r i f l i n g ) ; G u n n .I.p . 165 (sanna - a p p r o p r ia t e ly
c o u r t ly L a t in e q u iv a le n t o f "c o c k in g a s n o o t" ; d o .p .2 7 3 ;
d o .p .310, i . e . !,Se jarnus" ,1 7 ,5 . (a fa tu o u s comment on t h i s I n G i f f .
"Jonson seems a f r a id almostdba to t r u s t h im s e lf o u t o f th e
c la s s ic s " • The e d it o r has th e w rong sow b y th e e a r . Jonson
p r id e d h im s e lf on h i a b i l i t y to s ta y w i t h in th e o la ssicsJ; d o . I I ,
p .5 6 0 (o n a w e ll known Roman c u s to m ); d o . I I I . p . 103 ( open vow
f o r 'a p e rto v o t o " , a t r a n s la t io n s u r e iy f o r th e c o g n o s c e n ti o n ly .
(2 ) As f i n a i evidence o f t h i s one may c it e th e f a c t t h a t P e rs iu s
was the p re s e n t he chose f o r h is d e a r f r ie n d , John R oe, and th e
e le g a n t L a t in o f th e t it le - p a g e d e d ic a tio n speaks o f P e rs iu s a s:
SuaS^ ?atJrloo rum6 cloc$3 ! slmum.."
I t w ould appear * iia t Jonson ra te d C a tu llu s as i n f e r i o r to
M a r t ia l. A t le a s t t h a t seems to be Ihe most reasonable d e d u c tio n
frcm h is e x p lo s iv e m a rg in a l Garment on a com parison drawn between
th e two i n fa v o u r o f C a tu iiu s * b y M ure tu s. A g a in s t t h is c o n c lu s io n
b q lt no ted t h a t the com parison o f M uretus i s
so unbalanced as to
c a l l f o r p r o t e s t even frcm one who h e ld C a tu llu s to be i n t r u t h
th e g re a + e r. S t i l l th e te n n s 5dure and f a ls e 5 a p p lie d b y Jonson to
t h a t c r i t i c 1s v ie w s t r o n g ly suggest t h a t Jonson was on M a r tia l* s
s id e . As we s h a ll show elsew here * how ever, t h a t M a r t ia l was
p o s s ib ly Jonson* s fa v o u r ite among Roman p o e ts , even a t i t s m ost
s t r o n g ly adverse in t e r p r e t a t io n t h i s in t e r e s t in g but p u z z lin g
comment le ave s th e p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t Jonson had a h ig h re g a rd f o r
C a tu llu s . And we f in d i t
i s so, f o r , i n a d d itio n to the
reasonable number o f d i r e c t re fe re n c e s to the w orks o f C a tu llu s ,
we have i n Jonson th re e c o n s id e ra b le t r a n s la t io n s o r a d a p ta tio n s
frcm h is w o rk.
The f i r s t
(2)
9i s an a d a p ta tio n o f th e famous p o e tic
t e s t p ie c e , “ Vlvamus mea L e s td a * , w it h w h ic h Jonson c a rb in e s i t s
s e q u a i, now numbered V I I among the w orks o f C a tu llu s . I n t h is
Jo n so n , c o n tra ry to h is h a b i t , ta ke s l i b e r t i e s w it h th e t e x t ,
w h ic h f o r t h e i r r a r i t y may be n o te d . Thus we have (a ) th e
tr a n s p o s it io n o f id e a s , e . g . lin e 10 i n Jonson i s
1 1 .2 -3 i n
C a tu llu s ; (b ) a d a p ta tio n o f id e a s ,e .g . * s p o rts o f lo v e ” and
"lo v e *s f r u i t s *
re p la c e a l l th e Reman* s a r it h m e t ic a l c lim a x o f
k is s e s . I n 1 1 .2 1 ,2 2 we f i n d him m o d e rn is in g th e o r i g i n a l i n a
way w h ic h , though c h a r a c t e r is t ic , re q u ire s e x p la n a tio n and may
be h e ld s ig n i f i c a n t . Thus, f o r th e id e a o f th e e v i l eye he
s u b s t it u t e s , r a t io n a lis i n g , th e q u ite u n s u p e r s titio u s concept o f
o r d in a r y Je a lo u sy. Why? E v e ry one o f h is audienoe w ould have
u n d e rs to o d “ th e e v i l eye**. Why sh o u ld he who n a m a l3 y changed
h is o r ig in a ls so l i t t l e
have made t h i s a lte r a t io n ?
(c)He has
p e m it t e d a d d itio n s ,© .g . lin e s I I t o 14 a p p ly to the a c tio n o f
th e p la y and are n o t w a rra n te d by C a tu iiu s , th o u g h the fa c ts
( IJ H e r fo r d & s . i. p . 2 o 3 .
( 2 ) V o I p , I I I , S o . 6*
—
40.
o f h is e xp e rie n ce may have been re p - s t e l l a r . F u r t h e r , 11 .1 5 to la
are Jonson* s o y n ic o -p h ilo s o p h io a d d it io n , suggested by - as
G if fo r d p la u s ib ly opined - th e I n s t it u t e s o f S p a rU ! And the
a c c e p t a b ilit y o f t h i s s u m is e i s n o t le sse n e d , r e a l l y , b y * th e
ouvious f a c t t h a t Jonson need n o t hav© sought o u tw ith h is own
e xp e rie n ce o f m a trim o n ia l estrangem ent f o r the germ o f such a
cccmonplace o b s e rv a tio n .
U n d o u b te d ly th e in t e r p o la t io n , lin e s I I to 14, i s an
a r t i s t i c shook. The id e a th e y c o n ta in belongs to the p e n ta n e te r
c o n te x t o f the p la y i t s e l f , n o t to the l i f t e r ,
l y r i o m etre o f the
song p ro p e r. They are p r o s a ic , f a c t u a l, a im o st b u s in e s s - lik e ,
la c k in g i n e m o tio n a l q u a l i t y , a la c k t h a t i s made the more
n o tic e a b le by th e in t e n s i t y , s p i r i t u a l i t y , and “ g e n e ra lis e d "
q u a l it y a tta in e d o r a tte m p te d i n the r e s t o f th e t r a n s la t io n . I t
seems t h a t i n t h is Jonson as a p o e t and a d ra m a tis t i s g u i l t y o f
a bre ach o f t a s t e , and g u i l t y by h is own le g i s la t iv e pronouncem ent
f o r no l i t e r a r y canon i s more s tre s s e d by o u r a u th o r th a n lh a t
w h ich i n s i s t s t h a t u n if o r m it y o f te x tu r e i s a p r e r e q u is it e o f
a l l g r e a t a r t . S u re ly t h a t argument he lo re s to b r in g a g a in s t
p u rp le patches may here be f a i r l y urg e d a g a in s t h is own p a tc h
o f d ra b g re y . To t h is b le m is h , sp e a kin g o f d e t a il s , one need
o n ly add a doubt about th e e q u iva le n ce o f th e E n g lis h w ord “ lig jtft?
w h ic h i n a song i s e it h e r to o in g e n io u s o r too lim it e d i n
t e o l i c a t i o n . These t e c h n ic a lit ie s a p a r t, can t h is be condich red
a good t r a n s la t io n , as G if f o r d tho ug ht? I h a r d ly t h in k so , and
c h i e f l y f o r t h is reason t h a t , b e in g b a la n ce d , e n d - s to p t, and
s tiff, i t
can convey t o th e E n g lis h re a d e r l i t t l e
o f the g ra c e ,
ease,and f l u i d i t y t h a t a re so marked i n th e o r i g i n a l L a t in .
I n s t i l l a n o th e r re s p e c t t h is song i s p e r t in e n t to
o u r p re s e n t in v e s t ig a t io n . Even G if f o r d , a f t e r b re a k in g a lance
f o r Ben, re fu s e s to f o llo w up w i t h c lo s e sw or^nanship and c o n fe s s i
he agrees w it h th e d e tr a c to r s who cla im t h a t th e song i s
timed"
“i n -
By t h is I assume h e means t h a t Ben* s p r o p e n s ity f o r
( I ) and (2 ) O u n n .I.p .3 7 0 .
« •
1b r in g in g home* a c la s s ic a u th o r lias m is le d * him in t o p u t t in g t h i s
song i n th e m outh o f a c h a r a c te r t h a t suggests any h ir d o f p re y
r a th e r th a n a sweet s o n g s te r. Jon son h im s e lf c e r t a in ly f e l t a l i t t l e
j u s t i f i c a t i o n was n e c e s s a iy : so b e fo re he be gins to p ip e Vclpone
g iv e s +h i s by p o in t in g o u t t h a t i n th e p a s t he has been a n o ta b le
a c to r* a m a tin e e i d o l even, w hat tim e a comedy was a cte d f o r ’ the
g re a t V a lo is ’ . T his o e r t a in ly makes th e in t r o d u c t io n o f th e song
a c r e d i b i l i t y , i f n o t th e p r o b a b i l i t y t h a t th e drama demands, sin ce
th e v e ry la te n e s s o f the e x p la n a tio n savours o f a deus ex m achina.
S t i l l t h i s i s b u t a n o th e r concealed tendenoy o f the Pox. P or ye a rs
he has hidd en h i s n a t u r a l lu s t in e s s , p la y in g a p a r t f o r b u sin e ss x s
reasons; when he does b re a k in t o s o n g ^ s u rp ris e a f f e c t s th e o th e r
c h a ra c te rs as w e ll as th e a u d ie n ce . In d e e d , judged from th e
a u d ito riu m in s te a d o f th e le is u r e d and more c a p tio u s s tu d y I doubt
w h e th e r th a m ost h o s t ile
c r i t i c w o uld re fu s e to accept , scena
m ovente, as in c o m p a tib le
w ith th e known antecedents o f volpone th h
sudden r e v e la tio n t h a t h i s la s c iv io u s h e a rt c o u ld f in d c h o ra l
u tte r a n c e , and th e s x x c h o ra l u tte ra n c e o f a c la s s ic l y r i c
to b o o t.
Nbte, to o ,( 8 in c e th e p u b lic a t io n o f th e p la y may re n d e r an appeal k
to an audience an i n v a l i d d e fe n ce ) t h a t t h * r e i s n o th in g ir ih e r e n t ly
Im probable i n re p re s e n tin g Volpone as b e in g a cq u a in te d w ith th e
song, and f o r two re a so n s: (a ) Ben c o n s id e re d suoh L a t in e le m e n ta ry ,
and volpone i s re p re s e n te d th ro u g h o u t th e p la y as spe a kin g l i k e a
gentlem an whose e d u c a tio n had gone f a r beyond O a tu liu s , and (b )
Jonson m ig h t w e ll h o ld t h a t Volpone was n o t q u o tin g a L a t in song.
Jonson had b ro u g h t th e song home. Volpone and any gentlem an i n
England was fr e e to s in g i t .
th e p re s e n t in s ta n c e i t
On th e se grounds I f a i l to see how in
can f a i r l y be a s s e rte d t h a t Jonson* s
o la s s ic a l le a r n in g d id a n y th in g to s t i f l e h is
g e n iu a o r
m is le a d h is ju d g n e n t.
S peaking w it h th e in e v it a b le b ia s o f t h is c e n tu ry
one may round o f f one’ s f e e lin g a b o u t t h i s t r a n s la t io n i n an I r i s h
40
m anner, th u s : th e s t y le o f th e t r a n s la t io n suggests t h a t ; as a p o e t,
jo n so n ^m ig ^it have been an e x c e lle n t pro se w r i t e r .
I t s prose
q u a l it y makes one r e g r e t t h a t he d id n o t seek th e same l u o i d i t y ,
c le a rn e s s ,a n d m o d ifie d balance when he cane to w r it e fo n n a l p ro s e .
I t i s a r e g r e t t h a t w i l l rea pp ea r when we cone to t r e a t o f Jonson
th e h is t o r ia n - t h a t r m i $1 t-h a v e -b e e n .
The M arriage o f
M a n liu s was a n o th e r
w o rk o f C a tu ilu S 1made use o f e x te n s iv e ly by Jon son , t h is tim e i n
•The Masque o f Hymen1. And n a t u r a lly so, sin ce he sought to reproduce
the cerem onies and s ta g e -p ro p s o f ! a p in e t r e e 1, * fla m in g h a i r 1, th e
c a r r y in g o f a b rid e across th e th r e s h o ld , and the g e n e ra l e p ith a ia n io
hymn f o r b le s s in g s on bed and b o a rd , f a c t u a l i n n a tu re a l l these
b o rro w in g s,h o w e ve r d a in ty and f a n c i f u l th e fa c t s . I t a p p e a rs, howevey
t h a t h is a d a p ta tio n o f C a tu llu a 1 hymn was fc u tf i n th e f i r s t p re s e n ta tia c
o n ly one sta ve b e in g sung. As u s u a l,c o n fid e n t i n the r e v e rs a l o f t h is
iu d g n e n t by h is re a d e rs and b y p o s t e r it y , Jonson p r in t e d th e f u l l
t e x t among h i s p u b lis h e d w o rk s , to g e th e r w it h an in s u l t i n g p a rd o n
f o r th e u n s p e c ifie d a u d ito r s o r c o m p tro lle rs whose ig n o ra n ce had
le a d to th e s u p p re s s io n .
J o n s o n ^ lo n g e s t t r a n s la t io n from th e w orks o f
M
O a tu llu s o ccu rs i n ‘ The B a r r ie r s 1. The o r i g i n a l , C a tu llu s L X II 11 .4 2 6 2 , i s th e lo v e l ie s t passage from C a tu llu s 1 c h o ra l debate# between
th e young men and th e m aidens on th e cause o f m a trim o n y a g a in s t
th e cause o f v i r g i n i t y . A p a rt fro m th e v i t a l mridHOf,and unrep ro duo ib le ,
fe a tu re s o f th e m e tre , th e b e a u ty o f th e o r ig in a l owes muoh to the
p h ra s in g and to th e two a n a lo g ie s , g e n e ra l and ob vio us enough to
have the u n iv e r s a l q u a l i t y o f ap peal o f a l l g re a t p o e t iy and ra is e d
f a r above th e a tte n d a n t danger o f th e ocmmonplaoe by b e a u ty o f
m elod y, n io e t y and f u lln e s s o f t s t x t * th e d e t a i l w it h w h ic h th e ra a ta x
a n a lo g ie s are worked o u t. Y e t Jo n so n 1s t r a n s la t io n re v e a ls no
^
C a tu llu s I D . C u n n . I I I . p . 2 0 , 2 7 , 2 8 ,
(2 ) H e r. and S im p . I I . p . 269.
(3 ) O u n n .III.p .3 3 .
and 4 l(*H u e and C ry 1)
4*
com parable i n e v i t a b i l i t y , o r ease o f * h y tb m ,o r oadenoe o f p h ra se .
In d e e d , as a v e rse t r a n s la t io n i t i s in c r e d ib ly bad i n a i l o u t one
re s p e c t, and t h a t i s f i d e l i t y / t o f a c t . So awkward are Ben’ s numerous
in v e r s io n s , so c r a g g iiy L a tin a te suoh words as ’ u n to u ch e d 1, ’ s tr o k e ’
( i . e . ’ m u ic e t’ ) and’ e x t o is * , so awkward i s th e e l l i p s i s i n
’ s h o o t’
and s im ila r o ffe n c e s t o the human e a r, de lu de d by th e human eye in t o
e x p e o tin g euphony, t h a t one i s d r iv e n to t h i s c o n c lu s io n , t h a t h e re ,
as so o fte n e lse w h e re , Jonson c o n s c io u s ly and even on p r in c ip le
s a c r if ic e d e v e ry o th e r m e r it i n fa v o u r o f a b s o lu te v e r b a l f i d e l i t y .
The r e s u lt i s , n a t u r a lly , a s c h o o l-b o y is h t r a v e s ty o f an Im m o rta l
poem,
a
le s s a p t cho io e f o r t h is
s o r t o f tre a tm e n t c o u ld h a r d ly be
im a gined .
I t may be observed h e r e , i n p a s s in g , t h a t t h i s tre a tm e n t
o f O a tu llu s b y Jonson i s h i s norm al o r m ost fre q u e n t p r a c t ic e , b u t
n o t in v a r ia b le . The problem i s r e c u r r e n t, so we may ta k e leave o f it
it
and C a tu iiu s w it h a g e n e ra l p r o p o s it io n on Jonson* s l i t e r a l 1am
t r a n s la t io n s ^ a n d two e x p la n a to ry su g g e stio n s on t h i s p a r t i c u l a r
t r a n s la t io n o f the M a rria g e Hymn (b ) and ( o ) .
(a ) Was i t
t h a t f o r the se v e r y w e ll known passages o f
O a tu llu s Jonson f e l t suoh awe t h a t he regarded th e o rd e r o f m i r i i
id e a s and evon th e tu r n s o f phrase as sacrosanot? D id he t h in k o f
each o f h is educated a u d ito rs as c o n f e r r in g the t r a n s la t io n w i t h
h is r e o o lle c tio n s o f th e o r i g i n a l ,
lin e by lin e and w ord by word?
I n s u p p o rt o f the l a t t e r v ie w we may n o te t h a t even th e l i t e r a l
t r a n s la t io n i n h i s g e n e ra l o r p o p u la r w o rk ’ Volpone* i s
le s s r i g i d l y
l i t e r a l th a n th e passages i n h i s c a v ia re c o n fe c tio n s , th e masques.
(b ) I n substance and I m p lic a t io n th e w hole passage
sup po rts th e p a t r ia r c h a l o r o la s s ic a l v ie w o f m a rria g e by s tr e s s in g
as paramount fe m in in e v ir t u e s su b m issio n , c h a s t it y , and fe o u n d ity .
I n i t s p r o p r i e t o r ia l and contem ptuous a t t it u d e tow ards women i t
is
a c o u n te r b la s t to th e ’ rom a ntic nonsense* t h a t fu rn is h e d many a p l o t
f o r Jonson1s r i v a l plaapW rigbts. I f t h i s be g ra n te d , th e re i s an
o b vio us reason f o r Jonson* s s c iu p u lo u s adherence to th e fo im o f th e
o r i g i n a l , even beyond h i s w o n t; he i s s e n s in g to th e f u l l c la s s ic
44.
o o rro b o ra tio n o f h is own vie w s on wctnen*s n ro p e r p la c e and
fu n c tio n .
(c )
A p a rt frcm and sup plem e ntary to (a ) and (b ) i
be t h a t , as h is masques were w r i t t e n to o rd e r, th e re was a nowu n d isco ve ra fcie reason f o r th e v e r y l i t e r a l tre a tm e n t o f th e
"Hymen Hymenee".
I n th e Appendix to the •Masque o f queens* i t i s o f
in t e r e s t to n o te t h a t Jonson induifcges h im s e if i n a l i t t l e
o r m is le a d in g l i t e r a r y c r it ic i s m
o f the \
rash
i s b e t t e r th a n B "o id e r.
* A ui s C a tu iiu s ; *B" C a llim a c h u s . As the*Ccinm* B e re n ice s o f B i s
n o t e x ta n t, Jonson* s sage comment cannot be more tha n an echo o f
t r a d i t i o n — o f Ovicl p ro b a b ly — and i s n o t, as i t
sounds, o r i g i n a l .
The o th e r d is c o v e re d re fe re n c e s to C a tu llA l^ a r e s l i g h t
and o f no obvious s ig n if ic a n c e , though sane human i n t e r e s t may
< r , \
a tta c h t o h is re fe re n c e s to th e ‘‘ lame god o f f i r e " u
, i n as
muoh as h is copy o f C a tu iiu s was a p p a re n tly one o f th e volumes
salvag ed frcm th e famous P i re i n h is s tu d y .
O lau dian .
I n o u r p ro g re s s tow ards th e g r e a te r l i g h t s o f Jonson* s
in s p ir a t io n we n e x t ocme upon C ia u d ia n u s , who, f o r o u r im m ediate
i n q u ir y , i s v e ry in t e r e s t in g . I t appears t h a t f o r O la u d ia n
Jonson a c te d i n h is day as p u b l i c i s t o r ohampion a g a in s t
o b s c u r ity , as im p re s a rio a im o s t. I t was G if f o r & f ^ I t h in k , who
f i r s t o o in te d o u t t h a t Jonson was th e f i r s t E n g lis h s c h o la r to
f a m ilia r is e h is o o u n tryn e n w it h the w orks o f O la u d ia n , * i a s t o f
th e c la s s ic s " • And frcm th e tim e o f Jonson1s advocacy down to
1800 h is p ro te g e appears to have in c re a s e d i n p o p u la r fa v o u r as these th in g s a re . I n more re c e n t years perhaps o n ly th e
u n u s u a lly c u rio u s s c h o la r o r h is t o r ia n has much re g a rd f o r Ben* s
( I ) A m o r.I.X V .
M
( a ) H.& S. I.p .2 7 9 su g g e st t h a t th e m o tto t o a #T a ie o f a Tub,
in f i c e t o i n f i c e t i o r ra re " i s a re fe re n c e to I n ig o . C a tu i.X X .II.
(b ) 0 u n n . I I I . p . 3 I 9 , and a g a in d o .1 .2 3 7 .
(o ) d o . I . p . 5 .
(3 ) See (b ) above.
(4 ) C u n n .III.p .IX B -
d is c o v e ry o r advocacy.
As to the fta n ii. ia ii. s in g h is cou ntryn en w ith C ia u d ia n
i t m ust be observed t h a t , w i t h one e x c e p tio n , a i l known
a tte m p ts o c c u r i n c o u r t ly e n te rta in m e n ts , none i n works f o r th e
p u b lic s ta g e . One^wonders why. There may be two fa c to r s a t w ork,
(a) Jonson may have re co g n ise d - s u r p r is in g ly f o r him - th a t
C ia u d ia n was beyond the p a la te o f a p u b lic a u d ie n iJ ^ even the
educated "wedges” ; (b) He h im s e if may n o t have made the
acquaintance o f C ia u d ia n b e fo re the a cce ssio n o f Janes and th e
g re a t im petus t h a t gave to m asking. O f the two s u p p o s itio n s ,
|
how ever, (a ) alone f u n y squares w i t h the f a c t t h a t i n c o u r t ly
e n te rta in m e n ts re fe re n c e s are fre q u e n t and eisew here n o t to be
fo u n d , even i n Ben’ s p o s t-E liz a b e th a n w o rk.
I n C ia u d ia n Jonson found w hat m ost he had need o f i n
c o u r t ly masques and b a r r ie r s , a c o n t r ib u t o r y source o f s u g g e s tio n
f o r c o u r t ly com plim ent, as w e ll as c la s s ic a u t h o r it y f o r the
m y th o lo g ic a l p a g e a n try o f these recherchd' pantomimes.
To th e m in d o f a s c h o la r o r p e d a n t k in g , l i k e James,
w ould i t n o t m i g h t i l y enhance th e f la v o u r o f th e f o llo w in g
cam oiim ents to le a m l a t e r fr a n th e a u th o r’ s c a r e fu l n o t e s , th a t
C ia u d ia n , no v u lg a r s p r in g , was the source o f such a c c e p ta b le
t r ib u t e s ?
(a) On th e o cca sio n o f h is m a je s ty ’ s f o m a i e n t r y in t o London
t h is :
"T otus a d e s t o c u iis , a d e ra t q u i m e n titn q fo iim ". ^
(b) "N? w atch o r guard o o u id be so s a fe to th e ..p e r s o n o f a k in g
p rin o e (p rin o e p s ) as th e lo v e and n a t u r a l a f f e c t io n o f h is s u b ^ ic i
(o ) P e re g it T r a n q u iila P o te s ta s
Uoud ^ l o i e n t i a n e q u it.^
A n th e 8 e are worked in t o th e "K in g ’ s E n te r ta in n e n t " , s u g g e s tin g
»(6 )
v e r y c le a r l y t h a t on t h i s o cca sio n Jonson "had th e book open"
(5 )
Taken w it h th e f u r t h e r com plim ent from th e same source and on th e
T D H o tt o to the "irM a g n e tic Lady" p r o p e r ly a le a rn e d o o c a s io n .
( 2 )0 u n n * II.p .5 5 9
(5 ) d o .p .556.
(4 ) d o .p .5 6 3 .
(5 ) do © 3 .
| 6 j Ib te the page sequence
A p o p u la r s e n tim e n t. S e e ,to o ,C u n n .I.2 6 2 -3 .
46.
same o c c a sio n to the w o rth in e s s ( p ie t y ) o f the m onarch, these
debts to C ia u d ia n show t h a t Jonson had a c c o r a te iy ganged s e v e ra l
o f h is m o n a rch 's m ost c h e ris h e d m is c o n c e p tio n s , such a s, h is
c le a r p ie tu r e o f h im s e lf as a m a s te r o f p e a c e fu l d ip lo m a cy, the
i d o i o f h is p e o p le , and p a r e x c e lle n c e , a s c h o la r.
And t h in k o f i t !
A l l these in t o x ic a t i n g d ra u g h ts were frcm an
untapped w e ll o f in s p i r a t io n , p o e tr y , and e r u d it io n .
F o r the r e s t , Jo n so n , r e b u t t in g by a n t ic ip a t io n the
censures o f le s s deep o r p e rh a p s, n o t ic e , more s e v e re ly c la s s ic a l
s c h o la rs , o it e s O la u d ia n tw ic e i n s u p p o s rt o f h is own c o n te n tio n
t h a t th e re d id e x i s t i n a n c ie n t tim e s a p l u r a l i t y o f o u p id s^—^
and f o r o th e r m a tte rs o f e q u a l mcenent.
I t can no t f a i n y
be claim ed t h a t by d i r e c t q u o ta tio n o r
by in c o n t r o v e r t ib le a llu s io n Jonson shows any a p p re c ia tiv e a f f e c t in
f o r the more Im a g in a tiv e q u a l it ie s o f O la u d ia n . Uniess to t h is we
( 2)
(>
make e x c e p tio n o f h is re fe re n c e s to th e sp ice la n d s , and Facronius,
i n w h ic h he i s u n s u c c e s s fu l i n c a p tu rin g the f u l l semsuousness and
d e lic a c y r e s p e c tiv e ly o f the o r i g i n a l . H a p p ie r f a r i s h is t o p ic a l
a n u s io n , in P rin c e H e n ry 's B a r r ie r s , to th e d is p e r s a l o f the
Spanish f i e e t , where h is v e r s io n , f o r once, i s b r i e f e r th a n th e
source and y e t adaqua-,e.
Pest.Avien.
^
fre q u e n c y 0f jo n s o n 1s a llu s io n s to F estus A vienus i s
a lto g e th e r a d v e n titio u s . O f the t o t a l ( a t le a s t 14) no le s s th a n
f iv e
(4)
■
h e lp to p ro v id e the f a c t u a l b a s is f o r th e "Masque o f Hymen ,
a n o th e r c le a r case o f th e open book, n o t s im p ly e n c yclo p e d ic
memory w o rk . Even th e few o th e r b o rro w in g s from F estus do n o t
o c c u r i n m a jo r w o rks. L i t t l e
o f s ig n ific a n c e can be squeezed frcm
these fa c ts beyond th e t e n t a t iv e th e o ry t h a t Jonson on h is own
v a lu a tio n o f th e c la s s ic a l h ie r a r c h y o f l e t t e r s
re se rve d the
1g r e a ts r * a u th o rs f o r h is own m a jo r w o rks.
However, n o t t o d is m is s A v ie n to o s c u r v iiy , we may ta k e
one case. Jonson* s own fo o tn o te on the t i t l e
io it
"Q uids , as a p p lie d to
(3)5 (4) 0 m » .III.p p .U ,2 0 ,2 « (3 h (S )a o .3 W >
4?.
J u n o ,is an extreme exairrpie o f h is g e n e ra l care i n e x p la in in g the
e ru d ite o r ig in s o f h is masques’ m y th o lo g ic a l d e v ic e s ; f o r i n t h is
case*he meanders th ro u g h a page o f e x p la n a tio n on th e f a n t a s t i c a l ly
f r iv o lo u s o c c a s io n o f an u n n e c e s s a rily in tro d u c e d surname i n a
c o u r t ly masque. Even h is com m entators, U p to n , W haney, G if f o r d , o r
Cunnin$iam, have n e v e r spun a f i n e r , o r , i n Jonsonese, more a ra n e a l
web tha n t h i s tis s u e from h i s own lo in s .
The r e a l e x p la n a tio n o f th e r e la t iv e
frequence o f
‘ P e s t1 among fo o tn o te s on Jonson i s t h a t Pestus was an a n tiq u a r ia n ,
o r , anjhow , a t r a n s la t o r o f an a n tiq u a r ia n w o rk on etym ology and
Raman i n s t i t u t i o n s . So these re fe re n c e s o f Jonson go to emphasise
the known and n o ta b le f a c t t h a t f o r Jonson b o th these s u b je c ts were
o f c o m p e llin g im p o rta n ce and a b s o rb in g in t e r e s t .
Jonson expressed h is a d m ira tio n f o r Lucan as f r e q u e n t ly
and sometimes as w a n rly as f o r any a n o ie n t p o e t. To Jonson he was
U)
(.3)
‘ th a t e x c e lle n t Lucan*. . . 1th e d iv in e Lucan*. And o f Luoan*s w orks
he s a ys, ‘ ad m ira b le v e rs e s I can n e v e r w e ary t o tr a n s c r ib e * ^ ? .*
(s)
w r i t t e n w it h an a d m ira b le h e i g h t '. On oco asion he i s even com pelled
to quote th e a c tu a l words o f Lucan b y a f e e lin g o f ‘ r e l ig io n * . As
a g a in s t the se e u lo g is t ic comments, i n c o n v e rs a tio n w i t h Drummond,
s li g h t e r e v id e n c e , in d e e d , he re co g n ise d Lucan*s sh o rtc o m in g s , as
i n m aking e v e ry man speak as w e ll as h im s e lf ( a charge o f w h ic h ,
w ith ‘ le a rn e d ly *
f o r *w en*^ Ben h im s e lf i s o fte n g u i l t y ) . Thus f a r
Jonson* s re p o rte d c o n v e rs a tio n a l rem ark i s n o t a t v a ria n c e w it h h is
presum ably more m atured fo o tn o te s . But th e c o n c lu s io n o f t h i s
rem ark,
as g iv e n by Drummond, re q u ire s us to re vie w and l i m i t w h a t, a t f i r s t
appeared to be h i s enthusiaam f o r Lucan* th e more so because
Diummond g iv e s t h e ‘contradictory* statement twioe~?^The unsettling
(1)
(2 )
(3 )
(4 )
>5)
}6 )
(V
C u n n .I I I. p .2 4 .
i d . I I I . p . 46.
id .T 3 .5 I. re ' I b i t o f f a s in e w '.
____
i d . ‘ i d . *fete the in s is te n c e on t r a n s c r ib in g s e le c t passages.
i d . p . 50. re 's p u r g in g o f th e e y e s '.
H .f S .I.f.I4 9 .
i d . p p . 134 and 149.
46
p a rt o f th e rem ark i s t h i s : 1Lucan take n i n p a r ts was Good d iv id e d ,
read a ito g id d e r m e rite d n o t th e name o f a p o e t1, o r was, more
s im p ly 1naught.1 !'A ju d ic io u s to n in g down” , th in k s P ro fe s s o r
/p
Simpson, o f th e e u lo g ie s above. A l a t e r v e r d io t c e r t a i n l y and more
!
i
in o o n fo n r . it y w it h modem v ie w s . But i s ticks i t
I
ir r e o o n o iie a b ie w i t h ,
«
o r even n e c e s s a r ily , a to n in g down o f 1d iv in e 1 and 1a d m ira b le 1 ?.
In e f f e c t , i t i s
a c o r r e c tiv e to th e exaggerated reg ard suggested b y
the f i r s t encomiums, b u t n o t, I t h in k , i n the sense suggested by
H o n in g down1, as a w h o lly o r h a lf - d e lib e r a t e a tte m p t to go back on
«
1
a p re v io u s o p in io n .T h e s e lf - c o n t r a d ic t io n i s pe ih ap s m e fle ly a p p a re n t.
The f i n a l v e r d io t - i f Drummond g iv e s i t - i s t h a t Lucan la cked th e
*
a r c h ite c to n ic g i f t and adhered to o c io s e iy to f a c t , whereas the tr u e
poet makes f i c t i o n as r e a l as f a c ^ How c o u ld Jonson s a p p ly th e te n r s
i
he d id to an a u th o r who la c k e d the se c a r d in a l v ir t u e s ? The answer
|
may be t h a t t h i s i s due to a s p e c ia l fe a tu re o f the l i t e r a r y t r a in in g he
re c e iv e d , in c u lc a te d and p r a c t is e d , namely th e d i s t i l l i n g , m e m o ris in g ,
and t r a n s c r ip t io n o f chosen passages fr a n chosen a u th o r/^ S u o h a
method i s
l i a b le to e x a lt Lucan. He i s v e iy Q u o ta b le : pufrple p a tche s
abound in h is w o rk s . The s c h o la r ’who a p p lie d h im s e lf d i l i g e n t l y to
the ra re —blooms o r o h o ic e -e x c e rp ts m ethod
o f Im p ro v in g h i s own
s ty ie c o u ld n o t b u t ra n k Lucan v e r y h ig ji and d e s e rv in g
o f waim
a d m ira tio n , even th o u g i, on c o n s id e r a tio n , he f e l t d is s a t is f ie d
w ith Luoan^s jg& sk as a w h o le . I n t h i s way th e p o e t who was,as an
a r c h ite c t ^ n a u g it 1 m ig h t w e ll be ,as a s c u lp t o r , 1a d m ira b le 1 o r even
1d iv in e 1.
To c o n s id e r f i r s t th e e x c e lle n c ie s o f th e e x c e lle n t, Lucan,
these b e in g mate r l a i b o th to a c o n s id e r a tio n o f th e Im m ediate problem
aiid as il lu m in a t in g Jonson1s p e rs o n a l ta s te s and c h a ra c te r.
W e ll, th e m ost fa v o u re d and quoted v e rs e s in d ic a t e a s tro n g not, to say m o rb id - ta s te on the p a r t o f the a d m irin g t r a n s c r ib e r .
W iB iS S. I . p . 155. „
,
v2;EpIcoene, Second P ro lo g u e .
(3 )C f. H am lbV s c e le b ra te d 1t a b le t s 1.
49
They anatom ise the te c h n iq u e o f w it c h c r a f t . In g r i s l y d e t a il th e y
6)
describe th e h a b ita t io n s o f w itc h e s , th e methods b y which th e w itc h e s
o f old^and presum ably t h e i r successors ;were wont to secure s u p p lie s
o f l i v i n g b lo o c ^ t h e i r d i s t i n c t and accepted p re fe re n c e f o r a d ie t
(3 )
o f h ig h , to u g h , and fe lo n co rp se s, and t h e i r h ig h ly p ro fe s s io n a l
readiness to p e rfo rm a Caesarean o p e ra tio n i n search o f a r e a ll y
te n d e r in f a n ( ^ f o r t h e i r n e fa rio u s o b la tio n s . E r ic h th ^ r e c e iv e s an
am plitude o f c o n s id e r a tio n , r i v a l l e d o n ljr by H orace’ s C a n id ia . To
sum u p i th e b a s ic s u b je c t m a tte r he borrow s from Lucan runs thus?
h o w lin g w o lv e s , th e n o is e o f a corpse whipped by a snake, fie n d s
and f u r ie s , th e d is e m b o w e llin g and m a s tic a tio n o f co rp se s, the
s l i t t i n g o f th r o a ts and b e l l i e s , cham e 1-houses, ch u rch ya rd s, gra ves,
’ w o lv e s ’ h a ir s ,
The mad dog’ s foam, the a d d e r’ s e a rs ,
The s p u rg in g o f a dead man’ s eyes’ ,
the s n a tc h in g away o f a ra v e n ’ s h a lf - f in is h e d m e a l, w ith suoh s im ila r
d e ta ils o f th e hocus pocus o f w i t c h c r a f t , i r r e s i s t i b l y re m in is c e n t
o f k in d re d h o r r o r s i n
,
’ C a tilin e
’ Macbeth’ , same two years e a r l i e r .
W itc h c r a ft a p a r t, J o n s o n ’ s g re a te s t d e b t to Lucan i s i n
( A c t I . S c . i . ) where i n a passage o f g h a s tly power and
co n s id e ra b le r h e t o r ic a l q u a l it y he g iv e s an a d a p ta tio n o f Lucan’ s
p ic tu r e o f the M arian T e rro r. T h is passage d i f f e r s from h i s o th e r
Lucan b o rro w in g s n o t i n s u b je c t m a tte r b u t i n i t s w id e r sweep and
q u a lit y o f u n iv e r s a li t y . The c o n te x ts are s im ila r :
’ When th e fre e sword
• . .was f a m il ia r
W ith e n t r a i l s , as o u r aagBunues i a u g u rs 1. f**
and
’S la u g h te r b e s t r i d th e s t r e e t s and s tr e tc h e d h im s e lf
To seem more h u g e 1.
(*>
(Jonson’ s a d d itio n s , much p r e fe r r e d by G if f o r d , are i n h i s u s u a l
e la b o r is in g m anner, heavy i n n a tu r e , c a ta lo g u e - lik e i n e f f e c t . )
C u n n .I I I. p p . 4 0 ,5 0 .
(2 ) i d . p . 51.
(3 )
id . p . 51.
(5 ) i d . p p .4 8 ,5 4 .
A l l i n Cu b b . I I I . ppfete 4 6 -5 4 .
J
i d . p . 51.
I Inevitably r e c a ll in g C assius* picture o f Caesar th e C o lo ssus.
U)
C u m .II.p . 83.
I f the se were among the passages Jonson noted w ith a d m ira tio n
in Lucan* s w o rk w hat i s
+he s ig n ific a n c e o f h i s a d m ira tio n ?
B efore t r y in g to assess t h a t * one m ust remember these
q u a lif y in g fa c to r s i n th e above re fe re n c e s to Ijucan.
(a) P r a c t ic a ll y a l l o c c u r i n masques, c h i e f ly f The Masque o f
1
i
S
;
Queens1. T hat i s to sa y, i n Jonson* s v ie w these m a tte rs formed
s u ita b le e n te rta in m e n t f o r th e o o u rt o f an accom plished co n n o isse u r
o f w i t c h c r a f t . So, even had Jonson d e te s te d Lucan, h e m ig h t w e ll
have used him as a re fe re n c e book i n such a oase as t h i s .
(b )
The in t e n t io n i n the se passages was c le a r l y , i n some
measure, to h o ld h i s audience th r o u g i th e f a s c in a tio n o f p h y s ic a l
and s u p e ra n tu ra l t e r r o i s o r h o r r o r s .
Ifcw i t
?
cannot have been easy
to w r it e a s u c c e s s fu l d ra n a tio 1Shocked i n c o m p e titio n w ith the
1revenge* d ra n a s , o r , s t i l l m ore, i n c o m p e titio n w ith the
r e a l- life
scenes o f th e h a n g n a n ’ s d is e m b o w e llin g and q u a r te r in g
d e x t e r it y . To h e a r o f* a raven fe e d in g on a q u a rte r* w ould c a l l up
a v e r y o re c is e and even f a m i l i a r p ic tu r e to Jonson*s au dien ces,
h u t i t was a t b e s t a p o o r second to th e fr e e shows p ro v id e d hy
I
k
the g o v e r n r ^ .. I t f o llo w s , th e r e f o r e , t h a t Jonson* s s tre s s on
r e v o lt in g p h y s ic a l h o rro rs s can no t have appeared as d is p ro p o rtio n a te
to h is f i r s t audience as to u s . H is a t t it u d e may w e ll be accepted as
r e p r e s e n ta tiv e , i n t h i s m a t t e r , o f th e mass o f co n te m p o ra ry,
in s e n s it iv e m a s c u lin it y . I n t h a t li g f c t , h i s e x c e rp ts from Lucan
are more an in t e r e s t in g i l l u s t r a t i o n o f h is co n te m p o ra rie s*
obtuseness to th e humane th a n a r e f le c t io n o f,a n d o n ,h is own
p e rs o n a l r e a c tio n s to Luoan.
(o )
f b r can one conclude t h a t th e fre q u e n c y w it h w h ich Jonso
h im s e lf p o in ts o u t h i s b o rro w in g s in d ic a te s a h i $ i esteem f o r Luoan,
because in *T h e Masque o f Queens* he was on h i s m e ttle to T p m ? * * * * *
show P rin c e H enry th e range and aoauraoy o f the c la s s ic a l le a r n in g
on w hich he had based th e m a ch in e ry o f th fS masque^
W ith these p o in ts in m in d ; one is a t f i r s t in c lin e d to suspect
Jonson of irony in h is expressions of a p p ro v a l of Luoan. That
a t t it u d e i s u n -J o n s o n ia n and f o r the f a llo w in g reasons im p o s s ib le :
(I) H .& S.II.p.282.
*%
51.
(a ) O nly h i s ir o s t approved m a ste rs co u ld he adduced f o r h is
h i p e s t a u d ie n c e , th e c o u r t.
(b) There can be no d o u b t t h a t i n a t le a s t th re e in s ta n c e s
Jonson1s tre a tm e n t o f h i s b o rro w in g s accords w ith h i s expressed
th e o ry on Lucan’ s p o e t ic m e r it s . The f i r s t o f th e s e , th e p ic tu r e
o f S la u g h te r a lre a d y m e n tio n e d , i s a passage i n vfliich the t r a n s la t o r
e v id e n tly to o k as much p r id e as p a in s , a n a tu r a l c o r r e la t io n , f o r i t
is s t a t e ly , e la b o r a te , r h e t o r ic a l and o f h i ^ i s e rio u s n e s s .
I h l s b e in g so we r e v e r t to o u r fo im e r t e n t a t iv e c o n c lu s io n
th a t Jonson de nied Lucan th e power to c re a te f ic t io n , o r c h a ra c te r,
o r epic n a r r a tiv e w o rth y o f th e te r n ’ p o e t* , b u t he adm ired Lucan’ s
powers o f p u n g e n t, m acabre, * h e ig h te n e c f^ p o e tic d e s c r ip tio n .
Prom a l l t h i s i n t u r n we may hazard a few c o n c lu s io n s about
Jonson the man.
(a ) He had no more o f te n d e r h u m a n ity i n him th a n h i s
contem poraries and i n h i s calm ne ar-sadism compares v e r y b a d ly to
modem m inds w ith h i s g e n t le r compeer, Shakespeare.
(b )
Though p o lic y may have suggested th e s u b je c t o f w
Jonson’ s own v ig o ro u s p e r s o n a lit y d ic ta te d th e foxm o f t h a t stu d y .A s
was always h i s w ay, f o r example i n T a c itu s , i n d e a lin g w ith m customs
or i n s t i t u t i o n s , he tr e a te d w it c h c r a f t as a m a tte r f o r h i s t o r ic o s c ie n t if ic re s e a rc h i n h i s memory o r l i b r a r y , f o r th e m a r s h a llin g and
c o n fe rrin g o f a u t h o r it ie s , th e b a la n c in g o f p r o b a b i lit ie s a g a in s t
p o s s ib ili t i e s and e a r l i e r a g a in s t l a t e r e vide nce . Hence th e enosmous
machinery o f h is fo o tn o te s t o t h i s masque.
(c )
Jonson f e l t a t le a s t one k in d o f romance, th e ro
o f the h o r r ib le . H is m a t e r ia l was, i t
i s t r u e , a u t h o r it a t iv e . But i t
was f a n t a s t i c a l ly in g e n io u s , gruesome, and g h a s tly , showing no r e s t r a i n t
o f fancy i n i t s
own macabre ge nre . Even though Jonson ta b u la te s and
fo o tn o te s the se n ig h tm a re s &6 m e th o d ic a lly as a m odem p s y c h o lo g is t
cro ss-in d e xe s th e w ild e s t o f n e u r o tic ra v in g s we see h is ro m a n tic
leanings i n h is s e le c t io n o f f a c t s , the th o rc u g m e s s o f h i s knowledge
suggestive o f lo v in g in t e r e s t and the w o rk o f h is own Im a g in a tio n on
h is f a c t s , m o d ify in g and, m ost s i g n i f ic a n t , a m p lify in g them. A l l t h is
(* ) ’ g r a v it y and h e ig h t o f e lo c u t io n * . .To th e R eader, S e jan us.
50
suggests t i K * a c e r t a in measure o f a t t r a c t io n . I n a c tu a l f a c t , i t w ould
be l i t t l e
in ju s t i c e to Jonson to say t h a t i f i t
|
s u ite d h i s d ra m a tic
6)
,
occasions he w ould n o t boggle a t a c c e p tin g th e w ild e s t and most rom antic |
nonsense,w t ju s t th e s o r t o f t h in g he r e g u la r ly condemned, w ith t h is
j
i
pro viso , t h a t th e le a s t r e s tr a in e d n ig h tm a re s he adapted o r de vised
j
must have th e s a n c tio n o f L a t in a u th o rs , a n c ie n t o r m e d ia e v a l. Jonson1s
o b je ctio n s to th e q u a in t excesses o f h is f e llo w d ra m a tis ts c o u ld - as
here - va n ish b e fo re th e m agic o f solemn a u t h o r it ie s f o r a r r a n t nonsense
( I ) i . e .a s an a r t i s t and d r a m a tis t. I see no evidence t h a t he
b e lie v e d o r d is b e lie v e d i n w i t c h c r a f t , o r saw any need to q u e s tio n i t *
P o lic y w o u ld , i n any case, cause the s u p p re ssio n o f 'h e r e t ic k 1 doubts,
Chap. 5 .
The M ajora S id e ra .
51
I
Seneca.
There i s
little
doubt t h a t , i n +he m ain* Jonson accepted
the p r e v a ilin g 16th C entury^ v a lu a t io n o f Seneca b o th as a d r a n a t is t
and as a m o ra l p h ilo s o p h e r.
it
c o u ld h a r d ly have been o th e iw is e ,
f o r many causes m ust have combined to make Jonson re g a rd Seneca as
m a s u ita b le m odel i n drama. Snneca was * f o r e xa m p le ,’ th e ra g e 1 o f
the i n t e ll e c t u a ls d u rin g Jon son1s m ost im p re s s io n a b le y e a rs , perhaps
even th e s u b je c t o f h i s own s c h o o l’ s e x e r c it a t io n s i n drama; the
u n iv e r s it ie s - o b je c ts e v e r o f h i s v e n e ra tio n - acted and im ita te d
the ! Tenne T ra g e d ie s 1 i n L a t in ; th e m ost n o ta b le e a r ly E n g lis h
tra g e d ie s were o f ftwwwwr a SenecSan p a t te r n , such as^Gorboduc* and
‘ijo ca sta 'i s t i l l i n Ben! s p ro d u c tiv e y e a rs d o u b tle s s m a tte rs o f
debate, p ra is e and d is p r a is e , between younger and o ld e r g e n e ra tio n s
o f p r o fe s s io n a l p la y w r ig h ts and s c h o la r ly im it a t o r s o f the a n c ie n ts .
F in a lly , Seneca’ s L a t in was much more f a m il ia r even to Jonson th a n
the Greek o f g r e a te r d ra m a tis ts .
P ro b a b ly , however, Seneca had f o r Jonson an a t t r a c t io n
beyond even c o n v e n tio n , le a rn e d a s s o c ia tio n , c la s s ic s a n c tio n and
p r o fe s s io n a l and te c h n ic a l i n t e r e s t : I mean th e a t t r a c t io n o f ’’h ig h
sentence11. In th e case o f s e v e ra l p re v io u s a u th o rs th e re has appeared'
c le a r evidence o f Ben’ s m o ra l fe r v o u r , e t h ic a l in te r e s ts ^ a n d , i n
oonsequence, h is d id a c tic q u a l it y . S e n te n tio u s m o r a lis in g was e v e r
deRr to h i s h e a r t ; i t hannonised w i t h h is id e a ls o f the d i g n it y o f
h is a r t , and h i s sense o f th e p o e t’ s d u ty and c i v i c r e s p o n s ib ili t y
to p o in t tow ards th e b e s t and th e w o rs t i n human conduet.
I >4 see no evidence t h a t he tro u b le d h im s e lf w it h th e
modem f e e lin g o f Seneca* s f in s in c e r i$ t y w« A f t e r a l l ,
r h e t o r ic a l
ihapsody and p o n t i f i c a l a n n u n c ia tio n had been e s ta b lis h e d as a
t r a d it io n by th e e a r li e s t E n g lis h Senecean tra g e d ie s ,e n d i t was a
Q u a lity -that m ust have seemed m ost n a tu r a l to th e ** t r a n s i t i o n ”
u f seme 32 re fe re n c e tg fth% ^younger Seneca, I I concern h is tra e d d k
(2) He w as, how ever, w it h ■aSSSfflHBjfeaag d if f id e n c e , c r i t i c a l o f Seneca’ s
d iffu s e n e s s . (H.& S . I I , p . 4 4 0 .)
52
audiences, f a m i l i a r w ith th e m o ral d id a c tic is m o f th e c h u rc h 's
homespun drama and i t s s e c u la r e s o e n t d evelopm ents.
i
And much l a t e r
only th e ra n k e s t f u s t i a n would annoy o r amuse an E liz a b e th a n a u d ie n c e ,
and even th e n p e ih a p s o n i£ th e b e s t inform ed s e c tio n s o f t h a t au d ien ce.
E liz a b e th a n dram a, l a t e as w e ll as e a r l y , abounds in p ro o f t h a t
p opular t a s t e demanded h ig i- s o u n d in g r h e to r ic and s w e llin g te rm s,
the fit v e ry s t u f f o f Seneca. I f Jonson was saved *gc from t h is type o f
contem porary excess i t was la r g e ly th ro u g h h is p e d e s tria n q u a lit ie s
o f w i t t h a t oheck and y e t s u s ta in h i s r h e t o r ic . He was c e r t a in ly n o t
saved b y h is c r i t i c a l f a c u lt ie s o r by any sense o f s a t i r i c humour
th a t m ig it have le d him to m ook^or a t le a s t q u e s tio n ^ th e s a t is f y in g
roundness, resonancef and m o ra l u p l i f t o f Seneca's commonplaces.
A p a rt from h is o v e r t re fe re n c e s h e r e a f t e r co n sid e re d
and th e q u a l i t y o f h is t r a g ic speeches, i t m i^ a t be th o u g h t t h a t
the b e s t evidence o f h i s re g a rd f o r Seneca i s to be found i n h is
mem orial v e rs e s to Shakespeare. I n th e s e , o f c o u rs e , Seneca, "h im o f
Cordova d e ad ", i s
a p p a re n tly ranked i n l i t e r a r y m a je s ty w ith
A eschylus, E u r ip id e s , and S ophocles} suoh i s a n a t u r a l d e d u c tio n from
the J u x ta p o s itio n o f th e nam es.A gainst t h i s v ie w i t m ust be noted
th a t Ben i s h e re w r i t i n g f o r t is s im o and i n c o n v e n tio n a l gra veya rd
s t r a in , n o t a v fo it s h o r t o f id o l a t r y . He i s
s e e k in g a l l th e names o f
the m ig h ty dead t h a t m ig a t do honour to h i s s u b je o t, c u m u la tiv e
honour, from each a n c ie n t h is p e c u lia r c o n t r ib u t io n , r ir k a x t t n n * th e
flo w e r o f e a c h 's achievem ent tow ards th e g e n e ra l w re a th , b y a s o r t o f
r h e t o r ic a l p a ra n a n a s ia . I t i s n o t Jonson* s in t e n t io n h e r e in to make a
c r i t i c a l ra n k in g o f these a n c ie n t g ia n t s f i n t e r se, o r to compare
Seneoa^even b y im p lic a t io n ^ w it h any o r a l l o f them. That th e p ra is e i s
o f t h is sw eeping^not to say in d is c r im in a te ^ o rd e r appears i n the
a s s o c ia tio n o f Seneda w i t h P acuvius and A c c iu s , n o t mi g i t y ghosts
th e se * b u t th e g io s ts o f g io s t s , le g e n d a ry re p u ta tio n s o f w hich n e it h e r
Jonson nore any p o s t - c la s s ic a l s c h o la r had th e o p p o r tu n ity o f Ju d g in g
adequately f o r h im s e l/p T h e re fe re n c e , th e r e f o r e , m ust be c o n s id e re d
(I) Fragments and titles alone remain. Anjfaow, Ben t a c i t l y
accepts M a r t ia l's s t r ic t u r e on t h e i r s t y l i s t i c c r u d it ie s i n a
fa v o u r ite q u o ta tio n ^S e e Cunn.III,pp.399,425,1vamunt'\
53
as w e i # i t i l y c o r r o b o r a tiv e b u t n o t as a f i n a l p r o o f o f Jonson1s K rtira
esteem f o r Seneoa.
In one ob vious re s p e c t Jonson d id n o t fo llo w the
p r a c tic e
o f Seneca as d id h i s co n te m p o ra rie s. U n n a tu ra l and
h o r r i f i c crim e * massacre * macabre g h o s tlin e s s and g r is l/ f y
gruesomeness were rcm a n tio elem ents i n the w orks o f Seneca t h a t
appealed s tr o n g ly to an E liz a b e th a n audience ^ and c o n s e q u e n tly *
both p r i v a t e l y and p r o f e s s io n a lly to tho se who s o u g it t h e i r p la u d it s .
Ben d id n o t ^ y ie ld to t h a t . Even t t th e b o x - o ffic e power o f h o r r o r
in th e 1revenge1 c y c le d id n o t in du ce Jonson to make u n n a tu ra l
dom estic crim e th e r u l in g m o t i f o f a p o p u la r p la y . The masques
are th in g s a p a r t: th e re th e h o r r o r s are la r g e ly in c id e n t a l* n o t
<z
v e ry s e rio u s i n e f f e c t and in tro d u c e d f o r purposes a lr ^ d y f u l l y
d e a lt w it h .
He ohose n o t to w r it e p o p u la r
p la y s on grim themes. Why? I in c lin e t o p u t i t
excess as i n a r t i s t i c * a lh o rre d i t
t h i s way.He abhorred
on t h e o r e tic and c r i t i c a l grounds,
and on te m p o rcu ^i^ta l grounds. The m a in t h in g i s he a th o rre d i t .
tow w hat M C t t i i s th e m elod ran a o f th e revenge p la y s b u t bombast
o f a c tio n ^ s s The same e x a g g e ra tio n * c a r ic a tu r e o f tra g e d y * i n a r t i s t i c
excess. And i f
the se r e s u lt s do n o t in e v it a b ly fo llo w th e s e le c tio n
o f such v io le n t deeds as a theme* th e n i t i s th ro u g h **muoh c u n n in g 1*
on th e p a r t o f th e p la y w r ig h t* th ro u g h an alchem ic Im a g in a tio n t h a t
Shakespeare showed i n 1H a m le t1 and Jonson r i g i t l y sensed he c o u ld n o t
t r u s t h im s e lf to show.
There i s * tr u e enough* a good d e a l o f in c id e n t a l h o r r o r
in *S e ja n u s ,fand n C a t i l i n e * .
to te f i r s t * however* t h a t th e h o r r o r i n
c o rre c t Senecean te c h n iq u e , i s n a rra te d ; n o te , se co n d ly* t h a t i t i s
a l l amply w a rra n te d by h i s t o r y , andf in d e e d f c o u ld h a r d ly be o m itte d .
F u rth e r* th e u n n a tu ra ln e s s o f th e crim e s o f b o th p la y s h a 5 * th e
d ig n it y o f a f f e c t in g th e v e iy l i f e
and h o n o u r o f th e s ta te . They
are n o t p r iv a t e ordmes. Ih e d i s t i n c t i o n m ig it be o le a ie r i f we
knagine how Jonson m ig h t have tr e a te d th e Hamlet theme. The stakes
54
a t is s u e w o uld n o t have been th e s o u l and s e l f - s a t is f a c t io n o f
Hamlet* p rin o e o r g io s t * th e s a n it y o f O p h e lia * th e p u r it y o f
G ertrud e. The stake w ould have been th e commonweal* the s tiu g g ie
a s tr a ig h tfo r w a r d s tru g g le f o r p o l i t i c a l s u p r& m a c /^ th e issu e
c le a r - c u t between C la u d iu s * th e u s u rp e r* and Ham let* the
dispossessed. And^as an example o f d e t a il * the s o ttis h n e s s o f
C lau diu s m ig h t have became a hum our t h a t exposed th e s ta te to
fo r e ig n in v a s io n , and P o lo n iu s m ig h t have re c a p tu re d h i s y o u th fu l
s k i l l i n m a o h in a tio n and r i v a l l e d Mosc a. Thougi -what o f a l l th a t?
I f H am let1s r e a l humour had been in t r o s p e c t io n ,i t w ould have
le d <*c o n s is t e n t ly * to in a c t io n ; and a l l t$he c h a ra c te rs i n Ben’ s
v e rs io n w o u ld have d ie d i n t h e i r beds a c c o rd in g to th e lease o f
na tu re — u n le s s * o f course* C la u d iu s had a humour f o r p o is o n in g .
ne ry w is e ly J o n s o r^ ie ft t h i s s o r t o f t h in g a lo n e .
O f s p e o ific re fe re n c e s to Seneca (th e younger) th e
m a jo r it y (18) are to be found i n Jonson* s own fo o tn o te s to ” Se Janus’**
and* th e r e fo r e f a l l to be tr e a te d among h i s h i s t o r i c a l sources*
as do f iv e o th e rs .
S u re ly the se re fe re n c e s to Seneca c o l l e c t i v e l y t t t w i t n t i
suggest an u n u su a l tre a tm e n t o f Sfuaeca b y Ben and b y an E liz a b e th a n *
f o r th e p r o p o r tio n s o f these d e b ts in d ic a t e a r e la t iv e n e g le c t o f
Seneca’ s ih e t o r i o a l aphorism s and m o ra l p re c e p ts * and an e q u a lly
s u r p r is in g p re o c c u p a tio n w it h Seneca1s in c id e n t a l c o n t r ib u t io n s
to h i s t o r y and m y th o lo g y . We have a lre a d y had fre q u e n t o cca sio n to
p o in t o u t t h a t h i s t o r y and m y th o lo g y were two o f Jon son1s m a in
o b je c ts o f s tu d y . And we have a ls o x observed t h a t he i s
r e la tiv e ly
d i f f i d e n t about a d o p tin g m o ra l and epigram m atic d ic t a . But i n f CatJhe
and*SeJanus’ Jon son’ s d e b ts are le s s ta n g ib le b u t f a r more v i t a l
than th e a d o p tio n o f p h ra s e ,o r s e n tim e n t,o r even te c h n iq u e .
W ith o u t i n any way ru n n in g c o u n te r to recorded h i s t o i y * m aking
in d e e d ;as w i l l a p p e a r,th e f u l l e s t use o f h i s t o r i c a l sou rces* Jonson
has y e t succeeded i n g iv in g to th e personages o f h is two Roman
_
Plays an atmosphere and b e a rin g m a rk e d ly Senecean* o b lig a tio n s Ato *dk
w hich we m ust i n a moment r e t u r n .
(I) Speeohes to the people by Hsmlet and Claudius.
55
To take first bis more overt debts to Seneca* the most
>
interesting is the Induction to "Catiline** in whioh the Ghost of
S y n a rises in the manner of Tantalus in the "Thyestes* (and like
Envy in the "Poetaster")* to authorise* mess* and specify the
crimes that Catiline* up-stage, is contemplating* Knowing
Catiline's past* both naturally and supematuraiiy* Syila is
well placed to serve as prolegomena. In the body of Syila1s speed*
Jonson has incorporated two direct borrowings from the speech of
Tantalus * so that the question of a still further removed Greek
prototype for this stage device does not arise. The general drift!
of the borrowed passages is "horror upon horror".
Professors Herford and Simpson condemn this teohnicai
device of Jonson as an *anachronism" having neither "meaning"
nor "tiuth" in England, where Ihe beiief in "transmitted fate"
>
did not hold. Then* rightly enough* they commend to Jonson 1s
j
disadvantage* the simpler ana more natural use of the supematumi
in "Macbeth" and "Hsnuet". Their final explanation of Shakespearete
superiority in this seems to o© that the audience wouid be none
the wdrse if they failed to perceive anything supernatural in the
action of "Macbeth" and "Hamlet"* since there supernatural
agency's "mode of operation is..the simple soliciting of one
.
person in the drama by another".
There is certainly nothing simple or natural about Syna* s
i;
ghost: it canes direct frar hell* and says so. Indeed* the whole j
<:
i'
effect of its introduction lies in that fact. Jonson is sureiy
not to be condemned because the apparition is what he intends it j
to be* nameiy* as unnatural or supernatural as possible. The
J
reai sting of the criticism is in the words "truth‘**and "meaningj|
and "transmitted fate". Sureiy a n this is 3ust too sweeping.
We know that the Elizabethans set few oounds to what the powers
j
of evil couid aocanpiish - admittedly according to nice rules
;
and precedents. To a peopie whAse superstitions were of a
j
particularly material kind sureiy the appearance of a demoniac
ghost to foreteii and acerbate the vinainy of a Catii
(l)The theme had been presented to them in earxier piays
;!
i
i n f a c t a g re a t d e a i o f " t r u t h " and "m eaning*. They who
un d e rsto o d "Macbeth" u n d e rsto o d " O a t iiin e 51: i f th e w e ird s is t e r s
co u id d is a p p e a r i n t o t h in a i r , S y n a i s e n t i t l e d to d is a p p e a r
in t o s o lid e a r th , and to he th ro u g h o u t th e " e v i i s p i r i t " o f h is
son i n th e u n h o iy g h o s t, O a t iiin e .
S t i n , o r i t i o s do n o t li k e t h i s s o r t o f bo rrow ing o r — s h a ll
we say? -
lif e r f a r y r e s u r r e c tio n ia n ; l i k e no p ro lo g u e s , i n f a c t ,
and s u p e rn a tu ra l ones le a s t o f a l l . So Jonson and h is m a s te r,
i
Seneca, stand condemned. T hat i s , f o r to -d a y . And f o r to -d a y
I,
o n ly t h i s i s an ouxmodad c o n v e n tio n . C o n ve n ie n t, a t b e s t, we
g r a n t, as a means o f r e v e a lin g th e p a s t, to g e th e r w ith some
I
in s p ir e d and t i t i l l a t i n g in fo r m a tio n ao ou t the f u t u r e , b u t
j
a lto g e th e r n a iv e , l i k e
L ik e I t * -
th e o p e n in g o f “R ic h a rd I I I *
o r “As You
f o r t h r i g h t , lite r a r y - b a r n s t o r m in g s t u f f . D id n 't
Shakespeare abandon i t
i s la r g e iy why i t
f o r more s u b tie methods? He d id ; and th a t
i
j
!
i s s t i l l o u t o f fa s h io n . B ut even Shakespeare
cannot in d a f i n i t e x y p re v e n t the r e f lu x o f fa s h io n i n such a
m a tte r . The cinem a, f o r in s ta n c e , has f r e e iy re in tro d u c e d t h is
Senecean d e v io e . And i n i t s
p re v io u s e ra o f fa v o u r i t was c le a r l y ;
as aooeptabie as th e s o iiio q u y . An#iow , Ben's address to the
j
“Reader i n O rd in a ry * does n o t in c lu d e d t h is smong The passages
th a t aroused p o p u la r annoyanoe. I suggest t h a t th e y p ro b a b ly
|:
accepted t h i s de vio e f o r a reason he w ouid d e s p is e , nam ely, th e
t r a d i t i o n o f s im i la r tr a p —d o o r appearances i n e a r l i e r p la y s t h a t
were h a r d ly “ le g itim a t e poem s*. Ferhajas th e m a tte r may be
summed up th u s : th e U ltim a te v e r d io t on th e stage scene depends f
and depended, on th e combined s k i n o f p ro d u o o r, a c t o r , stage—
j
manager, e ffe o ts -m a n , and —p ro b a b ly — m u s ic ia n concerned. On the
o th e r h a n d , i f ,
l i k e Ben, we are p re p a re d to have th e p la y
Judged as a c lo s e t drsma, th e re i s no o b je c tio n a t a l l to the
device as such, i f the re a d e r makes a s m a ll e f f o r t o f im a g in a t iS i>j
i
and knows a l i t t l e
Ranan h is t o r y .
To make t h i s poem th o ro u g h ly le g itim a te Jonson to o k
( I ) H.& S . I . p . I B o
j
57.
|
aiso fras Soneoa r.ha idea of una oborusaa at tha end of AotsX,ll,
'
ill,XV, as w e i x as ulie Dramatio Unlnies of Fxaoe, lima, and Action,
not without straining the historical faots. A n needless troubles,
as he put aside ail learned prejudioe to avow in tho introduction
to "SeJanus".
In these choruses, of oourssj Jonson was tacitly appealing to
ancient as against immediate Elizabethan practioe. He aligns
himseif with Seneoa and the earier ciassioisers, as against the
uninformed or indifferent romanticists who used Hohorus" for kauthoi
and, with his superhuman insight and foresight , elucidated mysteries
or overbore difficulties in the presentation of tne story. A faith
that moved mountains , the audience's faith , the playwright's
j
mountains! Ben declined to employ such supernatural means to rid
his drama of geographical and ohronoiogioai difficulties, hampeiir^ \
]
hnmseif by this principled refusal. So his choruses rev8 ai, not the ]
mind of Jonson, but the mind of the Reman public. In them we view
the political crisis through the eyes of a respectable, prosaic,
religious, prejudiced, and oonfessediy short-sigited member of the
Reman bourgeoisie , smacking admittedly of Jonson, being of a
moralising turn and conversant with the Reman satirists. Stin, ±1
j
his piaoe and function, he accords with oxassio precept and preoedort;
This conformity is maintained by the form of the choruses:they are
odes, aimost certainiy meant to be sung. Their stanzaio and
ii
metrical structures varyj to the eye they profess thanseives songs. ;
One must, however, regret the discrepancy between the normal line,
5;
3
tetrameter, and the normal matter, satire. Shakespeare achieved
j
Jonson1 s aim, the sustentation of the “good cause", without the
|
oxassio chorus, admittedly. His chorus is the nationalistic voice
J
of England, and lyrically inspiring to boot. Jonson in his is
j!
j
merely faithful to faots: in “Catiline* the heart of Rone does not
beat.Then, did Jonson's work suffer beoause he chose the strict
j
oxassio chorus instead of the English adaptation? Nbt for certain. |
-JBaa fauit of pedestrianign^woodenness, iaoka of harmonv_between — '1
Tijvide Ohorus to IV, contrite lament for liokieness. of. "J.Caesars
(2) H.& S.II.p.115,footnote.
(3) The grex of his *E.M.Out..,’is , however, notably unolassioal.
5c* •
matter and manner may have been Degotten within Jonson hims9 if.
Unless we could show that he had a natural tendency to write lyilos
of warm imaginative quality, we cannot accuse Seneca and the classics
in this instance of damping his natural fire. Had Shakespeare chosen
to limit his geography and even topography in accordance with Seneca,
the content of his drama wouid have been greatxy changed, but within
the chosen nutsnen he would still have been Shakespeare and the « » »
lord of infinite space. Jonson'8 method in his choruses was not
bad, nor an anachronism, nor a fatal handicap, simply because
Shakespeare chose a different form and wrote better piays.The fault
was in Jonson* s own make-up, not in Seneca} his classical learning
was not an original source of weakness. At most its employment was
(I)
.injudicious as a matter or stagecraft, and unfortunate aesthetically
in that it tended to emphasise the formalism of his mind, a mind
naturany prone to abstractions, generalities, and principles,
and lacking - the more by comparison with his great contemporary in the flesh and blood of imagination, and that inner spiritual
wamth which the most exquisitely observed literary forms may
suggest but cannot repxaoe. In short, the choruses of “Catiline"
are inferior, not because they are oiassic choruses, but beoause A
they are intrinsically indifferent poetry. Jonson was not wrong
in seeking to re-create the oiassio form of chorus: he was in this
performing - badly - his normal, self-imposed task of enlightening
his fellows or^anoient literary method, which, after earnest thoi|j3ht
he considered to be, not essential but, worthwhile. In his favour
to it said that some form of chorus is a literary necessity. Authors
as unlike as the great Q-reeks, Hardy, Shakespeare, and Mr.T.S.Eliot
have employed it in varying forms, the last named very successfully
to contemporary thinking and scmewhat in the shape that Ben sought
to reproduce fr<ir Seneoa and his predecessors. Jonson* 8 essay may
therefore, be described as a valuable and potentially fruitful
failure.
(i) Even this may be an overstatement. The revival of scholarship
under James must have greatly widened the circle appreciative of
euoh olassioising*
decreased the number who were prepared to
oonfass ignorance and boredom.
59
As we have s a id , how ever, th e g re a te s t, in flu e n c e o f
Seneoa on t h i s tra g e d y and on ! SeJanus’ i s th e le a s t ta n g ib le ,
because i t i s o f th e s p i r i t and because i t i s no more th a n one
among many c o n t r ib u t o r y , c o a le s c in g and; th e re fo re , c o n fu s in g
elements o f p e rs o n a l c h a r a c te r, e d u c a tio n , and le a r n in g . One m ig it
in d io a to th e p a r t p la y e d by Seneca’ s in flu e n c e i n the s9 tra g e d ie s
by d e lib e r a t e ly and il T o g i o a l l y s e g re g a tin g i t ,
and so; f o r
convenience ^e x a g g e ra tin g i t b y s u p p re s s in g th e o th e r c o n tr ib u to r y
elem ents. Thus: A Raman Tragedy appears to have m e a n t,fo r Jonson,
the s o r t o f tra g e d y t h a t Seneca c o u ld have w r i t t e n around
C a tilin e and SeJanus, p r o v id in g t h a t Seneca had adhered s c ru p u lo u s ly
to the evidence o f th e Roman h is t o r ia n s and p e n n itte d h im s e lf to
in tro d u c e a l l th e p e r t in e n t personages and c o m p le x itie s o f e ve n t
a u th o ris e d by th e h is t o r ia n s . f l O r a v ita s 0 i s
th e k e y n o te . The
stage a c tio n i s n e g lig ib le . The speeches are lo n g and u n d ra m a tic ,
and broken o c c a s io n a lly by p a tch e s o f a lm o st m o n o s y lla b ic d ia lo g u e ,
both fe a tu re s o f Seneca’ s w o rk . The c h a ra c te rs are made m outhpieces
o f good o r bad s e n tim e n ts . A l l are oo nscious m o ra l o r im m oral
p h ilo s o p h e rs : th e y are a m ix tu re o f humour typ e and e p ic ty p e : w i t h
a Senecean la c k o f rea lism ^n o n e i s
re p re s e n te d as gsk s u f f e r in g
from s e lf- d e c e p tio n i n v ir t u e o r i n v ic e . T h e re fo re , th e y do n o t
came to l i f e ^though T a c itu s , C ic e ro , and S a llu s t vouch f o r e v e ry
word th e y say and e v e ry t h in g th e y do. I n so f a r as Seneca c o n trib u te d
to t h is e f f e c t , h i s in flu e n c e was h a im fu l to Jonson ^both im m e d ia te ly
and i n the lo n g ru n .
A greed, n o t a l l t h i s s t if f n e s s o f d i c t i o n and un d ra m a tio
r h e to r ic on men and manners i s a s c rib a b le to Seneca. From Seneca’ s
apparent in flu e n c e we m ust d e d u ct Jonson* s own p re o c c u p a tio n w ith
s o c ia l and p o l i t i o a l e t h ic s , h is c o n c e p tio n o f th e d r a m a t is t - f c it im ig
^ s t o r i a n ’ s d id a c t ic d u ty , h is c o n c e p tio n o f Roman d i g n i t y , ga rne red
tr m fr f i e l d f a r w id e r th a n Seneoa, a n d , f i n a l l y , h is avowed, i f
P erverse, te n d e n cy to re g a rd th e body o f th e p la y as a s e t t in g f o r th e
le n g th y t r a n s la t io n s t h a t he p a s s io n a te iy ^ h e id to be i t s
suprem est
b e a tu tie s , h a s t b e a u tie s o f suoh a n a tu re t h a t t h e i r s e t t in g o r
( I ) J u s t how p a s s io n a te ly he h e ld by th e Im p o rta n ce o f f a i t h f u l
tr a n s la tio n may be seen n o t o n ly i n h i s own numerous a s s e v e ra tio n s
i n h i s h id e o u s ly im p o lit e and im p o l i t i c s n o r t a t th e q u a l i t y
° f C a rd in a l D u p e rro n ’ s worfc ^ +vhis
S .I.p p .6 b -9 .)
60
f o i l re q u ire d to be o f th e g ra v e s t d i g n it y and m ost fo rm a l
s e v e rity . Y e t* even m aking th e f a l l o f such a llo w a n c e s , i t
is but
reasonable to conclude t h a t iridBHdKl*at»like th e g io s t o f S y iia i
( i)
there o fte n rose i n Jon son1s s tu d y th e g h o st o f Seneoa.
Examples o f h is l i t e r a r y b o rro w in g s from Seneca are as fo llo w s :
G u n n .I.p . 10 3,288( i n Se^anus b u t u r ih is t o r ic a l) ,3 2 5 (p e d e s tria n t r a n s l.
o f a c y n ic a l bon m ot) ,3 6 2 (a n o th e r and worse t r a n s la t io n , on a stage
q u ite u n i n t e l l i g i b l y L a t in a t e ) ; V o l . I I , p p . 2 2 ( o f s u b tle e r o t ic is m ) ,
1 0 l( o b s o u r ity r e s u lt s from Ben*s a tte m p t a t c o n d e n s a tio n ) ,3 8 4 (a
o o n o e it on Maeoenas)* Vo 1 . 1 1 1 ,p p . 52 (u n im p o rt a n t) , and 52 ( m y th o lo g ic a l)
5 3 (a n tiq u e o e re m o n ia l) ,5 4 ( d i t t o ) , and 54(do . w i t c h c r a f t ) , 271 (m o ra l
a p ho rism ).
Jon son1s t o t a l b o rro w in g s from Seneca may be d iv id e d i n
the f o llo w in g i l l u s t r a t i v e m anner: Three tim e s as many d e a l w it h
m ythology ana w it c h c r a f t as w i t h m o ra l and e t h ic a l aphorism s: and
the h i s t o r i c a l re fe re n c e s are th re e tim e s more numerous s t i l l th a n
those on m y th o lo g y . R e la t iv e ly , t h e r e f o r e , he makes v e r y s p a rin g
use o f Seneca*s m axim s, b r i l l i a n t o r , cammonplaoe»vhioh were^so
much to th e ta s te o f h i s c o n te m p o ra rie s ana e a r l i e r o la s s io is e r s .
61.
M a r t ia l.
I n t h e i r monumental e d it io n o f Jonson* s w orks P ro fe s s o rs
H e rfo rd and Simpson examine i n g re a t d e t a i l th e evidence o f
Jonson* s re g a rd f o r the w ork o f M a r t ia l and ampiy i l l u s t r a t e
debts o f s t y ie and fo n n i n th e m ed ie y o f poems t h a t he e n t it le d
"Epigrams* • O f a l l Jonson* s i a t i n a u t h o r it ie s M a r tia l* s i s th e
most e a s ily d e te c te d in flu e n o e .F o r , u n q u e s tio n a b ly , the aim o f
eve if the w o rld * s w o rs t l i t e r a r y m im io w ould be o ie a r i f h is b u t t
o r in s p ir a t io n were M a r t ia l. I n e q u a l measure he p ro v o k 9 S, b e tra y s ,
and b a f f le s im i t a t i o n o r r i v a i r y . I n t h i s o a se, t h e r e f o r e , we
may d e a i l i g h t l y w it h s u p e re ro g a to ry evidence o f Jonson* s
knowledge and lo v e o f M a rta d l* s w o rk , and c o n c e n tra te on th e
u ltim a te q u e s tio n s : To w h a t e x te n t was Jonson s u c c e s s fu l i n h is
obvious a tte m p ts to im it a t e M a r t ia l, and w ith w h at g e n e ra l r e s u lt s
on h is d i r e c t l y im i t a t i v e w o rk and on h is i n d i r e c t l y in flu e n c e d
w ork. P ro fe s s o rs H e rfo rd and Simpson supper th e answer to the
to th e f i r s t and m ost o f th e evidenoe f o r th e second a is o .S in c e
I cannot b e t t e r t h e i r g e n e ra l c o n c lu s io n s , 8av9 i n one
q u e s tio n a b le p o i n t ^ o r do K ore th a n e la b o ra te t h e i r evidence o f
Ben*s rea g a rd and f a m i l i a r i t y , i t w i l l be w e ll to s t a r t w i t h a
b r i e f , though f a i r , t a b u la t io n o f t h e i r vie w s on the r e la t io n s h ip
between th e Ran an and th e E n g lis h M a r t ia l. Thus:
(a) Jon8on*s te c h n iq u e i n th e o s te n s ib le epigram fo llo w s
M a r tia l* s i n th e se re s p e c ts :
(1 ) B oth em ploy two re c o g n is a b le typ e s o f e p ig ra m , th e
in d ic a t iv e , o r q u a s i-d e s c r ip t i v e , and th e s y l l o g i s t i c o r
(2 )
dedu otive -oo no lu s io n ty p e .
( 2 )S u rp ris e i s
r e g u ia n y a c h ie v e d , o r essayed, by both.
(3 )B o th eschew - Ben e x p re s s ly - mere n a r r a t i o n ( o t i o s i t y f .
(1) I t h in k Jonson was f u r t h e r from b e in g the E n g lis h M a r t ia l
than th e y seem to ±npiy.H & S . I I . p . 3 4 9 ,are a d m itte d ly vague.
(2) H.& S . I I . p p . 351,352.
(3)
do.
do.
(4)
d o . p . 351, and I . p . I 3 3 ("C o n v e rs a tio n s ")
1
62,
(b) S t y l i s t i c a l l y th e y may be r e a d ily d is c rim in a te d i n t h a t W
Jonson n o rm a lly la c k s M a r t ia l's fin e s s e , t h r u s t , and p o in t . T h is
d e fic ie n c y he seeks to compensate by e n e rg y , f o r c e , and - som etim esv io le n o e ,1^ ! em p ha sisin g la c k o f v i t a x r e s t r a i n t .
(0) M a r tia l c la im e d t h a t s a l a c i t y was an e s s e n tia l eiem ent o f th e
epigran. Jonson p ro fe s s e d to a v o id s a la c it y , i n th e case o f n e it h e r
author d id p r a c tic e w h o n y oonform to th e o ry .
(d) Both f la t t e r e d ro y a x ty w i t h n a u s e a tin g exce ss, Jonson perhaps
I m it a t iv e ly . ( T h e ir f u r t h e r rem ark, t h a t i n Jonson1s case i t was
(3 )
unneoes8ary, i s o b v io u s x y o n iy tr u e i n a r e la t iv e se n se .)
(e) Ben i s a t h is w o rs t i n th e s h o r te r ep ig ram s, where M a r t ia l
c h a r a c t e r is tic a ix y e x c e id .
( f ) In h is epigram s Jonson18 s a t i r i c m a tte r i s e n t i r e l y h i s own,
bom o r provoked o f London, n o t borrowed o f i f e r t i a i . H is c y n ic a l
p ic tu re s o f depraved h u m a n ity owe e v e ry th in g to p e rs o n a l o b s e rv a tio n ,
(5 )
n o th in g t o M a r t ia l.
(g) In w id e n in g th e scope ( i . e .
range o f s u b je c t, fo rm , and mood)
o f E n g lis h e p ig ra m , Jonson was a p p e a lin g to the p r a c tic e o f M a r t ia l,
as a g a in s t t h a t o f , sa y, S i r John D a v ie s . Thus, Jenson* s d e f i n i t i o n
adm itted to the c a te g o ry , odes, e p is tx e s , and e p ita p h s .
(h) M a r t ia l's b i t t e r b r e v it ie s o f p o r t r a it u r e may have s iig ja b iy
in flu e n c e d th e s a t i r i c and in fo r m a tiv e d e f in i t i o n s o f c h a ra c te r
th a t p re fa c e uE v e ry Man Out o f H is Humour* and illu m in a t e *0 y n th ia &
(7 )
R eveis".
(1) There i s consonance i n t h e i r coa rsen ess. J fe tu ra n y ^ fe r tia x had
a lre a d y o o io u re d , i n t h i s re g a rd , th e w o rk o f B e n 's E n g lis h
predecessors.
(8 )
I n th e o r y as w e n as p r a c t ic e Jonson he id
(1) H.& S . I I . p . 353,354.
(2)
do . p . 350.
3)
d o .361.
14)
d o .355.
(5)
do. do.
(®)
d o .p p .3 4 6 ,3 4 0 ,3 4 7 .
#
(7) in so f a r as the se in flu e n c e d l a t e r " c h a ra c te r* w r i t i n g , th e y
sewed to in tro d u c e in t o E n g lis h l i t e r a t u r e M a r t ia l and, m ore,
Theophrastus.
(6) H.& S . I I . p . 3 4 2 .
63.
th a t ^ a l t 1 and v i r i l e
grossness were a b s o lu te e s s e n tia ls i n th e
work o f M a r t ia l, e .g . he f i l l e d up th e b la n k s o f bo w dlerism i n
one e d it io n o f M a r t ia l P d e s c r ib in g i t
a p t ly , by im p lic a t io n , as
•‘c a s tra tu s e v ir a t u s w and, more s i g n i f i c a n t l y , as 11sin e M a r t ia li
M a r t ia lis * , I n c o n t r a d is t in c t io n , t h a t is ^ t o F am ab y1s e d it io n o f
1615 w h io h scoured h i s a p p r e c ia tio n and advocacy by i t s v i r i l e
(3 )
com pleteness.
(10) L ik e th e a n c ie n t s a t i r i s t s
(and h i s contem porary,
Jacques) Jonson a s s e rte d t h a t he la s h e d v ic e s n o t the v ic io u s ,
(an a s s e rtio n t h a t he had to make w it h s u s p ic io u s fre q u e n c y ). The
a c tu a l w o rd in g o f h i s a p o lo g ia , how ever, g e n e r a lly echoes M a r t ia l's
Address to h is Book. I t w ould seem, th e n , t h a t i n s t r i k i n g t h i s
th e
a t titu d e Jonson f e l t t h a t M a r t ia l was h&x n e a re s t and d e a re s t
(4)
o f h is l i t e r a r y k in .
(11) Jo n so n f s re g a rd f o r M a r t ia l p ro b a b ly makes f o r h i s
(5 )
in s is te n c e on th e r e la t iv e v a lu e o f h i s own w o rk * i n ep ig ram .
(M a n ife s tly h is re g a rd f o r Bacon i s
/tm M
i n lin e w it h t h i s . But w h io h
^ in f lu e n c e d w hioh?)
(12) I n 1E ve ry Man Out e t c 1 and h is humour ty p e s i n
Ajl
gene ral^/adap te d to th e stage the s a t i r i c c h a ra c te r-d ra w in g o f
(6 )
Theophrastus and M a r t i a l . ( E i t h e r th e t o t a l d e b t n o r r e la t iv e w tatw
shares are in d ic a te d . One may re a s o n a b ly suggest t h a t h is sources
helped to suggest th e q u a l i t y o f h i s s u b je c t m a tte r and h is
a n a l y t i c - s a t ir ic v ie w p o in t, v i t a l y e t e lu s iv e c o n t r ib u t io n s to th e
Jonsonian dram a.)
j l ) H.& S . I . p . 2 5 3 -4 .
(2) H.ft S . I . p . 216. (Jon son1s L a t in l e t t e r i n F a m a b y1s ed. o f M a rt.)
w
do.
do.
( 4 ) e .g . in a p r iv a t e l e t t e r - See H.& S . I . ^ .1 9 5 ; i n th e In tro d # to
tT7© lp o n e ', Ounn.1.3345 i n In d u c t, t o 'E .M .to iO u t1 ,0 u n n .I.6 ? , e tc .
(5) He c a lle d them 't h e r ip e s t o f my s tu d ie s 1 - H.& S . I I . p . 343.
v6) H.& S . I . p . 2 3 .
64.
These the n a re the m ain p o in ts o f resemblance and c o n tr a s t
between Jonson and M a rtia x .
i\bw, th e e x te n t and range o f such
conclusions as these requires to be corroborated by extraneous
evidence (to rule out coincidence), by proofs of Jonson^
f a m i l i a r i t y w it h M a r t ia n s w orks and Jonson1 s re g a n i f o r M a r t ia l.
Suoh evidence i s w idespread and am piy c o n firm s th e d e d u c tio n s
i n q u e s tio n . We may ta b u la te th e p ro o fs o f Jon son1s f a m il ia r x s
regard f o r h is m odei i n t h i s way:
(1 ) I n h is c r e a tiv e w o rk Jonson makes 3 5 in d u b ita b le
(I)
references to Martial.
(2 ) Fran Drummond^ report of the Conversations we gather
(a) that Martial was the Latin poet most frequently on his lips
(2)
a t Hawthom den.
(b) He regarded M a rtia n as a p o e t to be read * f o r d e l i g h t ^ h e
s e ie o te d sane o f h i s s a t ir e s as t u t o r i a l m a t e r ia l f o r r id F ie i& ^
(5 )
and oommended M a r t ia l to Drummond f o r h is m ost s e rio u s s tu d y .
(6)
( 0 ) Twice he m e n tio n e d , and, in d e e d ,“ in s is t e d i n # th e “ v ita m quasi
(d ) The *v©rpa Poata* ( tt^7in Verpum“ , Drummond) “he v a n te s to
(7 )
expone", recorded the Soot.
(d)
(e) H is contem pt f o r a c r o s tic s he ve n te d i n M ^ r t i a i 's texm s.
( I ) C u n n .V o i.I.p p .- 191, 2 0 6 , 221, 265, 26 6, 267* 270 and 2
(th e same), 29 d, 346.
Ounn. V o i. I I . p p . - 5 6 0 * 5 6 2 ( 2 ), 563, 555.
Ounn. V o i . I I I . p p . - 4 7 , I I I , 230, 2 3 3 , 246, 2 5 4 , M otto to
Underwoods, 366(th e two t r a n s la t io n s ) , 395 , 397, 399, 4 1 9 ,
425, the e x p o s t u la t io n . . . T o t a l 33.
To i l l u s t r a t e J o n s o n ^ r e la t iv e , em pioynent o f M a r t ia l,
the re fe re n c e s above may be grouped th u s :
(a) One T h ird o c c u r i n masques and m in o r p ie c e s .
(b) One Q u a rte r o c c u r i n epigram s*
( 0 ) O n ly 3 occur* i n h is t o r ie s ( “ S e ja n u s")
(d) O m y 3 o c o u r i n a x i th e o t h e r m a jo r p ia y s .
C onclusions? F o r Jonson M a r t ia i was:
’a) a p o e t o f th e s tu d y and p r iv a t e
frO
kb) an a n o ie n t a u x i l i a r y o r p r o to ty p e , a k in d re d s p i r i t —see vc;
>o) i n h is k in d , an Im p o rta n t k in d , w o rth y o f I m it a t io n — see
, x
(b ) above.
^
.
*
(d) li k e e v e ry Ran a n , a source o f m y th o io g ic lo r e — see vay.
(2)
(3)
(5)
See beiow n o te s (3 ) t o ( 3 )
H.& S . I . p . 136.
U ) d o .p p .2 6 * 137.
do . p . 132. Note t h a t t h i s l i s t o f Jo n so n 1s m ost adm ired
d i v is io n in t o M a jo ra S id e ra e tc *
more l i k e i y to Drummond.
( 3 ) d o .p . 144.
j
65.
(f)
When ho re c e iv e d th e le n te n f a r e o f a “p a r a s i t e * a t S a lis b u r y 1s
nobie t a b l e , he ex p re sse d th e re se n tm e n t o f a freem an i n an eoho
of lfo rtia??(T h e s o c i a l S lig h ts to h i s p r id e w ere a p p a re n tly
numerous, th e i n j u r i e s k e e n ly f e i t , t h i s e x p lo s io n c h a r a c t e r i s t i c .
Did the r e o o iie o t io n o f s im i la r a n c ie n t s i i g i t s
and r e t o r t s g iv e
a s o r t o f im m o r ta lit y to h i s wrongs? D id he speak as a r d f o r h is
dead p e e rs ? )
(3 ) He possessed more th a n one oopy o f M a r t ia l and
one o f h is la t e s t and s t i l l e x ta n t c o p ie s i s h e a v ily a n n o ta te d i n
h is own hand, among these o b s e rv a tio n s b e in g two p a r t i a l and
pugnacious o lo u ts a t M a r t ia l's d e tr a c to r ^ P ^ * ^
(4 ) As P ro fe s s o rs H e re fo rd and Simpson o b s e rv e , th e re
were s i m i l a r i t i e s i n the s it u a t io n s and fo rtu n e s o f th e tw cgftfoets,
h e re tic s among t h e i r oontem porary e p ig ra m m a tis ts !^ s i m i l a r i t i e s
th a t were bound to be f e i t by an e g o is t , s c h o la r,a n d p e r s is t e n t
* a n a lo g is tw li k e J o n s o n .)
I n v ie w o f suoh ample and co g e n t evidence as t h i s
o f Jonson1s « iirtia i PHt f a m i l i a r re g a rd f o r M a r t ia l, th e p ro fe s s o rs
are d e a r l y j u s t i f i e d i n re g a rd in g th e many resem blances, p a r a lle ls ^
and eohoes o f M a r t ia l i n Jonson as c a u s a l, n o t ±xl c o in c id e n t a l,
asfo im a tiv e
and i n f l u e n t i a l , n o t m e re ly c u rio u s and a d v e n titio u s .
B e fo re a ss e s s in g th e g e n e ra l p la c e o f M a r t ia l i n o u r
e n q u iry we may p o in t o u t th e m ost in t e r e s t in g in d iv id u a l
borrow ings from M a r t ia l.
I t a p p e a rs, f o r exam ple, t h a t ^ o lp o n e 's b iz a r r e
menage owes one amusing and u n e d if y in g c ircu m sta n ce to M a r t ia l's
p io tu re o f Q u ir in a lis . Though he a d e q u a te ly re p re s e n ts th e f a c t
o f the m a tte r , J o n s o n 's t r a n s la t io n b lu n ts th e p o in t o f th e p la y
on " p a t e r f a m ilia s " . D id he assume t h a t i t s
III H,&do.p.
^«I.p.I66,and
253.
'■?>.
14)
141.
H.& S.II.p*a*343.
Ounn. I . p . 348.
f u l l s ig n ific a n c e w ould
66.
be o ie a r to tho se whose cen sure s m a tte re d ?
I w ouid s u g g e s t, to o , t h a t M a r t ia i* s p ic t u r e o f T o n g ijiu s
fe ig n in g s ic k n e s s t h a t h is f r ie n d s may b r in g him d a i n t i e s ^ )
hexps Juvenax and P e rs in s to eke o u t the d e ta ix s o f Voxpone’ s
ocmpiex m asquerade. And These w o d e b ts are s u b s t a n t ia lly a l l t h a t
Jon son 's p o p u la r p la y s owe to h is in d u o ita o ie knowledge and xove
o f M a rtia x .
Among h is s h o r te r and more f u g i t i v e p ie c e s th e t a ie i s
d if f e r e n t . Thus, th e d a in t y and a p p o s ite c o n c e it on S a x a th ie x
(2 )
Pavy*
owes i t s o e in g euid fo u n to M a r t ia i, as do es, o f c o u rs e ,
the p a th e tic and s ig n i f i c a n t m o tto to “ Underwoods8.
S ig n if ic a n t p r o o f t h a t v j onson was a t heme i n M a rtia x * s w o rk
appears i n th e f a c t t h a t h is t r a n s la t io n o f M a r tia x 1s Address to
(3)
h is Book
i s i n th e s e ie c t group o f Jonson* s memorable
tr a n s la t io n s . Perhaps the reason f o r h is success h e re i s n o t f a r to
seek. F i r s t l y , as u s u a i, Jonson adheres c io s e iy to th e f o n t and
sequence o f th e o r ig in a x :s e c o n d ly , as i s n e o e s s a iiiy u n u s u a l, he
fin d s h lm s e if the t r a n s la t o r o f som ething t h a t rouses h is e m o tio n a l
n o t m e re ly in t e n s e t u a l,a c ta iir a iio n . He r e lis h e s the poem, no
doubt because i t i s M a r t ia x 1s ; b u t he a s s im ila te s i t
because i t
m i j j i t w e n be h i s own: th e s it u a t io n s o f o r ig in a t o r and t r a n s la t o r
are a lm o st id e n t i c a l . The p e r f e c t t r a n s ia t io n ^ is b o m o f such a
fu s io n o f in t e r e s t s . Exsewhere y o u r b o m t r a n s la t o r may s im u la te
the p ro ce ss and achieve h i s
r e s u it s by im a g ia tiv e m etem psychosis.
Jonson* s muddy v e s tu re was to o t h ic k f o r even suoh a te m p o ra ry
escape from s e x f. He la c k e d suoh suppleness o f s p i r i t , and e i t h e r
the w i n
o r the pow er f o r suoh s u b ju g a tio n o f p e r s o n a lit y . (Lacked
power, r a t h e r th a n oonsoious w i n , 1 t h in k . ) T h e re fo re he depends
on chance l i k e t h i s to overcome the d i s a b i l i t y Imposed on h im
by h is th e o r ie s as a t r a n s la t o r and by h is carapace o f e g o tis m .
But in e v it a o iy suoh i d e n t i t y o f o u txo o k and in t e r e s t i s
ra re to
“oniqueness: so , to o u t m in d s , are Jo n so n 1s g re a t t r a n s la t io n s .
( i ) M a r t ia l, 11, XL.
(a) E p ig . OXX. M a rt.X , L i l l .
h .&
So, to o , on h i s d a u g h te r and son.
s.n.p.aoo.
(3) 0 u n n . II I .p .3 8 d . M a rt. V I I I , L X X V II.
6^.
Byway o f c o n t r a s t f one may in s ta n c e t h e nT7i t ® i quae f a c iu n t beatiorem /.
His tr a n s la tio n o f t h i l ^ i s
not comparable w it h th e o th e r i n ease
or grace: and t h i s d e s p ite h is co n scio u s and recorded a f f e c t io n
f o r the o r i g i n a l I n t h i s t r a n s la t io n M a r t ia l a t t r a c t e d and exuded
jo nso n.
Where w i l l an a u th o r n o r m a lly t u r n him f o r a m o tto to h is
book? To a fa v o u r it e w ork o r a u th o r* s u r e ly . I f *
t h e r e fo r e , Jonson
sets the name o f a L a t in a u th o r on even one t it le - p a g e * i t
suggests* th o u $ i i t
does n o t pro ve * esteem. I f th e same name appears
s e ve ra l tim e s * we are J u s t if ie d i n c o n c lu d in g a h ig h degree o f
f a m i l i a r i t y and re g a rd on Jo n so n 1s p a r t f o r th e a u th o r o r w o rk i n
Q uestion. J n no le s s th a n seven ca se ^G o e s Jonson employ th e
works o f M a r t ia l f o r t h i s pu rpo se* a rJsu ch frequence s u r e ly adds
w e ig h ty c o r r o b o r a tio n to th e o th e r evidence o f M a r t ia l's s ta n d in g
in h is fa v o u r. To th e e x te n t even o f e n a b lin g us to d e c la re t h a t
he v a lu e d no L a t in a u th o r h ig h e r th a n M a r t ia l. Indeed* on t h i s
b a sis o f re cko n in g ^ Ho race i s M a r t ia l's o n ly r i v a l i n Jonson1s
a f fe c tio n .
O f these ohosen t e x t s * a l l i n t h e i r p la c e s i g n i f i c a n t ,
the m ost in t e r e s t in g i s p ro b a b ly t h a t w h io h serve s f o r m o tto to
‘'S ejanus*’ and as t e x t f o r th e P ro lo g u e to <!E ve ry Man I n H is Humour*.
MNon h ie o e n ta u ro s , non gorgonas* harj^iasQue
In v e n ie s : haminem p a g in a n o s tr a s a p i t . "
T h is , o f c o u rse * i s a r e i t e r a t i o n o f Jon son1s v ie w o f h is own
p o s itio n i n E n g lis h l i t e r a t u r e as th e p o e t o f fo n n * o rd e r* and
reason* i n o p p o s itio n to th e p o p u la r ro m a n tic ir r e p r e s s ib le s .
A rt f o r him m ust m ir r o r n a tu re i n th e n a rro w e s t sense,
fb m agic
m irro rs o f th e Im a g in a tio n f o r Ben, no m ir r o r s t h a t d i s t o r t
o r fa n o ify * o r o a ll up s p i r i t s * o r pe ople t h e i r s u rfa c e s w ith th e
p r o je c tio n , o f th e a u th o r 's fe v e re d and u n d is o ip lln e d m in d. He
" i l l n o t pause to Judge suoh w i ld b e a u tie s o r assess an I n d iv id u a l
fa n ta sy on l t 8 ffie r l t s : to him th e y can have none, and A r i e l i s as
C aliban s in c e b o th m ust be " u n tr u e t o n a tu r e " .
( 3)
( 2 ) H .4 S . I . p . 135.
('ifo
y ° ®t e r ,
o ilio
x o) ®
;, P
P rologuer to E .^M . I n . a° n d a ’ ,Masque.
S e ja rn s , C y n th 's .R e v .
68.
O f a j.i Jon son1s w orks th e p r in t e d fon n o f “ Poetaster**
makes m ost use o f M a r t ia l.
H> le s s th a n s ix tim es^W hy? Oan i t
have oeen That th e mood i n utoioh he w ro te i t , c o n s c io u s ly o r
su b o o n s o io u s iy , suggested M a r t ia l as th e m ost a p p ro p ria te
do
ok
f o r M s few hours o f r e la x a tio n ? O r d id he d e lib e r a t e ly tune up
h is “n e rv e 8“ w i t h re -re a d in g s o f M a r t ia i i n th e in t e r v a ls o f
com position? D id he employ M a r t ia i p u r p o s e fu lly as a w h etston e
to h is a c rim o n io u s h u t b iu n t is h w it? T hat in d e e d i s a method
he recommended, to read adt hoo s e ie o tio n s from th e a n c ie n ts
f o r p a r t i c u l a r weaknesses o f s t y le . And f a c e t io u s ly he makes use
o f the sane id e a i n th e a f f a i r o f M a rs to n 's e r u c ta tio n s . S u re iy
i n th e p re s e n t in s ta n c e we c a tc h him m a kin g use o f h i s own
p r e s c r ip t io n . F o r th e moment we have a glim pse in t o h is s tu d y
d u rin g th e f e v e r is h f i f t e e n weeks devoted to w r i t i n g “ P o e ta s te r " «
He does n o t use h is m a s te r's b i t t e r t h r u s t s , in d e e d . R a th e r, he
review s them : we see him c o n n in g th e s to c c a ta and passado o f
the c la s s ic exponent o f v e r h a i swordsmanship i n hopes to b e t t e r
the e x e o u tio n o f h is own le s s f i n e i y tem pered and oaianoed blade .
One o f the re fe re n c e s i n p o in t - tw ic e in tro d u c e d in t o
(a)
“ P o e ta ste r**, i r j & i f f e r e n t foxm s - d e fin e s w i t h emphasis th e
Jon son ia n s a t ix io pose. L ik e h is o la s s ic p r o to ty p e s , he p ro fe s s e s
a bian exe ss a n o n y n ity o f v ic t im ; he o ia im s to t i i t w it h
a b s tra c tio n s ana p e r s o n if ic a t io n s .
Ifaw, w h iie th e re i s ground
f o r c la im in g a measure o f suoh g e n e r a lit y o f a tta c k f o r h i s o th e r
s a t i r i c w r i t i n g s , i t i s m a n if e s t ly n a iv e to p le a d i t h e re , i n a
p ia y t h a t owes i t s
b e in g t o o e rs o n a i a n im o s ity i n th e n a rro w e s t
sense• One may a rg u e , t o o , i j n o g i c a l l y b u t n o t u n f a i r l y , t h a t i n
these o th e r le s s l i b e llo u s s a t ir e s th e re i s a ls o a p e rs o n a l
o cca sio n
p r o v o c a tio n , i f n o t a p e rs o n a l aim . We know he
d e lig h te d to see h is p r iv a t e fo e s i n M a r t ia i's m ijro r ; w it h
m a lic io u s e x u lt a t io n he w o uid make “ In ig o *1 a r u b r io to one o f
M a r t ia l'8 s h a f ti^ p u s h e d h i s c o lle a g u e , so t o speak, in t o th e
-lirtft o f an arrow f i r a d a t random lo n g ago* D id he n o t a ls o i n e i i i e
(1)Ofce M o tto ,A d d re ss i n q u a r to , and O u n n .I.p p .2 2 1 ,2 6 5 ,2 6 6 ,2 6 7 .
( 2 ) wLudimus in n o o u is v e r b is ..* * and *}u s e d no names'*.See, t o o ,
H.& S . l . p . 196,n o te . The t o t a l argument i s Shakes Jaques.
(3) H.& S ll.-n -2 fv l_
reverse t h is p ro cess and proceed fro m the p a r t ic u l a r to the g e n e ra l
w
w ith o u t f o r g e t t in g th e p a r t i c u l a r and th e v i t a l i t y o f p e rs o n a l
animus? J u s t as he savoured h i s own je s ts to o w e ll to snare h i s
personal f r ie n d s , so he savoured h i s r ig it e o u s in d ig n a t io n
too w e ll to spare h is p e rs o n a l fo e s - e g o is t i n b o th re g a rd s .
The o th e r o v e r t re fe re n c e s to M a r t ia l i l l u s t r a t e
trx ttm
fe a tu re s a lre a d y w e ll i l l u s t r a t e d i n th e case o f o th e r a u th o rs .
A g e n e ra l e s tim a te o f th e n a tu re and im p o rta n ce fgf
o f M a r t ia l1s in flu e n c e i s in v o lv e d i n the answer to th e Q u e s tio n :
How f a r was Jonson th e E n g lis h M a r tia l?
To b e g in w i t h , one m ust concede on Jo n so n 1s c a r t a
w illin g n e s s to f i l l
t h i s r o le ; he s e d u lo u s ly sought th e n e c e ssa ry
knowledge, he f e l t th e ne cessa ry in s p i r a t io n o f reverenoe and
am b itio n . And these Q u a lif ic a t io n s are v e r y im p o rta n t*. They by
no means fpx ensure th e success o f th e p o e t’ s e f f o r t , b u t th e y do
ensure t h a t th e i n t e n s i t y o f th e e f f o r t w i l l a f f e c t th e n a tu re o f
flu tn x tm p k
+h e d is o ip le * s w o rk i n foxm ,and s t y le , and approach.
The u ltim a te l i m i t s o f the se in flu e n c e s ca n n o t be p r e c is e ly s ta te d
because p o in ts o f resem blance may be d u e ,n o t to any s o r t o f
im it a t io n , b u t to t h a t k in s h ip o f m e n t a lit y and e xp e rie n ce w h ic h
is the b a s is o f th e p ro v o c a tiv e re g a rd .
I n th e case o f th e E p ig ra m s, how ever, th e p o s it io n
is f a i r l y c le a r . I n the se Ben* s c h a lle n g e t o M a r t ia l i s d i r e c t .
His soope, in d e e d , i s w id e r b u t i t
the M a rtia le s q u e e p ig ra m .
in o lu d e s th e f u l l
range o f
I b t e , t o o , t h a t these can no t be d is m is s e d
as m in o r poems, b y -p ro d u c ts o f th e g re a t d r a m a tis t. He h d m s e if
held them among th e p ro u d e s t o f h is
‘ w o rk s 1.We do n o t.T h o u g h i t may
he t h a t i n th e p re s e n t age o f o r i t i c i a n
and s a t ir e a la r g e r m e a iu ^ e ^ *
**11 be g iv e n to th e se poems from t h e i r v e r y n a tu re , y e t i t does n o t
seem l i k e l y t h a t a m odem 1s re a c tio n s to a re a d in g o f them w o uld
70.
lead hjm to d is s e n t fr a n a v e r d ic t li k e t h i s : many are p o w e rfu l;
few show fin e s s e ; many have touches o f in g e n u it y , w r i t h i n g i y
expressed; many a re s t i f f , p o n d e ro u s, and n e a t py tu r n s ; many anea
o o lo u rie s s , some p o s i t i v e l y d u n , some J u s t bad p ro s e ; and a few
are v e r y d a in ty and f a n o i f t u ; a few a re v ic io u s and f o u l i n the
extreme. And, i n o o n o iu s io n , m ost m odem o r i t i o s w ouid wonder w hy,
contem porary vogue a p a r t, th e a u th o r o f an “A lc h e m is t* s e t such
store by these h a rd ve rs e s and fre q u e n t i n f e l i c i t i e s . On t h a t
p o in t d e f i n i t e l y we p a r t oampany w it h Jonson. But even i f we oonaede
the v a iu e and in t e r e s t o f th e epigram as a l i t e r a r y fonn to the
f u l l e s t o f h is o o n o e p tio n s , we m ust deny th e r e l a t iv e degree o f
suooess t h a t h e , b y p r o fe s s io n and im p lic a t io n , o ia im e d f o r h is
e f f o r t s i n i h i s k in d . A t b e s t h is f a i l u r e
to e q u a i M a r t ia l i n
M a r t ia l1s s p e c ia l domain i s a n a rro w f a i l u r e , a t w o rs t i t
is
b a th e tio , and f o r th e m ost p a r t s im p ly d i s t i n c t b u t n o t d is g r a c e f u l.
We a re , t h e r e f o r e , d r iv e n to conclude t h a t Jonson i s a somewhat
heavy, somewhat gauche, somewhat v e ro o s e , somewhat u n s a ia o io u s ,
u n re s tra in e d , u n d e xte ro u s M a r t ia l. A la s , th e re i s no suoh t h in g ;
and t h is i s to unde f in e M a r t ia l. F o r i n h is own lim it e d sphere o f
exoenenoe M a r t ia l i s a o s o iu te , u n q u a iifia o fc e . To s a y t h a t Jo n so n ,
here and th e r e , approaches M a r t ia l, i s
oonoede, however, t h a t he f a l l s
to do him f a i r ho n o u r. To
S h o rt i n th e q u a l it ie s and degree
th a t make M a r t ia l “ M a r tia l* i s to re g a rd h im , i n h i s own p h ra s e ,
as an E n g lis h “ s in e M a r t i a l ! M a r t i a l i s * •
I n th e case o f the p la y s M a r t ia l's in flu e n o e i s
xess
ta n g io le , le s s o m n ip re s e n t, and p ro o a o ly m ore im p o r ta n t. We have
a lre a d y remained on th e evide nce o f M a r t i a i 1s in flu e n c e on th e
c h a ra c te r sketch es o f “ E v e ry Man Out o f h is Humour* and “ C y n th ia 's
Revels* • I t i s a t le a s t p ro oa ol© t h a t Jon son , who c e iie v e d ,lik e
h is fa v o u r it e ^ i r g i i and h i s m a s te r C am den,that a p o e t Should rough
out h is id e a s i n pro^ 5©\ made sketch es l i k e th e s e f o r a l l h is frpskSM
oharacte r s • (Suoh p re lim in a r y adumbra t io n i s o i e a r ly in v o lv e d i n h is
(I)T h e a c c u m u la tio n o f s a t i r i c t r a i t s i n -O y n th 's Revs* makes i t
read l i k e th e d is g o r g in g o f e p ig ra m r-a tio n o te s f o r
:
( 2 ) “ OonversatAons" .H .& S . i. p . i4 a . * b e w r o t t a l l h i s f i r s t i n p ro s e ..
v i.
b a la n c in g o f a u t h o r it ie s i n
^S ejanus1* and “ C a tilin e * * . ) T ru e , he
p r in te d o n ly w o o f these p ro sp e ctu se s o f c h a r a c te r. la t h in g i n
these p la y s ju stid fcie s th e c o n c lu s io n t h a t these sketches are
n e c e s s ita te d t y any d e p a rtu re s frcm h is no nta x c o n c e p tio n o f
comedy. There i s no re a so n , th e r e f o r e , to conclude t h a t *he
absence o f s im i la r sketch es fro m h i s p r in t e d w orks pro ves t h a t tl|P5
n e ver e x is te d i n a t le a s t em bryonic fo im . And i f th 6 y cdd e x i s t ,
th e y presum ably resembxed th e p r in t e d examples as o io s e iy as th e
two fa v o u re d p la y s resembx© th e o th e rs , i n the examples we have
the in flu e n c e o f M a r t ia l i s
c ie a r ; we may, t h e r e fo r e , conclude
th a t t h is in flu e n c e was p re s e n t i n th e d e v is a i o f a i l th e humour
p la y s - a i l o f w h ic h i s in g e n io u s r a t h e r th a n c o n o iu s iv e .
The typ e s o f c h a ra c te r d e p ic te d i n these sketches a r e ,
o f c o u rs e , the c h a r a c t e r is t ic humour ty p e s . F o r suoh concepts
the m a te r ia ls and methods bequeathed ty M a r t ia l are both
s a t is f y in g and s u g g e s tiv e : the e s s e n tia ls o f M a r t ia l and Jonson
are h e r e in i d e n t i c a l ; th e re i s
the same s im p lif ic a t io n and
c o n c e n tra tio n , re a d in g , when th e s tre s s o r th e s e le c t io n i s
extrem e, t o c a r ic a t u r e . I n s h o r t , the humour ty p e s may be
regarded w ith an il lu m i n a t i n g , i f in c a n p ie te , measure o f t i u t h ,
as b e in g , each o f them , th e d ra m a tis a tio n o f a b a s ic epigram *
They are e p ig ra n s n o t so much e la b o ra te d e it h e r as r e it e r a t e d .
They are a n im a tio n s (le s s o r m ore) o f te rs e p ro se s k e tch e s.
The consequences o f t h is
r e f le c t io n o f M a r t ia i are n o t
w h o lly f o r the b e s t. D ire c tn e s s o f p u rp o s e , c i a r i t y o f e x p o s itio n ,
s im p lic it y o f type are a d m ira b le q u a l it ie s i n a p o p u la r drama:
and M a r t ia n s in flu e n c e i s axong these lin e s : b u t th e obverse
i s q u ite as tr u e and c o n s t it u t e s th e s ta n d a rd charge a g a in s t
Jonson*s in n o v a tio n o f humour ty p e s . M a r t ia l fo s te re d h is lo ve
o f a n a ly t ic a l d is s e c tio n o f th e more ob vio us t r a i t s o f h is
fe x io w s . M a rtia lfe s p ic tu r e s are x iv e iy sn a p sh o ts; b u t Jonson
grows te d io u s when he t r i e s t o make cinem auio f iim s on th e
seme te c h n iq u e . H is p ic tu r e s la c k v a r i e t y o f d e t a i l . A i l i s
d e a r o u t. I n h iis o ie v e r c h a ra c te rs th e re i s no shade o r s p a rk ie
o f f o i i y o r v i r t u e . H is dupes and fo p s , b ra g g a rts and debauchees
72.
are c re a te d w it h a c o n s is te n c y t h a t G-od d id n o t p e rm it h im s e lf.
They are lo g i c a l i n f o i l y , c o n s is te n t i n t h e i r a b e r r a tio n s ,
•whim sical a c c o rd in g to p a t t e r n , p re d e s tin e d b y Jonson* s w r i t t e n
o r memorised g u id in g epigram on th e s a lie n t fe a tu re th e y p e rs o n ify .
In a i l t h i s M a r t ia l has h is e a r, a d d in g power and pungency to
the p o r t r a it u r e , d e t r a c t in g from th e im a g in a tiv e re a lis m and
s p i r i t u a l i t y i n in t e r p r e t i n g th e c o m p le x itie s and i l l o g i c a l i t i e s
o f man1s in n e r h e a r t and d e ep er m o tiv e s . I f i t be an o v e rsta te m e n t
to a s s e rt c a t e g o r ic a lly t h a t M a r t ia l v i t a l l y in flu e n c e d the
Jonsonian humour ty p e , t h i s a t le a s t m u st be conceded: the
e x te n t and n a tu re o f th e r e la t io n s between Jonson and M a r t ia l
make i t
absurd t o sug ge st t h a t c o in c id e n c e a io n e s u b s t a n t ia lly
aooounts f o r th e s i m i l a r i t i e s between them i n m a tte r , o u tlo o k ,
and l i t e r a r y m ethods.
i
73.
The P iin ie s .
(a) The Younger.
The oase o f P lin y Ittn o r i e S i i g i t l y p u z z lin g , xhere i s
but one prooabxe re fe re n o e
(I)
to h is w orks i n a i l B e n's p ia y s and
poans. The o b vio u s e x p la n a tio n o f t h i s s c a r c it y , n a m e iy ,th a t
P lin y i s o f th e second ra n k i n i n t e l l e c t and im a g in a tio n , oannot
here b© a u to m a tic a l l y m ain ta in © d j f o r Jonson has made h is re g a rd
f o r P lin y q u ite o j.e a r i n o th e r ways.
th e one c i t a t i o n
in p o in t i s e ia o o ra te d i n “ D is c o v e rie s * * se co n d ly* two anecdotes
(3 )
o f P lin y he *made much o f M to Drummond ; t h i r d l y * he speaks o f
P lin y i n th e same b re a th as Q u in t ilia n * Horace* T a c itu s * J u v e n a i
(4)
and M a r t ia i; f o u r t h ly - m o st v i t a l o f a n as evidence - he in fo u n e d
Diumrond - w it h a v ie w d o u b tle s s ^o p u r if y in g th e S o o t1s s t y le i n
L a tin c o m p o s itio n - t h a t P lin y Seoundus, to g e th e r w it h P etrorfLus
■ (5),
and T a c itu s * speke b e s t L a t in * . (M eaning th e re b y * I presume* t h a t
these th re e c o l l e c t i v e l y s e t th e s ta n d a rd by W hioh h e , Jonson*
Judged Golden L a t i n i t y . Too much s tre s s need n o t be l a id on t h i s .
I t may mean he th o u g h t x h a t an amalgam o f these s ty le s was b e s t
adapted to the needs o f a s c h o la r o f h is own age who chose to use
(6 )
the le a rn e d to n g u e , i n any o a se , h is l i v e l y sense o f the c o n t in u it y
o f L a t in and L a t in s tu d ie s made him much le s s s u s c e p tib le th a n
la t e r s c h o la rs to th e urg e to f i i e
m e ta iiu r g ic o rd e rs o f v i r t u e
and p ig e o n -h o le L a t in i s t s i n
and v in t a g e . ) Drummond* th e n * i s o u r
a u t h o r it y f o r Ben18 v ie w o f P lin y . And no m a tte r w h a t a llo w a n ce be
made f o r h is sho rtco m in g s as evidence we cannot d o u b t t h a t he has
given us a re a s o n a b ly o o r r e t Im p re s s io n .
I n th e absence o f o t h e r d ire o U o iu e s we may sum up ih e
p o s itio n th u s : lb t h in g i n the se encomiums o f P lin y Secundus
o o n f iio t s w i t h th e t e n t a t iv e c o n c lu s io n t h a t J o n s o n ^ h ig ji re g a rd
f o r him vas p r im a r ily * and p e ih a p s a im o s t w h o lly * due to an
a c b iira tio n f o r P li n y 1s pro se s t y i e . The f a c t o f th e s c a r c it y ^ o f ^ ^ ^ ^
(1) I n “ M ercury v in d ic a te d " .The same id e a i n * D i sooverTe s " *vispT3i€>
somewhat s e if - c o n t r a d ic t o r y oommonpiaoe t h a t * l b t u r e ,,* i n c o n tr a ­
d is t in c t io n to Man* i s in e x h a u s tib le .
[2) H & S . I . p . 104*
3)
do.
p .I4 9 .
4)
do.
p . 132.
5)
do.
p . 136.
^
T
6) P a r t ic u la r ly i n l e t t e r - w r i t i n g . See C u n n .I.p .2 4 * — E .lte n m .
74 .
d ir e c t q u o ta tio n fr o n th e w ork of* a fa v o u r ite a u th o r p e rm its th e
r id e r , t h a t he f e l t tne q u a l i t y o f P lin y * s g e n e ra l m a tte r to bo
less w o rth y o f re p ro d u c tio n . So, i f
f i n a i i y the younger P lin y be
p r o p e rly in c lu d e d anong the M a jo ra S id e ra , we m ust reg ard him as
one o f those m y s te rio u s d a rk suns t h a t o f f e r no c e i e s t ia i
guidance t o the l i t e r a r y w a y fa re r.
(b) The E id e r P lin y .
The case o f th e e ± d e r P lin y i s v e r y d i f f e r e n t and
v e ry c le a r : one o f J o n s o n ^ f a v o u r it e books o f re fe re n c e was
the N a tu ra l H is to r y .
I c o n s id e r t h a t w h a t was observed a t le n g th o f ^ r ®
a p p lie s i n la rg e measure to P lin y M a jo r. Jonson m ust have f e i t
the sympathy o f k in s h ip f o r (a ) th e v e r y mass o f P lin y * s e x ta n t
and re p u te d w o rk ;(b ) f o r h is t i r e l e s s z e a l i n re a d in g and th e
c o m p ila tio n o f "D is c o v e rie s " t o o ; (o ) f o r h is concern w it h
grcmmar, r h e t o r ic , and h i s t o r y ;
(d ) and f o r h is s to re s m l o f
m y th o lo g ic a l and a rc h a ic lo r e . A lto g e th e r a rem arkable c o in c id a n e e
o f h a b it, in t e r e s t s , and m e n t a lit y . F u r th e r , as P lin y * s e x ta n t
w o rk, th e
Ifc tu ra i H is t o r y , was th e • Novum Organum4* o f the fin p ir e
and the M id dle A ges, i t s
t r a d i t i o n s , as w e ij. as i t s
in tr in s ic a lly
ou rio u s c o n te n ts , m ust have g iv e n i t m e r it i n Ben*s eyes.
H is employment o f the Ife tu ra l H is t o r y i s in t e r e s t in g
because (a ) i t i l l u s t r a t e s h is g e n e ra l tre a tm e n t o f h is f a c t u a l
sources, and (b ) th e n a tu re o f th e tre a tm e n t i n t h i s case may be
shown to c o n f l i c t somewhat w i t h a cannon v ie w o f Ben* s r e lia n c e
on a u t h o r it y . I t d is p o s e s f i n a l l y , a t s n y ra te , o f th e o ld e r v ie w o f
Ben as a p o o r r e l a t io n o f th e a n c ie n ts , o r even a l i t e r a r y p ic k —
pooket o f e v e r y th in g c la s s ic a jL , w h e th e r f a c ts o r id e a s .S o f a r as a
!
d is tin c tio n a can be m a in ta in e d between the se two a sp ects o f th o u g h t,
he borrows fa c ts V 9 ry f r e q u e n t ly , th e o th e r s , r e l a t i v e l y r a r o iy .
And even fh c ts he does n o t k id n a p in d is c r im in a t e ly jyt xarkatirddc*
against a r e c u r r e n t need, as same have c a s u a lly supposed.
P lin y he ra k e s use o f an in d e te rm in a b le number o f tim e s
(7 a t le a s t) as c o r r o b o r a tiv e a u t h o r it y f o r th e f a c t s o f "S e ja n u s11,
as T a o itu g had done b e fo re him* A norm al h i s t o r i a n - l i k e pro ced ure
th is *, to check and c o u n te r-c h e c k a l l a v a ila b le s o u rc e s , in d e e d ,
according to Ben’ s l i g h t and the l i g h t o f h t t n
days o th e r th a n h is
own, the o n ly p ro p e r fo u n d a tio n w o rk f o r an h i s t o r i c a l p la y .
N) le s s th a n IV tim e s he makes use o f P lin y i n h is masques
This p r a c tic e was d o u b -ffe s S ^ ^ th e n a tu re o f th e a u d ie n ce , by th e
precedents o f h is own and o th e r s 1 successes i n a d a p tin g a n c ie n t
myths to th e needs o f m asquery, and th e c u m u la tiv e te m p ta tio n
to surpass h is own e f f o r t s by in oa rea sing th e c o m p le x ity o f t h i s
sggggsstBS w e ll- p ro v e n d e v ic e . I n o th e r wordfc i n the se c o u r t ly
e n te rta in m e n ts he was b o th f r e e r and more r e s t r ic t e d th a n i n h is
piays f o r th e p u b lic s ta g e : r e s t r ic t e d , t h a t i s , to ch o o s in g th e
m a tte r and d e c o ra tio n s o f c la s s ic a rc h a e o lo g y and m y th ; f r e e r to
draw as d e e p ly as he oared on h is own s to c k o f le a r n in g and t o
e la b o ra te h is b o rro w in g s to th e l i m i t s o f h is in g e n u ity and
e r u d itio n . These c irc u m s ta n c e s , I b e lie v e , narrow ed h is ch o ice to
h
and, as a c o r o lla r y , focussed h i s a t t e n t io n on th e s u p e r - n io e tie s
o f the o r i g i n a l le g e n d s , custom s, and s u p e r s t it io n s . The masques,
th e re fo re , are n o t th e com plete and tr u e p ic tu r e o f th e n a t u r a l man,
Jonson a t la r g e , unhampered
b y f e a r o f playhouse o e n su re . R a th e r,
they r e f l e c t a s p e c ia lis t i n t e r e s t developed in t o a hobby o r
developed frctn a hobby. The masques m ust be measured a g a in s t h is
popular p la y s b e fo re we Have a f a i r r e f le c t io n o f th e e x ta n t and
nature o f h is I n t e r e s t i n th e o ia s s io s . And i n suoh m a jo r p ia y s
^ +jUrai H is t o r y i s m e n tio n e d b u t f i r e
tim e s - a s m a ll number when
o o n s id e r th e e x te n t o f h is p o p u la r and p o e t ic w o rk i n c o n ju n c tio n
» ith the th o ro u g h f a m i l i a r i t y he e v id e n t ly ha d w it h th e o o n te n t o f
the Ifc tu ra l H is to r y *
I n c id e n t a lly , as w i x i a p p e a r e i s e v e r e ax so, I b e iie v e
Jonson t o have been rem arkable n o t o m y f o r th e number o f h is
borrow ings from th e L a t in c la s s ic s , b u t f o r the r e s t r a i n t he shows
i n n o t ta p p in g h is v a s t s to re s o f suoh le a r n in g more f r e q u e n tly .
And i t may be t h a t h i s m ost rem arkable f e a t la y i n m anaging to say
so much t h a t i s
re o o g n is a b iy h i s own i n a w o n d where e v e ry th in g
has a ire a d y been s a id , and a wo r i d i n w h ic h Jonson knew so many
o f the sayers and so w e n . F o r th e w e ig h t o f h i s c la s s ic le a r n in g
i s , u s u a lly , i n h i s p la y s , b a i i a s t ; som etim es, e s p e c ia lly i n
masques, th e m ain o a rg o ; and b u t r a r e ly o v e rflo w s in t o th e
lik e n e s s o f deck o a rg o .
C onsidered i n d i v i d u a l l y , the moso in t e r e s t in g re fe re n c e s
to P lin y th e E id e r are p ro b a b iy these
I n d id a c tic v e in he c it e s P lin y w it h V it r u v iu s i n m aking
o b je c tio n to th e p a in t in g o r l i t e r a r y o h im e ra & P a r e c u r re n t
(2)
c r it ic i s m i n Ben o f E liz a b e th a n ro m a n tic is m , and d ir e c te d a g a in s t
la c k o f u n if o r m it y o f te x ttrr e and hom ogeneity o f o o n te n t and f o m .
Perhaps a g a in we g ijm p s e Jonson th e p a t ie n t s c h o la r a t
h is desk i n t h i s v e r y detached a fte r th o u g h t to Candace1s e o ita p h ,
(3)
?. s.
•She governed i n Ifefltoe*. I t has a d i s t i n o t i y “ P . p . ^ f la v o u r t h a t
suggests he had c o n s u lte d P li n y to r e f r e s h h i s memory.
The Reman e n c y c lo p e d is ts te n d e n cy tow ards c r e d u l it y i s
rep la ced i n J o n s o n ^ oase oy a n ic e o r n o n -o cm m ita l balande
between dWTwfWTwiwrw d e fe re n ce to and m ockery o f h is a u t h o r it y ,
a q u a s i- s c ie n t if ic susp en sio n o f ju d g n e n t a lm o s t. T h is detachm ent
may be n o te d i n h i s own fo o tn o te to f l o a t i n g is la n d s , where he
oono|d^s to a m y s te ry o f Looh Lomond precedence o v e r *D eios and
o o .*
The seme o r e d u iit y and oontem pt appear i n h i s re fe re n c e s
(b )
to such m a tte rs as the p o te n c y o f b ra n b ie - fro g s i n m agic
, and
/c j
a c o n ite i n m a g ic a i m e d ic in e ,
U ) Cunn. 1 1 1 .p .409
\2 ) See Chap. on M a rfc ia i.
(3) Ounn.Ili.p.58.
4)
do.
p .II.
th e q u e e r ways o f E th io p s ,
/ rp\
th e
Tf.
geography o f th e l& g e r ^ ^ th e lio id in o u s n e s s o f th e p a r t r i c h ^
(3)
and the e u p h u is tio h i s t o r y o f u n ic o rn * s m iik and p a n th e r* s oreath*
(4 )
flrio e he savages p h y s ic ia n s * on P lin y * s a u t h o r it y * quo w it h a verve'
th a t suggests c o rro D o ra tiv e p e rs o n a l e xp e rie n ce o f t h e i r ways*
H is re fe re n c e to t h a t tim e -h o n o u re d D ogey, th e mandrake ( 5 )
i l l u s t r a t e s , f i r s t l y , h i s c u r i o s i t y i n such hocus-pocus o f
w it c h c r a f t , and, s e c o n d ly , h is sense o f th e c o n t in u it y o f
L a t in l i t e r a t u r e , i n t h a t to th e s u p p o rt o f P x in y he m arsh als
a reg im e nt o f m e d ia e va l d o e to rs o f th e O c c u it.
S ig n i f i c a n t , to o , o f an in t e r e s t a p p ro a ch in g p re o c c u p a tio n
w ith s u p e r s t it io u s phenomena and t h e i r in t e r p r e t a t io n i s h is
(6 \
t r a n s c r ip t io n o f a lo n g passage from P iin y 7i n w h ic h th e l a t t e r
i
c le a r ly dem onstrates t h a t n o t a n comets presage d is a s t e r cy
in s ta n c in g th e one t h a t appeared w ith no s i n i s t e r consequences
a little
a f t e r * th e m ig h ty J u i iu s f e i i . “
These above a p a r t, and a p a rt
to o from th e g ro u p in g
re fe re n c e s to h i s t o r y a^d^some 3 to
r i t e s , cerem onies,and
s u p e rn a tu ra l i n g e n e ra l,
of
th e
th e re i s no a p p a re n t system o f xs&
t a b u la tio n by s u b je c t- m a tte r t h a t w o uld th ro w much f u r t h e r l i g h t
on th e a u th o r, t h i s c r e d it o r , and t h e i r in t e r - r e la t io n s h ip *
( i ) 0 u n n * I I I * p . 3 . Does th e f a c t t h a t Jonson o it e s S o iin u s as a
separate a u t h o r it y h e re su g g e st t h a t he regarded him as an
independent w itn e s s , unaware t h a t S o iin u s p ia y e d Ja o ka i to
P iin y * s lio n ?
>2) 0 u n n .i.p *3 8 2 *
}3)
do* p *S ‘/2*
[4) He makes e x c e lle n t s a t i r i c use o f t h i s i n -S eJa nu s", A c t I ,
Scenes I and 2 .
v5) O u n n .III.p .5 0 .
(6)
d o . ll* p . 5 6 3 *
CO e .g .0 u n n .I* p * 3 8 2 ) d o *X l*p *5 6 0 ; d o * lii* p p * 2 3 ( s e v e r a l) ,3 1 ,
and 342*
‘
78*
P ia u tu s .
* . . a t any hand
Shun P la u tu s ................................. m eats
Too h a rs h f o r a weak sto m a ch .. . . *
Thus ad vise d li t e r a i y - p h y s i c ia n V i r g i i i n
"P o e ta s te r. A p p a re n tly ,
however, Jo n so n , h a v in g a la rg e f a i t h i h h is own d ig e s tiv e o rg a n s ,
in d u lg e d h im s e lf f r e e iy i n t h i s t e s t in g d i e t . O f o o u rse , Jonson1s
le a r n in g b e in g w hat i t was and E%autus b e in g w h at he w as, th e re
e x is te d a p rim a f a c ie p r o b a b i l i t y t h a t Jo n so n *8 p ia y s w o uld re v e a l
numerous o b lig a tio n s to P ia u tu s : f o r i n P la u tu s th e re was much
m a te r ia l o f comedy ready t o ha nd , o r r e a d ily c o n v e r tib le to
:
E liz a b e th a n needs, p a r t l y because th e s im i la r c o n d itio n s o f h i s
own tim e le d P ia u tu s to a n t ic ip a t e th e needs o f an E liz a b e th a n
audience. M oreover, P ia u tu s as a m ine o f id e a s f o r dram a, L a t in
and E n g lis h , was i n f u i l p r o d u c tio n lo n g b e fo re th e tim e o f
Jonson, and was th e r e fo r e grown a l i t S r a r y c o n v e n tio n o f th e
le a rn e d s ta g e , and so o f th e th e a tre a t la r g e , i t was w it h t h i s
‘
p r o b a b i lit y i n m in d t h a t Jon son *s com m entators, from U pton
onwards, s e t ab ou t ra n s a o k in g P la u tu s f o r l i t e r a r y p a r a l le l s and
d ra n a tio p ro m p tin g s . These in v e s t ig a t io n s have shown, i n b r i e f ,
j
th a t Jonson owes c o n s id e ra b le c o n c re te d e bts to th e “ C a p t iv i'',
Is
^ A u iu ia rL a 11,*i0 a s in a i , #M o s t e n a r ia “ ; le s s v i t a i o b lig a tio n s to th e
l C i s t e l l a r i a ,, and “ p o e n u lu s 41; and an o p tio n , u n c la im e d , on th e
■Am phitryo.
Tov these I i n o i i n e , as w i l l a p p e a r, to add o th e rs
Cs)
s t i l l le s s s ig n i f i c a n t .
j/jo re o v e r, to a l l these w orks c o l le c t i v e ly
th a t i s , q u ite a p a rt from lo o a iis a b le b o rro w in g s , th e comm entators
agree t h a t Jonson owed muoh o f a le s s d e te n n in a o le n a tu re ,
p a r t ic u l a r ly i n th e c o n ce p ts o f comedy v a g u e ly re c o g n is e d as
v
(a )
o h a r a o t e r is t io a iiy P la u tin e .
(I)-H e had an in t e n t io n to make a p ia y l i k e P ia u tu s * A n p h it r io ,
tu t i e f t i t o f f , f o r t h a t he o o u id n e v e r f in d two so l i k e o th e rs
th a t he o o u id persuade th e s p e c ta to rs th e y were one* .-C o n v e rs a tio n s
Shades o f ui w e i f t h W ight" I v
vS^Menaechmi*1( 0 u m u i.p .4 4 i) ; “ iiin n u m u s 11(d o . H I . p . 395) j^M L ie s
G io ri.o 8 u s (d o *i.p .2 3 5 )
v3) There i s no grave im p r o p r ie t y i n re g a rd in g p ia u tu s as Ben* s
ft rial source i n suoh a p p a re n t d e b ts . W e ll as he knew G reek, L a t in
*a s b o th h is f i r s t and h i s l a s t re s o u rc e .
The m ost ob vio us o f Jo n so n 1s de bts to P la u tu s i s the
framework o f 41The Case i s A lt e r e d , 11 th e e a r ly p la y t h a t he n e v e r
ohose to acknowledge. I n t h is . t w o o f th e b e s t known p la y s o f P la u tu s ,
w
the s e rio -c o m ic f C a p t iv i! and th e f a r c io a l f A u lu la r ia are e n ta n g le d
to produce a p la y o f g re a t i n t r i c a c y and l i t t l e
u n if o r m it y o f
te x tu re . I t may be t h a t H orace, Q u in t ili a n and th e S t a g ir it e
aie re s p o n s ib le f o r th e young d ra m a tis t* s in g e n io u s b u t v a in
e f f o r t s to fuse th e elem ents a t h a t s tu b b o rn ly re fu s e to m ix .
The c o m b in a tio n o f th e two p lo t s o f P la u tu s p ro d u c e s , n a t u r a lljj
a v e ry !meaty* p la y . (The n a tu re o f th e lin k a g e , h a r d ly geimane to
the p re s e n t in q u ir y , i s examined i n
g re a t d e t a i l by P ro fe s s o rs g fltx ftfu
H ereford and Simpson. What does concern us d i r e c t l y i s t h a t th e
r e s u lt a n t p la y i s i n e v i t a b l y h e a v ie r tha n i t s
o r ig in a ls
i
This i s due n o t o n ly to th e com pression o f much m a tte r and th e
\
re d u p lic a tio n o f p lo t s and c o n n e c tio n s b u t a ls o to the norm al
j
Jonsonian e m b ro id e ry o f fa n c ie s .
______
i
( I ) Jonson* s use o f th e * C a p t iv i* in *The & Case i s A lte re d * a t
!
once r e c a lls Shakespeare * s use o f th e same p la y i n *The Comedy o f
E rro rs * . H e re fo rd and Simpson make th e in t e r e s t in g s u g g e s tio n t h a t
f
the d u a lit y o f in t e r e s t i n *The Case* w h ic h i s q u ite u n c h a r a c t e r is tic \
o f Jonson a t any stage o f h is c a re e r i s due t© a s u b s e rv ie n t
j
regard f o r th e , s u c c e s s fu l re c ip e o f h ig h and low
in t e r e s t s employed j
in^Jhakespeare* s contemporaneous p la y s , 'M .S . Nps. Drean* and
j
'The Merchant o f v . * True o r n o t . t h a t i s a p a rd o n a b le d e d u c tio n from j
suoh n o ta b ly and u n n e c e s s a rily c lo s e resem blances o f form and
d e t a il as the se p a r a l le l s between th e w ork o f Shakespeare and B e n :(a) As a b o v e ,th e y share th e fe a tu re o f a m a in p l o t from
High L if e and a s u b -p lo t from Low L i f e .
(b ) The language o f S h y lo c k and JaflLues ia t has more resem blances
o f d e t a il th a n can r e a s in a b ly be e x p la in e d away b y th e c o in c id e n c e s
o f m is e rlin e s s and a tte n d a n t a n x ie tie s . Thus, f o r e x a m p le ,O o n s id e r:W th e e x p re s s io n o f JaQues* re p e a te d in ju n c t io n s about b a r r in g h i s
d o o r s ( A o tII,S c .i)
1 - to be ho ld my d o o r
Beset w i t h u n t h r i f t s , and m y s e lf abroad"
( i i ) i n (A c t V, S o . i . ) "Thou e a t 's t my fle s h i n s t e a lin g o f my g o ld "
( iii)
do . "Thou h a s t made away my c h i l d , th o u h a s t my g o ld :
/.
The t h i e f i s gone, my g o ld *s gone, R a c h e l's gone - "
0 + h L f ^ - n (V*l T ^
try w i f e , ray s o u l, my h e a ve n !*
VJv
p a r a l le l s are such lin e s a s :>7 '» ( v . iv ) My lo r d , th e re i s no law to c o n firm t h i s a c tio n - "
H i) do.
1I ' l l be g la d i *
To s u f f e r te n tim e s more f o r such a f r ie n d . "
o r ig in a l h i
^ a c h i e v e d iz}
8are W
a® i n t h e i r oomron
head.
£2P
o f Punishment, f a i l i n g on an in n o c e n t
A n t o n i o * t h e
torture in the manner and diotion of
w o r 6 t, I s u f f e r f o r a f r ie n d . "
to s+»fti 2a‘- 2 ? ^ rci?'MSe5»iJ0 reT)ay
f r ie n d J u n ip e r f o r h e lp in g
S
? ° b i e r c o u n te rp a rts i n "The Ife rc h a n l.'
And Count Fem eze i t i s who says : "th e sea t o gape
And more +«
8w allow th e p o o r m e rc h a n t's t r a f f i c u p " ( l l l , i . )
d e b ts b e in e o n
8 id e
80.
The p ic tu r e o f E u c iio f$am th e " A u iu ia r ia * i s e la b o ra te d
b u t, i n su b sta n ce , unchanged: he rem ains the •humour11 t h a t
Jonson found him i n P ia u tu s , and i n th e e x tre m e s t sense o f
th a t term — a mere in c a rn a te p a s s io n o f m oneychanger, more
ocmio th a n p i t i f u l f o r h is overw helm ing sense o r g u i l t y fe a r .
J o n s o n ^ a d d itio n s are ta c k e d on i n a v e r y casuax m anner.
Thus, he g iv e s h i s Jaques a p a s t o f d a rin g tr e a c h e ry , an
e n n o u iin g lo v e f o r tne s to ie n c h i l d , and a s t r a in o f l y r i c
u tte ra n c e a t th e s ig h t o f g o ld . He has a s c rib e d to Ja q u e s, t h a t
i s , a f a i n t adum b ratio n o r th e q u a l it ie s l a t e r to g iv e Voipone
and Mormon an im m o r ta lit y o f l i t e r a r y renown. B ut i n th e p re s e n t
in s ta n c e the se d a sh in g q u a l it ie s and t h is m a je s ty o f d i c t i o n
do n o t r in g t r u e . I n t h i s tre a tm e n t o f th e b a s ic B u o iio we see
Jonson1s h a n k e rin g f o r e m b ro id e ry and c a r ic a t u r e . I n d e scrriD in g
t i c excesses o f c h a r a c te r he i s prone to excesses o f s t y l e . i n
s e e k in g to re p re s e n t i n t e n s i t y o f any k in d , even i n t e n s i t y o f
meanness and p ro s a ic baseness, he m ust needs b re a k in t o
r h e t o r ic a l p o e tr y . The rh a p s o d ie s o f Mormon and the lic e n t io u s
re v e is o f V oipone1s fa n o y are v e r y we 11 i n th e mouths o f
suoh c o n s id e r a c ie s in n e rs : J aquas de P r ie i s
o f a b a se r s o c ia l
and i n t e l l e c t u a l o rd e r. D e s p ite Jo n so n , he rem ains
s tu b b o rn ly E u o iio , however much “ tra n s p o s e d , e la b o r a te d . . .
. *«1. ( i >
and o v e n a id
( I ) H .4 S .I.p .3 3 1 .
81.
The argument o f th e ‘ C a p t iv i1 i s
f a i + h f u l l y fo llo w e d i n
the Count Pem eze p l o t and th e Count h im s e lf i s used as one o f
the in g e n io u s lin k s between th e p lo t s when he makes a f le e t in g
o a ll a t Jaques1 h o v e l as a s u i t o r to R achel* We f in d * to o * t h a t th e
same s e f e r it y i s proposed f o r ‘ Gasper* by Pemeze as f o r Tyndarus,
h is e q u iv a le n t* by H egio. There i s
the h ig h l i f e
a s im ila r s o c ia l abyss between
and low as between fr e e -b o r n and s la v e s i n the
Romanised-Greek o r i g i n a l . On a i l o f w hich m a tte rs P ro fe s s o rs
H e re fo rd ta o rt and Simpson make in t e r e s t in g and e x h a u s tiv e comments.
I t remains to observe t h a t p e rila p s th e P la u tin e p e r t s la v e and
the m ile s g lo r io a u s co a le sce i n J u n ip e r - who ha s a f f i n i t i e s
a ls o
w ith Toby B e lc h and M rs .M a la p ro p ^- w h ile the saucy re a lis m o f
A u re lia and h e r d o c tr in e o f f o llo w in g th e humour o f the h o u r
savour o f th e g e n ia l c y n ic is m o f a Pronesium .
I n the ‘ A u lu la iia * P la u tu s makes use o f th e L a r as a
p ro lo g u e * a c o n v e n ie n tly e x p e d itio u s method o f in fo r m in g th e
audience o f the source o f E u c iio * s w e a lth . The lo c a le o f Ben1s
p la y ru le d o u t t h is e x p e d ie n t. He re p la c e d i t
by a speech o f
Jaques d ir e c te d a t th e au dien ce. T h is a d a p ta tio n o f h is o r i g i n a l *
w h ich c a lle d down G if f o r d 1s s c o rn on b o th p la y w r ig h ts ^ a p p a re n tly
s t i l l meets th e o c c a s io n a l needs and fa v o u r o f p r a c t is in g
d ra m a tis ts o f to -d a y *
W h a lle y in o lin e d to b e lie v e t h a t Jonson im proved on h i s
o r ig in a l i n one scene o f t h i s p la y by l i m i t i n g a t1 e s twto th e
bounds o f n a tu re ! I n s e a rc h in g S t r o b ilu s f o r g o ld E u c iio asks to
see each hand i n tu r n and th e n demands to see h is " t h i r d 11 hand.
W halley op ined so le m n ly t h a t "n o degree o f a v a ric e c o u ld le a d one
to suppose t h a t a man has th re e h a n d s ". Ih e comment* i s
s u s p ic io u s ly o w lis h * tho ug h Ben a p p a re n tly agreed w it h h im .
Perhaps n e it h e r v is u a lis e d i n th e o r i g i n a l p r o d u c tio n o f P ia u tu s
sane c o n ju r in g movements o r s im i la r s ta g e 'b u s in e s s '1 b y S t r o b ilu s
th a „ w ould le a d E u c iio to re q u e s t g r im ly t h a t he sh o u ld s to p h i s
t r io k s and Show a l l h i s p la c e s o f k n a v is h oonceajm ent a t th e
same tim e .
82.
Was t h i s ch o ice o f p lo t s from P la u tu s fo rtu n a te
in i t s
re s u lts ? Though f a r below h is b e s t w o r k ,‘ The Case i s
A lte re d 1 i n theme and con cep t o f f e r s a p ro m is in g v a r ie t y o f
in c id e n ts and scenes, some genuine humour o f c h a ra c te r and
s it u a t io n , J u s t o p p o r tu n ity f o r s a t i r i o
exposure o f a g e n ia l
n a tu re , a d e a l o f S te p h a n o -T rin c u l© h i l a r i t y and no w e a ri^ jn e iy
lo n g
patches o f a n a ly s is and d id a c t ic , un d ra m a tio sa tire .T h o m a s
Ngishe m ig it q u ite J u s t i f i a b l y r e f e r to i t
and mean J u s t w hat he s a id .
as “ t h a t w i t t y m a y "
Nbt h in g i n th e p la y u n -J o n s o n ia n o r
urwrorthy o f Jonson i s due to P la u tu s . I t may be t h a t we sho uld
regard t h i s p la y as one i n w h ic h Jonson x made a fo n n a i p u b lic
appearance w it h two g re a t l i t e r a r y sp o n so rs, Shakespeare and
P la u tu s . U n d o u b te d ly th e p r a c tic e o f the se two o ld m aste rs
gave Jonson th e l i t t l e
encouragement and xxfcfexxfegx a u t h o r it a t iv e
support t h a t even Ben may have re q u ire d i n h is f i r s t g re a t t r i a l
o f and by p u b lic o p in io n .H is l a t e r ‘ arrogance* - i n p a r t maybe
in v e rte d i n f e r i o r i t y - does n o t dispo se o f th e s u g g e s tio n t h a t
he re q u ire d and p r o f it e d b y suoh »qBxm»Tahty s p r i i t u a l sp o n so rsh ip
in h is d r a n a tio i n i t i a t i o n . And to P la u tu s , a t le a s t , he d id
hr
c o n s id e ra b le c r e d it ^ h is a d a p ta tiv e o b lig a tio n s .
(0
One o f P la u tu s ’ s b ro a d e s t fa r c e s , the ’ C a s in a *,
a p p a re n tly begat th e b a s ic id e a o f ‘ Epicoene* — remembering always
th a t Jonson w ould be p re d is p o s e d to fa v o u r suoh a p l o t because
it
le d up to th e d o u b tle s s c o n v in c in g r e v e la tio n t h a t a b o y - g ir l
A
a o to r was a c t u a lly a boy. I n th e o r ig in ^ however, even th e
in d e lic a c y o f ’ Epicoene* i s
f a r outdone i n the ’ husband’ s* and the
e ld e r ly g a ll a n t ’ s m endacious anecdotes o f bedroom e xp e rie n ce s
* i t h C h a lin u s , th e ’ s to o l-p ig e o n * b r id e . I t i s t h is h a l f o f th e
P lo t th a t p ro v id e s th e p la y w i t h i t s
n e a t c o n c lu s io n and
the s u s te n ta tio n th ro u g h o u t o f d ra m a tic ir o n y . On t h i s o cca sio n
v i; i t
t e i i a i y lnT.eresT,iilg %o n o te t h a t " in the ’ A u lu la r ia * ( A c tlJ
do n o t e x i s t . A p p a re n tly , how ever,
in d e b te d f o r t h i s tr u is m to L ib a n ia s w£© suggested th e
s u rly -x tto d c x X k x itx B H h u s b a n d -ta lk a tiv e -w ife p l o t .
33.
Jonson has tr e a te d two themes i n one s e t o f c h a ra c te rs * eschew ing
the id e a o f tw in -p lo ts .M o re o v e r* t h i s tim e th e two are in s e p a ra b le .
I t may be* as has been s u g g e s te d t h a t th e re i s a d is p a r it y i n
temper between th e p l o t from L ib a n iu s and th e p l o t from P la u tu s .
The L ib a n iu s id e a tem pted Jonson in t o th e developm ent o f a
c a r ic a tu r is h humour* th e P la n tin e id e a rem ained pure th e a tr e .
The o b je c tio n o f in c o m p a t ib ilit y p ro b a b ly s m e lls o f th e lamp though Jonson w ould have c o n s id e re d i t
grave - and* i n any oase,
suoh a seasoned p l a y w r i g h t - c r i t i c as Dryden and such a seasoned
p la y g o e r as P efys were e n t h u s ia s t ic a lly o b liv io u s to t h i s d e fe c t
in the stage p r e s e n ta tio n .
On anothefc o c c a s io n Jonson showed h is c r i t i c a l
regard f o r P la u tu s as a m a s te r o f th e comic fonn by p le a d in g
Aloesdmarchus o f th e l C i s t e l l a r i a f as a p a l l i a t i v e p re c e d e n t f o r
(z )
S ordido*s a tte m p t to hang h d m s e if i n f u l l vie w o f th e au dien ce.
“ Is n o t h is a u t h o r it y o f power t o g iv e o u r scene a p p ro b a tio n ? n
asks C o rd a tu s: to v friic h M L tis m e e kly a s s e n ts . The q u e s tio n i s
r e a lly r h e t o r ic a l. The appa ren t im p lic a t io n t h a t f o r Jonson i n
suoh a m a tte r c la s s ic p re ce d e n t o ve rro d e a l l modem o b je c tio n s
is from o th e r sources dem onsta»bly wrong* y e t th e measure o f
regard Shown h e re f o r th e P la n tin e co n ce p t o f comedy i s s u r e ly w
v e ry r e a l. P ro fe s s o rs H e re fo rd and Simpson condemn th e v io le n c e s :
( ‘zy
o f the whole scene and d is p u te the a c c u ra c y o f Ben* s a n a lo g y .v
G iffo r d a p p a re n tly a n tic ip a te d suoh an o b je c tio n from o u r humansr
t im e ly He showed oause why th e d e a th o f suoh a p r o f it e e r i n g
o o m -h o a rd e r w ould be much to th e ta s te s o f an E liz a b e th a n
audience* though he was fo rc e d to agree i t was a q u a in t ly
desperate means o f zsx r a is in g la u g h te r . I f Jonson e rre d i n t h i s
erre d from th e s ta n d p o in t o f h i s day and g e n e ra tio n - i t
can
h a rd ly be c o n s id e re d a gro ss e r r o r o f ta s te when one r e c a lls the
t r a d it io n o f v io le n c e th e n e s ta b lis h e d i n th e th e a tre and th e
prevalence o f v io le n c e ii^ fh e w o rld w ith o u t. B ut t h e 'b r u t a l i t y ' here
is d e f i n i t e l y n o t P la u tin e . The fie rc e n e s s o f lo a t h in g and
s a t ir ic contem pt expressed i n th e a c tio n o f the scene i s J o n s o n ia n .
- p i a u t u s i s n e it h e r in s p i r a t io n n o r p o s t fa c to p a l l i a t i o n . ___________
t' B-& S .Ii.p 76. (2) E .M .O u t.Ill.ii. ( 3 ) H.& S .I.p .385.*.
84.
The ttaao8te.Lj.ar±aii p ro v id e s th e S x ig n t* y e t v i t a l and
oamio* scheme o f ro g u e ry oonduoted I n the house o f an absent owner,
in P ia u tu s m e p r i n c i p a l u s u ip e r i s th e son o f the house and n o t a
p a r a lle l to S u b tle ; b u t h is a b e tto r * T ra n io * i s a k n a v is h s la v e o f
the sane k id n e y as Faoe. i n b o th p ia y s th e a s s is ta n t rascaxs
marshal t h e i r abxe w it s i n a c o m ic a iiy hopeless and s u sp e n se fu l
attem pt to p re v e n t the r e - e n t r y o f th e r i ^ i t f U i owner in t o h is
misused m ansion, i t s tre n g th e n s th e resemoianoe to n o tic e t h a t i n
both oases ih e p r e v a r ic a t io n i s oondoned by the wronged m a s te r.
The same pxay - as G if f o r d observes - suggests to u s * and
doubtless to Jonson * th e l i v e l y a lt e r c a t io n t h a t m u st have
drowned the hubbub o f th e n o is ie s t f i r s t - n i g h t audience t h a t e v e r
assembled to v ie w the “A lc h e m is t" . Grumio and T ra n io are re p la c e d
by Pace* S u b tle * and D o x i. O f co u rse * t h i s id e a o f a raTndd exchange
o f unpie as an t r i e s i s
found elsew here i n Jonson* and though he had
nearer sources o f i n s p i r a t io n than th e Reman* these passages o f
oaok-ohat are s t r o n g ly re d o le n t o f P ia u tu s 1 xove o f ocmio abuse.
Thus* from The “ A lc h e m is t* i t s e x f we may add the f o llo w in g l i s t o f
e x p le tiv e s :4s tin k a r d s * d o g -D O it* whoreson u p s t a r t * m un nu rin g
m a s t if f * baboons* b ra c h , m e n s tiu e * im o o s to rs , doxy* lo c u s ts *
madam s u p p o s ito ry * s c o rp io n s * and c a t e r p i l l a r s i,±a;il^^ne
in in t e n t and te c h n iq u e * tho ug h b e a rin g o c c a s io n a lly the
p o ly s y lla b ic bra nd o f ben.
In th e “ A lc h e m is t" a is o th e m ook-Spanish scene between
(2 )
S u riy * Faoe* S u b tie * and D o n
we have an a d a p ta tio n o f a scene
in the •jeoenulus*1 - w h a te v e r e is e - where th e C a rth a g in ia n tongue
is s im i la r l y abused and “ in t e r p r e t e d * . Suoh p u r e ly v e r b a l o r
le x ic o g ra p h ic a l fu n had a m arked a t t r a c t io n f o r Jonson. i\b t th a t
he was a p a rt from h is age i n T h is : b u t* as u s u a i* he tended to
elaborate and u n d e r lin e th e vogue: he was n o t c o n te n t t o suggest*
as h is g re a t con tem p orary sometimes d id i n th e f i e e t i n g m e n tio n o f
such p u r e iy l i t e r a i y jo c o s i t i e s as “ th e vamansP c ro s s in g th e
Equinox o f ” Queubus*•
I t may be to o t h a t Jonson had P la u tu s i n m ind when
__W ew A t and Pace* a cto r-m a n a g e r and le a d in g oom io* p e ih a p s *
hrSSr ^ ® ^ ° u rit8 8 : ro g u e *p im p * s c a b *d ra b *w h o re m a s te r* m o th * c a te ip in s r*
TL \
eoh* dung^wo m *m a n g o n is in g -s xave.
Is T ,S o .I.
85 •
r e s p e c tiv e ly s te p fo rw a rd as e p ilo g u e to the uA ic h a m is v * and
say i n th e E n g lis h to n g u e *-V o s p la u d it © ! 11 The ssme foxm uia o f
re q u e s t t h a t ends “E p icoe ne11 and V o ipo ne *; and M a c iie n te * ro u n d in g
o f f “ E ve ry Man o u t o f h is Humour11* s p e c if ic a lly m e n tio n s th e
p ro to ty p e o r t h i s p r a c tic e as a m a tte r w i t h i n th e knowledge o f
the s p e c ta to rs * s a yin g * bI w i n n o t do as r ia u t u s i n h i s
A xnpfcitiio* f o r a l l t h is * summi J o v is causa* p x a u d it e . 1*
i n th e case o f a s c h o ia r who* l i k e Jonson* o ft e n p o in ts
o u t d e bts That nobody e is e w o uid su sp e ct* i t
i s p ro b a o iy
reasonable to suggest t h a t th e in d u c tio n to h is le a s t P ia u tin e
comedy* aBartholom ew 1s F a i r 11* w h ic h in tro d u c e s th e m e ch a n ica ls
o f the th e a tre i n
sne p e rso n o f the Staffe-kec»T>^r* Book-h o ld e r*
and S c riv e n e r* i s
a f a i n t echo o f th e “ C u r o u iio 1* * i n w h ic h the
p ro p e rty-m a n makes a d e v a s ta tin g x y u n d rs m a tic appearance.
i n th e d e t a i l o f seme o f h is c h a ra c te rs and i n c e r t a in
tones o f many o r h is c h a ra c te rs Jonson Dears a s t r i k i n g
resemoiance to P ia u tu s . i n a way* th e masks o r P a ia u tu s 1 stage
appear on B e n 's . He added many; he e la b o ra te d m o s t; b u t th e
“masksH(pe rson as) h is humour ty p e s rem ain* o u r io u s iy d e v o id o f
l i g h t and shade and c r e d ib le s u b t le t y * s im p lif ic a t io n s and t
f ix a t io n s o f c h a ra c te r* tim e -e x p o s u re s t h a t sh o u ld be m e re iy
snapshots* a t t it u d e s * poses* a f f e c t a t io n s * whims* fro w n s * o r
g rin s he id th ro u g h o u t the a c tio n o f th e p ia y u n a lte r e d .
The resemoianoe i s n a t u r a l i y m ost masked w i t h i n the
s p e c ia l F ia u tin e sphere o f e x c e lle n c e * the u n d e rw o rld . The
depth o f the o b lig a t io n i s
a t once ap p a re n t when one r e c a lls
J o n s o n ^ ro g u e s1 g a n e r y o f bawds and w hores* sw aggering
b ra g g a rts * quaoks* s h a rp e rs * s iy * s e r v ii© v a n e t s , t o a d ie s : F iy ,
Faoe* D o n * Mosca* F e r r e t* B u ffo n e * B o b a d il* th e q u in te s s e n c e o f
low comedy i n Ben. The v e r y p r o p o r tio n a te number o f these and
t h e ir p e e rs i t s e i f suggests a f f i n i t y between P ia u tin e
pre ced en t and J o n s o n ia n p r a c t ic e . B ut i t may □© t h a t th e
36
o b lig a tio n i s m ost o b vio u s i n the p a r a s ite q u a lit y o f h is s e rv in g
men and 1fe a s t hounds1, i n t h e i r p a t ie n t endurance o f blows and
e x p le tiv e s , t h e i r ir r e p r e s s ib le
sp o n g in e ss, t h e i r com plete m o ra l
w o rth le s s n e s s , t h e i r fr e q u e n t, n o t u n n a tu r a l,la r r e n ta tio k s \ t h e i r
in g e n u ity i n r a s c a li t y (as c o n tra s te d w it h the badinage o f t h e i r
peers i n S hakespeare), t h e i r c h ro n ic p o v e r ty and h u n g e ^ \n 9 v e r
s y m p a th e tic a lly tr e a te d i n J o n s o n ). Any one o f them i n these regards
m ig ht stand f o r a l l i n Jonson1s P ia u tin e p h ra se :
* a t P ie c o m e r
T a kin g y o u r m eal o f steam i n , from coo ks1 s t a l l s ,
Where l i k e th e f a t h e r o f h u n g e r you d id w a lk
P ite o u s ly c o s tiv e .**
And t h is p e r s o n if ic a t io n o f P a ra s itis m fo llo w s i n th e •A lc h e m is t*
hard upon th e e q u a lly P ia u tin e n a iv e ty o f in t r o d u c t io n and
d e lig h t i n h e o to r in g re p a rte e :
•Pace
: You m ost n o to rio u s w h e lp , you in s o le n t s la v e ,
Dare you do th is ?
S ubtle : Yes, f a i t h ; y e s , f a i t h .
Pace
:
Why, who
Am I , my m ungrel? Who am I ? .
S ubtle : 1*11 t e l l you**.
Whereupon he i s as good as h i s w o rd . Ifew, no doubt th e re were
enough o f suoh s h i f t y and s h i f t l e s s f o l k i n Jon son1s London, b o th
b e fo re and a fb e r th e P o or Laws, and no doubt th e y were
d is p r o p o r tio n a te ly numerous and Im p o rtu n a te i n such o f Ben’ s
haunts as ta v e rn s and th e a tr e s ; y e t I d o u b t w h e th e r th e E n g lis h
c o u n te rp a rts o f th e Greco-Roman p a r a s ite s e v e r ousted t h e i r
c la s s ic pax p ro to ty p e s fr€m Jon son *s m in d , e xce p t o e ih a p s i n
1Bartholomew* s P a ir * .
I n s h o r t, th e o b j e c t i v i t y , i n t e l l e c t u a l
in g e n u ity , u n q u a lif ie d r a s o a l it y , and c r in g in g abasement o f Ben’ s
ffiis e h ie f-n a k e rs and u n d e r lin g s i s d i s t i n c t l y a P ia u tin e d e b t.
As u s u a l, suoh borrow ed t a le n t s ga ined in t e r e s t a t h is hands.
E x a c tly t h e same p ro ce ss o f a d o p tio n and e la b o r a tio n i s to be
( I ) Q*g.Pug: Woe to th e s e v e ra l c u d g e ls t h a t m ust s u f f e r on t h is
(o\ <»a rn
•
(oaok.
'w o r .E r g a s ilu s and I'ennyboy j u n i o r * s ( “ The S ta p ie u) brave
m uster o f “ h i 11-men * , o r p a r a s i t i c tradesm en*
noted i n h is re p re s e n ta tio n o f crabbed Age and g u i l e f u l Youth i n
t h e ir p e rp e tu a l b a t t le o f w it h .
And the m e n tio n o f t h i s s tru g g le b rin g s us to the x&sandfilKQttc
p o in ts o f resemblaaance between t h e i r co n c e p tio n s o f corrio p l o t .
In t h e ir oomedies th e a c tio n o f the p la y may be regarded as a
s t r u g g l e #be tween two p a r t ie s w h ich i n t u r n may be re s o lv e d th u s :
W it,R oguery, and B ra in s v . In n o ce n ce , G u ll a b i l i t y , and S t u p id it y .
The f a c t t h a t i n th e c o n c lu s io n th e rogues are b a f f le d i s p o o r
p u n is h re n t and com pensation f o r t h e i r asoendancy th ro u g h o u t the
p la y : th e y re c e iv e a f i n a l o u f f w h ich m e re ly suggests t h a t th e
a u th o r lik e s them as l i t t l e
as he lik e s t h e i r dupes. Suoh i s
th e
long p e rio d o f uneasy triu m p h and such th e b lo o d le s s
d e fe a t e xp e rie n ce d by Lysidsm us o f th e ’ C a sin a 1 o r L a b ra x o f the
’ Rudens’ , o r Demaenetus o f th e ’ fit A s in a r ia * , and Pace o f the
’ A lc h e m is t*, o r the f i n a l l y
‘ p e eled * O nion o f ’ The Oase i s A lt e r e d 1.
To P la u tu s a ls o Jonson may be i n p a r t in d e b te d f o r a c e r ta in
brand o f a fc ire , an exposure o f human weakness i n a lo n g t ir a d e o r
d ra m a tic a l ly -u n n e o e s s a ry d ia lo g u e . I t appears i n P la u tu s i n suoh
passages as the r e v e la t io n o f th e m y s te rie s o f a la d y ’ s w ardrobe
i n th e * E p id ic u s * , and the t o i l e t scene o f F h ila tiu m and
Soapha i n th e ‘ M o s te lla r ia * • and i n th e p e r e n n ia l f a v o u r it e ,
fem inine ways o f s q u a n d e rin g male-made money.
Ifcw a s im ila r
p e c u lia r it y i s seen f a r more f r e q u e n t ly i n Jonson, nam ely a
tendency to ig n o re th e tr u e in t e r e s t s o f h is p la y b y in s e r t in g
what i s v i r t u a l l y an essay c r i t i c i s i n g and a n a ly s in g th e m a tte r
in hand a s, f # r exam ple, R o s a lin d analyses th e s ig n s o f lo v e . Such
are Jonson* s d is q u is it io n s ott th e processes o f alchemy i n th e
P lay on t h a t s u b je c t, o r on th e processes o f p l a y - w r i t i n g i n th e
1Magnetio L a d y’ , o r on th e m y s te rie s o f th e cosm e tic a r t i n ’ B a r t ’ s
P a ir * . I n h is case suoh d is q u is it io n s te n d to degenerate in t o
tedious o a ta lo g u is in g w h ic h suggests a re lu o ta n o e to prune th e
» id e g rw th s o f a le a rn e d m in d. O f t h i s te n d e n cy i n Jonson th e m ost
w o r k a b le in s ta n c e among many i s p ro b a b ly th e s a t i r i c P a lin o d e to
C y n th ia 's R e v e ls '. S t e l l a r i n e f f e c t i s
th e d e lib e r a te s q u e e z in g
o f fa n c y to y ie ld a c lim a x o f comic in g e n u ity as when Pag
speculates on the cata lo g u e o f im p o s s ib le ta s k s t h a t may be s e t
him* o r i n th e ’ S ta p le o f Ifews’ ( A c t I I , S c . i . ) where th e ’ A u lu la r ia ’
p ro vid es Ben w it h a J e s t on th e m is e r ly h o a rd in g o f even smoke.
I t w ould be rash to a s c rib e these fe a tu re s o f Jbnson’ s
work to h is knowledge and re g a rd f o r P la u tu s . C le a r ly th e y
d e riv e from, h is own n a tu r a l te m p e r, w h ich was m a rk e d ly a n a ly t ic ,
s y s te m a tic , r a t io n a lis i n g , f a c t u a l, s c i e n t i f i c i n a rough manner.
He loved f a c t s and th e t a b u la t io n o f fa c ts i n h is p la y s as w e ll as
it> UAorus
in h is n o le -b o o k s . We dare n o t say he owesv any s<x*fcbtxkzx&boi o f
t h is Im pulse tow ards t a b u la t io n and e x h a u s tiv e e x p o s itio n . T h is
we may, how ever, aver^and on h is own p re c e d e n t, t h a t P la u tu s ’ s
p ra c tic e hannonised w it h and was ta ke n as J u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r h is
n a tu ra l i n c l i n a t i o n i n t h is m a tte r . And y e t what i s
’ p o s t* comes
w it h in a reasonable s u s p io io n o f b e in g ’ p ro m te r’ i n one so
f a m ilia r w it h h is p re c e d e n ts as Jonson.
How f a r may a c c id e n ta l resemblances o f c h a ra c te r
be taken to q u a l i f y th e many a p p a re n t d e b ts o f th e one to th e
other? To ta k e an a d d it io n a l oase: w ould i t
be un sa fe to assume
th a t beoause P la u tu s ’ s J e s ts and Jenson’ s J e s ta f r e q u e n tly
savour © f sadism Jonson i s i n t h i s a b o rro w e d I s one i n t h is
th e
n a tu ra l p ro d u c t o f con tem p orary London, th e o th e r o f Rome?
C e r ta in ly suoh a background m ust e x is t to make p o s s ib le th e p u b lic
p re s e n ta tio n o f seme o f th e w i t t i c i a n s o f b o th p la y w r ig h ts . Thus
i t would re q u ire an audience f a m il ia r w ith p u b lic t o r t u r e and s n s
e xe cutio n to laugh w i t h easy grace a t th e savage in d e lic a c y o f
the Lady Frampui - Prudence d ia lo g u e i n ir tiic h Im a g in a tiv e
p e n a ltie s are d e vise d f o r an e r r i n g t a i l o r , punishm ents v a r y in g
fr« n * c a s t r a t io n w it h h is own s c is s o rs to h a v in g
.
g an e l l o f t a f f e t a
Drawn th ro u g h h is g u ts by way o f g l y s t e r * .
89.
The E liz a b e th a n s wore n o t te n d e r, b a t s u r e ly th e h a rsh emphasis o f
t h is i s Roman.
And t h i s i n t u r n suggests th e resemblance between
the w e ig h t o f JonsoAs and P la u tu s 's je s t s . Heavy-handed P la u tu s
may be, b a t hs i s f e a t h e r - li g h t compared w it h h is a d m ire r.
Rudeness o f je s t s and sadism a p a r t, th e p la y s o f
these two have a n o th e r 1tem p eram e ntal1 re se m b la n ce .. I r e f e r to
the fre q u e n t tone o f co a rse n e ss, v u l g a r it y and, p a r t i c u l a r l y ,
bawdiy i n Jonson* s p la y s and poems. I t i s n o t t h a t Jonson* s
gross je s t s and re fe re n c e s to bawdry are m a rk e d ly more numerous
th a n , sa y, Shakespeare* s. By no means. The r e a l d i s t i n c t i o n
between Shakespeare’ s and Jonson* s p r c t ic e i n t h i s branch o f
dram atic a r t may be p u t s im p ly th u s : Shakespeare* s lewd askanoes
and doubles-entendres appear to in c re a s e i n number w i t h e v e ry
re a d in g o f h is p la y s ; b a t n e it h e r fo o tn o te s n o r a smuthound* s
scent are n e cessa ry to d e te c t Jonson* s a t th e f i r s t w h i f f .
Shakespeare g e n e r a lly a llo w s in n o c e n c e ,o r ig n o ra n c e ,o r p ru d e ly
to save i t s b lu sh e s b e h in d a t le a s t one innoouous in t e r p r e t a t io n .
Suoh s a v in g o f face Jonson does n o t p e n n it a n ym o re th a n P la u tu s .
T h e ir bawdry i s
f o r t h r i g h t , u n d e r lin e d , u n a d u lte ra te d by any
concession to de cen t o b s c u r ity , a lm o s t,in d e e d , e x p o s itio n a r y
bsw diy. I n f i n e , Jonson and P la u tu s i n th e lewd je s t s o f t h e i r
p la y s are a t one.
Y e t, however s im i la r t h e i r v e in s o f co a rse n e ss, one
h e s ita te s to a t t r ib u t e to P la u tu s any fo im a tiv e in flu e n c e o v e r
I
Jonson i n t h i s . F o r one t h in g , Ben’ s r e la t io n s h ip w it h M a r t ia l
reve als th e same f e a tu r e , and m ig h t have, w h o lly o r i n p a r t ,
e ffe c te d th e same r e s u lt . F o r a n o th e r, th e infam ous ‘ C o n v e rs a tio n s '
e s ta b lis h a grave p r o b a b i l i t y t h a t Jonson* s p r iv a t e x * t a l k was
.
• t i l l t|o re lewd th a n h is w r i t t e n w o rit. We may, th e re f o r e , w it h
|
c o n v ic tio n assume i n Jonson th e e x is te n c e o f a b ia s tow ards
\
bawdry^and a r t le s s bawdry a t th a t-a n te c e d e n t to and in d e p e n d e n t
j
_ o fh is l a t e r in tim a te a c q u a in ta n c e s h ip w ith P la u tu s . Whence i t
[
90.
came i s a n o th e r m a tte r * w h e th e r b e g o tte n w h ile t r a i l i n g a r ik e i n
h is irro re s s io n a b le tee ns and n o u ris h e d by the r o u ^ i and tum ble
o f the barns to nr: in g p e rio d t h a t fo llo w e d * o r* who knows* a dim
h e rita g e from the Lowland s to c k t h a t h e lp e d to produce b o th Ben
and Bam s. B u t* how ever^ n a t u r a l i t may have been to him in
p r iv a te l i f e * we m ust conolude t h a t i t s presence i n h is p la y s
was a t le a s t s a n c tio n e d ; i f n o t s u g g e s te d ,b y th e p re c e d e n t o f
P la u tu s* c o n firm e d * t h a t is * and may be s tre n g th e n e d .
I n m ost o th e r p la y w r ig h ts t h is resemblance o f p r a c tic e
between Jonson and P la u tu s m ig h t w e ll be e x p la in e d away as th e
in e v ita b le oonsequence o f a d e s ire to p le a se s im ila r au dien ces,
though c e n tu rie s a p a r t. T h is w i l l n o t meet the case o f Jonson.
He was* i n s p ite o f a common assum ption* pre p a re d to make
concessions to p u b lic ta s te * b u t he d id n o t make th e same
t
concession s y s t e n 'a t ic a lly . T h e re fo re * as h is bawdry i s c o n s is te n t
i t may be s a id to come from Tfcci w i t h in .
I n th e p re s e n t in s ta n c e la rg e allo w an ces m ust be made
f o r p u r e ly c o in c id e n ta l resem blances o f circ u m s ta n c e s * p e rs o n a l*
and r a c ia l tem per. Even so, th e re rem ain am ing th e noted and
unnotect ^ a f f i n i t i e s and p a r a l le l s between th e w orks o f these two
a s u b s ta n tia l re s id u e o f u n q u e s tio n a b le d e bts o f th e one to the
o th e r. I n t h e i r n a tu re * as appears* the se de bts are somewhat
le s s v i t a l th a n Jo n so n 1s o b lig a tio n s t o s e v e ra l o th e r L a tin s .
( I ) The o t t e r observed c it a t io n s and a llu s io n s to P la u tu s are
BVlt
are ra re i n
and “ a u r a l l y fre q u e n t m ‘ The Case1 w h ich i s here
ttis o o lla n e o u s re fe re n c e s may be ta b u la te d th u s :
- on qe^jem onial. (C u n n * I.p .3 1 7 .)
I 8™ ~ a * * * * * s a t i r i c J ib e . t C u n n . I . p . 397)
.a) The S ile n t W om an*II*2. a n o th e r. (C u n n .1 .4 1 9 .)
r£\
e)
' %{
ttt*
JII*P*283.
I^il. a Lat i n i s m . (Ounn. 1.437.)
- a worse Latinism.^
g) Alohem1«+^wWTrnan’ IV ,2 T 7s ig n s o f d is te m p e r. ( C u n n .I.p .441)
(b) T
h
e
» t ?1? 1
w u n n .II.p .6 5 .)
, l j C u n n . I l l p . 395 - o f ' a ' f o o l S d , h i r f o l l ? ? raV a ffa n za ,(° U m * I I *297>
kj
dA ttt"4 0 ?' - u n r0 ffa rk a b ie .
11) Tho P o ii* ? . ? : “ a V 9 ry a n c ie n t and s ta le 1s*+
b is d a u ^ t © r ( i w ^ fv ir 0? ! ?1? ’ *P 1?Nin^SSr l s P a r^ ia g in ju n c t io n s to
in a
A u l u l a i i a 1) . The same passage, i s tr e a te d
r ! T*® D9P V * an A s s ' ( Cunn. l l . p . 5 § V J w it h m ost
'
(m T
in c re a s e i n d e t a i l .
Asotus^
names* such as A c o la s tu s —Polypraanonle g S y lh u i^ r !
00* 0an98 V o ltu rlu m as s o u b riq u e t f o r a
91.
For fev/ o f them are o f th e s p i r i t ; th e y do n o t to u c h h is
im a g in a tio n o r p e n e tra te th ro u g h h is i n t e l l e c t to th e s o u l.
Rather th e y are concerned w it h f a c t , h in t s on c ra fts m a n s h ip
and d ra m a tic te c h n iq u e , on p l o t s , and ty p 9 s o f c h a ra c te r, sources
o f humour, and th e t r i e d and tr u s te d s it u a t io n s and business o f
ocar.edy t h a t are a p p a re n tly e t e r n a l. I n b r i e f , th e n , Jonson
appears to have a n o ta b le a d m ira tio n and re s p e c t f o r P la u tu s th e
d ra m a tis t - b u t a t same d is ta n c e on t h is s id e o f id o l a t r y .
92*
V
TTe r g i l .
I t i s p o s s ib le to cctr.e a t Jonson1s e s tim a te o f Tre r g i] f ^
w ith u n u su a l d ire c tn e s s f r a r h i s
re p re s e n ta tio n o f V e r g il i n
the ‘ P o e ta s te r1 and fr a n c e r t a in fe a tu re s o f t h a t r e p re s e n ta tio n
whioh a r is e from o th e r ttaottxdxs causes th a n the needs o f th e
d ra ra jW iih w h ic h , i n p a r t* th e y c o n f l i c t .
# T hat w h ic h he h a th w r i t
I s w it h suoh judgm ent laboured?and d i s t i l l e d
Through a l l th e n e e d fu l uses o f o u r li v e s ,
That c o u ld a man remember b u t h i s
lin e s ,
He sho uld n o t to u ch a t any s e rio u s p o in t ,
But he m ig h t b re a th e h i s s p i r i t o u t o f h im .
This encomium o f ^ e r g i l -
s u b s t a n t ia lly Jonson1s own - i s pronounced
by T ib u llu s b e fo re th e D iv in e Poet makes h is e n t r y . On e n q u ir in g
about the a p pa ren t a m b ig u ity o f th e la s t l i n e , Augustus* Caesar i s
assured t h a t t h i s means th e re a i s to be found i n ^ e r g i l f s w orks
an a p p o s ite p re c e p t o r d ir e c t iv e a llu s io n a g a in s t a l l th e m a jo r
e xig e n cie s o f l i f e .
Suoh u n iv e r s a l ric h n e s s o f s ig n i f i c a n t
sug ge stion and q u o t a b i l i t y Caesar commends as 1a m ost w o rth y
v ir t u e 1. In t h i s , as w i l l a p p e a r, i s h e a rd the v o ic e o f Jonson.
O f o o u rs e , t h is passage together^? w it h i t s
c o n te x t
c o n s titu te s the lo c u s c la s s ic u s o f one o f one o f th e t a n t a lis i n g
ir y s te r le s o f E n g lis h l i t e r a r y h i s t o r y : I s " e r g i l S h a ke sp e a re ? ^
« r Chapman? o r a n o th e r contem porary? w h o lly o r i n p a rt? o r i s
s te p ly
" t 'r g il
e r g i r f ^ o r t n n a t e ly j th e e x a c t scope o f th e p re s e n t e n q u iry
c a lls f o r no e x p re s s io n o f o p in io n on these h yp o th e se s. Yet i n a
[
1 )
i o e $ a s t e r 6 8 A +J^
f 02311 *
1 *
(3) O r, k e e p in g i n m ind th e sp e a ke rs, sh o u ld t h i s be li m it e d to *
say, "on a l l occa sio n s © f d i g n if ie d o r p o l i t i c and s o c ia l i s t f t x s i
in te rc o u rs e 11. T h is w ould m a t e r i a l ly a f f e o t th e arguments Tftiioh
p-nd d i f f i c u l t y i n r e c o n c ilin g w i t h v e r g i l th e s u g g e s tio n o f
the oemmon to u ch * and u n i v e r s a l i t y o f in t e r e s t .
(4 )G riffo rd . He d id n o t , how ever, make t h is th e a s s e r tio n t h a t
H e re fo rd and Simpson on one o c c a s io n o la im (H .& S . I . p . 4 3 2 .)
(5) P ie a y.
\o) H e re fo rd and S im p so n .T h e irs i s a m a s te rly re v ie w o f a l l th e
evidence. I t h in g e s la r g e ly , h o w e ve r, on an e x p la n a tio n o r
e lu o id a tio n o f Jonson1s phrase w h ic h , a p p lie d t o v e r g i i one may
Y Q ll boggle a t,v iz ."re a rm e d w ith l i f e " .
th e o iy o f h y p e r b o lic a l
r e a lis a t io n on Jonson* s p a r t w o u ld a t once d isp o se o f t h e i r
d iff ic u lt y .
93.
9
way our e v id e n t in c id e n t a lly throw s an in t e r e s t in g , i f u n d e c is iv e ,
s id e lig h t on the m y s te ry .
ihe p o s it io n na y be put. th u s . i f ,
as i s
ii:ost p ia u s ib ie , the ^ i r g i i o f the p la y i s Jo n so n ’ s s in g le -m in d e d
assay a t rep re sending- the 'flv g L x o f h i s t o r y , we are face d w it h a
paradox. Jonson re p re s e n ts him as t i e
h a if - d iv in e o ra c Ie -S e e r o f
renaissance t r a d i t i o n . I n t h i s Ben i s i n ste p w it h h is co n te m p o ra rie s
He even im p lie s q u it e o ie a n y acceptance o f seme roua o f i n t e l l e c t u a l
"so rte s v e r g ilia n a e * , s t i l l fa v o u re d i h h i s d a y, i n th e absence o f
tea le a v e s . Of th e s i n c e r i t y o f h is re g a rd , th u s e x p re s s e d , no
q u estio n can oe made. H o ra ce , T I d u i I u s , and G a llu s , c o l l e c t i v e l y ,
re p re s e n tin g the $ood p o e t, speak f o r Jonson h im s e lf, ivforeover, t h s i r
eulogies o f V i r g i l are p u rp le p a tche s in tro d u c e d w it h marked la c k
o f d ra m a tic p r o p r ie t y . I t i s
as though th e y were wrung o u t o f
Jonson’ 8 n o t e a s ily moved h e a r t by same o v e rm a s te rin g xove. Beyond
q u e s tio n , the p o e t Jonson i s
spe a kin g th ro u g h h is m outhpieces
w ith a b s o lu te d ir e c tn e s s . There i s , how ever, a m ig h ty ‘‘ b u t" i n th e
case. Note th e q u a l i t y o f q u o t a f o iiit y and u n iv e r s a l a p p l i c a b i l i t y
which i s p a r t i c u i a n y p r a is e d as V i r g i i 1s supreme q u a l it y . But t h a t
very m a s te r emphasis o f the e u io g y i s e m p h a tio a n y n o t su p p o rte d
oy the p ra o tio e o f Jonson i n h is w o rk s . F o r, i n f a c t , he does n o t
re s o rt to the s o rte s v e r g iiia n a e ; he does n o t c a n i n
V i r g i l as a
g h o s tiy c o n s u lta n t1 I n “ th e n e e d fu i o c c a s io n s " o f h i s own o r o f
h is c h a ra c te rs * d a il y “ c o n fe re n c e 1’ ; he Shows s u r p r is in g ly l i t t l e
rQgard f o r th e more o b v io u s iy s u g g e s tiv e and o r a o u ia r o f th e
Roman’ s lin e s ; h i s a llu s io n s to V i r g i l are m a in ly o f a v e r y
d if f e r e n t o rd e r.
I t m ig h t appear t h a t t h is r e la t iv e - and i t i s a v e r y
r e la tiv e - n e g ie o t o f th e accepted b e a u tie s and m agic o f V i r g i l
strengthens th e h y p o th e s is t h a t th e V i r g i l o f "P o e ta s te r" has a
to p ic a l s ig n ific a n c e , a t le a s t i n p a r t , and t h a t Jo n so n *8 enthusiasm
Is roused, n o t by the Raman, whose w orks he does n o t r e s o r t to as
J ffia n as he m ig h t, bu t by same oeioved con tem p orary — u n id e n t if ie d .
fI)
pn+
v*
«•
,
a rvo a re n tiy accept TTi r g i l * s method o f cam-cosing v e rs e
• n r s , as p ro s e , as reco rde d b y S u e to n iu s . H.Sc S . 1 . 168. 75
So f a r as th e p re s e n t e n q u iry i s concerned? t h is s u p p o s itio n i s
v it ia t e d by the o ft- p r o v e n f a c t t h a t even from a 1f a v o u r it e 1 p o e t
jonson* s q u o ta tio n s are a p t to be m o v e rw h e lm in g ly o fte n e r
m atte rs o f f a o t th a n m a tte rs o f fa n o y , wisdom , o r even m o r a lit y ,
jonson quotes v e r g i l o fte n enough to pro ve t h a t he Tsnew h is w orks
as in t im a t e ly as we should e x p e c t, and he q u o te s , f o r him , a
s u f f ic ie n t number o f V e rg il* s more ^ p o e tic * lin e s to show th a t he
f
had a v e ry g re a t re g a rd f o r such b e a u tie s . What then? Is v fc r g il
sim ply v e r g il? h is t o r ic a l? u n s y m b o lic a l? I do n o t t h in k s o , and
as I see i t ,
th e re i s one s im p le e x p la n a tio n t h a t o b v ia te s the
apparent pa rad ox. A t W e stm in ste r Jonson was b ro u g h t up to regard
v e r g il as he re p re s e n ts him h e re , s a c ro s a n c t, above e n vy, and
calumny, and even above c r i t i c i s m , th e v e ry a p o th e o s is o f P o e try .
Ifcw, as we know, th e re was one co n ce p t and id e a l t h a t c o u ld be
tru s te d to s t i r th e p ro fo u n d e s t depths o f Jonson* s s o u l, and t h a t
was P o e try , v e r g i l , he had been ta u g h t and f e l t , re p re s e n te d
th a t id e a l, as no o th e r ,
v i r g i i i s f th e r e f o r e , i n my v ie w , b o th
the h i s t o r i c a l v fe r g il and th e symbol o f True P o e try f o r Jon son ,
p ro b a b ly always and c e r t a in l y h e re . I t i s t h i s sym bo lic
s ig n ific a n c e t h a t arouseS Ben*s p a s s io n a te rhapsody on v e r g i l ,
a p a rt fr o n and above h is v e r y r e a l lo v e o f th e g re a t p o e t i n p e rs o n .
There may be p re s e n t i n t h e p ic t u r e same measure o f re fe re n c e to
a contem porary, b u t th e re i s no need to suppose i t :
i n w h ich I
agree w it h P ro fe s s o rs H e re fo rd and Simpson, th o ug h on v e r y d i f f e r e n t
grounds. And t h i s h y p o th e s is e x p la in s sway the
th e o ry
and p r a c tic e q u ite as w e ll as th e c o n flic tin g ^ a n d in h e r e n t ly ta m b c
im p ro b a b le jh y p o th e s is t h a t V ip g ril i s Shakespeare, o r Chapman, o r
anybody e ls e .
Our e n q u iry p ro p e r proceeds from th e p o in t in c id e n t a lly
»ade above t h a t Jonson assented to th e c o n v ic tio n and c o n v e n tio n
o f h is tim e ythat^as a n o e t ^ V e rg il had no s u p e r io r . I t i s h a rd to
ira g in e j ongon g o in g w ith th e t id e o f o p in io n . Y et we f in d no
h in u o f o p p o s itio n to i t
in
t h is m a tte r . Was Camden* s in flu e n c e to o
strong? o r d id he f in d th e w e ig h t o f a n c ie n t and modem c r i t i c a l
a p p ro va l to o pow errux to ce overborne? C e rta in It* i s t h a t t a c i t i y
and a x p i i c i t x y he b e lie v e d t h a t xri r g i i was indeed Apoxio -
though
o th e r liidiuoyrs o r uiympus came as r e a d ily 00 h is m ind and ware
o f te n o r germane to h is needs as a d r a m a tis t.
We have n o te d above the com p ara tive in fre q u e n c y o f
Jon8on! s p h ilo s o p h ic * o r a p h o r is t ic * o r im a g in a tiv e * o r “ d ire c tiv e ^
c it a t io n s o f v i r g i n s w ork - n o tw ith s ta n d in g h is e u lo g y o f
V lr g ix 's q u o t a o iiit y * F o r den •‘ th e n e e d fu i uses o f o u r liv e s "
had a p p a re n tly a q u ite p e o u iia r m eaning; h is b o rro w in g s are o f a
d is t in o t x y s p e o ia x is t n a tu re * By t h is I mean t h a t o u t o f some
43 s p e c if ic re fe re n c e s o f v a r y in g le n g th (most v e ry b r ie f) n o xess
th a n 32 are i n s u p p o rt o f s c e n ic o r e q u a lly f a c t u a l d e t a ils o f
the masques* i n o th e r w ords* Judged cy deeds and n o t b y the
words o f “P o e ta s te r"* Ben1s re g a rd f o r V i r g i l * s u n iv a rs a x u t i x i t y
has re fe re n c e m a in ly to V i r g i l th e sch o xa rxy a u t h o r it y on L a t in
f o x k - io r e , th e m y th o lo g y * r e lig io u s and s o c ia l r i t e s *
r a th e r th a n
to V i r g i i th e i n s p i r a t io n a l a d v is e r on o u r ‘‘n e e d fu l u s o s * * ^
I b r i s t h i s a ix : f o r a sn m ixa r tre a a n e n t o f V l r g i i i s to
oe noted i n th e q u o ta tio n s rro m h is w orks t h a t appear in s e t o r as
gxosses i n Jo n so n 1s m a jo r pxays and poems. I n th e se * o f th e l i
m entioned in s ta n c e s some 6 o r 7 are m erexy f a c t u a l re fe re n c e s
to such Roman s u p e r s t it io n s and a n t iq u it ie s as uie ft-h a n a e d
c r ie s 11
an o d a t io n a r y p r e c a u t i o n * a u n iv e r s a l s u p e r s t it io n ^ 4 )
and a s o h o ia rx y use o f the name u0orydonSi ^
The f ln a x p o s it io n i s t h i s * t h a t i n th e w orks w h ich
are and were h is s ta ke s to th e w id e s t feme* Jonson q u o te s th e
more im a g in a tiv e * th o u g h tfU x * m oreaT ir g ix ia n 11lin e s o f V i r g i l o n ly
f o u r o r f iv e tim e s * One o f th e s e i s an e x tre m e ly f a it h f u x
(6 )
v e ro a i t r a n s la t io n o f A e n e id *IV * 11* 160- 188 , th e l o r t y d e s c r ip tio n
See q u o ta tio n above rrcm “ p o e ta s te r* * v * i*
0 u n n * i.p * 4 2 8 .- “ The S iie n t Woman11*
d o . p * 3 I 8 . - “ SeJanus*•
4J
d o *p *X 3 8 **- uB*M *O uta*
>5
d o .p * l5 * — ^ B *I4 *In .tt
96.
o f Uueen D id o 18 xove and vhe p e r s o n if ic a t io n o f Rumour, sexected
by Jonson, vbe c o n te x t c o n s id e re d , as a te s v -p ie c e to v in d ic a te
V i r g i x ^ c ia im s to im m o r t a lit y , and to v in d ic a te a is o i l l s own
p e o u iia r method o f 11h L to h -la ik in g fvt o Parnassus as a tra n S xa *Q r.
<
V \
One i s th e o id o s f o f tru is m s on tn e b r e v it y o f x if e * s good fh in g & t
em inentxy ono o f the quotaoxa id e a s m entioned above, b u t f a r from
c o p y rig h t to v i r g i x . Jonson ‘‘ f e l t * 1 t h i s q u o ta tio n , and rep ea ted i t
in Epigram ixXX. The t h i r d i s an a p h o r is tio iliu s t r a t io n - o u m (3 )
d e f i n i t i o n o f t in e n o b i l i t y , u n c h a r a c t e r is tic a l l y m is a p p lie d ay Ben
to a o io w n , f o r humour. The x a s t i s a p r e t t y n io tu r e o f “ n e tte d
(4 )
sunbeams" on w a x l o r w a te r,p e rh a p s - i f th e t r a n s la t io n aoove be
excepted -
th e m ost im a g in a tiv e and p o e tic d e b t Jonson owes to
V ir g ix .
i n th e masques th e s to r y i s the same: f a c t s , axways f a c t s ;
(5 )
(6 )
(Y)
and a g a in m a in xy about r e l ig io u s , s u p e r s t it io u s , m y th o lo g ic a l
^ m a tte rs , o r m a tte rs p e r t a in in g beyond d is c la m in a tio n t o a n
th re e .
So one i s a g a in b ro u g h t up a g a in s t th e s u r p r is in g c o n c lu s io n t h a t
f o r Ben Jonson the e ve ryd a y u s e fu ln e s s and p e rtin e n c e o f v i r g i n s
works were c o n fin e d t o t h e i r in c id e n t a l Roman a n t iq u it ie s .
T h is thro w s l i g h t on th e man h im s e if , as b e fo re ra n a rk e d ,
and the n a tu re o f sane o f th e re fe re n c e s i n h is masques throw s y e t
m ore. T h u s ,in t h a t he r e f e r s to each tw ic e , i t may be concluded
th a t he p a r t i c u l a r l y adm ired th e p ic tu r e o f Rumour and tna
(3)
m e te o ro io g io a l p o r te n ts t h a t a tte n d e d the u n io n o f D ido and Aeneas,
though th e second i s m a rk e d ly la c k in g i n o u ts ta n d in g p o e tic q u a lit y ,
When these two presum ably f a v o u r it e passages are ta ke n
w ith a n o th e r commended passage frcm V i r g i l we may s a f e ly conclude
th a t the p o e tic q u a l i t i e s cceanon to a n
Ben p a r t i c u l a r l y adm ired i n
th re e were q u a l it ie s w h ic h
V i r g i n s w o rk , and w hich ne was
^presu m ab ly m inded to reproduce i n h i s own c o rre s p o n d in g e f f o r t s .
(1) “And f o r h is tr u e use o f t r a n s la t in g men
i t s t i l l h a th ceen a w o rk o f as muoh p a m u
^ ,
i n c le a r e s t ju d g n e n ts , as to in v e n t o r makeM - “ P o e ta s te rs
(2) Ounn. l. p . 4 3 9 ; (3 ) d o .p .444. (D id he fa k e the book down f o r 3 sad
t*\
\4 ; 0 u n n . ii#p .3 0 u . ( 5 ) e . g . 0 u n n . iI I . p p . I 6 o , 2 3 , 4 u .
<4?
(6 ) e .g .d o .p .5 2 .
»{ O u n n . ill. p p . 1 1 ,1 2 ,2 3 ,2 4 ,2 5 ,2 3 ,4 u ,4 x ,3 , 4 , x66; d o . 11 . p . 553.
Vo) Both are In V i r g i n s reading above. O th e rs in Ounn.iIX.pp.
(26 and 61.
The t h i r d p assag e i n q u e s tio n r e f e r s to ^ a r g i l 's p ic tu r e
of “C a m illa , Queen o f th e TTo l s c i a n s , c e le b r a te d by v e r g il" - s a y s
Jonson him s e l f - " th a n whose v e r s e s n o th in g can be im agined
irore e x q u i s i t e ..* She i s , l ik e Ben1s own o ld m o th e r, " b e l l a t r i x " ,
one who d e s p is e s fem in in e s e r v i l i t y and d o m e s tic ity n sed p r o e lia v ir g o
d u ra p a t i cursuque pedum p ra e v e rte re v e n to s ".
So s w i f t l y and l i g h t l y does she skim santx th ro u g h th e a i r t h a t
she leaves th e r ip e c o m unbe nt and th e waves cannot w et h e r
f ly in g fe e t.
I f w i l l be r e a d i ly ag ree d t h a t a l l th r e e p a ssa g e s Which
Jonson o v e r f ly o r t a c i t l y commends a re i n v e r g i l ' s g ra n d e s t
manner, even h is v a s te s t m anner. The two lo n g passages are th e
sublime o f e p ic d i g n i t y , th e p e r f e c t b le n d o f w ide v is io n and
beauty o f d e t a i l , eaoh q u a l i t y e n ha ncing each. Language can go no
f u r t h e r i n th e way o f c o n t r o lle d h y b e rb o le . Which suggests t h a t
i f we m ust zs& m h a b s tr a c t and is o la t e from these passages one
l i t e r a r y q u a l it y s l i g h t l y more a r r e s t in g th a n th e o th e rs ?and i n
oonsequence more l i k e l y to be t h e i r o h ie f xfckxx a t t r a c t io n f o r
Jonson, t h a t q u a l i t y i s R e s tra in e d Power. The e x q u is ite n e s s o f
v e r g il* s d e t a i l he d id d o u b tle s s a d m ire . Sometimes ^b u t r a r e ly f he
succeeded i n I m it a t in g i t .
The m a je s ty and fo rc e o f such lin e s ,
however, were th e q u a l it ie s n e a re r h is own compass and a m b itio n .
The consequence, h is d e lib e r a te and sxxjc, i n tr a g e d ie s , c o n tin u o u s
e f f o r t to a t t a i n such r e s tr a in e d s tr e n g th and o r d e r ly power does
much to e x p la in h i s fre q u e n t s t ilt e d n e s s - w h io h i s d i g n i t y ,
g r a v ita s , gone w rong - and h is a l l t i o
fre q u e n t fla tn e s s and
iediousness - w h ic h g e n e r a lly o c c u r when h is d e t a ils re fu s e to
Bass i n p ic tu r e - f o r m in g g ro u p in g s , o cca sio n s when th e s t r u g g lin g
a r t i s t i n Jonson la y s a sid e h is b ru s h , h is s e le c t iv e b ru s h , and
ihe s c h o la r i n him produces th e cam era, o r even th e m ic ro s c o o e .
seems a lto g e th e r p ro p e r t h a t t h i s Power s h o u ld a t t r a c t such a
*an as Jon son ; f o r t h i s q u a l i t y as i t
appears i n h is own w o rk seems
93.
the i n t e l l e c t u a l c o u n te rp a rt; o f the man1s p h y s iq u e , the “ ro o ky
face and m o u n ta in b e n y " , and h i s e s s e n t ia lly Homan hardness o f
mind and c h a ra c te r.
w h ich b rin g s us to a n o th e r i n t e l l e c t u a l com m on-m uitipie
o f Jonson and v i r g i i t h a t appears i n these lin e s to o :
go
oh
p o e ts are
a t heme among a b s tr a c tio n s , e a s ily "mounted upon th e a i r y s t i l t s . ,
conversant a b ou t n o tio n a j. and c o n je c tu r a l e s s e n c e s .u U n iv e rs a l
tr u th s and a b s tr a c t b e a u tie s waim them as more ham eiy p a ssio n s
f i r e th e o io o d o f o r d in a r y men. \ f t r g i i c o u ld g e n e r a lly wann. tn e
reader w it h a v ic a r io u s f e r v o u r f o r th e id e a l and th e a b s tr a c t;
Jonson r a r e iy . To p u t i t
a n o th e r way: b o th p o e ts move more
f r e e iy among id e a l^ ih a n among men, and from the co ld n e ss t h a t
o rd in a ry m inds m ust f in d i n such w orks Jonson i s n o t saved by
the im a g in a tio n , th e ‘‘ b ro o d in g ten de rness and p a th o s" t h a t
humanises and u n iv e r e a lis e s even the le a s t mundane p ic tu r e i n
the works o f the Roman, i t may w e n oe t h a t t h is p e c u l i a r i t y o f
unusual -syspafe syrrpathy f o r th e a b s t r a c t , f o r th e id e a i produced
oy lo g ic o r re v e a i9 d 'ey o b s e rv a tio n , th e p u t t in g O f th e Cause
above i t s A d h e re n ts , o f Man above men, had i t s unhappy in flu e n c e
|
on Jonson1s s to n n y s o c ia l r e la t io n s h ip s . T h is may have conduced t o ||
fo m a d8ep, f e r t i l e
s o i l f o r h is e v i i , outw ard s o c ia l q u a l i t i e s ,
a g g re ssive n e ss, s e lf - a s s e r t io n , contem pt f o r human f r a i l t i e s ,
f o r d e iio a c y , i l l o g i c a l i t i e s ,
];;!
!’ j
"t:
reman t i c i s i n g s , and a i l w is h -th o u g h t
m ake-believe p ic tu r e s o f p e rs o n a l im p o rta n ce and t a i e n t ,
an
v e ry s t a f f o f h is s c o r n f u l s a t ir e . And, o o n v e rs e iy , t h i s
same
th e
j
j
tim bre o f m ind acco un ts f o r Jo n so n 1s sense o f g rie v a n c e a g a in s t
those who doubted th e r e a l i t y o f h is lo v e f o r h is fe n o w s , m is ie d
oy h is fre q u e n t contem pt o f in d iv id u a ls .
;
’l!
ji
;
( i ) Thus J o n s o n 1s humour c h a ra c te rs are id e a s p e r s o n if ie d , o r
f| j
iii
©van in o a m a te d , n o t f ie s h and o io o d c h a ra c te rs who in c id e n t a lly
^ p r e s e n t a c r e d ib le melange o f id e a s .
ill
; ||
O vid.
A p p a re n tly Jonson acce p ts the c o n v e n tio n a l E liz a b e th a n
estim ate o f O v id , as he does o f v e r g i l . The number o f h i s
a llu s io n s i s , as u s u a l, s i g n i f i c a n t o f h ig h v a lu a tio n ; so to o i s
the r e p r e s e n t a t io n o f O vid i n th e ’ P o e ta s te r1 as b e in g , l i k e
v e r g il, immune from th e m a lic e o f c r i t i c a s t e r s .
A t one p o in t th e p e rs o n a l e xp e rie n ce s o f O vid and Jonson
▼ere s im ila r enough to e s t a b lis h
a p rim a fa c ie p r o b a b i lit y o f
p r e ju d ic e on Ben’ s p a r t . 3o+h chose to fo llo w th e A r ts
in d e fia n c e o f s tro n g p a r e n ta l p re fe re n c e f o r the U s e fu l. Ben may
w e ll have been f o r t i f i e d i n h i s contum acy by r e c o lle c t io n s o f the
e a r li e r r e b e l, may have d e fie d the a g g rie v e d b r ic k la y e r i n phrases
drawn from O vid and so e o n fiim e d h i s s t e p fa th e r 's s u s p ic io n s t h a t
W estm inster had. a lre a d y g iv e n him more th a n enougi o f such h e a th e n
lo r e . We have suggested above t h a t v e r g il re p re se n te d f o r Jonson
the Id e a l P o et. C e r t a in ly Ben had to o deep a sense o f m o r a lit y and
g ra v ita s to a cce p t O vid as a lto g e th e r suoh, y e t i t
i s on O v id ’ s
lip s th a t h9 p u ts h i s own famous , rh a p so d ic a p o lo g ia f o r P o e t r y ^
Did he f e e l reve ren ce f o r th e fo rm e r, warmth f o r th e la tte r*?
In any oase ythe f a c t t h a t O vid i s h is spokesman i n t h i s case
c o rro b o ra te s h is h ig h re g a rd f o r O v id 's p o p u la r s ta n d in g and h is
re c o g n itio n o f th e p a r a l l e l between h i s own and O v id 's e a r ly l o t .
Ifcr was t h i s th e o n ly o c c a s io n on w h ic h O vid heipe&Jtonson
to harnden h is h e a r t a g a in s t A u t h o r it y and v e s te d I n t e r e s t . When
the Inns o f C o u rt p ro te s te d a t th e s c u rv y a s p e rs io n s i m p l i c i t i n
Poetaster', he capped the offence by a p o lo g is in g d ra w in g t h e i r
a tte n tio n to th e o r i g i n a l passage i n O vid t h a t th e y m ust have knrwn
and h a te d .
The r e la t iv e n o s itio n s o f O vid and V e r g il i n J o n s o n 's
estimation are r e a l l y n o t dete m .in a b le , f o r d o u b tle s s th e subject
'I ) Poetaster,I , i . from A n o r.1 ,1 5 .
mat4.or o f O vid i s i n t r i n s i c a l l y o f g r a t a r g re a te r re le va n ce to
a
d ra m a tis t th a n th e
s u b ja c trm a tto r
o f v e r g i l . C onsequently a
s li g h t l y g r e a te r frequence o f re fe re n c e i s n o t to be pressed to o
fa r .
Same t r a i t s o f Jonson* s c h a ra c te r appear v e r y clearly
iK.
in what he o m its from th e w orks o f O vid as w e ll as^whet he c it e s .
The most s ig n i f i c a n t a m issio n appears to be th e HH eroides^ In
*v
Jonson th e s e te n d e r fem inine e p i s t l e s s tr u c k no an sw erin g co rd .
The l i t e r a l Jonson
wrs
A
d e f ic ie n t i n te n d e rn e ss on the one hand
and frQ9 from s e n t im e n t a lity on th e o th e r* so t h a t n e it h e r
a s tre n g th n o r a weakness a t t r a c t e d him tow ards t h i s p a r t ic u l a r
work. O f th e s p i r i t u a l a sp e ct o f s e x u a l lo ve he r a r e ly shows
any a p p r e c ia tio n . In h is l i f e
as i n h i s w orks one g a th e rs he
regarded woman w i t h a fin e Roman m ix tu re o f fo rm a l reve ren ce*
possessivenoss* s u p e r io r it y * o r* a t b e s t* condescending to le r a n c e ,
and m a k e -b e lie v e * condescending* h y p e r b o lic * ephem eral a d o ra tio n *
unless when* l i k e C h a ris * she h o ld s h is h e a r t i n a way n o t
u n in flu e n c e d b y H orace* o r when, l i k e
a Lady B edford o r a Lady
R utland she combines th e gra ces o f h e r sex w it h th e c h a ra c te r*
c u ltu r e , and e r u d it io n t h a t he n o rm a lly sought i n fr ie n d s o f h is
own sex. F o r the r e s t * as goods and c h a t te ls th e y appear
thro ug hou t Ben*s p la y s * mere names o r no t- e s s e n t lia lly - f e m in in e
humours, o b je c ts o f no d e lic a t e im a g in in g s * in c a p a b le o f deep
o r m o u ld in g sym pa thie s. L ik e the c e le b ra te d T u rk,Jo n so n m ig h t, on
reading th e *H e ro id a s have e xcla im e d on th e u n co n scio n a b le fu s s
th e r e in made o v e r a p a r c e l o f women. Even such fe m in in e c h a ra c te rs
as he d id w it h o v e r t a d m ira tio n in tro d u c e in t o h i s masques, 8am
P e n th e s ile a and the l i k e * he c l e a r l y re sp e cte d v e r y o f t 9n f o r
t h e ir unwananly q u a l i t i e s o r n o tic e d s im p ly because g re a t p o e ts
and h is to r ia n s had bequeathed him t h e i r name and u n q u e s tio n a b le
fane.
IGX
S ig n if ic a n t , to o , i s th e f a c t t h a t th e T r i s t i a i s
a p p a re n tly m entioned once o n ly , th o u g h an acquaintance w ith i t
is i m p l i c i t i n th e knowledge he shows o f O v id 's c a re e r. I f ,
on
the one hand, Jonson la cke d O v i d p o w e r to u n d e rsta n d
womanliness, he la c k e d , on the o th e r , a l l le a n in g s towards
womanishness, h is motfctfr's m ilk d ried up c o m p le te ly in him,
and any c o m p la in ts Ben had to make a g a in s t h is fa te were
oouched i n th e te r n s o f an a r r a ig n r e n t o f Pate f o r h i$ i- t r e a s o n ,
never i n th e O v id ia n v e in o f qu e ru lo u sn e ss and s e lf-a b a s e m e n t.
We may th e r e fo r e con clu de t h a t he in d ic a te s a c e r t a in
a t t it u d e
towards O vid and tow a rds h im s e lf by n o t q u o tin g t h e 1T r i s t i a . 1
O th e iw is e , h is lo v e o f O vid i s alm ost in d is c r im in a t e .
The1Metamorphoses1, th e 'd e A rte A m a to ria and th e ! F a s t i! are
a l l c ite d v e ry f r e e ly . As one j j i $ i t e x p e c t^ th e f i r s t and la s t
supply m a tte r f o r th e masques, w h ile th e 1L it u r g y o f Love1 , whbh
is n o t quoted so f r e e ly t h r o u g h o u t th e body o f h is w o rk s , i s
worked in t o th e 'S i l e n t Woman* i n g re a t sw atches, no le s s th a n
16 c o n s id e ra b le passages b e in g t h e r e in reproduced o r adapted.
I t may be i i a i , t h i s done, he f e l t no need to educate h is
p u b lic f a r t h e r i n an a p p r e c ia tiv e u n d e rs ta n d in g o f t h i s
unschodboyish w o rk o f a p o e t whom th e y had s tu d ie d much a t s c h o o l,
A c o n s id e ra tio n o f the passages he chose t o im it a t e
j
from
the ! de A rte A m a to ria 1 shows v e r y c le a r l y p o in ts o f c o n ta c t betwean
Ovid and Ben, though i t i s Im p o s s ib le to say how f a r Ben was
\
induced to s e le c t the se passages because jfe he was w r i t i n g a
p la y o f t h is s o r t , and how f a r th e n a tu re o f the p la y w a j
m o d ifie d by th e passages he f e l t im p e lle d to t r a n s l a t l ? E it h e r
I
a lte r n a tiv e argues o c r r m n ity , i f n o t i d e n t i t y , o f o u tlo o k
j!
between c r e d it o r and d e b to r.
j
( ! ) Remembering alw ays t h a t th e germ o f th e p la y , and many
in c id e n ta l touches are d e b ts to L ib a n iu s .
102.
2he id e a s adopted a re as f o llo w s : the te ch n iq u e o f femaxe
dre ssin g and deporunont f o r s p e c if ic e f f e c t s ^ i h e need f o r seoreoy
in the a p p lic a tio n o f co fine t i c I f
episode o f fe m in in e d is c cmf i £.434
(4 )
womans d u ty “ to r e p a ir the xosses tim e and years have madeu; th e
need f o r re fin e m e n t and r e s t r a i n t i n xangfo 19&?) and i n w a lk in g ? )
b )
fa sh io n parades and degrees o f fe m in in e e l i g i b i l i t y o r g u l l i b i l i t y ;
(d)
the need f o r a d i l i g e n t search a f t e r th e id e a l wench (s a d ly
p r o s ifie d t h i s ) ; warn^n*s in e v it a o ie - i f
a p e r s is t e n t s u i t o r ; th e p o l i t i c
t a r d y - o a p itu x a ti^ n ^ y e fo r e
e x p e d ie n t o f o c c a s io n a l ra p e ;
^
the need f o r v a r i e t y i n methods o f approach to d i f f e r e n t {>s u ^ je ^ t s " ;
the extreme t r i v i a l i t y o f woman1s o b je c tio n to xoss o f v i r g i n i t y ;
(13)
the need f o r c o n tra c e p tiv e s ; t h i s s c a th in g * and p ro b a o iy p e r ^ ^ i *
c y n ic is m * " s tr ife and tu m u lt are the dowry t h a t comes w ith a w i f e 1’;
and an e q h a iiy pung en t and perhaps more J u s t if ia b le smoke-rocm
t h r u s t a t s la n d e ro u s v a u n ts o f b o u d o ir co n q u e sts.
We may he re o f f e r th e t r u is n t h a t th e fre q u e n c y w it h w h ic h
Ben i n t h is p ia y qu ote s th e *De A rte A m a to ria 4* and th e in g e n u it y
and a s s id u it y w it h w h ic h ho makes o cca sio n to ad ap t and adopt
xarge p o r tio n s o f i t make h i s p e rs o n a l l i k i n g f o r i t
a c e r t a in t y .
Bu th e re i s more i n th e m a tte r th a n t h a t .
m the “ S ix e n t Woman** as in o th e r s * Jonson makes v ic a r io u s
appearances on the s ta g e . He d e s ire s to m o ra lis e on th e w e ii- w o m
oxassic t e x t * fe m in in e V a n ity . So* as a m o u th p ie ce * he ta ke s T iu e w iv
s ig n i f i c a n t l y so c a lle d . T ru e w it i t i s who c it e s m ost o f O v id ^
d ic ta * and i n h is v o io e we h e a r the “ g r a v ita s " o f Ben, th e n o t to o
a p p ro p ria te ce n so r o f fe m in in e l e v i t y * v a n it y * m a te ria lis m * and
general Im m o r a lity . I n T r u e w it1s lo n g - and i n t r i n s i c a l l y e x c e lie n t d is q u is it io n on t h i s theme we h e a r the a u t h o r it a t iv e Jonson* f o r
th is in t r u s io n o f th e p o e t i n h is own p ro p e r p e rson i s one o f th e
p e n a ltie s o f be in g by tem per a s a t i r i s t and by n e c e s s ity a p ia y w rig b l
( i ) i ( 2 ) * ( 3 ) v id e ^ O u n n .I.p .4 0 /.
W • W t ( 6 ) * ( y ) d o .p .434.
^ ) i ( 9 ) * ( l u ) , ( l l ) d o .p .435.
•12) do . p . 439.
13) do .p.44 U .
lo
cio*P*440.tf,o r th e p e rs o n a l n o te i n t h i s v id e “ C o n v e rs a tio n s ,
H.& S . i. p . j. 3 9 .
vi5) S u n n .I.p .461.
I t does n o t in v a lid a t e th e s u g g e s tio n t h a t * i n th e
p la o e s m e n tio n e d , T ru e w it ia . Jo n so n , to o b je c t t h a t the o th e r
c h a ra c te rs o f th e p la y q u ote th e ! de A r t e 1 as w e ll as h e . T h is
s im p ly means t h a t Ben* s p e rs o n a l appearances are a c c id e n ta l
and un con scio us e x c u rs io n s on to th e b o a rd s. The fa c ts t h a t
Daw, La P o o le , H aughty, and Morose seek to make good T ru e w it* s
in c o n s id e ra b le am issio ns from th e s a t i r i c m a tte r o f O vid *s
poem m e re ly shows th e s tr e n g th o f J o n s o n ^ s a tir ic and d id a c t ic
im pulses ( h e r e in , p e rh a p s, oveream ing h is sense o f th e
drama1 s v e r i s im il it u s e by m aking a l l h is c h a ra c te rs L a t in
s o h o la re ? ) And so by hook and by croo k th e *d e A rte * i s b ro u g h t
in t o
l The S il e n t Woman* . When to the se a b ly a s s im ila te d b u t
lo n g is h and r a t h e r undram .atio passages from O vid one adds
the L a t in f o o le r y o f O tt e r and th e mock r e l i g i o - l e g a l debate
in L a t in on th e v a l i d i t y o f Morose* s supposed m a rria g e , one
may w onder to h e a r t h a t t h is was Jonson* s m ost p o p u la r and &
lo n g e s t- liv e d p la y . T h is can o n ly be e x p la in e d by a c o m b in a tio n
o f these rea son s: ( I ) The q u o ta tio n s from O vid are p e r f e c t ly
worked in t o th e c o n te x t - a la rg e c la im . (2 ) Our a n c e s to rs
knew more L a t in th a n we d o ; (3 ) In p r a c t ic e th e stage copy
was m o d ifie d . Even m aking a l j these co n ce ssio n e rs are fo r c e d
to c r e d it th e p la y f u r t h e r w it h a v e r y rem arkable amount o f
in n a te b r i l l i a n c e o f c o n s tr u c tio n .
To a c o n s id e ra b le e x te n t Jonson manhandles b o th th e
fa c ts and th e f i c t i o n s o f O vid . I n d e a lin g w it h h is w orks a t
la r g e , b u t e s p e c ia lly w it h th e " l i t u r g y o f lo v e ^ ^ s i n d e a lin g
w ith O vid*s h i s t o r i c a l romance i n
* P o e ta s te r.
( I ) A d is p u ta b le p o in t , o f c o u rs e , s in c e t h is o b je c tio n
presumes t h a t Jon son1s audience re co g n ise d th e source o f th e
q u o ta tio n s . U nrecognised q u o ta tio n s were l i t e r a r y J o in t s to c k .
And t h is re q u ire s us to c o n t r a d ic t i n some measure Jonson* s
own d e d ic a tio n ," T h e re i s n o t a lin e o r s y lla b le i n i t changed
from th e s i m p l i c i t y o f th e f i r s t c o p y ". I b t a f a t a l o b je c tio n ,
o f course to ite m ( 3 ) .
o r eschews a l l
te n d e rn e s s . In h is hands and h is v e rs e the
lo ve
scenes a c q u ire
an maarassEtsni u n g ra cio u sn e ss and s t if f n e s s
p a r t ly consequent on h is g e n e ra l a t t it u d e tow ards women, above
noted, and c u r io u s ly a t v a ria n c e w it h e x q u is ite n e s s o f h is
occasion al ly r ic e s on t h is theme. Prompted by O vid and a t t r a c t e d
by sympathy t o O vid he w r it e s in c id e n t a lly i n
an A r t o f Love
b u t a Scienoe o f Love, to be s tu d ie d i n i t s
te c h n ic a l d e t a ils li k e any o th e r m y s te ry o r
alchemy
‘ P o e ta s te r1 n o t
o r w i to-ho r a f t .
q u a c k a iy suoh
ass&atax
I n e x t r a c t in g th e te ch n iq u e o f lo v e -m a k in g
frctn Ovid* s 'de A rte ' he goes o f f c o n te n te d ly so to sneak w it h th e
waxen c e lls and ig n o re s th e ho ne y o f e r o t ic is m , e ffe m in a c y ,
g ra c io u s n e s s , p la in tiv e n e s s and ly r ic is m
among w h ich th e
am usingly p re s c rib e d in s t r u c t io n s are the m ost f a c t u a l, p e d e s tr ia n ,
and s ig n i f i c a n t l y s a t i i i o
fe a tu r e .
The same s t if f n e s s i s n o ta b le i n th e scenes
between w anton J u l i a and h e r banished lo v e r , th e O vid o f h i s t o r y .
Whioh b r in g s us to th e somewhat o u rio u s f a c t t h a t O vid o f th e
•P oetaster* does n o t square w it h h i s t o r y , even i n th e l i t t l e
th a t
h is t o r y re c o rd s o f h im ; and i n Jo n so n 1s case a d e p a rtu re from
recorded f a c t i s u n u s u a l enough to c a l l f o r e x p la n a tio n , o r a t
le a s t comment.
To O vid Jonson g iv e s th e d is c r e d it o f a rra n g in g
the fe a s t a t w hioh th e Olym pians m x * are im personated by
h is boon companions and J u p it e r by O vid iK x p s x s h im s e lf .
Ibw
Jonson knew v e r y w e ll t h a t t h i s was an o rg y i n w h ic h Augustus
h im s e lf to o k p a r t . A p p a re n tly , th e re fo re ,J o n s o n d id n o t
boggle a t m o d ify in g even w e ll known fa c t s o f h i s t o r y i n t h i s oase.
At the same tim e , n o t ic e , no g r e a t in ju s t i c e i s done to the
h is t o r ic a l o h a ra c te r o f O v id , s in o e t h i s I s J u s t th e s o r t o f
escapade t h a t O vid m ig h t have in d u lg e d i n and m ig h t have ta u g h t
M-s emperor. F act i s wronged: th e w id e r t r u t h i s n o t.
105.
A g a in Jonson e r r s i n
re p re s e n tin g , a p p a re n tly , the e id e r
j u i i a as the causa o f O v id 18 b a n is h n n n t. H e re, how ever, ho was i n
g+,9p w it n h i s c o n te m p o ra rie s , and w ith many more re c e n t s c h o la rs .
Though the younger J u i i a was i n
the same case as the e id e r , i t
is
im probable t h a t Jon son , i f i n c o n f l i c t w it h the t r a d i t i o n a l v ie w o f
h is tim e ,w o u id have f a i l e d to append a fo o tn o te i n j u s t i f i c a t i o n
o f h is own in t e r p r e t a t io n o f h is t o r y .
P in a n y , th e p ic t u r e o f O vid g iv e n by Jonson i s so
incom plete as to c o n s titu te
" m is re p re s e n ta tio n " . We m iss the w hoie
t iu t h .
I n these m a tte r s , ho w e ver, he had s u f f i c i e n t d ra m a tic
J u s t if ic a t io n , o r , a t w o r s t, e x te n u a tio n . F i r s t , n o th in g s a id o r
done, s t if f n e s s o r manner a p a r t, i s i n i t s e i f o u t o f c h a ra c te r w it h
the O vid o f h is t o r y . Then, s e c o n d ly , w hat Jonson re q u ire d f o r t h is
p ia y was th e p o p u la r p ic t u r e o f O vid as a s o r t o f a n e g o iic a i
study i n o n iy two d im e n s io n s , o v id the p e r s is t e n t v e r s i f i e r ,
the h ig h p r i e s t o f e ie g a n t debauchery and lo v e r o f wanton J u i i a ,
in b r ie f , O vid th e in c a r n a tio n o f i r r e s p o n s i b i l i t y and in s o b r ie t y .
W ith in the l i m i t s o f th e n a rro w o o m e r a l lo t t e d O vid i i i the
a c tio n o f th e p ia y , i t w o u id have been im p o s s ib le to re c o n c ile by, say, a lo n g and Hamiet9sque s tu d y -
t h is O vid w it h t h a t o th e r ,
o
Ovid the c o n s id e ra b le la w y e r and p a tr o n , th e de corns merroer
As
o f - i n E liz a b e th a n eyes - a m ost decorous p r o fe s s io n . I n the
"P o e ta s te r" O v id , i n accordance w i t h * humour* p r a c t ic e , rem ains
a sjm boi o f one c a s t o f tem per o r c lo s e ly o o r r e ia te d q u a l i t i e s ,
lik e a n th e o th e rs ,w h o are e q u a n y sim p ie and a c c e p ta b le examples
o f c u ltu r e , o r d i s c i p l i n e , o r sense, o r ig n o ra n ce - o f Jonson*s
cause o r o f the d e v i l 18.
N> g re a t w rong, t h e r e f o r e , i s done to
Ovid - n o th in g a t any r a te com parable to th e in d i g n i t y t h r u s t on
T ib u n u s by a s s o c ia tin g him p ro m in e n tly w i t h the debauchery o f
those p r o f lig a t e s who were h is fr ie n d s out n o t in v a r ia b ly h is
a s s o c ia te s .
A re v ie w o f a n Jonson* s o th e r re fe re n c e s to O vid reve aiat
106*
(a) t h a t on an u n u s u a i^ y .Large number o f o cca sio n s* f o r mm, Ban
oorrows from u v id sa yin g s th a t, a re rem arkaoie f o r 9 it h e r
( i)
in d iv id u a lit y o f th o u g h t o r f e l i c i t y o f e x p re s s io n .
(0) TJae numoer o f t h is type o r a n u s io n i s * as u s u a l* v e r y s m a il i n
p ro p o rtio n to h is wonted d e bts f o r the fa c ts o f a n t iq u it ie s and t^ A
s*
The t o t a l in c lu d e d u n d e r (a ) i s s w o lle n by th e n e re is -te n *
use o f th e “ De Arte** above noted i n
the “ S ile n t Woman1** sin ce a t
xeast 2u c o n s id e ra b le passages i n t h a t p ia y * w hioh owe t h e i r being
to Ovid* are s a t i r i o * pungent* and n ig h iy enough c o lo u re d ey o p in io n
and fa n cy to be regarded as "ideas'* r a th e r th a n “ fa c ts '1. I f * however,
one deducts these s p e c ia l cases* one a r r iv e s a t th e g e n e ra l p r a c t ic e
o f Jonson o f s e le c t in g from a L a t in a u th o r in te r m in a b le * m in u te
d e ta ils o f f a c t and r e fu s in g more p e rs o n a l o b lig a tio n s .In d e e d * deduct
the ttS i le n t Woman" and we are l e f t w it h wo more th a n th re e aphorism s
o r goiden w ords.
I n th e u Ifew Inn** occu rs the w is h * "d iv e me a banquet o f
sense l i k e t h a t o f O v id ." B ut from th e banquet p ro v id e d Jonson
seldom s e le c ts th e r a r e r * r ic h e r d is h e s . As i s h is w ay, he s t ic k s
to re to p ia in f a r e . As alw a ys* -what he borrows i s oaumon p ro p e rty *
oyoiopedio m a tte r f o r the guidance o f th e histo r±an *m asq ue -m ake r*
and s c h o la r* r a t h e r than in s p i r a t io n f o r th e p h ilo s o p h e r and
poet - e xce p t i n s a t is f a c t io n o f h is s a t i r i c u rg e .
(1) ( a ) “ The c o n tr a r ie s w h ic h tim e t i l l now
* b r Fate knew ehere to J o in n o r how
Are M a je s ty and L o v e .11 ( O u n n . l l l . p . d l . )
(b)**So t h a t h e r s 9 I f
Appears H19 le a s t p a r t o f h e r s e l f . " ( O u n n . I I . p . 9 I . )
( o ) “ The tim e was once when w i t drowned w e a lth ; b u t now,
Y our o n ly b a rb a rism i s t*h a v e w i t and want**. ( C u n n .l.p .& ib .)
(d)
To these id e o lo g ic a l1 d e bts t o O vid may be added a n o th e r:
the concept o f th e fo u n ta in o f s e if - io v e i n "O ynth^s Re-f1s “ i s
from the s t o r y o f Ife ro is s u s - as Ben1s own in d u o tio n makes q u ite
o ie a r.P re fe s s o rs H e rfo rd and Simpson r i g h t l y op in e t h a t i t i s a
lu c k le s s b o rro w in g * s in c e i t s e s s e n t ia lly s y m b o lic * m y th ic q u a l i t y
is out o f h a m o yvt w it h th e Jo n so n ia n re a lis m and s a t ir e t h a t w i n
not down.
The o r ig in a ls o f the o th e rs above a re :
(a) "^bn bene o o n v e n lu n t nec i n una sede m o ra n tu r
M ajestas e t Am or."
(b) “ Pars m in im a e s t ip s a p u e n a s u i . “
vo) “ Ingenium quondam f u e r a t p r e t io s iu s a u ro ;
A t nunc b a ro a iie s g ra n d is , habere n i h i l. * *
(2) See n e x t page.
107.
(Footnote (2 ) c o n td .)
These may "be ta b u la te d as f o llo w s :
Hi s to r y - e u rM ythology.
totals
lapp.)
Customs,
A n t iq u it ie s ,
R it e s ,
Ceremonies.
are to Cunn. vo l. and page)
W it c h c r a f t .
111,47.
51.
51.
52.
52.
1,149.
370.
11*97.
558.
560.
562.
575.
I I I . 3.
5.
10.
II.
12.
23.
24.
37.
54.
166.
1,3 16 .
317.
318.
I I ,564.
566.
111,2 0.
23.
24.
24.
27.
31.
53.
17.
12
.
5.
O vid
on
O vid.
L a tin is e :;,
P hrases.
I I , 557.
I l l , 2 . T h is
i s m o tto
to two
masques.
2.
3.
The s e p a ra tio n o f c lo s e ly oonneoted q u o ta tio n s above i s
arbitrary.
,
.
1 211
266.
r a th e r
To these one m ig h t add th e s u g g e s tio n a p p a re n tly by O vid o f
Ban s own im p resa , 11Deost quod d u o e re t orbem" — ta k e n presum ably (
(H.& S.) from the 1Metamorphoses,
" a lt e r a p a rs s t a r e t , p a rs a lt e r a d u c e re t orbem ".
lOo.
J u v e n a l.
Among th e e m u la tiv e u rg e s f e l t by Jonson th e re i s
apparent a d e s ire to r i v a l and m odernise M a r t ia l * to p e rso n a te
Ho race* and to dra m atise J u v e n a l. Tra in y e t v i t a l essays a l l .
He sought i n v a in th e u ltim a t e compendiousness o f M a r t ia l* th e
p o lis h e d f i n a l i t y o f J u v e n a l1s s a t ir e , and th e much famed u r b a n it y
o f Horace - th e l a s t b e in g o f a l l th e m ost p e rv e rs e p ie c e o f
w is h - th in k in g and s e l f d e lu s io n * th e apnroach to J u v e n a l th e
most s u c c e s s fu l.
O f course he re ve re d and lo v e d a l l th r e e . J u v e n a l*
to g e th e r w it h Tre r g i l and T a c itu s * was a f a v o u r ite re a d in g a t h is
l i t e r a r y sup pe rs: J u v e n a l* Horace and M a r t ia l he h e ld up to
Dtnxmmond as exem plars o f th e suprem est l i t e r a r y v irtu e s '? and more in t e r e s t in g s t i l l - he rem arked t h a t J u v e n a l* P e rs iu s *
Horace and M a r t ia l w efe to be read " f o r d e lig h t * * th e d e lig h t o f
a p ro fou nd s c h o la r.a x e l S t i l l , “ d e lig h t** i s th e O p e ra tiv e w o rd .
I t seems t h a t he may have f e l t a sense o f d u ty i n re a d in g th e
o th e rs he commends*to Drurarond* b u t th e s a t i r i s t s - the s a t i r i s t s
U)
were t h e i r own rew ard and m ost i n tune w ith the tim b re o f h is
soul.Such evidence as th e p re s e n t e n q u iry can adduce tends
s tr o n g ly to c o rro b o ra te Jon son1s la s t rem ark above. Among th e
s a t i r i s t s he f e l t m ost a t home* th e y were a re fu g e and a s tre n g th *
and o f a l l *
I f e e l* he was n e a re s t a k in to J u v e n a l.
(1) H.& S . I . p . 160. C o n v e rs a tio n s .
(2)
d o . p . 132.
d o . p . 136.
V4) From *the C o n ve rsa tio n s a ls o we g a th e r t h a t th e s t o r y o f th e
®ige t u r b o t was a f a v o u r it e an e cd o te : and the- o th e r two anecdotes
°i«^ed w it h i t “(H. & S . I . p . 1 7 6 .) are e q u a lly d e r is iv e and s a t i r i c .
Aubrey1s anecdote (H. Sc S . I . p . 1 8 4 .) e x is ts i t i s tiu e i n two
ronns. But b o th fonms ag ree - and m ost c r e d ib ly a g re e - t h a t Ben
f a ile d to see w h at fa v o u r c o u ld be c o n s id e re d e x o r b ita n t i n
re tu rn f o r h is c o n f e r r in g th e boon o f a tr u e a p p r e c ia tio n o f a m&)o]
ba^in s a t i r i s t (Ho race o r J u v e n a l) .
.
R .. H0 possessed* a p p a re n tly * two e d it io n s o f J u v e n a l* one i n MSI.
* re ex^ an^* Were th e y p re s e rv e d by mere chance o r h is s p e c ia l
o iio itu d e from th e r e c u r r e n t p e r i l s o f f i r e and f o r f e it u r e ?
The mere numoer o f h is re fe re n c e s to J u v e n a i i s
s ig n if ic a n t * b u t f a r from th e w hole p r o o f o f h is reg ard f o r
ju v e n a i. A c o n s id e ra tio n o f the n a tu re o f h is man?/ s p e c if ic
a iiu s io n s to J u v e n a i1s w orks re v e a ls a s t r i k i n g d e p a rtu re from
what* so f a r * we have shown to be h is n o im a i p r a c t ic e i n h is
bo rro w in g s. So f a r - n o ta b ly i n o v id 's case - we have found t h a t
jonson uses h is L a t in a u t h o r it ie s as a v a s t re fe re n c e l i b r a r y o f
fa c ts * many o f them* to th e modem m ind* c u r io u s iy u n im p o rta n t
fa c ts . What he sought p re e m in e n tly i n them was t h e i r o fte n
in c id e n ta l ^ a rc h a ic * m y th o io g ic , r i t u a l i s t i c * e ty n o io g ic lo r e .
I t i s w i t h much ie s s fre q u e n c y t h a t i n h is own w orks he borrows
ideas* fa n c ie s * p h ilo s o p h ie s * th e c o lo u rs o f o th e r m inds* and the
golden phrases t h a t four: a common c u rre n c y among a d m irin g
stud en ts o f the a n c ie n ts . W ith J u v e n a i he n e a r iy re ve rse s t h is
norniai p r a c tic e o f h is . i t i s J u v e n a l's id e a s * fa n c ie s * th e o rie s *
c r it ic is m s and a n im a d ve rsio n s t h a t he does borrow . These become
F acts* because he acknowledges t a o i t l y and o v e r t ly h is acceptance
o f the J u v e n a lia n a t t it u d e tow ards +h e w o rld . I t i s an
acceptance Hi a t denotes a la r g e measure o f i d e n t i t y between
m aste r and d is c ip ie * a com m unity o f in to le r a n c e : t h e i r b irs e s
rose a t th e sane th r e a ts to s im i la r s o c ia l and m o ra i id e a ls .
C o n s id e rin g these b o rro w in g s i n d e t a il * we n o te f i r s t
th a t the c h ie f f a c t u a l b o rro w in g s are d e t a ils o f S e ja n u s1 fa t e *
from th e Tenth o f J u v e n a i. These number about 21* m a in ly n o ted
by Jonson h im s e lf. He lo o k e d them up s y s te m a tic a lly * as was h is
way* c o lla te d them w i t h h is o th e r sou rces* w a rra n te d th e o r i g i m i
o f h is s ta te m e n t i n a fo o tn o te * o r la c o n ic a lly c it e d “J u v e n a lis '*
and pasfcd on. He used Them w ith th e p u n c t ilio u s care one g iv e s
to a r a ilw a y tim e - ta o ie * y e t n o t q u it e so d is p a s s io n a te ly . F o r
the grim h o r r o r * tn e e d if y in g s p e c ta c le o f g u ix t y g re a tn e ss i n
fh in * he re p re s e n ts w i t h a r e l is h o f d e t a i l t h a t shows th e m o r a lis t
and s a t i r i s t i n him o i e a n y roused by the h i s t o r ia n 1s f a c t s .
JLiO.
I
H is m ost im p o rta n t b o rro w in g from th e Tenth i s a ls o th e le a s t
s p e c if ic : i t
i s th e s u g g e s tiv e d e s c r ip t io n "ve rb o sa e t gratodis
e p is tu la " ( l . V I ) , a p p lie d by J u v e n a l to th e l e t t e r from the
m is o g y n is t o f Caprae t h a t b r o u $ it down h i s f a v o u r it e . T his h i n t
j)
Jonson expands to s u i t h is purposes to e x c e lle n t d ra m a tic e f f e c t
i n th e m a tte r o f suspense, and f n a tu ra lly * u n c ra n p e d by s t r i c t
v e rb a l f a it h f u ln e s s ^ * a success t h a t suggests he m ig h t have
p r o f it a b ly avoided th e s p e c if ic t r a n s la t io n o f s p e c if ic passages
w hich i s h i s norm al p r a c tic e d '
Hevef anyhow, as o c c a s io n demanded,
he co n ce ive s a m a s te rp ie c e o f c h ic a n e ry , innuendo^and p u ro o s e fu lM K
v a c illa tio n .
A n o th e r f a c t u a l b o rro w in g from th e T fn th o f J u v e n a l
re v e a ls a c h a r a c t e r is t ic o f Jo n so n . J u v e n a i had com pleted h is
p ic tu r e o f the im p e r ia l m in io n 1s u t t e r r u in by d e s c r ib in g how
i
h is h o rs e s had t h e i r le g s smadaed m e re ly f o r fefc t h e i r i n
a s s o c ia tio n s . Jonson was n o t th e man t© o m it such a p ie ce © f
sadism j how ever unnecessary t© h i s s t o r y p r o p e r .®
B ut the se a p a r t, h i s b o rro w in g s from even t h i s s a t ir e
are o f th e " id e a l" k in d above m e n tio n e d ^ra th e r th a n m a tte rs o f
i
i
h i s t o r io f a c t . F o r example^h© ad op ts the b i t t e r f e l i c i t y
,
s a t i r i s i n g th e f i c k l e mob, “ S e q u itu r fo rtu n a m , u t semper, e t o d it
dsmrAt©su.
T© “ condemned" Ben c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y adds, “ g u i l t y ©r n o t " . The
te a ch e r and d ra m a tis t i n him combined tm i n t h i s
o f the need to u n d e r lin e h is b e s t s a t i r i c
r e a lis a t io n
s tro k e s beyond th e
meanest1s m is a p p re h e n s io n .
Tl) Se^anus ^.10.
j
(2) F o r example o f more norm al J o n so n ia n p r a c tic e w itn e s s C u m . 1.279!
o e ja n u s . I . i, whenthe m ust needs w ork i n th e n o t v e r y rem arkable
)
o r E n g lis h phrase a p p lie d to S e Ja n u s,*th e second fa ce o f th e
I
whole w o rld 11 - From: *Se ja n u s td e in d e ex fa c ie t o t o orbe se cu n d a ",
!
ss Ben h im s e lf p o in ts o u t.
H is l i t e r a l t r a n s la t io n o f J u v . X . 1JUB7—8 are among h i s m ost
heavy«jianded l i t e r a l t r a n s la t io n s and lo s e a n th e contem pt ,
?c©rn and d ra m a tic v i v a c i t y o f the o r i g i n a l .
v / W ith l i t t l e p r o p r ie t y he p u ts t h i s mob v i * © v io le n c e in t o th e
o f a command frem th e s e n a te , so d e te rm in e d was he t©
W w w H t * . iKt+tketmtt ct.
mvaaaodsX
A n o th e r o f Jonson* s f a v o u r it e s a t ir e s i s the S ix t h , th e
fganous in d ic tm e n t o f th e fem ale sex# w hioh shows good reason why
a man r i g h t pause on the ve rg e o f m a trim o n y. U pton i n h is
“ Remarks"
(p .65.) has c ite d th e passages Ben adopted i n *Epiooene* I I , i f 1^
Two o r th re e fe a tu re s o f th e se a d a p ta tio n s are no ta b le s 4
(a) The borrowed id e a s enonr.ousiy e n ric h th e m a tte r o f th e soane.
(b ) The c o n te n t i s e x q u is it e ly a p p ro p ria te to the needs o f th e
scene.
(o )
I t iRtftBX&KS c o rro b o ra te s the v ie w t h a t Jonson h e ld a lo
©pinion © f women.
(d) I t shows h is d e lig h t i n s a t ir e o f a c y n ic a l to n e .
(e ) The m anner i n w h ic h he w orks i n a l l th e t e l l i n g th r u s ts
e x e m p lifie s th e o ft-re m a rk e d te n d e n cy o f h is m ind to ta b u la te ,
ca ta lo g u is e ,and grow h e a v ily e x h a u s tiv e , xh to w ear a specious fcszxaajdEi
’ s c i e n t i f i c 1 a i r , th e a i r o f a modern ’ e x p e r t* .
Of these v e r r c o n s id e ra b le o b lig a tio n s i n
’ Epicoene* Jenson h h r.s e lf
makes no m e n tio n . On th e o th e r hand w ith s cru p u lo u s*h o n e sty* , o r p r id e ,
he p o in ts o u t such a n o th e r d e b t t© J u v e n a l as th e weak a rti w a te re d
tr a n s la tio n o f th e famous "c a ru s e x i t v e r r i ^ c y n ic is m i n th e op en in g
scene o f *SeJanus*.
I t was p ro b a b ly t h is a p pa ren t d is c re p a n c y i n
his e d i t o r i a l p r a c tic e t h a t le d Jonson* s e a r ly e d it o r to assume t h a t
i
j
i
j
Jenson fw h ile w i l l i n g to a c k n o w le d g e ^ fa o ts ^ s o u g it t a c i t l y to a rro g a te
to h im s e lf the c r e d it f o r s t o le n id e a s . To t h i s m a tte r we m ust l a t e r
re tu rn .
I f th e d i s t i n c t i o n may p r o p e r ly be made^ J u v e n a l, l i k e
a ll s a t i r i s t s ^e xce ls i n t h r u s t s t h a t are shrewd and p e n e tr a tin g
ra th e r th a n s u b tle ©r d e lic a t e , J u s t th e s o r t o f t h r u s ts i n f a c t w h ic h :
the esse n t i a l l y c o a rse f ib r e o f Jonson*s in te r io r ,* ,
UJ O u xm .l.p .4 1 3 .
\*) J u v e n a i, I I I . 11 .4 9 -5 4 .
war
H v a ij
“
i
I
112.
to a p p re c ia te ,th e p ia y s b e g o tte n o f such an i n t e l l e c t m ost l i k e i y
to r e q u ir e , i n s h o r t, “ bum ours", as Jonson used t h a t w ord. F or
example, agrain i n ,,Sef1 a m s‘l , we f in d the humour o f a p a r a s ite .
But whereas J u v e n a l was c o n te n t w it h the u n c o io u r fu l g e n e r a lit y ,
M. . . a iie n a sume re vu itu m
a f a c ie , i a c t a re m anus, la u d a re p a ra tu s ..**
Jonson, showing (a ) c h a r a c t e r is t ic g ro 8 s n e s s ,(b ) c h a r a c t e r is t ic
e la b o r a tio n , (c ) n o t so c h a r a c t e r is t ic c o n c re te n ^ e s s , w r it e s a t
g re a t le n g th :
Laugh when t h e i r p a tro n ia u g h s ; svsat when he sw eats;
Be not and c o id w it h h im .• • e t c . . . e t c . .
re a d y to p ra is e
H is lo r d s h ip , i f he s p i t , o r b u t p - f a i r ,
Have an i n d i f f e r e n t s t o o l, o r b re a k w in d w e i l . “ ^
Such a d d itio n s on Jonson* s o a r t a ^ r « c u ila r i. y s i g n i f i c a n t . F or
h is tim e and im m ediate purpose th e y may have been f o r t u n a t e , *
y e t th e y are n o t a la rg e s s e o f a p p le s f o r th e g ro u n d lin g s : t h e i r
grossness i s n o t ad h o c : f o r t h is i s Ben’ s n a tu r a l v o ic e . A t oroe
we m ust add t h a t t h i s may e a s ily be o v e rs tre s s e d . F o r e xa m p le ,, v
(a)
the v e ry same o r i g i n a l i n J u v e n a i begets a n o th e r v e r s io n i n Ben
th a t dhows none o f these u n p le a s a n t q u a l i t i e s .
H is o th e r re fe re n c e s to J u v e n a l re v e a l a good d e a l about
Jonson1s own c h a ra c te r and f u n y p ro v e o u r op e n in g c o n te n tio n
th a t the q u a l i t y and n a tu re o f h is re fe re n c e s to J u v e n a i
in d ic a te s an a lto g e th e r e x c e p tio n a l w a m th o f sync a th y ana
i d e n t i t y o f o u tlo o k .
F o r examoiQ, th e re i s
som ething Reman as w e xi as
E liz a b e th a n i n h is fre q u e n t d e fere nce tow ards o ld age, the
P a tr ia r c h a l c o n ce p t. He found J u v e n a i i n tune w it h h is own f e e iin g
(1) O u n n .i.p .2 7 6 . J u v e n a l, I I X , lin e 8 1 0 0 -1 0 6 .“ I h t i o cotnoeda e s t “ .
(2) C u n n .I.p .3 6 I.
113.
f o r v e n e r a b iiib y , and, as was h is w ay, tr a n s la te d the s e n tim e n t o f
whioh he p ro fo u n d ly approved. He was even so moved as to tr a n s la te
i t w e ll, f o r h is v e rs io n i s
saved from clum sin ess by a g ra ve ,
earnestness o f tone bespeaking s in c e r it y and m axing i t
sim ple and s e n te n tio u s .
a t once
(i)
A g a in we n o +e Jonson d id n o t acknowledge
h is in d e b te d n e s s .
Ju ve n a x, i n S a tir e X IV , rashes g lu tto n o u s p a re n ts
f o r t h e i r debauching in flu e n c e on t h e i r c h ild r e n . I n “ E ve ry Man I n
His Humour” Jonson ta ke s o c c a s io n to do lik e w is e , though h is
W)
s n a ils , mushrooms, and perfum ed sauces are modem in s ta n c e s .
W hile J u v e n a i was a m a s te r o f a p h o rism ; Jo n so n , as
we have seen, was a lo v e r o f aphorism who seidom made up h is
mind w hat to em its v e r b o s ity ,
b r e v it y , and o b s c u r ity are p e c u lia r ly
c h a r a c t e r is t ic o f h is a tte m p ts i n t h i s kiind. J u v e n a i w ro te :
“ E t p r o p t e r v it a E , v iv e n d i p e rd e re oausam - a l i v i n g
death o n e ^ h o n o u r lo s t . S e tt in g o u t on the l i t e r a l t r a i l , nose
and eyes to each l e t t e r f o o t p r i n t , Bro bogs h im s e ± f i n :
wAnd f o r th e empty circu m sta n ce o f l i f e
(3)
B e tra y t h e i r cause o f l i v i n g * 1*
Which e f f e c t i v e l y conceais i t s m e a n in g ye.s
wq ±±
as i t s
o b lig a t io n
to J u v e n a i.
Here i s
a n o th e r exampie o f t r a n s la t io n a l d i f f i c u l t y :
Juve na i s u c c in t iy d e c la re d :
" Ifemo rep e n te f u i t tu rp is s im u s **.
Jonson essayed th e ii k e b r e v i t y and succeeded, d is a s t r o u s ly man i s p r e s e n t ly made bad w ith
i n
‘*(4 ) ^ e re
abandons c o m p r e h e n s ib ility f o r l i t e r a l t r a n s l a t i o n ^ sake, Next
we f in d him s a c r i f i c i n g th e e s s e n t ia l em phasis: J u v e n a l1s ,
•* Ifo b ix ita s s o ia e s t atque u n ic a v irtu s * *
is w e a k iy re n d e re d :
( I ) J u v . X I I I , 1 1 .5 3 -6 3 . “E v e ry iian
O tm n .i.p .2 2 .
do * p «2 /9 *
d o .p .183.
3,115-12. ( O u n n .i.p .2 1 .)
i.14.
0)
“ That have the tr u e n o b i l i t y c a lle d v i r t u e ” .
More h a u p iiy he d e riv e s ,
“Where g u i l t i s
rm-mlum rag© &nd courage bo th abound
fr a n , “ iro n ' e t animos a c rim in e sumunt” .T h is i s a t le a s t c ie a r
and a t la rg e f a i t h f u l , i f
s c a r c e ly f e l i c i t o u s , o r i n “ abound”
v e r b a lly a c c u ra te ?as he d e s id e ra te d . T h is was perhtetps the p la c e f o r
a la w le ss Shakespearean c o n v e rs io n o f a tame noun in t o an a r r e s tin g
v e rb . Ben d e lib e r a t e ly , as a t r a n s la t o r ^ c lip p e d h is own w ings
in t r a n s la t in g so 1s e r io u s 1 an a u th o r as J u v e n a l. T h is is n o t to
say t h a t he i s u n if o m l y u n s u c c e s s fu l he re ,a n y more th a n i n
re n d e rin g M a r t ia l. On o cca sio n he can surpass h is o r i g i n a l i n
power as i n ,
“ an em peror o n iy i n h is
lu s t s ”
w hich y ie ld s n o th in g t o ,
“ aegrae solaque l i b i d i n e
f o r t e s . • . d e lic ia e * -
and most a p p r o p r ia te ly s p i r it e d i s h is e la b o r a tio n ( c h a r a c t e r is t ic ) j
o f J u v e n a l* s , “ turp© sab a d u lte riu m m e d io c rib u s e t c . “ - r e v e r s in g
i
D o o lit t le * s p le a t h a t th e p o o r cannot a f f o r d a m o ra l code, w h ich
Jonson tr a n s la t e s :
“ To d o ! t w it h c lo t h o r s t u f f s I u s t * s name m ig h t m e r it :
W ith v e lv e t p lu s h and t is s u e s , i t
is s p i r i t . ” ^
G e n e ra lly , how ever, h is t r a n s la t io n s o f J u v e n a i are
i n f e r i o r t o the se exam ples. Thus, J u v e n a l1s d e la t o r c o u ld ,
“ te n u i ju g u io s a p e r ir e s u s u rro ” .
Ben* s e q u iv a le n t , " c u t t in g o f th r o a ts w it h a w h is p e rin g ” , la c k s
the c lo s e te x tu r e o f the o r i g i n a l , f o r f e i t s the on & n atop oe ia,
and has n o th in g to
“ t e n u i” . To be s u re , o f c o u rs e ,s u c h a r t f u l
s l i t t i n g o f th r o a ts c o u ld b© t r a n s la te d o n ly by a w ide freedom
phras© and presum ing th e grace on t h is them© o f a W.H.Hudson
w is in g on th e gauohos' g r a c e fu l sadism . On o c c a s io n , as we have seen
Jonson showed he had t h i s d i g i t to u c h - th e l i g h t e s t p a s try -c o o k s
re p u te d ly tn e f a t t e s t - b u t on s e rio u s o r s e n te n tio u s themes
lio e r a . e ly d e n ie d h im s e lf th e r e q u is it e lic e n s e o r freedom
( 1) Ounn.l.p.183.
}2) do.p.289.
J3) do.312.
;
115.
in h is t r a n s la t io n s . Y/hcro ho was m ost i n e a rn e s t ho s tu c k iro s t
c lo s e ly to th e foim o f th e o r i g i n a l : and no p o e t seemed more
ea rne st o r w o r th -w h ile th a n J u v e n a l* i f we Judge by th e l i t t l e
la x ity
ho a llo w e d h im s e lf i n t r a n s la t in g J u v e n a l.
The in s in c e r it y * v a n it ie s * cun ning * tre a c h e ry *
unscrup ulou sne ss, debauchery, and g e n e ra l m o ra l w o rth le s s n e s s o f
the human race are a l l id e a s d i r e c t l y echoed j i f n o t w h o lly
borrowed j by Jonson from J u v e n a i - and how muoh th e y c o n s t it u t e
o f h is m ost c h a r a c t e r is t ic w o rk ! H is p a r a s ite s * decraved p a re n ts *
and g u lls have t h e i r p ro to ty p e s i n J u v e n a l. Both a u th o rs c a s tig a te
r e lig io u s humbugs and p h ilo s o p h ic - th e o lo g ie - fra u d s : one xsxxx
seizes on th e bogus s t o ic * the o th e r on the humbugging p u r it a n .
F or example* I suggest t h a t i n h is p ic t u r e o f the p u r ita n s w it h
"R e lig io n i n t h e i r garments * Jonson had i n mind J u v e n a l's *
" F a i l i t e n ir. v it iu m
cum s i t t r i s t e
sp e cie v i r t u t i s
e t umbra*
h a b itu v u ltu q u e e t vesta save rum**.
(?)
The r ic h , u n c h a r ita b le man ig n o re s the claim ,s o f th e s t a r v in g p o e t
in d e s p ite o f DunCan* th e face i s
th e in d e x o f th e m in § : ^aeSxLhe
observes t h a t a c e l e b r it y owes h is e le v a tio n to the s u c c e s s fu l
accomplishment o f crim e s t h a t earned f o r b u n g le rs ” th e h u rd le
(m
o r the w h e e lH(and th e re fe re n c e s have d i f f e r e n t s o u rc e s ): th e
s la n d e re r s u ffe r s from th e w hip o f h is own conscience w hich
(sy
renders the f l a g e l l a t i o n o f h is opponents mere fffe m in in e humour*1
(a te n e t i n w h ic h B e n's p r a c t ic e and p re c e p t are w o n d ro u s iy
d is c o rd a n t): th e g re a t ones o f the e a rth are t h e i r v ic tim s *
.
(c)
v ic tim s * b e in g exposed to the b e tr a y a l o f t h e i r s e rv a n ts ’ to n g u e s:
there i s no l i m i t to man1s v a n it y -fca xsd w fcxia xite iiiH xrixx
**0 w hat i s i t p ro u d s lim e w i l l n o t b e lie v e
(*?}
O f h is own w o r t h . . . **:
both po ets make g re a t p la y o f th e m a la d ie s o f age andfw h a t9 ve r
j;re e k dramas may have le n t t h e i r w e ig h t i n t h is * Jonson had Juveia 1
( I ) In d u c tio n to *E very Man Out* .A p p a re n tly Jon son1s m ig h ty and
^
e memory te le s c o p e d th e ages and v is u a lis e d T r ib u la t io n
a"0 R&rb o f a fa ls e s t o io * th e l a t t e r i n g rim b ro a d c lo th .
) s > Cunn.I.p.159.
(3) d«.p.I60.
14) d o .p .168 , 2 7 5 , and I I . p . 5 I 4 . J u v . S a t . I . 11.73-76 and X I im .( K > 3 - 5
A p p a re n tly a g re a t f a v o u r it e o f b o th s a t i r i s t s * e x p la in in g i n a
not u n p le a s in g way th e number © f the u n w o rth y i n h ig h p la c e s .
O u n n .I.p .2 6 8 .
Jg)
d o .276.
v7)
d o .282.
Il6
often and c le a r l y i n m ind i n
“ V o ipo ne ^P p a r a s ite s i n bo oh make an
(2)
incare o u t o f " ±egs and faces**: th e re are no b e t t e r bawds th a n
(4)
parentstwe know n o t what, i s good f o r us - to God man i s d e a re r th a n *
(5 )
(s )
to h im s e if: few a o t as though v ir t u e were i t s own rew ard: tne
vanquished may lo se t h e i r s i l v e r and go id * but ir o n th e y r e t a in ,
CO
and the de spe rate are da n g e ro u s:tn e w id o w -h u n te rs i n fto th are
(d)
« in g u in i8 h a e re s 11: man w o rs h ip s fo r tu n e , a god w ith o u t d i v i n i t y
(9 )
save in na n*s f o o lis h fa n c y :a n d th e substance o f th e p l o t o f
uvo ip one" may be seen i n th e l i n e ,
"iucumdum e t caium s t e r i i i s
such i s
(iO )
f a c i t u x o r amicurn" -
the substance o f the m ain b o rro w in g s and p a r a l le l s .
P ro b a o iy th e re i s
littie
enough i n a i l t h i s ca ta lo g u e -
much le s s i n th e o th e r re fe re n c e s to J u v e h a i ^ ^ t h a t Jonson c o u id
no+ have found elsew here o r w i t h in hiir.sei f .
B ut i n the fo n t i n
whioh th e y s ta n d , a n th e se o b s e rv a tio n s , ap ho rism s, and c y n ic is m s
are, f o r c e r t a in , d e b ts to Juve na ^. And the p e rs is te n c e w ith w n io h
he seeks s u g g e s tio n s i n J u v e n a i o r c o r ro b o ra tio n s o f h i s own
o b s e rv a tio n s , th e emphasis and f a it h f u ln e s s w it h w h ich he ren de rs
them a i l , and th e unwonted preponderance o f uid e o l o g i c a l o v e r
fa c tu a l b o rro w in g s , a i l combine to s u p p o rt o u r g e n e ra l c o n c lu s io n
th a t t h a t e a r l i e r s o id ie r and man o f l e t t e r s was, beyond d is c iim ir t o t r
io n , a p o w e rfu l - p ro b a o iy the m ost p o w e rfu l — l i t e r a r y —cuop k L io s o p h ic a i in flu e n c e on Jon son , and an e x c e p tio n a lly c o n g e n ia l
commonplace o f h is p r iv a t e and sem i-pub l i e
re a d in g and d e b a tin g .
1) “ VoiponeM,A c t I , S c . i ; 1 1 ,3 ; 1 1 1 ,6 ; I V , i .
2) 0 u n n . i. p . 3 6 i.
8)
d o .p .3 6 9 .
4)
d o . IX . p . 2 2 .
5)
d o .100 and l l l . p . 2 6 5 .
d o . i i . p . 106.
do «p. 114 .
d o . p . ib 1 .
do. i l l . p . 3d.
*0
de^-H I . J u v . S t. v . i . I 4 u .
U l) In b r i e f the se concern:Reman m a rria g e customs ( C u n n . I I I . p . 2 u ) :
Reman beggars1 p i t o h e s ( d o . I I . p . I 3 2 . ) ; p o r t a i d e c o r a o io n s ( d o .i.p .3 2 Y j;
^ic u rn ia n p o r te r s (d o . p . 3 2 3 . ) : Demi t i a n ’ s c o u n c il m e e tin g on the tu rb o t
* a fa v o u r ite t h i s (do . p . 3 2 3 .} ; Demi t i a n 1s r e t r e a t ( d o . p . 3 i2 . ) ;th e biue
yes o f the G a u is (d o .p .2 9 3 ) ;use o f th e cross (d o .p .2 8 b ) ;Rcman m ethods
£r jW 4 n g (d o .p .2 5 3 ) ;th e G a m o n io s (d o .p .3 lu );th e b e t t e r men o f o i d ( d o i l .
G
1 ,aE08+" obscure touoh n o te d by Ben h im s e if ( d o . l l l . p . 5 ) pnagio
axe *i*
; in ju s t ic 3 ( d o . 4 u d ) ; i t w i n n s a d iiy n o tic e d t h a t these
u s u a i f a c t u a l o r d e r , and th e many o c o u r i n aSeJanus".
More c o n s id e ra b le t r a n s la t io n appear i n t h e i r p ro p e r p ia c e s .
Others a re : 0 u n n .l.p p .I4 Y ,2 o b , b o th * to th e reader**.
5
11 7.
We
k u s 4)
suppose t h a t Jonson was p e r f e c t ly aware o f
h is in d iv id u a l debts to Ju v e n a i , and * l i k e
o th e r k in d s o f d e b to rs ,
unm indful o f th e t o t a l score o f in d e b te d n e s s . But beyond such
p a rt-u n c o n s c io u s in flu e n c e s as th e l a t t e r , th e re re m a in s, what
Jonson p e r f e c t ly r e a lis e d , h is a f f i n i t i e s w ith J u v e n a l i n p o s it io n ,
o u tlo o k and m o tiv e s . We see th e r e a lis a t io n o f these a f f i n i t i e s
in h is s e le c tio n from J u v e n a l o f a d is g r u n tle d m o tto f o r th e
quarto o f 1C y n th ia 1s Revels* - no haphazard, p in - p o in t s e le c tio n
in the case o f a man l i k e Jonson "quod non d a n t p ro c e re s , d a b it h i s t r i o Haud tamen in v id e a s v a t i , quern p u lp it a pas c u n t,"
and h is tra n s fe re n c e o f the second lin e - e x q u is it e ly a p p ro p ria te to the s in g u la r eminence o f th e t it le - p a g e o f h is f o l i o w orks a t
la rg e . In the se lin e s b o th u o e ts re co rd t h e i r b itt e r n e s s a t the
la c k o f a p p r e c ia tio n by th e o lig a r c h y o f p a tro n a g e , and t h i s
disingenuous sense o f n e g le c te d d e s e rt i n b o th cases i n t e n s i f i e s
the joore u n iv e r s a l and a l t r u i s t i c m o tiv e s o f th e s a t i r i s t s .
J u v e n a l*s o f f i c i a l muse i s a s o r t o f* h © Iy in d ig n a t io n " ,
" S i n a tu ra n e g a t, f a c i t in d ig n a t io versum1 - ^
to which as a c o n t r ib u t o r y m o tiv e fo rc e Jonson added * la u g h te r 1 “ i f n a tu re c o u ld n o t make a v e rs e ,
A nger o r la u g h te r w o u ld ". ^
The a d d itio n i s
J u s t as tr u e o f Ju ve n a l* s w o rk. "L a u g h te r* begot
o f a s in g u la r ly grim r i s i b i l i t y
i n both cases -
"L ik e a man’ s la u g h te r heard i n h e l l ,
Par dow n-1'
the la u g h te r o f s c o r n fu l im p a tie n c e o f human in s e n tie n c e , in j u s t i c e ,
illo g ic a lit y , fo r ,
"Who i s so p a t ie n t o f t h is Im pious w o rld
That he can check h is s p i r i t o r r e in h is tongue?
indeed?
Jbt Jo n so n . Ifct J u v e n a l e i t h e r " I t a q u is in iq u a e
Tam p a tie n s u r b is , tarn fe rre u s u t te n e a t se?# ^
^
(if^hQ c o u p le t i s a ch ie ve d by o m it t in g Jtxxsx th e p u r e ly lo c a l and
opntomporary in s ta n c e s t h a t s e p a ra te lin e s 90 and 93 i n J u v . v i l .
un ?y5+J0Fy
th e " a llu s io n to circ u m s ta n c e s now unknow n", t h a t
puzzled C lif fo r d , i s s u f f i c i e n t l y so lve d i f we assume th e re fe re n o e
is to Ben*s u n s u c c e s s fu l th ro w f o r r o y a l p a tron age i n *0 ynth * s.R evs.
j^ jjg T .I.1 .7 9 .
(3 )0 tm n » III.3 Q 3 . ( 4 ) d » . I . 65. (53J u t . 1 .1 .3 0 .
1X3.
and i n each in s ta n o e the condem natory urg e fin d s e x p re s s io n
in the s a t ir e t h a t i s
a x i we have o f J o v e n a l and the g re a te s t
s in g le elem ent i n Jonson.
J
119.
H orace.
Second o n ly to Jonson*s fame as a s a t i r i s t i s b is fame as a
l i t e r a r y t h e o r ic ia n . And +h e two r ic h e s t m ines o f .L ite ra ry th e o ry
th a t he chose to w o rk are U u in t iiia n * s * I n s t it u t e s "
and H orace*s “A r t o f P o e tr y " . A c o n s id e ra tio n o f these two works
c a ro ie te s and enitcsriises th e numerous c r i t i c a l ua s id e s " found
th ro u g h o u t h i s p ia y s , poems, and “ C o n v e rs a tio n s *• They re v e a i
him to "be an a r t i s t d e e p ly conscious o f the c la s s ic a l in s is te n c e
on foun and o r d e r , and i n o p p o s itio n , on ground and substance
enough, to the r a n a n tic fo n m e ssn e ss o f h is c o n te m p o ra rie s .
I n a n Jonson r e f e r s , i n h is m a jo r w o rk s , o n ly 9 ^ tim e s
to the “ A r t o f ± 'o e try M: b u t he tr a n s la te d i t i n f u l l ; he w ro te
(2 )
a g lo s s a ry o i ^ i t , and he added an a rg u m e n ta tiv e -e x p o s itio n a ry
(3 )
p re fa ce i n d ia lo g u e fo rm ,b o th n o te s and p re fa c e p e rfcsb in g i n the
rtG reat k ir e 'i T h is p re fa c e he read to Drumnond, and h is t r a n s la t io n
had a p p a re n tly n o t d e p re c ia te d i n h is own v a lu a tio n d u r in g te n
(4 )
y e a rs . The p re fa c e had a p p a re n tly engaged him lo n g and d e e p ly .
I t e x is te d i n seme form i n 1605,
and was re c a s t a f t e r th e
w r i t i n g o f “ Bartpxamew* s Pair** i n 1614, t h i s b e in g a p ia y w h ic h
m ig it s t r ik e th e rash s tu d e n t as i n c o n f l i c t w i t h many H o ra tia n
p re c e p ts , and w h ic h Ben th e r e fo r e f e i t to r e q u ir e an a p o io g ia ,
d o u b tle ss as u s u a l u n re p e n ta n t. H is p ro cable M s/, oopy o f
the HDe A rte P o e tio a " , s t i l l e x ta n t, i s , i n p a r t consequence o f
t h is in te n s iv e s tu d y , h e a v ily m arked by h is own h a n i ^
U ) O u n n .1 1 i.p .3 6 6 •
12)
d o .p .3 2 i.
(3) H.& S. i . p . 134.
(4 )
do.
do.
d o .p .156.
d o .p .3 o 3 .
12u.
'the 9 a n u s to n s to th e -De A rte ib e t io a
s in g u ia rx y im p o rta n t. F i r s t *
( i)
a fe * however*
th e y are g iv e n p ro m in e n t p o s itio n s *
and* second* s e v e ra l appear to be fa v o u r ite s * By p ro m in e n t p o s it io n
I mean t h a t n e a n y a n - n o t le s s th a n 8* a rg u a b ly more - are
not in c id e n t a l* i l l u s t r a t i v e * o r m e re iy a llu s iv e : th e y a re the v e r y
p r in c ip le s o f Jo n so n 18 w o rk* th e b e s t ep itcm es o f a n c ie n t s a n c tio n
th a t he can f in d f o r h is d ra m a tio p r a c t ic e * sacred te x ts t h a t
in s p ir e * c o n firm * and round o f f h is sermonfi. T h is i s a p o in t
1
a ire a d y f u l l y made i n d e a lin g w it h M a r t ia l* and* on t h i s evidence
aione* Horace i s M a r t ia l's o n ly r i v a i i n Ben's esteem*
O f the re fe re n c e s to the uDe A rte * o n e -# i n two s l i g h t l y
v a rie d form s - may s a fe ly be c a lle d th e d e f i n i t i v e
s ta te m e n t o f
Jo n so n 's TJiim ary concent o f h is d u ty as a comic d r a m a tis t. We
f in d i t
f ig u r in g as m o tto to the "S ta p le o f tews* and t o uvo±pone*.
I t appears a is o i n Hie in t r o d u c t io n to the uMasque o f Queens” .
f
I t i s * o f co u rse * th e ir m o r t a i p re c e p t:
"A u t prodesse v o iu n t a u t d e ie o ta re p o eta e*
A ut s im u i e t juounda e t id o n e a d ic e re v it a e " *
o r* i n i t s
o th e r form * fr a n th e same w o rk and c o n te x t*
uQmne t u i i t punctum q u i m is c u it u t i i e
d u io i*
Lectoram d e ie o ta n d o p a r ite r q u e monendo.
r
Pew i n p r a c tic e have been more lo y a i to any p r i n c i p le th a n
j
,i
I
Jonson was to t h i s * o r w i t h more r e s u lt s * b o th good and oad.
Perhaps* how ever* the q u o ta tio n f ig u r e s m ost s i g n i f i c a n t l y eeooa c e
o f a l l i n the d e d ic a tio n o f aTTo lp o n e ;i because t h i s address to
" mu
"The m ost n o b ie and e q u a l s is t e r s * * i s
the m ost e a rn e s t* and
oqppie te * and compendious e x ta n t sta te m e n t by Jonson o f h is
(1) These are to oe fo u n d i n O u n n * i.p p *333*334*33b*532; d o * iI *
p p * 2 7 4 * 2 II* b i2 ; d o . I I i . p j u 2 *
To these i i n c l i n e to add O u n n .ii*
p p .487—3 # ix i " D is c o v e rie s th e re are a t le a s t 9 * v i z . i n te s .
A A A ii, L d Q U n , O V ii, OAVx, O Xix* O X U , OXXXi, O XXn* OXXXV.
(2) 1 1 .83 3-4 and 343-4 o f th e “ De a r te tfo e tic a .
!
i
'
i
]
±2*.
views on the s e rio u s d u tie s o f a comic d r a m a tis t. A c t u a lly t h is
v i t a l p ie c e o f e x p la n a tio n ta k e s th e above q u o ta tio n as i t s
p r in c ip a l t e x t , appeals on v a rio u s occa sio ns to H orace, and i s ,
a t la r g e , a d is s e r t a t io n on th e
De A rte F o e tic a ^ s o t h a t th e fcarnt
oanm entaiy and in t r o d u c t io n , e a r l i e r -work th a n t h i s , i n sane fo im ,
were n o t u t t e r l y consumed.
Among o th e r o b lig a tio n s to the uDe A rte * th e re i s i n
the d e d ic a tio n to uTfoiponeM a t r a n s la t io n o f p a r t o f H orace1s
,
rhapsodic e u io g y o f the p o e t 's f u n c tio n as a mora± euide to a l l
U)
m ankind. T h is i s e la D o ra te d Dy g r a f t i n g on a s im i la r e u io g y fr a n
an e p is t ie to A ugustus, ih e w hoie passage b re a th e s th e id e a l
fe rv o u r w it h w h io h Jonson h a o it u a n y regarded the h ig fr f u n c tio n
o f h is own p r o fe s s io n . And i n th e p ro lo g u e to h i s la s t w o r k ,k‘i'he
Sad S hepherd-, he ta ke s o c c a s io n to t e s t i f y to h is x if c - io n g f a i t h
and p r a c t ic e , ih a-j the h e ig h ts o f a r t cannot be sca le d cy happy
^
chance o r id x e g e n iu s , a c o n c lu s io n e x p l i c i t and I m p l i c i t i n th e
- A r t o f Jt'oetry* •
O f n e c e s s ity , m e d e t a i l o f h i s l i t e r a r y th e o ry and
f a it h -synonyms f o r him - w e nt beyond H o ra ce 's m anual: o u t i t may
f a in y
be re g a rd a as J on son's Dec aiogue and p o c k e t- te s ta m e n t. From
i t s dogna he d is s e n ts a t tim e s , y e t o n ly w ith th e g ra v e s t
c irc u m s p e c tio n , o r u n d e r the c o e rc io n o f in e s c a p a b le and unconscious
contem porary in flu e n c e s . H is c irc u m s p e c tio n i n t h i s m a tte r may oe
read in t o the e x p o s itio n o f h is r e f u s a l to a c c e p t b i in d iy a x l th e
t r a d it io n a l te c h n iq u e o f drama, i n the in d u c tio n to uE v e ry Man
Out o f H is Humour**. And th e s p i r i t o f h i s age may be seen to
j
i
work i n him a g a in s t H o ra c e 's (and th e s t a g i r i t e ' s ) p r e s c r io t io n
In the s iz e o f h is c a s ts . He tra n s g re s s e s a ls o i n the c o m p le x ity
u)
o f h is p i o t s , th e o c c a s io n a l v io le n c e o f h is scene and them e,
(4 )
i n h is n o to r io u s h a o it o f l i t e r a l t r a n s la t io n . B ut i n more
profound m a tte rs he obeys th e H o ra tia n p re c e p ts w it h Im p o rta n t
r e s u its , as i n h is norm al essays to a ch ie ve u n if o r m it y o f
^exture, and i n th e s t a t i c q u a l i t y o f h i s humour c h a r a c te rs ,
'
U ) O u n n .i.p .3 3 3 .
A rs F o e t. 11.39P— 40±
(2 ) “A . * . * 11.291-301,
0 u n n . I. p . l8 5 . (4 ) i b . i 3 3 .
(5 ) 0 u n n . il. p p . X 2 5 - v . ih is
la s t “ e ffe c t** i s i n n o ta b le o o n tr a s t w it h S hakespeare's h a o it o f
k n o w in g h is p r i n c i p a l c h a ra c te rs to “ d e v e io p "•
122.
w hioh i s a c o r o lla r y to h is c o n c e p tio n o f the H o ra tia n desideratum
o f “ s e x f-o o n s is te n o :/* . And, f in a x iy , he produces from the **De A rte
p o e tic a " a h e a d lin e c o n fir m a tio n f o r h i s ciu sad e on b e h a lf o f
d ra m atic re a lis m o r . a t l e a s t , c r e d i b i l i t y . ^
From o th e r w orks o f H o race , to o , he c u n s em blem atic
s u o - titx e s r o r h i s p ia y s , and every ch o ice re v e a ls the man he was.
Thus, th e m o tto o f “ C a tilin e * *
( 2)
expresses i n H o ra c e 's words Ben's
d is d a in o f “ p u b lic a vena“ , and appeals to the h ig h b o rn who alone
have s u f f i c i e n t c u ltu r e to a p p re c ia te h i s re c h e ro h ^ o f f e r i n g . The
sane c h a r a c t e r is t ic contem pt o f th e h e rd appears i n th e m o tto
(3 )
to “ Bartholom ew 1s F a ir 11, th o u g h the g e n ia lit y o f the b u lk o f th e
p la y i t s e i f i s h a r d iy re p re s e n te d by th e c y n io a x im p re sa . perhaps
Ben i s h e re “ s c o rn in g h is own s p ir it * *
fo r it s
oondescension. i n th e m o tto tb® the “ I w
com p ara tive
in n " Horace appears as
a f r ie n d g iv in g a d vice o r c o m fo rt f o r th e f a i l u r e o f th e p ia y on
the p u b lic s ta g e , and commending t h a t h i g i e r and s a fe r c o u r t o f
J
a p p e a l, the s tu d yU>
. The a rro g a n t tru m p e tin g t h a t heraxds th e p,
form o f “ E v e ry Man o u t o f h is Humour" - h a rm o n is in g p e r f e c t ly w i t h
Jonson* s a t t it u d e tow ards h i s p ro d u c tio n - i s a symposium o f
H o ra tia n lin e s t h a t outdoes th e o r i g i n a l a u th o r 's n o t inconsiderable
(5 )
c o n fid e n c e i n h i s achievem ents.
And t h is p a r t i c u l a r use o f
Horace, as o f M a r tia x , goes to show t h a t Horace was one o f
j
i
Jonson1s d e a re s t s p i r i t u a l in tim a t e s , r e a d iiy tu rn e d to i n
triu m p h s and i n tr o u b le s as a k in d re d and s ym p a th e tic s p i r i t .
J u s t how n e a n y a k in Ben m ust have f e i t Horace to be i s
best e x e m p lifie d i n th e n o to r io u s p ic tu r e o f Horace-Jonson i n
>
“ p o e ta s te r " . O f t h i s c h a r a c t e r 's q u a l it ie s and a e s th e tic
!
im p lic a tio n s P ro fe s s o rs H a rfo rd and Simpson make a m ost
j
in t e r e s t in g and th o ro u g h e x a m in a tio n . However, t h e i r a n a x y s i*
( i) 0 u n n . II . p . 2 I i.
De A r te P o e t* x * 333.
>2)
do . p . '/p .
^3)
d o . p . i4 i.
do•335.
d o .I.p .6 I.
H.& S. 1 .p p .413-423 and 436-441.
and e s ^ ir a^e touches 'th e p re s e n t e n q u iry o m y i n t h e i r f in d in g
th a t Jonson1s e la b o r a tio n o f MH o race1* - as o f ,tTre r g il° and #frv id «
is d i r e c t l y due to h is s tro n g humanist, sym pathies and
super©
r o g a to ry , o r even c o n t r a d ic t o r y , t o h i s im m ediate d ra m a tic
and s a t i r i c purposes I n a v e iy J u s t and il lu m i n a t i n g manner
th e y e x p la in th e p s y c h o lo g ic s tim u lu s t h a t le d to th e c r e a tio n
o f MP o e ta s te r1s *
h i s t o r i c a l background th u s : ‘‘ The s c h o la r had
received h is mandate from the s a t i r i s t ;
but he was to o
independent and to o ke8n to pause J u s t when th e s a t ir is t , oeased
6)
to need h im :.11
A v e iy rea son ab le , c o n v in c in g ,a n d p le a s a n t
e x p la n a tio n .
To argue f u r t h e r , as th e p ro fe s s o rs d o , t h a t ‘ H o race1
is n e it h e r Q u in tu s H o ra tiu s F la c c u s r n o r Benjam in Jo n so n , n o r
an Im p re ssive m ed le y o f b o th i s , a t b o tto c i,m e re ly to sa y t h a t
Jonson f a il e d to ach ie ve the im p o s s ib le . The r e a l i s t i c and th e
sym bolic q u a l it ie s o f th e o h a r a c te r, th e s a t i r i c and th e
h i s t o r ic a l re q u ire m e n ts , th e E liz a b e th a n and th e Roman elem ents
d id n o t, i t
i s t i u e , m ix ; bu t n e it h e r d id th e y n o tic e a b ly c la s h .
fo r^ th e c o lo u rs o f ‘ H orace1 i n ** Poe t a s t e r 1* ar9 too weak and
w a te ry to be even d is c o rd a n t. To accuse such a o h a ra c te r o f
'inconsistency1 is a vague and d iffic u lt charge to establish.
Of a r t i s t i c in c o n s is te n c y - th e g ra v e s t charge to Benf s o r
Herace's mind - i t is n o t guilty; i t remains throughout the
same p o l i t e , d e f e r e n t ia l, lo n g - s u f f e r in g , gene rou s, n e g a tiv e
be in g. And to accuse Ben o f in c o n s is te n c y w it h h i s t o r y , h i s own
or Horace's,is not aesthetic criticism at a l l ,and l i t t l e more to
the p o in t th a n condemning P a ls t a f f f o r b e in g a bad t ra v e st y o f
( I ) H. A S .I.p .4 2 8
an a c tu a l U id c a s tie .
JUong ago G regory fctoiith d e c la re d o f Jonson t h a t he had
“ a l i t e r a r y hum our", and t h a t i n consequence he was prone to
accept and to g iv e “ an i l l u s t r a t i o n
p r e c is e ly T h a t he does i n
f o r an i d e n t i t y " . That i s
"Horace**, as so o fte n i n " D is c o v e rie s *
and i n m a rg in a l n o te s on h is l i b r a r y oooks.
Even so , and a n o w in g the w id e s t lic e n c e c o n v e n tio n a x ly
aooorded to a lle g o iy , th e f a c t rem ains th a t Jonson c o u ld
<
conceive ham sexf as w a lk in g th e ooards i n th e to g a , g a it , and
c h a ra c te r o f k ia c c u s : a t le a s t he was s t iu c k by resemblances
th a t escaped h is c o n te m p o ra rie s and p u z z ie u s . The g re a t u n tr u s s e r
o f g u n s o o u id g u n h im s e x f - p a ra d o x ic a l h u t n o t u n u s u a l. Judged
by th e s tu d ie d m o d e ra tio n o f h is to n e , h is la c k o f v in d ic tiv e n e s s ,
h is generous and l o f t y s c o rn o f d e t r a c t o r s , h is reverence f o r
the n o b i l i t y o f h is c r a f t and i t s
supreme exp on en ts, h is to ie ra n o e .
lo n g - s u f f e r in g , and o ia n d n e ss, Th e Horace o f " Foe t a s t e r * may
reasonabxy be regarded as a p ic t u r e o f Jonson when he w as, i n
(2 )
Drummond's p h ra s e , " a t h im s e lf 11, a t peace w it h th e w o r ld . I t i s
e x tre m e ly n ro b a b ie t h a t -
such i s th e f ie s h — t h is Jo n son -in -R oo d—
humour was the p o e t 's own c o n c e p tio n o f the n a t u r a l, n o a a a i Ben,
the k in d x y , u n a s s e rtiv e io v e r o f th e Good. As a c o r o n a r y , a i l
d e p a rtu re s frcm t h i s noaa he w ould e x p ia in as due to e x te r n a l
causes, p o e ta s te r s , d r in k , ig n o r a n t c r i t i c s , d is e a s e , and th e
o th e r e a r t h ly i i i s
t h a t s t a in and t r y th e id e a x o h a ra c te r t h a t i s
m an's in n e r v is i o n o f h i s own r e a l o h a r a c te r, th e g re a t i n u s i o n .
The power o f h is Im a g in a tio n and th e "p a s s io n " o f h is n a tu re
would b u tis e rv e to o o n fin n him i n t h i s g e n e ra l, though n o t
a l i- p r e v a i iin g , m is c o n c e p tio n .
However w id e ly we may t h in k t h a t Horace and Jonson d id
in f a c t d i f f e r as men, we m ust concede a la rg e degree o f
( l ) “ Ben Jonson” ,p#268*
v2) “ C o n v e rs n tio n s " H.& S * I.p * X 5 x .
re s e m b la n c e b e tw e e n - t h e i r l i t e r a l
p r in c ip le s .
As s i b y l t o h i s
own
tim es o f th e c l a s s i c l i t e r a i y f i a t s Jo n so n a c c e n ts Horace as h is
(0
m ajor o r a c le . Thus no l e s s th a n th r e e tlm.es i n l!D is c o v e rie s " he
reoords w ith ap p ro v in g ccarr.ent th e **Ars P o e tic a 's * ' p r i n c i p l e
th a t a u th o rs m ust av # id th e f a n t a s t i c and in c o h e r e n t. And th e
i s i t e r a t i o n o f th e c a v e a t p ro b a b ly r e f l e c t s th e freq u en cy w ith
which c o n te m p o ra rie s o ffen d ed him on t h i s scofce. Horace i n s i s t s on
a r t i s t i c hom ogeneity - a b se n t i n c i d e n t a l l y i n th e h a s t y *P o e t a s t e r 1.»
So Ben c o u n s e ls h is fe llo w s to eschew t h e i r f a v o u r i t e , f a r f e t c h e d ,
f a ir y s t u f f . In d eed , he s l i g h t l y h ard en s th e H o ra tia n req u irem e n ts
©f re a lis m , c r e d i b i l i t y , and s e lf - c o n s is te n c y in t o a ban on
w hatever i s o u tw ith norm al e x p e rie n c e . He r e q u i r e s f i c t i o n to
conform to common o b s e rv a tio n and subxqobxxsxbk common s e n s e . Even
s e lf - c o n s is te n c y dSSSnot j u s t i f y ' i n i t i a l ex tra v ag an c e o f fancy*
S e lf - c o n s is te n c y , how ever, f o r b o th i s o f p rim a ry im p o rta n c e . L et
Lb
the m a tte r be "sim p lex d u n ta x a t e t unum", ad v ised H orace; and
Jonson ech o ed , "L et th e work be u n ifo rm i n te x tu r e o r a l l i n one
key"; by w hich he m eans more th a n f sayf th e e x c lu s io n o f tra g e d y
from ccmedy and v ic e v e r s a , f o r he re q u ire d ^ lik e H o ra c e ^ th a t th e
p a r t should be s u b o rd in a te d to th e w h o lj^ To t h i s l a t t e r maxim we
may in p a r t a t t r i b u t e th e absence from Jonsorisx* w orks o f q u o ta b le
tag s and p u rp le p a tc h e s , a c o n sc io u s and1d e l i b e r a t e o m issio n as
'may be seen i n th e i n t e r e s t i n g e x c is io n o f L o re n z o 's rhapsody on
poesy as between th e q u a rto and f o l i o v e rs io n s © f "'E v e ry fran I n h is
Rumour". I t n w be seen to o i n h i s avowed o b je c tio n to |,he f o r c in g
in o f J e s t s '! ^ d i n th e r a r i t y w i t h w h ich he s te p s a s id e ! t o c u l l
a grace. Yet he i s v e r y f a r from c o n s is t e n t ly o b se rva n t o f t h i s
H oratian - . r in o ip ie . He does fo rc e i n J e s ts , p a r t i c u l a r l y and n o ta b ly
® f a v e r y b a rre n o rd e r, and any s u b je c t m a tte r t h a t appeals
D±8ooverf-e s ,O X II, CXVI, CXXX'h
P a r t s ' m 8 he l o y a l l y exte nd s to c o v e r th e a r a ll e s t n a r ts . f
q.ues+i«P • . eaSh P&rase no w ord m ust o b trud e o r J a r the c r i t i c ' s
^ s „ in g n a i l : f o r so s a id Q u in t ili a n and Horace (D is c .O X X Ii;
D iscove ry CXV1.
to h is s c h o la r ly , a n tiq u a r ia n , G e o l o g i c , o r s c i e n t i f i c in t e r e s t s
is a t t e s t c e r t a in to i n f l a t e t h a t o a r t a t th e exoense o f th e w h o le .
In J o n s o n 's case i t
rem ains
u n r e a lis e d a m b itio n , b u t a v i t a l . l y
an
i r o rien t a m b itio n ,th a t a w ork o f f i c t i o n sh o u ld be "one and e n t ir e " .
A
7
To make a d e t a ile d e x a m in a tio n o f th e r e la t io n s between
H o ra tia n -orecept and Jo n so n ia n -p ra c tic e w ould be te d io u s and
m is le a d in g : m is le a d in g because one cannot always s ta te c a t e g o r ic a lly
when be has Horace b e fo re h im * and wben H orace1s m a s te rs . But we
may ta b u la te some o f th e more im p o rta n t and obvious in s ta n c e s o f
the im pingem ent o f the one a u th o r on th e o th e r. Thud, Ho race
decreed and Jonson remembered:
(a) A void bombast even i n g re a t m a tte rs - a m a rk e d ly u n E iiz a b e th a n
r e s t r a in t .
(b) Theie i s no use a c h ie v in g g r e a t b e a u tie s a t the r i s k o f e q u a lly
remarkable fla w s .
(c) "L a b o r lim a e " and "m u lta e l i t u r a e "
are e s s e n tia l i n wofcks t h a t
hope f o r im m o r ta lit y © f fame.
(d) L e t y o u r c h a ra c te rs be tr u e to h is t o r y o r s e lf - c o n s is t e n t bo th y a lt e r n a t iv e s e x e m p lifie d i n ,f C a t i l i n e 11 me and MSeJanus” .
(e) Ifete the v a r y in g d e s ire s and n a tu re s o f each stage o f l i f e * *
though i t cannot be a s s e rte d t h a t Ben’ s c h a ra c te rs are f i n e l y
d is c rim in a te d by t h e i r y e a rs * Hie H o ra tia n p re c e p t tends to a broad
c o n v e n tio n a lis a tio n * as o f a v a ric e and s u s p ic io n w i t h age* s im p ly
age* and lu s t and i r r e s p o n s i b i l i t y w it h y o u th . Jonson* no mpre th a n
Shakespearet has 'S tu d ie s o f r e a l c h ild r e n .
( f ) L e t th e m a tte r o f y o u r p la y r e t a in the conmon to u c h .
As to h is p re fe re n c e s f o r H orace’ s poems* i n t e r se*
apart from, th e ’ A rs P o e tic a ’ j i t
to the Odes and Epodes, i t i s
i s ha rd to d o g r a tis e . H is re fe re n c e s
t r u e * outnum ber h is re fe re n c e s to th e
S a tire s and B p is t le s . Y et « B tt
i s weakened b y th e f a c t t h a t i t
evidenoe
i s the l a t t e r w h ic h i n h is e x ta n t
°«py e f Horace are r e s t f r e q u e n t ly u n d e rlin e d . And a g a in i n faw o u r
l l K . 9 C|d6S l t jma>y * * m entioned t h a t he tr a n s la te d a t f u l l le n g th no
W ^ o w ie d g e ^ o f w b f + +« M e
Horac® we m ust acknowledge
®®Qking b r e v i+ v * / pV
°
* (b ) t r a n s la t io n a l o b s c u r ity i n
(1) t o f m u c h ^ le a rn in g in ju r e s ^ la y s ? e f f e o t iv e l n d ra na
sPee<*5
j
I
'
127.
few er th a n th r e e , v i z . 111*9; r r, i ;
and ^ ,2 . A n o th e r fa v o u r ite
was 1TT,9 . A p p a re n tly Horace v ,2 , the “ Beatus i i x e ” , was a t e s t
piece f o r t r a n s la t o r s i n Jo n so n 1s tim e . He re p e a le d h is own v e ^ l o n
(Underwoods IxXXXVIXX) to Drommond and o h a r a c t e r is t ic a x ly “ adm ired
(a)
i t “ . The s l i g h t e c ib ig u ity o f ui t “ i s proD aoiy im m a te ria l.
C oncerning the q u a l it y o f h is t r a n s la t io n s o f H orace,
in c lu d in g th e “ De A r t e “ , n o th in g need be added to w hat has a lre a d y
been s a id o f h is o th e r l i t e r a l e f f o r t s i n t h is genre.
A
jlI
h is
v e rs io n s o f Horace are governed s t r i c t l y b y h i s cram ping th e o ry
th a t v e r b a l f a it h f u ln e s s i s
the sin a qua non; and even w i t h in
the f i e l d th u s c irc u m s c rib e d he pxods s t r a ig h t o n , o r t w is t s
and c u r v e ts , gaxumpns som etim es, i n co n fu se d , u n g a in ly and
o c c a s io n a lly in a c c u ra te m anner.
A l l h i s e d ito r s and commentators are n a tu r a ix y d is a p p o in t^
by h i s g e n e ra l f a i l u r e as a t r a n s la t o r , o r puzzxed by h i s occasional
success. A t b e s t, th e y p o in t to “D rin k to me o n ly ” as co n d o n a tive
evidence o f w hat ne couxd nave done out wouxd n o t r e g u ia n y do.
What i n Jo n so n 1s c ircu m sta n ce s o r make-up can e xp xa in
h is d e .lib e ra te d e fia n c e o f H orace’ s own in ju n c t io n t h a t
tr a n s x a tio n , i f one w ishes to make th e m a te ria x “ one’ s own" as Jonson* s h ig h regard f o r The a r t suggests was h is in t e n t io n (3 )
m ust n o t oe s t i i c t x y verbax? W ith o u t h o p in g f o r a c le a r - c u t ,
f i n a l assessm ent, we may d is tin g u is h the fo x x o w in g p o ssio xe
fa c to r s i n the s it u a t io n .
(a )
He m ig h t have denied +h e a p p l i c a b i l i t y o f the
c ite d i n th e uDe A r t e " ; and he r i g h t have J u s t if ie d h i s ap p a re n t
contumacy th u s :
" I n my w o rks you w ix x f in d two k in d s o f
(1) T r a n s la tio n s : 0unn#i l i . p p . 3 3 7 , 535, 334. I V , 9 appears on
P *3I0 and i n f u g i t i v e re fe re n c e s exsewhere, e . g . I I I . p p . i i / u
and 239. i h i s i s the “ V ix e re f o r t e s * ode, on Jo n so n 1s fa v o u r ite
theme, nanexy, p o e tr y ’ s power to c o n fe r im m o r t a lit y , g r a c io u s iy
expressed i n th e “ De A r t e " , t o o , and q u ote d oy Jon son , U u n n .iX I.
p .402.
(2) “ C o n v e r s a tio n s , H.& S . I. p .1 3 4 .
(3) “ De A rte P o e t . ” x l . 131-134.
123
tra n s x a tio n s o r v e r s io n s . H orace’ s a d vic9 a p p lie s to the r e t e l l i n g
o f a n c ie n t s u o ri^ s w1-»i +he o b je c t o f m aking th e f i n a l v e r s io n
one’ s own p r o p e r ty . x have done t h a t s u c c e s s fu lly , as my commentators
6ay, i n
"D ririk to me only**: i n i t
the oxd G-reek fa n c ie s nave oeen
transm uted as w e x i as tr a n s la t e d . Such a p ro ce ss re q u ire s ta s te
in arrangem ent, p h ra s in g , om issio ns and d e c o ra tio n , beside
te c h n ic a x d e x t e r it y . And the p ro c e s s , i f
s u c c e s s fu x , g iv e s the
t r a n s x a t o r , in h a p p ie r .days, a xegax c o p y r ig h t. B u t th e m a jo r it y o f
my tra n s x a tio n s - note t h i s ! - are d e x ib e ra te x y designed on a
d if f e r e n t pxan and to a d i f f e r e n t end. 10 m y s e lf and my le s s
educated c o lle a g u e s 1 d e fin e d my " x i t e r a x 1 tra n s x a tio n s i n u a is
manner: ’ Reax tr a n s x a tio n i s
t h a t re p re s e n ta tio n i n a n o th e r tongue
which w ix i m ost im m ediatexy recaxx the o r ig in a x v e r s io n to one
who i s
f a m i l i a r l y a cq u a in te d w it h the o r i g i n a l , and w h ich w i ix
xeast v e i l The e x a c t fonn o f the d iv in e o r i g i n a l from th e ig n o ra n t
la it y *
H•
(o )
day -
m e generax p r a c t ic e o f schoxars and pedants i n h is own
as d is tin g u is h e d fra n o x e v e r J o u m a x is tic amateurs x ik e
Oardinax D u p e r r o n . ^
(o ) Ben’ s in n a te xove o f d i f f i c u l t y ,
la b o u r,
and s t r i f e .
(d ) H is re g a rd f o r severe menuaxd is c ip x in o and,
h a tre d o f p a d d in g and
c o n v e rs e ly .
a l l fx a o o in e s s .
i
i
|
|
(d )H is r e lig io u s reverenoe f o r the e x a c t fon n o f th e o r i g i n a l .
The beloved passages he th o u g h t w o rth y o f t r a n s la t io n were
u n a lte r a b ly f ix e d i n h i s
r e t e n t iv e memory, n o t m e re ly i n g e n e ra l
substance,9 b u t i n an o rd e r o f w ords and sequence o f id e a s as
i
safltrosanot and no more t o be d is tu rb e d th a n , sa y, th e fo n n a l
b u r ia l s e rv io e o f 1he c h u ro h , o r th e c lic h e s o f a n c ie n t and m odem
re x ig io u 8 , d e m o n o lo g ic a l, hym eneal, o r a lc h a m is tic r i i § l l .
m
th is he had some fo im o f s c h o la r ’ s i n h i b i t i o n as w e ii as “ hum our"•
.....
(1) See “ C o n v e rs a tio n s ". H.& S. 1 .p . 134.
(2) We have n o te d re p e a te d ly how r i t u a l g a s c in a te s h im . See, i n
p a r t ic u la r , O a tu n u s , P e s t.A v ie n u s , and S 9 v e ra i o f th e M inora S id e ra
j
(f)
Sheer ■ p e rv e rs ity w ould a t le a s t eonfj.nr: him i n a course t h a t
u n p o p u la r ity w ould s u f f ic e to s u g g e st. H is term e r pave hirr a
la rg e c a p a c ity f o r b e in g w rong.
These p o in ts rerrembered^one Trust concede t h a t th e iro re
in s o lu b le p r o b le r is rW iy are some o f h is t r a n s la t io n s fre e and
e x c e lle n t? - u n le s s , o f c o u rs e , one concedes (a ) above. In any
case jt o e x p la in away h is o c c a s io n a l m a s te ry o f th e a r t o f fcxxxsts& ta
t r a n s la t io n w o u ld be a t le a s t u n g ra c io u s .
So f a r we have d e a lt w it h Jonson* s t r a n s la t io n s o f
Horace and h is a t t it u d e tow ards H o ra tia n l i t e r a r y p e rc e p ts . O f courae
he a ls o seeks i n H orace, as i n a l l L a t in a u th o rs , w h a te ve r i i $ i t
is to be had on a n t iq u it ie s i n g e n e ra l. A c tu a lly ,h e fin d s l i t t l e
o f t h is i n Horace except th e arcana o f w it c h c r a f t . From th e l a t t e r * s
C a n id ia and Sagana he borrows d e t a ils to c o rro b o ra te th e
p r a c tic e s d e s c rib e d by O v id , A p u le iu s f and Lucan, n o t to m e n tio n
many l a t e r fa th e r s o f th e o c c u lt down even to
(0
h is own day and k in g . The q u in te s s e n c e © f h is heavy s tu d ie s i n
t h is p a r t i c u l a r k in d o f x s nonsense and k n a v e ry i s to be found
in h is t e x t and n o te s to th e “ Masque © f Queens".
I n h is more f l e e t i n g r a id s on Horace he f e l l on
c h a r a c t e r is t ic s p o il. I t was p ro b a b ly a t W e stm in ste r t h a t he
f i r s t met th e H o ra tia n tr u is m t h a t money i s th e r o o t o f tr o u b le
and c o r r u p tio n ? H is l a t e r l i f e
apophthegn. F o r Jonson i t
and in t e r e s t , i f
c o n fin n e d th e t r u t h o f the
appears to have had a p e c u lia r fo rc e
one may Judge from th e f a c t t h a t he r e fe r s to
i t , i n one fo im o r a n o th e r, no le s s th a n f o u r tim e s . I n the
"F o re s t” he t r a n s la t e s one H o ra tia n v e r s io n w it h u n u s u a l freedom
( I ) F o r h is numerous o th e r sources on t h is s u b je c t see C u n n .III on
K * 52, g r H,& S . I . p p . 2 5 2 -3 . A p p a re n tly he thouoh+ l i + + iSP#
cm .+ « ?+ °? n -'r “ ’u t io n *-° Sfc0 s u b je c t o f A t c h c r l f t ,
he
p-n^v
o n ly once and e le m e n ta ry t a c t re q u ire d no le s s +vmn +>»«+
14 aKa* url611 ^
lik e Duperren^s
H°ra c e - L i b . I I . S a t . 3 . i l . 9 4 - 6 ; O a r .L ib . i v . g . 1 . 5 5 .
'
130.
and at, le a s t as muon fo re s as h is own "h o n e s t p i a g ia i^ , M tito n ,
th u s:
. 2 . in g o ts
Were y e t unfound and b e t t e r p la c e d i n e a rth
Than here to g iv e p r id e fame and peasants b ir th s
In t h is we h e a r Jonson the d is a p p o in te d re p re s e n ta tiv e o f a nooxe
out n e g le c te d and p e n u rio u s p r o fe s s io n , and a is o Jonson the so io n
(^ )
o f gentxe s to c k . In h is “V o ip o n e ", to o , as i n H oraoe, ‘‘ v ir t u e ,
fame, honour, and a x i/t^ h in g s " are a s c rib e d to w e a lth ; and the same
(3 )
sour s e n tim e n t i s repeated i n th e “ S ta p le o f I'fews"
and the
(4 )
“King* s E n te rta in m e n t11.
So Ben f i r s t recorded h is a p p ro v a l
o f the adage a t the age o f 31 , and when 50 o r more saw no
reason to change h is m in d . Among the s lig h ts ,a n d sp u rn s, and
p e r io d ic p o v e rty th a t were h i s l o t t h is
f a v o u r ite q u o ta tio n m ust
n o te
have Deen eve n^o ftE R * on h is p r o t e s t in g and contemptuous lip s
than on h is pen.
In u n is o n , to o , th e y s in g t h a t " a m a n ^ a man f o r a* t l a i u
- assuming perhaps t h a t he ha s a c q u ire d the id e a x o f e a r^h x y
f e l i c i t y , the m odesty competency so a t t r a c t i v e l y p ic tu r e d oy
(6 )
Horace and a d m ir in g ly t r a n s la te d by Ben.
The same id e a o f
contentm ent w it h sim p ie f a r e and humbie le c h e ry appears i n the
(?)
“ D e v il i s an A s s 11;
do
and the s tru g g le to p i l e up w hat m u st a t x a s t
( 8)
x a f t be h in d b o th denounce because
i t cang iv e
no f i n a i s e c u r it y .
From H orace, as we have
seen, he diwwsc o n fir m a tio n
may be c o n s id e re d h i$ g u id in g p r in c ip le as an a r t i s t , i . e .
o f w nat
the
n o t iU it y , the s e rio u s d u ty * and th e consequent im p ortan ce o f h i s
p ro fe s s io n , the a r t o f p o e tr y . The concept was a t once an
( l ) C u n n . I I I . p . 2 7 l.
2)
d o .I.p .3 3 7 .
3)
d o .II.p .2 9 I.
i—
d o .11.p . 563*
d o .III.p .3 4 o .
d o . I I I . p . 3 8 4 . And 899 above, t r a n s la t io n .
d o .X I.p .2 4 3 .
do. I i. p . 2 3 5 .
$
i3 l.
in s p ir a t io n and "e sca p e "; i t was ta e ro s u x t o f h is ago and i t
hardened t h a t ago. There i s
d i g n it y , arrogance* n o b iii& y *
and h a u te u r i n h is eohoed p h ra s e s * th e ^ p o e t i s a “w a s te r i n
manners** * ■who ean c o n fe r I m m o r ta lity .
(S)
on the n a tu re o f s a t ir e $ to o * he agrees w ith H orace.
L ik e Horace and x ik e J u v e n a l* Jonson acknowledges t h a t he rin d s
the s a t i r i c urg e to be i r r e s i s t i b l e ,
in t e r e s t in g x i ^ i t i s Shed*
askance* on Jo n so n 1s o u tio o k and q u a l i t y o r o h a ra c te r i n h is
c la im t n a t "Vo±pone“ i l l u s t r a t e s th e H o ra tia n p re c e p t and
p r a c tic e o f k e e p in g b itte r n e s s o u t o f h i s s a t ir e so t h a t
a little
s a l t r a m a in e trr.
o n ly
To-day we f e e i t h a t h is saxine otsR&R*
c o n te n t i s h ig h *
Jonson i s i n accord w it h Horace i n h i s a t t it u d e
3|fce«h9 rd
tow ards
o f hum ankind - p a r t i c u l a r l y a f t e r the p u b lic in d iff e r e n c e
shown to h is Raman p ia y s . He d e rid e s th e b a rre n s p e c ta to rs who
condemned “ C a tix in e " * sneers aw the many-heaaed m o n s te r s
p re o c c u p a tio n w it h o r a in ie s s s p e c ta o ie *a n d commends h is p ia y
to th e m o r 9 d is c e r n in g ‘‘ e q u ite s * * !^ And h i s one g re a t pxay t h a t
m ig h t seam u n -H o ra tia n to th e c a s u a l* and a mere p a n d a rin g to
the v u lg a r lo ve o f a huge o a s t o f e q u a lly Im p o rta n t c h a ra c te rs *
heme-spun humour* b u s tle and l i t e r a r y fo m u e s s n s s s * he a f t e r a ± i
p re fa c e d w it h a q u o ta tio n fro m Horace t h a t compares the in t e r e s t
o f th 9 p u b lic i n l i t e r a t u r e
(b)
to th e in t e r e s t o f a d e a f a s s .v *
Ab to om issio n s from H orace* w e il^ o n e m ig h t e x p e c t i n
the w ork o f so co n firm e d a to p e r as Ben a number o f re fe re n c e s
to H o ra c e 's b a c c h a n a lia n odes and g r a c e f u n y p o e tic w ine—l i s t s —
the more so as B e n's ta v e rn s were f o r him no mere v rm e -s w ix iin g
g e t-d ru n k —q u ic k dens* o u t c e n tre s o f p ie a & a n t s o c ia l* l i t e r a r y *
and g e n e ra n y c u i t u r a i l i f e
as w e il. The e x p e c ta tio n i s v a in .
(1) C u n n .I.p .3 3 3 .
(2)
d o . lii. p p . 3 1 0 * 2 /2 .
(3)
do. i l l . p p . 30 2 -4 .
’4) do. 1 .p . c o / .
k5) Modto to uO a t ili n e - .
\Q) M otto to " B a r t 's . F a ir * . The same sco rn o f th e many i s
b i t t e r l y s t r e s s e d i n th e m o tto to th e 1631 f o l i o and th e “ A lc rr s is t
i t i s b e t t e r known i n k l i t o n ' s v e r s io n * ufi1 r audience f in d *
th o u g i fe w ‘‘ . See th e same id e a o f th e p o e t 's e x c lu s iv e appeal
u n d e rlin e d i n h is hand i n h is l i b r a r y copy o f Horace (H.& S. 1.2 54)
■ihere are two n e ig h b o u rin g and n e g lig ib le a llu s io n s i n th e
formax “ K in g 's E n te rta in m e n t1* * one to d r in k in g cups as embi'^ns o f
( i)
(*)
jo y ,
and tn s o tJ is r »o jne -ordt.e - liin c ost. oioand’j m " ; and ona
(3 )
to C anary w in e .
No m ore. And y e t t h i s a m issio n i s o u t the
c o rro b o ra tiv e converse o f w hat we f in d he does take from Horace.
In js h o rt* he reg a rd s Horace as e s s e n t ia lly aMS 9 rio u s H p o e t* f i t
c o u n te rp a rt and v ic a r flarr h im s e if on the soage. Pernaps* to o * he
d im ly sensed t h a t a fre q u e n t re fe re n c e to p o c u ia to r y v e rs e s
was n o t becoming i n a man who sang o f the p o e t as "a m a s te r i n
manners” * o r i n k e e p in g w it h one who i n p r iv a t e l i f e
and on
the sta g s v is u a lis e d h im s e x f as p e e r and k in d re d o f t h a t o ld e r
“m a s te r11•
(4)
The m a jo r it y o f h i s o th e r a n u s io n s to Horace are o f
the u s u a l f a c t u a l o rd e r. Among them we may b r i e f l y in s ta n c e *
as c o n firm in g Jo n so n 1s l i t e r a r y humour* such a p e d a n tic
(5 )
Borrowing as “ a man o f oxe ar n o 8 t . r ii“ , and h is d u a i re fe re n c e
to a “ S x ip p e ry fa c e ” *
(6)
a i l o f w nich m ust have le d to qu ee r
m isapprehensions among th e le s s le t t e r e d members o f o r i g i n a l
a u diences. E q u a lly c h a r a c t e r is t ic o f tne same humour*and o f
h is id e a o f fa o 4 tio u s n e s s * i s h is pun on "dare v e rb a "* “ G ive &
them w o rd s 1* - w h ic h was s u r e ly a v e r y Greek pun f o r a n who
had 11aciaxl L a t i n . 11
C u n n .n .p .5 5 7 .
do.
do.
>3)
d o . i l l . p . 243.
4) 9 . g. do • 1 .p p .2 8 5 * 2d o ; n . p . b o o ; I I I . p p . 3 , 13* 33, 106* 242
(5)
do. l l . p . 344.
(6)
d o . l l . p . 318; I I I . p . 1 4 8 .
v^
do . 1. p .346 .
References to Horace unallocated above may b8 fou nd as foiiws:
O u n n .l.p p .3 3 4 * 333 * 342 * 343. ( ih is e g ro u p , ta k e n w ith the n t
Tj^ 9 t e x t * in d ic a te s t h a t Horace was v e r y much i n h i s
or™ when com posing "V o ip o n e 1 - a c a r r y - o v e r from "P o e ta s te r"
r 11' i n i®ss degree* from "Se Jan us"?; 0 u n n .li.p p .2 2 4 * 2 *1 * 602;
0 u n n .iH .p p .5 3 * 73* 166, 23d* 24 2, 24 o, 298* 3v>2-4.
The n a t in H is to r ia n s .
i n h i s two Reman p ia y s Jonson made f u n use o f the
a v a iia b x e f a c t u a l sources* J u s t as we nave seen was h is u n f a il in g
p r a c tic e i n S lig h t e r s u b je c ts , m *SeJanus” he had recourse
to T a c itu s * S u e to n iu s* P iin y th e Younger* and Seneca - i n
( i)
p a r t ic u l a r ■the f i r s t two - su p o o rte d oy D ion , in “ C a t ilin e "
h is c h ie f a u t h o r it ie s were S a iiu s t * C ic e ro * S u e to n iu s * P a te rc u lu s *
and V a le riu s ^axhnus - i n p a r t i c u l a r +he f i r s t th re e .
He has no r e a l o c c a s io n to employ L iv y - a p a rt f r f lr th re e
(2 )
v e ry t r i f l i n g re fe re n c e s - sin o e th e p o r t io n o f L iv y 's H is to r y
th a t d e a lt w it h th e s t o r ie s o f Se Janus and C a t ilin e was n o t
e x ta n t. However* th e d iffe r e n c e i n t h e i r ta n p e r* f o r c e r ta in *
and i n t h e i r re g a rd f o r f a c t s * o ro b a b iy * e s ta b iis n e s a cam fortacxe
lik e lih o o d t h a t Jonson wou i 4 , i n any oase fu n d e rra te L iv y . And t h i s
s p e c u la tio n i s
samevhat s tre n g th e n e d oy the p o in te d a m issio n
o f L iv y fra n th e l i s t s o f h i s f a v o u r it e L a tin s * as these are
recorded i n sun dry p a r ts o f the “O o n v e rs ta io n s ".
in w r i t i n g h is h i s t o r i c ax p ia y s i t i s
c le a r t h a t
Jonson was c o n scio u s o f b e in g * once a g a in * an in n o v a to r ; and
e q u a lly d e a r t h a t i n th a n he i s c o n s is te n tx y o b s e rv in g h is
e a r x ie r and i a t e r l i t e r a r y p r in c ip le s and m ethods. We may see
him m a rk in g o f f h is p r a c t ic e i n h i s t o r i c a l p ia y s frcm t h a t o f
( i ) T a c itu s i s by f a r h is c h ie f a u t h o r it y f o r A c ts 1 * 1 1 * 111 .
Dio i s th e m ain source o f A c ts ± v end V. m A c t l T a c itu s i s
o ite d more tha n tw io e as o fte n as i n A c t i l l . B u t* axtnougn i n
a i l D io i s r e fe r r e d to much more f r e q u e n t ly th a n T a c itu s * the
l a t t e r i s Jo n so n 1s f a v o u r it e * f o r when Doth are o ite d to g e th e r
T a citu s i s a jm o st in v a r ia b ly g iv e n precedence.
(a ) “s e ja n a s * 1 , 2 ; do. V. 3 ; * 0 a n i l i n e 1* 1X 1,3.
l34»
h is la x o r co n tem p o raries i n h i s fo o tn o te s and i n th e memorable
p re fa c e to the ±605 q u a rto o f "Se J a n u s ”. ±n th e ± a t t e r he re o u ts
the ch arg e o f p e d a n tic a f f e c t a t i o n a g a in s t h is fo o tn o te s and
then c i t e s ch a p te r* v erse* and e d i tio n o f h is o r ig in a x s as
p ro o f o f h i s " i n t e g r i t y ”. F u rtn e r* h e s t r e s s e s h i s u n -E iiz a b e th a n
h a b it o f em ploying none h u t th e o r i g i n a l L a tin and Greek te x ts *
and d e r id e s askance th e o n iy E n g lis h t r a n s l a t i o n a v a ila b le *
U)
Greneway* s "Genr.anie* o f T a c itu s .
Bed-rock* i n e f f e c t* i s
h is c la im f o r th e fo u n d a tio n o f t h i s play* a cxaim e q u a lly t r e e
o f the o th e r . The im p lic a tio n i s o b v io u s: to th e d r a m a tis a tio n
o f h i s t o r y f o r th e E n g lish p u b lic s ta g e Jo n so n oialm ed to
b iin g a n t h a t s c h o i a n y ap p a ra tu s* e x a ctn e ss* a n d " in t e g r ity "
th a t made him i n h i s p r i v a t e o a p a c ity th e c o n s u lta n t o f th e
h i s t o r i a n R a ie ig a and th e a n tiq u a r ia n S eid e n . i>ow* i n th u s
founding a soh o o i o f d ram a * th at a t t r a c t e d no im m ediate d is c ip ie s *
he was sim p iy and c o n s i s t e n t l y a p p ly in g to h i s t o r i c a l p ia y w ritin c r
th e m ethods o f a n a ly tic o b s e rv a tio n seen i n h i s humour comedies*
the method o f fo u n d in g d e c o r a tiv e and p a n t emir i c fan cy Jattogr on
a ro h a e o lo g ic f a c t t h a t was t o be i n h i s masques* and a n t h a t i n
i t s e i f was out an a s p e c t o f h is g e n e ra l b e l i e f t h a t drama m u st
i n s t r e c t i n th e n a rro w e r p edagogio as w e n as th e b ro a d e r m o ra l
sense* m ust be t r e e to f a c t o r s e l f - c o n s i s t e n t c o l l e c t i o n s o f
fa c ts* a s w e n as to n a tu r e . I n th e s e two pxays* on o ccasion*
the mass o f h i s t o r i c a l i n c i d e n t s and in s ta n c e s sometim es c ru sh e s
or o b scu res t h a t i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f in c id e n t t h a t we re c o g n ise a s
a r t i s t i c tr e th * and som etim es h i s re g a rd f o r th e s a n c tity * th e
unusual p e r s o n a l a p p e a l o f h i s o r ig in a ls * v i t i a t e s h is s e l e c t i o n
of f a c t s : but
h i s o b je c tiv e s and th e o r ie s - ±arge±y r e a l i s e d
- are c l e a r . He m ig h t h av e e x p re s s e d them th u s :
(a) "I d is d a in s x a v is h otm dienoe to re c o rd e d U ie o rie s o f a r t .
( 1 ) .. . *ig n o r a n tl y done i n t o E n g lis h 1* - “C onversations!!
(2) As i n th e p r e f a c e to “S eJanus" above.
(2 )
135.
(b) I p r o f e s s and g lo ry i n th e s t r i c t e s t p r a c t ic a b le
observance o f reco rd ed f a c t s .
(c) I n h i s t o r i c a l o ia y s im a g in a tio n and arran g em en t ought to
sta n d fo u rsq u a re on knewxedge. C o n seq u en tly I have re p re s e n te d
Ramans a c tin g and sp e a k in g as a c a r e f u l s tu d y o f e x ta n t
documents makes i t a p p e ar c e r t a i n t h a t th e y d id a c t and
sp eak . Where my so u rc e s f a i l e d to su p p ly me w ith d e t a i l o r
where a d ra m a tic b u ild -u p was n e c e s s a ry f o r any c h a r a c t e r ,
th e w orkings o f my m o th er w it a re i n th e s e c u r e s t hannony
w ith my i n t e r p r e t a t i o n and t r a n s l a t i o n o f t h e i r re c o rd e d
a c ts and w o rd s. I have a n t i c i p a t e d th e a u s te re * tho u g h
m endacious* v e i i s i m i l i t u d e o f D efoe: I have l e f t a m odel o f
r e s e a rc h f o r Gibbon and th e Hollywood s c e n a r i s t s . The stu d y
has came to th e s ta g e . In th e s e Plays have c o o p e ra te d two o f
man* s n o b le s t p rofessions* th e tra g e d ia n ^ and th e h i s t o r i a n ’ s .
Here* again* a re p la y s su ch as o th e r p la y s sh o u ld be - and
many ( u n s p e c ifie d ) a r e n ’ t ! ”
T acitus.
So much f o r h is g e n e ra l i d e a l s o f h i s t o r i c a l
drama and h i s n o u n al f i d e l i t y to a s c e r ta in a b le f a c t . I t
rem ains to c o n s id e r h i s d e v ia tio n s i n p r a c t i c e from t h i s
rig o ro u s co n cep tio n * d e v ia tio n s e i t h e r (a ) d e l ib e r a te
o b v io u sly and o f re c o g n is a b le d ra m a tic p u rp o s e , o f (b)
d e v ia tio n s a p p a r e n tly due to o v e rs ig h t* m is c o n c e p tio n * o r
co n fu sio n o f same k in d .
(a) Among h i s d e l i b e r a t e m a n ip u la tio n s o f h i s raw m ate r i a l s
th e fo llo w in g o a s e s a re n o ta b le and t y p i c a l :
(I)
T a c itu s (w ith Dion) makes i t q u ite c l e a r t h a t to
h is mind th e i n t r i g u e o f Se Janus w ith th e w ife o f D rusus was
136.
m o tiv a te d by a p r im itiv e s p i r i t o f revenge f o r an i n s u l t*
p o s s ib ly even f o r P h y s ic a l a s s a u l t . Ben s e t s b i s a u t h o r it y
a t n au g h t. True^he does n o t abandon th e in c id e n t o f th e
a s s a u l t ; he m e re ly p o stp o n e s t h i s o p p o r tu n ity f o r •a c tio n * :
b u t he n n * w h e a v ily em phasises t h a t th e m o tiv e o f h is
Se Janus i s a tre a c h e ro u s * o o ld -b io o d ed * p o l i t i c , unrom antic*
f a r - s i g a t e d d e s ir e to d is c o v e r th e h u sband’ s s t a t e s e c r e ts
th ro u g h c o n tr o l o f th e g id d y w if e . T a c itu s i s s a t i s f i e d w ith
th e m otive o f p rim a ry p a s s io n u n co m p licated b y i n t e l l e c t : Jo n so n
eschews t h i s re a d in g o f h i s t o r y probabl^r f o r two com plem entary
re a so n s: (a ) h i s i n a b i l i t y s u r e ly s u b -o o n s c io u s iy f e i t ^
to r e p r e s e n t c o n v in c in g love-m aking on th e s ta g e . (H is Se Janus
j
r e l i e v e s him from th e em barrassm ent o f t h i s d i s a b i l i t y o r
d i s i n c l i n a t i o n by e x p la in in g t h a t love “h a th th e s m a lle s t share",
i n h i s m o tiv e s^ : and (b) h i s
d e l i g h t i n a sinew y p l o t and th e
p ic tu r e * s o o f te n re p e a te d i n v a r y in g form s, o f a c l o s e - p l o t t i n g m ig h ty i n t e l l e c t who w i l l i n
th e end make a f a t a l s l i p b u t
i s n o t ;w h iie th e p la y ru n s ^at a i l ©pen to
'
th e hackneyed*
u n -Jo n so n ia n w eakness o f e x c e s s iv e s u s c e p t i b i l i t y to women.
i
I n sh o rt* h e r e Jo n so n i s r e p la c in g p a s s io n and
sim ple ramanoe w ith re a s o n and m a c h in a tio n .
i
( I I ) I n h i s drama Jo n so n c e r t a i n l y does n o t n e g le c t th e
a t t r a c t i v e l y E liz a b e th a n m o tiv e o f an i n s u l t c a n i n g f o r
I
|l
;j
j*
oondign r e t a l i a t i o n . But c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y he e l a b o r a t e s ,
s y s te m a tis e s fand co ndenses th e T a c ite a n m a t e r i a l s . I n so
d o in g he enorm ously enhances th e i n t e l l e c t u a l c a l i b r e and
th e p u rp o siv e v i l l a i n y o f h is c h i e f o h a ra c te r.T h u s Ben speeds
up o r even o o a le s c e s th e sp o ra d ic a tta c k s o f S ejan u s on th e
i.
p a r ty o f A g rip p in a . finxldbtoUBCt And w hereas T a c itu s r e p r e s e n ts
j
S ejanus a s an a d r o i t p o l i t i c a l o p p o r tu n is t w ith o u t p ro gim m e
|
or p rin c ip le ,
ftgczsx
tu r n in g th e u n re a s o n in g Je a lo u sy o f
j
■1
I6'f.
T ia e riu s to h i s own advantage * Jo n so n , on the o th e r h an d ,
v i s u a l i s e s him as a g ran d , s y s te m a tic , c o n s is te n t v i l l a i n . He
p r e s e n ts S ejanus as a s u p e r la tiv e o f h is k in d ( w ith many
a f f i n i t i e s in th e Jo n so n ia n aioam) moved im m e d ia te ly , no d o u o t,
by d e s ir e o f rev en g e, b u t m o tiv a te d g e n e r a lly oy i n n a te , aosoxute
w ick ed n ess, m oderated o n ly oy d ia o o iio cunning, to th e accomplishment
o f a v a s i , com plex (Jo n so n ia n ) scheme o f f a r - s i g h t e d d e v i lr y ,
i
And so h e s e t s th e s ta g e f o r an e p ic s tr u g g le between th e oxd
jl
i
d e v i i *r e t i r e d to C ap reae, and h i s w o rth y v i c a r , B eeizebub, x e f t
i
behind i n Rane. In t h i s a d a p ta tio n o f h i s m a t e r i a l s th e l i b e r t i e s
he ta k e s a re J u s t i f i e d by th e enhancem ent o f the d i g n i t y , te n s io n ,
and oneness o f h i s d ra n a . And, a f t e r a i l , Jo n so n h e r e in
in
i s m e re ly i n t e r p r e t i n g f o r h im s e if w h a t* !a o itu s w as, a t b e s t,
1j
<
^
an i n t e r p r e t a t i o n anyhow, and o f th e same e v id e n c e .
ji
?‘
(XXx) The same p ro c e s s o f t e i e sc oping and r a t i o n a l i s i n g
U
i s seen a is o i n Jo n s o n 1s o a u s a i J u x ta p o s itio n o f th e a c c u s a tio n s
(
o f Oordus and S i i i u s . T a c itu s d id n o t see them a s p o l i t i c a l
a s s o c ia te s . Jo n so n d id : to him th e y w ere th e Good* lik e h Jm seif
!
s tu b b o rn ly on v ir tu e *s s i d e . So, w ith no v io le n c e to f a c t , and
^!!
•
w-ith carEmendaoie in
c r e a s e o f c l a r i t y , he p la c e s Iham sh o u ld e r
to sh o u id e r - be i t o m y a g a in s t a w a il f o r E v il to sh o o t a t .
( i)
( iv ) Even i n th e p e t t i e s t m a tte r s h e makes few a l t e r a t i o n s ,
and f a r e l y m is s e 8 th e f u n f o r c e o f th e o r i g i n a l . In d e e d , to
fin d an exampie o f such an a b e r r a tio n we a re red u ced to such
a p e t tif o g g in g ex an p ie a s t h i s : Jonson* s t r a n s l a t i o n ,
"Our lo o k s a re c a l l e d to q u e s tio n , and o u r w o rd s,
How in n o c e n t s o e v e r , a re made c rim e s" ,
(a)
by b e in g g e n e r a lis e d m is s e s th e c o n c i s i o n , t h r u s t , and power o f
T a c itu s! em phasis
on th e m a lig n a n t t e n a c i t y o f th e ty ra n t* s
memory i n th e w ord, u reoondebat^ —
“v e ro a v u i t u s i n oidmen d eto n ^u en s recondeoat*1.
A ct 111, S o . i.
12 ) Ounn.l.p.2 /6 .
(b )
In
th e
133.
fa c e o f s u c h c o n s i s t e n t a c c u r a c y as h e d is p l a y s
throughout h is h i s t o r i c a l dramas , i t
i s w ith same tr e p id a tio n
th a t one ventures to i n d i c t him f o r even t r i v i a l S lip s .
However,
he does nod.
( l ) Thus, on one o c c a sio n he e r r s oy r e p r e s e n tin g
T ib e riu s as being a t
Rhodes, though i a t e r he snows t h a t he
(2)
was aware o f h i s a c t u a l l y b e in g a t Oapua.
( il) J o n s o n 1s p ic tu r e o f A rru n tiu s i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c o f
Jo n so n , n o o iy a p p e a lin g and,
i n i t s s e t t i n g , q u ite i n o r e d io l e .
To A rru n tiu s Jo n so n a s c r ib e s a prom inence and o u tsp o k en n ess
t h a t c a n n o t be re ^ c o n c ile d w ith h i s c o n tin u e d e x is te n c e a t th e
c o u r t o f T ib e r iu s ana S e ja n u s . Jo n so n h im s e if r e i t t h i s a s t r a i n
;
i
on c r e d u l i t y , r o r he sought to e x p ia in i t away, w ith o u t c o n v ic tio n *
a s s a r a r e Tafoim o f th e t y r a n t . To p le a d whims th u s i s to p u t
r
reaso n o u t o f o f f l o e . At m o st we m ust ag ree t h a t i n a madman o f
T io eriu rf k id n e y such a whim m ig h t e x i s t , c u t 1 b s u c h a madman
I
th e re i s J u s t n o th in g q u ite so im p ro b a b le , and th e p i c t u r e
|
i n consequence la c k s th e v e r i s i m i l i t u d e e s s e n t i a l to a n
j
fic tio n ,
and a f i r s t req u irem e n t to J o n s o n ^ c o n c e p tio n o f h i s t o r i c a l
h
i '•
» i‘
drama. The cause o f t h i s a b e r r a t io n i s v e r y c l e a r , and v e iy
!ij
human. When Ben read i n T a c itu s o f A rru n tiu s as a man ^ i n t o l e r a n t
|
o f e v i i u , he s e iz e d upon th e la c o n ic c r i t i q u e beoause o f bhs
i;
jj
own l i f e i o n g p r e d i l e c t i o n f o r s a t i r e and m o r a lis in g . I n s h o r t , h e j
once a g a in p r e s e n ts a lik e n e s s f o r an I d e n t i t y : he pounces on t h i s |j
c e n so rio u s p r o b ity o f T a c itu s ’ s v e ry shadowy A r r u n tiu s , s a y in g ,
“T h a t's m e!” and th e re u p o n A rru n tiu s speaks w ith th e v o ic e ,
a u t h o r it y , and elo q u en ce o f Benjamin Jo n so n . B u t, a ia s , Ben
wouid h av e m et an u n tim e ly end i n th e Rome he h im s e lf d e p i c t s .
(ill)
In J o n s o n 1s p la y S i i i u s s ta o s h im s e lf i n th e
(S)
Senate House. The u n s p e c if io language o f 'T acitu s makes t h i s
uiuikeiy.
H i s t o r i c a l l y i t i s o f l i t t i e moment, o u t th e
i i o e r t y ta k e n r e v e a is Jo n so n a g a in from tem peram ental c a u s e s
( i) ®*g. H.& S .iV .p .4 '^ 3 in s ta n c e s i x t e x t u a l e r r o r s , o u t th e s e
P ro u a o iy due to th e p r i n t e r .
v2) C u n n .i.p .3 u 8 .
(3) “im ninen tern dsmnationam f in e p r a e v e r t i t u - i V ,c ,I 9 .
i g n o r i n g t h e H o r a t ia n wwagx*** o n 4n u b l i c ‘, v i o i e n o e .
( I T7) P e ih a u s i n
t r e a t m e n t o f th e
b r u ta lity
sense i n
v io le n c e
d e a th o f S i i i u s
a n d a ls o
S e ja n u s we m a y see h i s
in
h is
in n a t e
and th e shadow o f h i s t i r o s , -oerhaDS t o o we r a y
th e
l a t t e r in s t a n c e
lo n g - d e fe r r e d
T a c it u s
fa lle n
th e
o v e rth ro w
g iv e s h i r
in
th e
h is
u e rs o n a l s a tis fa c tio n
o f v illa in y .
no a u t h o r i t y
F o r c e r ta in ,
a t th e
anyhow ,
f o r s u b m i t t i n g S e ja n u s t o
S e n a te H ouse n o r a t th e h a n d s o f K a c ro ^ w h o
w as n o t p r e s e n t on th iifc o c c a s io n .
I t i s , how ever, much more f r e q u e n tly and s p e c io u s ly
urg e d a g a in s t Jonson t h a t he fo llo w e d h is a u t h o r it ie s to o
s la v is h ly r a t h e r th a n t h a t he p e r m itte d h im s e lf th e s o r t
o f a lt e r a t io n s we have in s ta n c e d . T h is s c h o o l o f ■prejudice x
emphasises th e jig - s a w n a tu re o f "S e ja n u s11, and re g a rd s
th e c o n ju n c tio n s and stage in s t r u c t io n s as e n t i r e l y Jo n so n 1s
own v/ork. A g a in s t t h i s m is re p re s e n ta tio n P ro fe s s o rs H e r tfo rd
and Simpson have r i g i t l y p o in te d o u t +hat i n th e d ia lo g u e
and even th e c h a r a c te r is a tio n Jonson r e l ie d f o r f a r th e
g re a te d p a r t on h is own im a g in a tio n . And f o r th e r e s t h is
gu id es o fte n p o in te d th e way o r dropped a h i n t b u t th e y
seldom w ent th e whole way w it h h im . C u m u la tiv e ly , how ever,
h is gu id es and c o u n s e llo rs were numerous, as s e t f o r t h b y
h im s e lf, and may be in d ic a te d t h u s : - T a c itu s i s h i s vadameaum,
as f a r as th e "A n n a ls" w i l l ta k e him . To t h i s w o rk Ben c it e s
more th a n 160 re fe re n c e s o f e x tre m e ly v a r ie d im p o rta n ce
le n g th ,wok n a tu re ,and degree o f c le a rn e s s . I t m ust n o t ,
as we have seen, be concluded t h a t h is acceptance o f
T a c itu £ ^ th o u g h alm ost com plete ^was u n c r i t i c a l . He was
p e r f e c t ly capable o f m o d ify in g th e Reman1s in fe r e n c e s ,
capable too o f p r e f e r r in g a n o th e r a u t h o r it y , however r a r e ly .
F o r in s ta n c e , he ig n o re s s e v e ra l S 'und reasons advanced by
T a c itu s as c a s tin g doubt on the a c c u s a tio n t h a t G-eimanicus
■was poisoned by P is o ; and i n t h i s
Ben ta ke s h i s stan d w ith
S u e to n iu s . And even though ktefes such d iffe r e n c e o f v ie w be
v e r y ra re and T a c itu s be th e f i n a l a u t h o r it y , th e re i s ample
evidence t h a t he examined a l l th e o th e r a v a ila b le sources to o .
Thus* S u e to n iu s i s c it e d 38 tim e s , and o f t h a t t o t a l no le s s
th a n 16 are c ro s s -re fe re n c e s o r reco gn isa nce s o f f a c t s
p r i m a r il y d e riv e d from T a c itu s . And S u e to n iu s , i n t u r n , i s
backed up by some 20 re fe re n c e s to Seneda, 2 to P a te rc u lu s ,
7 s p e c if ic and many u n s p e c ific and secondary to P lin y . S u re ly
a l l t h i s evidence o f p a tie ib t c o l l a t i o n and s i f t i n g makes i t
c le a r t h a t h is f i n a l p re fe re n c e f o r T a c itu s was a c o n s id e re d
d e c is io n as w e ll as a tem peram ental p r e d ile c t io n and a
l i t e r a r y p re fe re n c e suggested by h is in c lu s io n o f T a c itu s
among those who spake b e s t L a t in .
A f u r t h e r p r o o f t h a t the n a tu re o f T a c itu s 1
m a t e r ia l was n o t th e fun da m enta l b a s is © f Jonson*s re g a rd
f o r h is w o rk appears i n th e f a c t t h a t Jonson c o u ld and
d id f in d th e same eve nts and personages t r e a te d e lse w h e re .
So he m ust have been a t t r a c t e d n o t o n ly by th e g i s t o f
T a c itu s * s t o r y , b u t by th e m anner ©f i t s p r e s e n ta tio n , by th e
r e f le c t io n and Im p r in t o f th e Roman* s m ind on h is w o rk , by
some measure o f sympathy w it h h is emphases, g lo s s e s ,a n d
m ordant n a rra to ry -c c m m e n ta ry . But the c le a r e s t p r o o f o f any
re g a rd i s when i t m is le a d s ; and T a c itu s m is le d Jo n so n ,
m is le d h im , says m odem s c h o la rs h ip b o th i n h is a n tip a th y to
T ib e r iu s and h is p r e d ile c t io n f o r G eim anicus. ( I b i t h a t t h i s
141
a d o p tio n , u n c o n s c io u s , o f th e T a c ite a n b ia s had ariy u n fo rtu n & b e
e f f e c t s on “ S e ja n u s". The n e g a tiv e , n e b u lo u s , b a ia n c in g ;
h i s t o r i c a l a t t it u d e t h a t seeks to s p l i t th e d iffe r e n c e between
T a c itu s * a p p r a is a l o f T ib e r iu s and G-enranicus was n o t to th e
puroose o f Jonson the d ra m a tis t o r to th e ta s te o f Jonson the
m an.)
I n s h o r t, th e c o lo u r , movement, background, sym pathy,
and s a t i r i c v ie w p o in t o f “ S ejanus" are e s s e n t ia lly T a c ite a n i n
o r i g i n . W ith th e changes o f emphasis a lre a d y n o te d , th e step s
o f Sejanus* g rim r is e to power are from T a c itu * . So to o i s h is
b a s ic c h a r a c te r, c u n n in g , inhum an, r u t h le s s , a m b itio u s . And
f o r th e g e n e ra l s e t t in g and atmosphere Jonson* s “ $ i o s t " , T a c itu s ,
had l e f t th e m a t e r ia l to h is hand and m in d , m a te r ia l f u i l o f
s i r p i y e f f e c t iv e c o n tra s ts o f c h a r a c te r, p ic tu r e s o f n o b le
n a tu re s e n g u lfe d i n the schemes o f n o b le v illa in s and t h e i r
parvenu syco p h a n ts, and E v i] s la in f i n a l l y l y E v i l , in e v i t a b l y
y e t a s to n is h in g ly ^ i n a c lim a x o f th e grim m est in t e n s i t y .
R e p la c in g th e no te o f p a s s iv e tra g e d y £ o f T a c itu s w it h th e torB
© f a c tiv e contem pt and rig h te o u s in d ig n a t io n t h a t i s h is
n a t u r a l v o ic e Jonson g iv e s a p a in s ta k in g , heavy b u t n o t u n ju s t
r e p re s e n ta tio n o f th e p o l i t i c a l and s o c ia l background © f th e
"A n n a ls ” . I t i s th ro n g e d - ir j s p it e o f Horace - w ith a nem.inate
c h o n s o f c o r r u p t s e n a to rs , v e n a l Judges, a m b itio u s p o l i t i c a l
g r a f t e r s , p o is o n e rs ^amateur and p r o fe s s io n a l, s a c r ilig io u s
p r ie s t s , a d u lte r e r s fand p u b lic in fo rm e rs . The commonest
a c tio n
le g a l m urd e r o r s u ic id e ; th e ocmmonest t o p ic ,
c o r r u p tio n ; th e p r e v a ilin g mood, tre a c h e ry . The e x ta n t examples
he a llo w s o f . a n c ie n t v i r t u e , l i k e A r r u n tiu s and C ordus, are
a r t i s t i c a l l y in tro d u c e d by b o th a u th o rs l i k e w h ite s e a g u lls
against, a m urky sky • In both, the a in o so he re i s s t i f l i n g . Ifever,
a p p a re n tly was the human race so tre a c h e ro u s , s o rd id and debased.
A t once we see -wherein as a m o r a lis t and s a t i r i s t Jonson
w ould f e e l th e gorgeous b la ckn e ss o f th e p ic t u r e . He se ise d
«
th e o p p o r tu n ity to fu lm in a te a g a in s t the fo u ln e s s o f th e
human ra c e , such was h is p e r s is t e n t urge t o p la y th e Hebrew
p ro p h e t b o th i n m a tte r and m anner. He m ust have found he re
r e l i e f as a g e n u in e ly r e lig io u s man and as an u n a p p re c ia te d
a r t i s t i n d e lin e a t in g h i s t o r i c
typ e s o f d e p r a v ity and a t
le a s t by im p lic a t io n damming th e m a jo r it y o f man*s yahoo ra c e .
Th#irugh th e sedul<^siy observed h i s t o r i c tra p p in g s we h e a r th e
Jo n so n ia n r in g i n
, “ f i l t h i e r f l a t t e r i e s t h a t c o r r i p t th e tim e s !
T h is f u r o r o f lo ^ a th in g reaches a c lim a x i n th e re p re s e n ta tio n
o f A fe r^a n d P l a n c i n ^ and i n th e e n d le ss re fe re n c e s to bloodshed
Lv
and fo u ln e s s . So, i f h is p ic t u r e o f a n c ie n t Rome la c k s the
r e s t r a i n t , f i n a l i t y and s t in g in g q u a l it y o f T a c itu s , i t
ach ie ves i n i t s
e ffe c t. I f ,
f a i t h f u l , h e a v ie r way a s im i la r c u m u la tiv e
f in a lly i t
be o b je c te d t h a t Jo n so n 1s " i n t e g r i t y ”
and rese arch es have rendered h is f ig u r e s h e a vy, even s to jid ,
the p le a s may be o ffe r e d t h a t such was Jo n so n ! s h o n e st re a d in g
o f Roman c h a ra c te r, i n th e l i g h t o f h is own, and n o t an
e f f e c t o f h is rese arch es in t o atm osphere. To th e f u l l ; anyhow,
he d e p ic ts th e w o rth and w e ig h t, g r a v it y , s to d g in e s s ,
e a rn e s tn e s s f and h e a vin e ss t h a t c o n s t it u t e
the s t i l l p r e v a ilin g
E n g lis h -w o rld im p re s s io n o f a Roman o f th e Ramans,0 . S.
More s p e c if ic sym pathies and resem blances i n methods
and o u tlo o k between Jonson and T a c itu s a re to be seen i n
t h e i r tre a tm e n t o f sources and t h e i r a t t it u d e tow ards th e
u n fo ld in g o f th e h i s t o r i c
drama. I n th e o o n a t io n o f
a u t h o r it ie s T a c itu s showed Jonson th e w ay, w it h the d iffe re n c e ,
( I ) S e J .I I .S c . 3 .
(2) d o . I ^ . S c . i .
(3)Pago and theme may be ii^d j-c a te d th u s :C u n n .£ 2 I . p . 2 7 6 ,
d e i^ tio n ;2 7 9 ,h o m o s e x u a iity ® ) u i f l a t t e r y d is s im u la t in g iy
s p u m e d ;2 9 3 ,s p y in g on one’ s h o s t ; 2 9 4 ,“ tre a s o n ” as an omnibus
ch a rg e , and p h a ra s a io g r i e f ;3 0 7 , e a ve sd ro p p in g ;3 0 8 ,d a m e s tic
p e r f id y and p h y s ic a l fo u ln e s s ;309,Judas k is s e s ; 311, as 294;
connivance a t cuckiedom .
i
a d m it t e d ly , th a t Jonson fe e is the g r e a te s t re s p e c t f o r h is
a u t h o r it ie s and T a c itu s th e g r e a te s t d iff id e n c e about h is .
And th e n each i s v i t a l l y concerned w it h th e e x p o s itio n o f
human c h a ra c te r i n a c tio n , T a c itu s because he i s p ro fe s s e d ly
a m fcrai in s t r u c t o r , Jonson because he i s t h a t by n a tu re and
a d ra m a tis t by n e c e s s ity © f b i r t h .
D e s p ite such a f f i n i t i e s o f m e n t a lit y , Jonson* s
s p e c if ic o b lig a tio n s to T a c itu s are n o t o f th e s p i r i t . F o r
0?
th re e iand no more may be d e s c rib e d as c h a r a c t e r is t ic o f T a c itu s ’ s
h a b it o f in c i s i v e , a p h o r is t ic comment on th e u n fo ld in g events
o f h is p a g e a n t. Jonson r e je c t s such f in e l i t e r a r y fe a th e r s , as i
i s h is custom , and c o n fin e s h is o b lig a tio n s to th e h i s t o r i c a l
groundwork o f h is c o lo s s a l c a s t.
I n s u p p o rt o f T a c itu s th e c o n tr ib u tio n s o f th e o th e r
Romans, S u e to n iu s , P lin y , Seneca, are r e l a t i v e l y in c o n s id e ra b le ^
and t h a t o f P a te rc u lu s even t r i v i a l
A p p a re n tly th e tjjn e -s e r v in g b ia s © f th e la st, i n
fa v o u r o f Sejanus m et w it h n e it h e r th e a p p ro v a l n o r the
im m ediate needs o f Jonson. F o r th e re s t^ h e to o k P a te rc u lu s *
e u lo g y o f C a to ,“ Homo v i r t u t i s im illim u s e tc " and a p p lie d i t
w it h a s t r e t c h o f h i s t o r i c a i p r o p r ie t y t o h is f a v o u r it e ,
a n o th e r re fe re n c e to P a te rc u iu s he c it e s
c h a p te r, v e r s e , and e d it io n f o r h is s o u b riq u e ts on famous
Romans o f th e p a s ^ A i i t h i s m ig a t be squeezed in t o s u g g e s tin g
Jonson* s shrewd and J u s t r e c o g n itio n t h a t P a te rc u lu s was a
f a i r com m entator on th e p a s t, +hough o f q u e s tio n a b le v e r a c it y
on h i s own c o n t e m p o r a r ie s . ^ i n
" C a t ilin e " P a te rc u lu s
( I ) And even two o f th e se ,Cunn. 1.288 and 312 were n o t
p e c u lia r to T a c itu s , P e tro n iu s and S t a t iu s r e t a i l i n g th e
fo im e r , and J u v e n a l em p lo yin g th e l a t t e r . The o th e r i s
i n C u n n .III.p .2 0 8 .
(2) C u n n .I.p .2 7 7 ,
(3 )
d o .p .2 7 d .
144
p la y s a xeading p a r t ,
Sue+on.
S ueto n iu s* on tn a o u ie r nand* i s u sed im o a n L ax fy i n
uom " iiiS jo n d S 11, in U6 ejan u s* nowavm* as a±read;y n o jo d , no i s
no-j a c c e p te d toyf Jo n so n a s me soxo vouonei' f o r any f a c t o f
f i r s t - r a t e fmpox^ano^ te <jhe
• xnrougnoui * m bv,rvrsb i n
g e n e ra l a s a sccondex* to ia o u u s * and* wnox^o m e l a t t e r f a i l s
ben* to D io . th e m ost im p o rta n t f a c t s f o r wmon no i s Dehoxucii*
( i)
to S u e to n iu s oonoem th e r^ tire m a n •„ m Qapi,eao* th e px-ecise
. . .
.
(2 )
sentences on A g x ip p in a * x©x<o* ana Dxusus j u n i o r 9
and tn e
(3)
steps and mo xet£>er .Leading to S o J a n u s ’ r a i l ,
x-xiat i s to say*
r o r me l a j i r y
u n -T a o ite a n pox'tioxi o f m s bwor^ aen i s d iv id e d
So te e e n Dio and Sue te n iu s , w ith a a i ig n t xoailing tewax-as
ona may judge ir o n
010
* if
mo numoer o f occa sio ns on which. D io i s c it e d
befox-e S u e to n iu s . On h i s own* ouooonius p ro v id e s suon S x ig n i^ i 1
{4 )
m a te r ia ls a s : a D i / ^ r uon-mot o f A ugustus* o o rro u © ra tio n o f a
(5)
p o in t o f poaigx’oa*
tn e s u g g e s tio n s f o r ^xo SuOrj * co n fe re n ce
o f de ja nu s and m s in a s te i 1 ( A o iiI * S o .2 ) * ana sane c o n f id e n t ia l
(a)
tuo ug nts o r a c ts o f th e muddy-minded, t y r a n t -
out a ix d e r a ils *
oe l ; , n o te d , i n tn e s t r i c t e s t o o n jo u n ify w it h th e sohonc o f th a
T a cite a n p ic ju x -o . lo r n a l i v e l y * fx'cm u h is one m ig h t deduce t h a t
S uetonius a id n o t &&ma m g u i n B e n 's esteem. Ana m a t
assum ption i s n o t m
c o n r i i c t w it h a n o jie r x i u t i o p o in t e r :
Jo n so n n o te s th a t S u e to n iu s h a s n am ed aown a n o ta e r v c m u n o f
17)
the faxia 11Spe lone a * scene o f me a o o ia e n t. b u t a p p a re n tly
Jonson nas re co in e d t h is mei*eiy as a m a tte r o f 11f i d e l i t y 11 and
sano^axly in t e r e s t * r o r no does n o t add to i t
me w e ig h t o f
even tne s li g h t e s t ocaunieno *n a t wouxd <*rgae any w a nton o f
regard fox- t u ia d is s e n tin g h is t o x ia n .
( 1 ) AOa IV , S o .5 .
(2) 0uan.I.p.3II.
S3Ounn.I.p.30I.
do.p.289.
A ot V* S o .Io .
d o . pp.233*
7)
d O .p .3 0 6 .
288* 289* 293.
145.
P lin y (th e e ld e r* s) c o n tr ib u tio n s are c o n fin e d to "3e ja n u s" *
in w h ich he tak9S h is p la c e as a re s p e c ta b le b u t v e r y
s u b s id ia ry a u t h o r it y . Indeed* th e t r u e s t in d ic a t io n o f Jonson* s
e s tim a te o f th e r e la t iv e im p o rta n ce and ad hoc v a lu e o f h is
sources i s perhaps h is own fo o tn o te and th e o rd e r o f m e r it
suggested t h e r e in : HDe Sejano v id . T a c i t . . . S u e t . . . D io . . . e t P li n .
e t S enec.1 ^ ^ T h e supernum erary n a tu re o f th e la s t two i s c le a r l y
marked by th e repeated " e t " .
Pliny.
F iv e lo c a lis a b le re fe re n c e s to P lin y * s g re a t w o rk
suggest t h a t Jonson* as a lre a d y seen was f a m il ia r w it h i t a l l :
th e y
range from Book I I to Book X X T C II.
Ben* s m ost e f f e c t iv e b o rro w in g fra n him owes i t s
r ic h
v i t a l i t y to th e bo rrow er* s s a t i r i c sense. I t oonoems the s e c re t
in s in u a tin g power o f th e F a c u lty o f M e d icin e * e s p e c ia lly w it h
(2)
la d ie s *
and i s o f th9 same q u a l i t y as mueh o f th e 1A lc h e m is t"
In t h is in s ta n c e - and to g re a t advantage - p e rs o n a l e xp e rie n ce
and o b s e rv a tio n o f E liz a b e th a n q u a cke ry and c h a r la ta n r y edge
P lin y * s ( and T a c itu s 1) s a t i r i o th r u s ts .
C h a r a c t e r is t ic a lly we n e x t f in d P lin y ( w ith Horace)
sending Jonson to search among th e ccm ne nta to rs f o r an a c c u ra te
in t e r p r e t a t io n o f the Raman custom o f "thumbs u p ".
V e iy in t e r e s t in g * to o * i s
th e b o rro w in g o f a to u c h to
emphasise th e t y r a n t* s s u p e r s t it io u s weakness* o f w h ic h * li k e
h is compeer i n
" J u liu s C aesar"* Jonson makes much. T h is conoem s
P lin y 's ( and S u e to n iu s *) o b s e rv a tio n t h a t T ib e r iu s p in n e d h i s
f a it h on a la u r e l w re a th as a lig h tn in g - c o n d u c to r .
P lin y n e x t s u p p lie s a s l i g a t y e t c o n v in c in g to u c h when
T ib e riu s * m eaning g e n e r a lly t h a t p o is o n co u n te rs p o is o n , o r a
Macro c o u n te rs a S ejanus* y e t i s made to say s p e c if ic a lly * w it h
e x q u is ite h e ig h te n in g o f th e h i s t o r i c a l c o lo u r* t h a t a c o n ite
(i) Ounn.I.p.278.
)2) A c t I , S c .2 .
J3) Cunn.I.p.290.
v4) d o .p .291. See* to o * cm8ns and p o r te n ts l i k e C a e sa r*s, b u t
taken frcm Seneca* i n A c t v* S o .4 .
c o u n te rs " th e s c o rp io n ’ s s tr o k e !
(I)
F in a lly P lin y i s adduced to b a c k ’ s D io ’ s rem arkable
a s s e r tio n - an e f f e c t i v e l y s i n i s t e r a d d it io n to g e n ’ s e e rie
p ic tu r e o f th e m on ster - t i a t T ib e r iu s c o u ld see i n the
d a rk . ^
C u m u la tiv e ly these in s ta n c e s emphasise t h a t Jonson t e t
d e lib e r a t e ly r e s t r ic t e d h is b o rro w in g s from P lin y .th ou gh
he was w e ll in fo m e d i n t h e ^ r e d i t a v a ila b le f o r h im .
The g e n e ra l r e la t io n s h ip
a lr e d y been d e a lt w it h . Here i t
between Jonson and Seneca has
remains t o o b in t o u t h is
employment o f Seneca as a w itn e s s to h i s t o r y . Senecds
c o n tr ib u tio n s to “ Se Janus” , number some 18, to g e th e r w it h
an in d o te im in a b le number o f d e t a il s f o r whLoh Seneca may be
c o n s id e re d m e re ly an echo o f Jonson* s p rim a ry sou rces.
Three o f Seneca’ s s p e c if ic re fe re n c e s t e l l the m oving
I
( 3)
s t o r y o f C rem utius Cordus n o b le l i f e and d e a th . ' Three
concern d e la t io n ( 4 In d th re e ^ k in d re d fe a tu re s o f a t y r a n t ’ s
r e g i m e ^ - a l l m a tte rs nea^ to Jonson*s e x p e rie n c e ,
oamr.onolaces o f h is m e d ita tio n and b i t t e r i n h is h e a r t .
C h a r a c t e r is t ic a lly , +h r e e con cern the e xa ct d e t a il o f Reman
custom and r i t u a l . ^
Two are b i t t e r a o h o r i a n a ^ n o t e the
r e l a t i v e l y s l i g h t o b lig a tio n s o f " id e a 11. A somewhat Shake^earean
( q)
omen
, and a Msmminesque-Marlowe s q u e -v o ip *iitis h ih ao sod y
o f d ia b o lic a m b itio n ^ $ in o i8 te th e l i s t o f more g e n e ra l d e b ts .
To t h i s m ust be added th e p u r e ly f a c t u a l d e t a i l o f th e
m u t ila t io n o f SeJanus’ c o rp s e .
I t w in
r e a d ily appear from the se in s ta n c e s t h a t
Jonson employs Seneca, n o t f o r th e h i s t o r i c a l f a c t s in c id e n t a l
( I ) C u n n .I.p .3 0 4 .
)
d o .p .311.
d o .p p .276. 290, 301 - eked o u t by Seneca the e ld e r i b .
^4)
d o .p p .275(2) , 276.
>5) (a ) d o .p .276 - on th e re a d in g in t o in n o c e n t words o f v e r y
tre a s o n a b le im p lic a t io n s . Shades o f th e p iA son house f o r
(b ) d o .p .283 - on ty r a n n y , how b e g o t, how n o u r iflh e d , i. e .
by f l a t t e l y and d e la t io n .
(c ) d o .p .297 - the sad c o n c lu s io n t h a t v i r t u e and w o rth
■UaQ w o rs t o ffe n c e s , to a v ic io u s g o ve rrm e n t.
(6) d o .p p .3 1 3 ( 2 ;, 310. ( ? ) d o .p p .2 8 4 ,3 2 5 .
(3) d o .p .319 -
a ccmet seen. (9 )d o .p .2 8 b . (1 0 ) A o t V, S c .10.
to th e K o ra n 's w o rk , cut f o r h is m o ra l le s s o n s . Seneca the xancs
, to
m o r a lis
t addresses h n m se lf to Jonson the s a t i r i. s t , h o ld in g
uo a Cordus, o r a T ib e r iu s and a SeJanus as e d if y in g
exem plars o f -what to be and w hat toot to be.
Before le a v in g 11SeJanusH we m ust say o u r l i t t l e
say on the c la s s ic problem o f th e r e la t io n s h ip between
t h i s p la y and Shakespeare1s “J u liu s C a e sa r", d e a lin g o n ly
w it h th e b e a rin g on t h i s problem o f Jon son1s L a t in so u rce s.
The p a r a lle ls between th e two c la y s are b o th numerous
and c lo s e . That i s the p re m is e s . And s in c e "SeJanus* fo llo w e d
" J u liu s Caesar* on the stage^much le s s i n th e p r in t e d fo im ^
these p a r a lle ls are n a tu r a lx y regarded as de bts o f Ben to
W i l l , and bad d e b ts a t t h a t . The v e r d ic t s on them have
j!
i
ranged from th e e m in e n tly sound b u t somewhat no n -ce m m ita l
■1
;!
im a g in in g off P ro fe s s o rs H e re fo rd and Simpson to th e w i i d i y
*i
exaggerated
m is re p re s e n ta tio n ® f such as P e rcy
.
w A lle n . The
|i
P ro fe s s o rs s& s& sxufe* f i n d s o b e rly t h a t Jonson \> ia n n e d h is
[
i
i;
w ork i n c o n scio u s and even d is d a in f u l m m t i i m f im it a t io n "
i
o f Shakesiteare1s g re a t suocess. On th e o th e r hand9P e rcy
|
A lle n 's h e a v ily documented in d ic tm e n t f in d s Jonson i s
|
in d e b te d to h i s f r ie n d on e v e iy page. The f i r s t v ie w i s
l|
sound: th e second, w i l d l y e x a g g e ra te d fa n d ,in i t s w o rk in g o u t,
o fte n a b s u rd .L e a v in g th e b a ll a s t © f s o lid aaaaa t h a t
A lle n 's v ie w con tain s^w e may pro cee d to le s s e n i t s
spread o f f l y i n g s a i ls , by t a k in g a few exam ples, th u s :
(a ) " 'Twas o n iy f e a r f i r s t i n the w o n d made g o d s".
T h is , says A lie n , may w e ll have been suggested by C a e s a r's ,
* I t seems to me m ost s tra n g e t h a t men sh o u ld f e a r -
"
ji
j
S trange w o rk , in d e e d , sin ce Jonson h h n s e if s u p o lie s two
!
c la s s ic sources f o r t h i s
j
a n c ie n t p ro v e rb ; and h is li n e i s a
t r a n s la t io n .
j
Ob)
j
" S e ll to g a p in g s u it o r s
th e empty anoke t h a t f l i e s
about the p a la c e ,
( I ) S eneca's “Ad M ercian de c o n s o la tio n e " i s p rS -e m in e n tiy
fa vo u re d w i t h f iv e re fe re n c e s .
j
Laugh when t h e i r p a tro n la u g h s ,e tc , e t c . *
O f t h i s m ost c h a r a c t e r is t ic J o n s o n ia n a d a p ta tio n and
e la b o r a tio n o f c la s s ic p a ra s itis m A lle n o p in e s — “ a l l w h ich
needs b u t l i t t l e
d i s t o r t io n to make i t
a p p lic a b le to the
r a n who w o u ld ,
“S ta le w it h o r d in a r y o a ths
{SC lo ve
To e v e ry new p r o te s te r *
S u re iy t h i s re q u ire s no comment.
(c ) The f r e q u e n t ly r e c u r r in g id e a s o f f l a t t e r y i n t h i s p la y ,
o f w h ic h we have spoken above, " o f t y r a n t s ' a r t s ^ a i s o j
and o f men p re p a re d f o r s e r v itu d e
. . . . " a l l a t t e s t a s in g le
o r i g i n 1': and t h a t , a c c o rd in g t o A lle n , i s Shakespeare. We
have made i t c le a r t h a t th e d e t a ils o f Reman sycophancy, sac
s e r v i l i t y , and espionage c o n s t it u t e s u b je c t m a tte r t h a t i s
s u p p lie d , checkedf and c ro s s -c h e c k e d by a i l Jon son1s L a t in
so u rce s. The words o f D a c itu s are much n e a re r to B e n's th a n
are S h a ke sp e a re 's; and I in c lin e to t h in k he f e i t t h a t W i l l
was c u t s c u r v i iy in fo n r e d on m a tte r s o f Roman s o c ia l and
p o l i t i c a l h i s t o r y compared w ith T a c itu s , S u e to ife s ,P lin y and
th e r e s t . F i n a l l y ^ I fa n c y he knew th e e x a c t w o rd in g o f th e
a n c ie n ts more in t im a t e ly th a n he knew h is f r ie n d 's i l l
care d f o r t e x t .
(d)
Mor9 d a r in g ly and i l l - a d v i s e d i y s t i l l A lie n a s s e rts
"Cordus i s Shakespeare h i n s e i f " ; and proceeds to q u ote th e
passage t h a t fo llo w s h i s e n t iy ( p . 1 0 3 ). Cordus a p p a re n tly
resem bles Shakespeare because he has w r i t t e n A nnais ( “J u iiu s
C a e sa r*) c o n o e m in g th o se tin e s (th e Essex C o n sp ira cy)
"queasy to be touched o f Pompey and Caius C a e sa r". B ut
T a c itu s d i s t i n c t l y s ta te s t h a t such a s u b je c t was in de ed
queasy, f o r th e charge o f p r a is in g B rutu s and £ C assius
was " p e r n io ia b iie
ree* and T ib e r iu s lis te n e d to i t
"tru o i
119
v u i t u H(Ann. I T7, 3 4 )• S u r9 ly ad e q u ate grounds f o r the Jo n so n ia n
re p re s e n ta tio n . I f these and o th e r p o in ts c o in c id e w it h the
d e t a ils o f th e Essex c o n s p ira c y , Jonson was phenom enally lu c k y
i n t h a t jW h iie s a t is f y in g h i s conscience by f a i t h f u l adherence
to h is L a t in s o u rce s, he y e t appealed lu c r a t i v e l y , i f
h a z a rd o u s ly , to h i s a u d ie n c e ^ nose f o r e x a c t t o p ic a l a iiu s io is .
Whioh i s n o t to say he ig n o re d such c o in c id e n c e s . Ind ee d,
we have o ft e n made th e p o in t t h a t loose p a r a lle ls o f eve nts
and phrases much d e lig h te d him and we know f o r a f a c t t h a t he
reoog nised th e p r e t t y o b vio us g e n e ra l resemblance between
0)
th e o u t lin e o f SeJanus c a re e r and t h a t o f Essex.
(e ) A r r u n tiu s and C assius be w a il th e decadence o f Romans.
“ The men a re n o t th e sane; ' t i s
h a s t lo s t th e breed o f nobie
we a re base11,says one: "Rome tho u
b io o d s ," sage lam ents the o th e r.
T h e re ,co n clu d e s A lle n , Jonson c o p ie d Shake soe.are. T h is i s
r e a ll y ir r e s p o n s ib le . What does T a c itu s say o f A rru n tiu s ? He
sprang in t o dangerous p r« nine no e when he a s s o c ia te d h im s e lf
w it h A s in iu s G a iiu s i n b lu n t ly a s k in g th e e va sive and a f f e c t e d ly
m odest T io e r iu s J u s t how much o f the s ta te he wanted handed
o v e r to h im .( A n n .1 .1 2 ). And even b e fo re t h i s c o n v in c in g
p r o o f o f h i s in d e p e n d e n t m ind and h a tre d o f u n c o n s t it u t io n a l
power T ib e r iu s had n o te d him as an accom plished o r a t o r whose
w e a lth made h i s outspokenness dangerous (A n n .1 .1 3 ). L a te r
( A n n . I . 13) he appears d isp o se d to ta ke good o ld -fa s h io n e d
d i s c ip lin a r y a c tio n a g a in s t a yo u th who f a i l e d to show
re s p e c t f o r th e d ig n it y o f p r a e to r ia n ra n k . F i n a l l y h i s
s u ic id e was prom pted la r g e ly by w e a ^ fd is g u s t o f th e decadence
o f im p e r ia l Rome. I n * * * * * fia o r t^ A r r u n tiu s was a v e ry
c o n s e rv a tiv e Roman and an outspoken la u d a to r te m p o ris a c t i .
And t h is i s th e man in t o whose mouth Jonson p u ts a lam ent f o r
the good o ld days* e v e ry word p e r f e c t ly i n c h a r a c te r, a p t and
t e l l i n g beyond a n need to presuppose a Shakespearean
p r o to ty p e •
( I ) Revealed by the m a rg in a l n o te in h is l i b r a r y copy.
v In c id e n ta l 17/ , when Jonson does Quote Cordus—Shakesp">a®e,
he Quotes him c irc u m s p e c tly and a p a r t i p r i s - u n iik e h is
c a re le s s f r ie n d - and a p p lie s to O a ssiu s, n o t to B ru tu s ,
th e m em o ria l l i n e , “ Brave C assius was th e la s t o f a i l h is
ra c e 41(Ann. I v#3 4 . ) , i n t h is re g a rd in g as w e i ^ i t i e r th e
evidence o f T a c itu s a g a in s t t h a t o f S u e to n iu s who g ra n ts th e
w e il- w o m t r i b u t e to b o th .)
(e )
A g a in , S il iu s i s made to a s c r ib e d to G eunanicus
says A lie n , Q u a lit ie s “ a lm o st w h o lly a p p lic a b le to the
c h a ra c te r and f a l l o f Shakespeare’ s B ru tu s '*:
“He was a man m ost l i k e to v i r t u e ; i n a i l ,
And e v e ry a c tio n n e a re r to th e $ods
Than men i n n a tu r e . . .
What h is fu n e r a l la cke d
In images and pomp, th e y had s u p p lie d
W ith h o n o u ra b le so rro w . • "
A l l t h is i s toery n e a r to Shakespeare’ s “p h ra s e o lo g y " c o n c e rn in g
“ th e n o b le s t Roman o f than a l l “ . I n th e f i r s t p la c e th e
resemblance i n p h ra s e o lo g y i s n o t n o ta b le , and the s e n tim e n t
m ust be n e a r ly v x ttc o o e v a i w it h the human ra c e . And se c o n d ly ,
^ a c itu s re p re s e n ts G em anious as th e i d o l o f the Reman
p e o p le , p r in c e c h a m in g , handsome, b ra ve , e x p e ria n c e d , and
a s o ld ie r s u c c e s s fu l i n
r e a l w a rs . I t i s frc m T a citu s^a n d
d i r e c t l y | t h a t Ben borrows h is d e s c r ip tio n (and maybe
m is c o n c e p tio n s ) on the appearance , c h a r a c te r , and p o p u la r it y
o f G eunanicus. From Shakespeare he borrows p h ra s e o lo g y ,
fo r s o o th . But n o t alw ays even t h a t , agrees A lie n (p . 1 1 3 ),
.
lo r d , I S h a ll bu t change y o u r words,“he qu ote s from Ben,
e x p la in in g , “w h ic h was p r e c is e ly w hat Jonson was i n process
o f d o in g to Shakespeare. “ To t h is a fo o tn o te adds t h a t
Jenson* s con scio usn ess t h a t he was d o in g t h i s
“v e r y p r o b a b ly
shaped th e p h ra s e “ . To such de pth s o f m is p la c e d in g e n u ity i s
i t p o s s ib le to descend i f
one does n o t keep an eye on
151
J e n s o n 's L a t in sources.
I & t u r a i iy , i n v ie w o f a l l t h is p la g ia r is m . A lie n i s
n u z z le d to e x p la in why Shakespeare i n h is own playhouse
p c : r r i i +-ed Jonson
t.o
h rin e r on Shakespeare (C ordus) i n p e rso n ,
u- to borrow from 'J u l iu s C aesar' and to s a t ir i s e i t s
a u th o r
a g a in and a g a in i n th e p ro c e s s . Why were the se th in g s allow ed?*
W e il, a p p a re n tly Shakespeare 9 i t h e r knew th e *Annals* o r to o k
h is f r ie n d 's word f o r i t - vo u ch sa fe d o fte n no doubt - t h a t
T a c itu s and n o t " J u liu s Caesar" was h is a u t h o r it y on Raman
life
and personages.
The extre m e st torn, o f A lie n 's case w ouid be
s u b s ta n tia te d i f he c o u id show t h a t Jonson d is t o r t e d h is
o r i g i n a l * L a t in sources to score a t o p ic a l h i t o v e r W in . 1
have found no n r t example o f such d i s t o r t io n . E ve ry
c h a r a c te r and a c tio n i n
MSeJanus* has a u t h o r it a t iv e b a c k in g
i n L a t in h i s t o r i e s , however s l i g h t , and be i t
n o te d t h a t
th e m ost s l i g h t l y sup po rted^w h io h o f f e r th e g re a te s t scope
f o r t o p ic a l inference o r g la n c in g a llu s io n ^ a r e n o t tho se on
w h io h A lle n bases h is argum ent.
We are n o t concerned w it h p u r e ly E n g lis h p a r a l le l s
between th e two p la y s , not* w ith th e a n a lo g ie s o f " T w e lfth
N ig h t* and “ E ve ry Han Out o f h is Rumour*, b u t i n th e case o f
" J u liu s Caesar* and "SeJanus" p la g ia ris m can no t be s u b s ta n tia te i
\
i n any m a tte rs f o r W hich Jonson c o u ld f in d c la s s ic a u t h o r it y .
Sallust,
The p a r ts p la y e d i n nSeJanus* by T a c itu s and Dio
are ta k e n o v e r i n " C a t ilin e by S a llu s t and S u e to n iu s . F o r
j
i
p a r t i c u l a r d e t a ils o r s e c tio n s o f th e p la y he c a n s u p o n ,
as e x p e rt w itn e s s e s ,C ic e ro , P a te rc u lu s , V a le riu s Maximus,
to g e th e r w i t h D io and P lu ta r c h .
The e f f e c t s o f h i s c a r e f u l c o n s u lta tio n o f S a llu s t
are eveiyw here e v id e n t i n
" C a t ili h e " . A o u rio u s in t e r e s t
a tta c h e s a ls o to h i s own oopy o f S a llu s t , s t i l l e x t a n t , f o r
( I ) H.S S .X .p .254.
I
I
}
j
j
I
152.
in i t are to be seen many u n d e r lin in g s in h is own hand, p ro o fs
o f h is " i n t e g r i t y " and props o f h is in v e n tio n .
In a d d itio n to a d o p tin g frcm S a llu s t the g e n e ra l p l o t
o f h is p la y , Jonson i s beholden to him f o r th re e m ost in t e r e s t in g
patches in c o rp o ra te d i n t o the fram ework o f the drama. These a re :
(a) C a t i lin e 's speech to h is f e llo w c o n s p ia ra to rs (A c t I , S c . I ) ;
(■h) Caesars; and (c ) C a to 's “ s e n te n tia e " i n th e f i n a l and f a t a l
debate on December 5 th (A ct v , S c .6 ).
I n (a ) we f i n d a c h a r a c t e r is t ic Jonsonism . I n S a llu s t,
C a tilin e in v e ig h s a g a in s t the excesses o f the "haves'1 to
exacerbate h is band o f “ h a v e -n o ts ". An o p p o r tu n ity to e x p a tia te
on lu x u rio u s l i v i n g was n o t to be re fu s e d by Jonson. He c o u ld ,
we have n o te d , denounce in g e n io u s lic e n c e and hedonism w ith the
fe rv o u r and exactness o f d e t a i l c h a r a c t e r is t ic o f a reform ed
s in n e r o r w o uld-be s in n e r . He found the id e a a t once a t t r a c t iv e
and r e p e lle n t . We may , o f co u rs e , tra c e t h is c o n f l i c t o f a t t it u d e
in h is p r iv a t e l i f e - exce ss, debauchery, and la s c iv io u s n e s s
a lte r n a t in g v i o l e n t l y i f n o t a c t u a lly c o - e x is t in g w it h q u ite
genuine in d ig n a t io n a t in m o r a lit y , w it h self-abasem ent, and th e
gra ve st o f s a t ir e . And the speech o f C a t ilin e i n q u e s tio n i s a
good example o f the o p e ra tio n o f a l l these fe a tu re s o f J o n s o n 's
c h a ra c te r and e x p e rie n c e . He, so to speak, i n this^Mammonises0
S a llu s t. Even so, how ever, i n th e s e embroide rin g s th e re i s no
loss o f h i s t o r i c a l p r o b a b i lit y o r - danger o f tedium a p a rt o f d ra m a tic p r o p r ie t y .
On th e o th e r hand, J o n s o n 's tre a tm e n t o f the speeches
o f Cato and Caesar i s an e x a c t re v e r s a l o f t h is p ro c e s s , frcm
which i t may be surm ised t h a t Ben was c o n s c io u s ly g iv in g h im s e lf
the re in s i n th e fo rm e r in s ta n c e , and n o t J u s t th e h e lp le s s
v ia tim o f th e b a ts i n h is own b e lf r y .
Now, i n S a llu s t , a l l
+he c h a ra c te rs , Caesar and Cato in c lu d e d , speak w it h one v o ic e .
(D
S a llu s t* s v a rio u s b u t u n v a rie d a p p ro x im a tio n s to th e o r ig in a l
speeches rem ind one s t r o n g ly o f a B.B.C. announcer re a d in g
( j) H is in t r o d u c t o r y fo rm u la to a speech i s : "H u iu s n o d i verb a
lo cu tu s e s t " , q u it e J o u r n a lis t ic c a u tio n even b e fo re th e lib e l\L a w s .
d u lc e t ly such v a r ie d o r ig in a ls as the an gry t ir a d e o f i
,
d i c t a t o r , th e r e p o r t o f th e R .S .P .O .A ., and the fa t-s p o c k MxAarwl
P r ic e s , a l l w it h l i t t l e
p e r c e p tib le d e v ia tio n o f to n e . F o r
f
S a llu s t* s ;to o ; i s a m onotone, r h e t o r ic a l, who i i y u n d rs m a tio .
ve r y J u s t i f i a b l y Jonson a lt e r s t h i s . He who s e ts such s to re
‘
by f i d e l i t y o f t r a n s la t io n re c o g n is e s S a llu s t 's c lo s e t e ffu s ia * ;
as them selves u n f a it h f u l ^and f o r once seeks a deeper t r o t h .
So Jonson makes Caesar and Cato speak n o t i n th e s c h o la r xy
j
monotone o f S a llu s t b u t i n sane measure as t h e i r own recorded
;
w ords and as p e r s is t e n t t r a d i t i o n suggests
frkx*; was t h e i r
n o n n a i s t y le . Thus Cato i s a b ru p t, la c o n ic — though by no
means so rough as he i r . i g i t have been, had Jonson*s sense o f
'g ra v ita s *1p e rm itte d , him to go th e v h o ie way. Caesar i s c o n o ie e ,
p i a i n , d i r e c t , a v o id in g a n th e h i s t o r i c a l a n u s io n s g iv e n
him (n o t a t a i l in c r e d ib ly )
by th e s tu d io u s S a llu s t .
I n h is manner o f a d a p tin g these th re e passages from
S a n u s t th& $£ i s n e it h e r in c o n s is te n c y w ith h is own p r in c ip le
o f l i t e r a l f a it h f u ln e s s to th e o r i g i n a l n o r in deed any
rem arkable g e n iu s o f r e c o n s tr u c tio n . Commonsense i s th e keynote
o f them a n , the n e g a tio n o f p e d a n tic and p e d e s tria n
s la v ia h n e s s to th e o r i g i n a l .
Whereas S a llu s t te n d s to q u e s tio n the consensus
blood
o f o p in io n on th e m a tte r adQc o f th e h+iifed o a th exacted o f
h is fe llo w s by C a t i lin e , Jonson a cce pts w ith o u t q u a l i f i c a t i o n
the g e n e ra l v e r d ic t o f h is o th e r a u t h o r it ie s . S e ttin g aside
S a llu s t 's t e n t a t iv e d u b ie ty a b o u t +he v e r a c it y o f con tem p orary
r e p o r t , Jonson in tro d u c e s th e ceremony o f th e b lo o d y
communion as h i s t o r i c a l f a c t . Perhaps two fa c to r s le d him to
acce p t i t .
(a ) W eighing a l l th e evidence , th e p r o p o r tio n o f
doubt to acceptance among th e o th e r h is t o r ia n s , th e n a tu re
o f th e b u sin e ss i n hand and th e p a r t ic ip a n t s , the t im e 's abuse,
it
i s a v e ry reasonable p r o b a b i l i t y t h a t C a t ilin e d id e x a c t the
s o r t o f o a th t h a t B ru tu s a b h o rre d . A n d ,o f course‘s th e la c k o f
j
154.
adequate te s tim o n y i s e a s ily e x p la in e d by
s w ift and
sudden end o f the c h ie f a v a ila b le w itn e s s e s o f th e ceremony,
(b )
The scone made e x c e lle n t- th e a tre i n th e E liz a b e th a n
Grand Gruignoi m anner, a manner w h ich Ben in t e r m i t t e n t l y
y ie ld e d t o ^ in s p ite o f a l l c la s s ic v e to on stage v io le n c e ,
from w h ic h th e d r in k in g o f human b lo o d can h a r d ly be exempt.
v e ry much h a p p ie r to m odem m inds are Jonson1s
sketches o f r e l a t i v e l y m in o r c h a ra c te rs based c lo s e ly on
S a iiu s t , n o ta b ly P u lv ia , Sem pronia, and C u riu s . The la s t i s
th e d is c r e t io n le s s , b o a s t f u l, m a s te r fu l b ra v o , and P u lv ia h i s
u n r e t ic e n t m is tr e s s . These are th e p r i n c i p a l agents i n th e
r e v e la tio n o f th e p l o t . B o th are d e s c rib e d and damned^ v e ry
b r i e f l y b y S a l l u s t T h e ir r e la t io n s h ip and m o tiv e s are
expanded i n th e p la y , and ythough i n g e n e ra l hannony w it h
S a llu s t* s in d ic a t io n s yare much more r e a l and human.
I n S a llu s id t th e c h a ra c te r o f Sempronia reads li k e a
p u rp le p a tc h i s e r t , a d e t a ile d e x e rc is e I n a c id u lo u s e tc h in g ,
w orked up perhaps on seme o th e r o cca sio n and p la ce d r a th e r
a r t le s s ly i n th e n a r r a t iv e o f e v e n ts t a x i n w h ic h S a iiu s t
has no p a r t f o r h e r t o p ia y . She was such an im p re s s iv e
a c tre s s t h a t he c o u ld n o t b e a r to e m it h e r frcm the c a s t.
Jonson w it h a p r o fe s s io n a l knowledge o f th e dangers and
a p e rs o n a l o b je c tio n t o th e i l l o g i c a l i t y o f p u rp o s e le s s
personages on th e stage r a t io n a lis e s h e r p o s it io n . I n S a liB t
a t b e s t she re p re s e n ts a typ e o f C a t ilin e * s a d h e re n ts . But
Jonson* s Sempronia comes t o l i f e :
she i s a w i t t y fe m in in e
o r a t o r i n p r a c t ic e f n o t m e re ly i n p o t e n t i a l i t y , an a c t iv e ,
shrewd, s t im u la t in g agent o f d ia b o lic m is c h ie f. She sees
i n am b assa do ria l s p y in g a c a re e r a p p ro p ria te to women. She
i s a " s p o t - lig jh t 11 case and a jllv e ly w i t f o r whom.the e q u a lly
w anton ^but le s s g i f t e d jF u lv ia v e r y n a t u r a lly fe e ls the
p r o f e s s io n a l11 je a lo u s y by w h ic h Jonson r a t io n a lis e s h e r
a p p a re n tly pub l i e - s p i r i t e d b e tr a y a l o f the p l o t . In d e e d , i t
( I ) Chap*23 de c o n ju r . C a t.
155.
m ig h t "be s a id t h a t i t . i s Jonson* s g lo r io u s emoloymont o f these
th re e c h a ra c te rs t h a t j u s t i f i e s
t h e i r aopearance i n S a iiu s t* s
h is t o r y .
But le s s f o r t u n a t e ly perhaps S a llu s t* s account o f
th e C o n sp ira cy tends to s tre n g th e n a tendency o f Ben a lre a d y
o f t e ii n o te d , h is tendency to i d e n t i f y a c h a ra c te r w it h a
mood, o r a t t i i u d e , o r humour, to g iv e snapshots f o r r o v in g
p ic t u r e s , to p e rm it n e it h e r developm ent no» in c o n s is te n c y
i n h is c h a ra c te rs . Jon son1s C a t ilin e i s
s im p ly the in c a r n a tio n
o f m o ra l fo u ln e s s . From greed and a p a s s io n a te lo ve o f e v i l
fo r it s
own sake he m arShais decadence and Heed a g a in s t
V ir t u e and P r o s p e r ity . He i s the a b n e g a tio n o f p r i n c i p l e ,
m o tiv e le s s , " lo y a l o n ly to d is io y a lt ? / * • He appears i n th e
f i r s t a c t j l i k e R ich a rd I I I ^ c o m p le te ly aimed i n v i l l a i n y , i n
h is own inhuman k in d p e r f e c t io n . Across h is antecedents
Jonson draws a f in n lin e ,and in v o k e s th e Shade o f S u lla to
draw i t . We are g iv e n no glim p se o f th e p a s t th a t m ust have
made him f s te p by s te p ^ th e man he i s . And i n th d * xxsxsxzKSSto
m is re p re s e n ta tio n Jonson fo llo w s S a llu s t . From f i r s t to la s t
S a llu s t d e p ic ts C a t ilin e as an in c r e d ib le b la c k g u a rd . Where t o
he sh o u ld e x p la in , S a llu s t chooses to d e c la im . In s te a d o f
d e t a il in g C a t ilin e * s a tte m p ts to a t t a in pow er by c o n s t it u t io n a l
means, o r m aking same s o r t o f p s y c h o lo g ic a l e x a m in a tio n
o f th e ih w a rte d a m b itio n s ?n o t to say J u s t g rie v a n c e s , t h a t
le d C a t ilin e to f a c t io n , i n t r i g u e , in s u r r e c t io n and m assacre,
S a llu s t re p re s e n ts him as a p e r f e c t muacfcx m odel f o r fu tu r e
m o r a lis t s , a r u th le s s t r a i t o r m o tiv a te d ( i f t h a t can be) by
supeihuman e v i l , a c o n c e p tio n t h a t Jonson accepts as h is
pre m ise s on th e a u t h o r it y o f 'a s p e c tr a l deus ex m aohina.
I n c o n tr a s t to t h is u n r e lie v o d ly b la c k p ic tu r e o f
C a t ilin e th e re e x is ts th e te s tim o n y o f h is a rc h fo e , C ic e ro ,
who concedes t h a t C a t i lin e , o r i g i n a l l y a t any ra te ,w a s a la d
10
o f many p a r ts and mudh promiseU Jonson w e ll knew t h is
d is c re p a n t c o n c e p tio n o f C a t ilin e and i n c i t i n g i t he pruned
( i)
Pro O a e lio 13.
156.
:i
i t alm ost i n t o c o n f o n /itl^ w ith h is own and th e S a llu s b ia n
♦i1
v ie w .
F o r th e c h a r a c te r o f C icero h 'in .se lf S a l l u s t -provides
two n ie c e s o f e v id e n c e ,(a ) th e i n c o n t r o v e r t i b l e f a c t t h a t &
C icero was a "new man” and (b) h i s own p r o f e s s io n , n o t so
g e n e r a lly a c c e p te d ,th u t he was h o n e s t. To sub-poena S a i i u s t
f o r Cicero* s p o l i t i c a l fcaflanifry i n t e g r i t y i n ■•his m a t t e r suggest*
a shrewd u se o f Jonson* s l e a r n i n g , f o r t h a t h is to r ia n * s
evidence i s (a) s tr o n g ly e x p re s s e d , (b) th e ev id en ce o f a-- £SX
60
r e p u te d ly h o s t i l e w itn e s s , and (c) th e “i n s i d e ” in f o m a t io n
o f th e man who p ro b a b ly m a rrie d Cicero* s d iv o rc e d w if e ,
T e r e n tia . And y e t m odem h i s t o r i a n s doubt th e v a l i d i t y o f
S a llu s t* s and Ben* s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f WBst t t i flSS m o tiv e s .
However, no g r e a t ham . i s done to Jbnson* s s c h o la r ly rep u t9
by any such d o h b ts w hich are th e f r u i t o f c e n tu r ie s o f l a t e r
and cu m u lativ e e x e g e s is . W hether Jo n so n f e l t th e la c k o f
su b sta n c e i n S a iiu s t* s p i c t u r e we need n o t s a y , f o r h e p u t
such c o n s id e r a tio n s o u t o f c o u r t by in tr o d u c in g S y .u a ’ s g h o s t.
But even i f h e d id f e e l th e in a d e q u a c y , i t i s n o t l i k e l y
t h a t he would have so u g h t to a e x p la in th e growth and d ev elo p ­
ment o f C a til in e whose c h a r a c te r was j u s t th e s o r t t h a t sp ra n g
r e a d i l y to Jo n so its mind i n th e same co m p leten ess o f
id io s y n c r a s y o r v i l l a i n y . In o th e r w o rd s, i n t h i s o ic tu r e o f
C a t i l i n e th e p r a c t ic e o f S a l l u s t and th e p re c o n c e p tio n o f
Jo n so n c o in c id e .
And t h i s b la c k e n in g ( i f such i t was) o f C a t i l i n e ’ s
c h a r a c te r was b ro u g h t ab o u t a ls o by Jonson* s h a b i t u a l s t r e s s
on th e elem en t o f e o n f l i c t i n h i s dram a, c o n f l i c t betw een
f o rc e s he alw ays t r i e d to r e p r e s e n t a s e q u a l, i n t h i s case
p o l i t i c a l e v i l and p o l i t i c a l good. C le a r ly suoh a view o f
o f th e C a t i l i n e c o n s p ira c y i s q u e s tio n a b le . We see Jo n so n
(1 ) O at. I V . i . 120.
(2 ) S a iiu s t was a p a r t is a n o f O lo d iu s , a p e rso n a l(a m o ro u s)
foe a s w e ll a s p o l i t i c a l r i v a l o f M ilo , m u rd e re r o f C lo d iu s
and c l i e n t o f C ic e ro .
suppress the m a n ife s t e v ils o f s e n a to r ia l r u le . He i s n o t
u n d u ly d is tu r b e d by the a f f l i c t i o n s
o f the A lio b ^ ^ e s ,
re p re s e n ta tiv e t h o u g ii th e y are o f a v a s t and a b je c t, g ro un ddown s u b je c t populace th ro u g h o u t th e R r o ir e , re co g n ise d
game f o r fo r tu n e - h u n tin g and f o r t u n e - r e h a b il it a t in g con suls
and p r a e to r s . Jonson knew a i l t h i s , as C ic e ro knew i t b e fo re
h im . Each i n h is way and tim e i s an advocate w ith a s p e c ia l
p le a . Jonson chose to make our. a case f o r the o lig a r c h y ■whose
in t e r e s t s were v e s te d as much i n g r a f t and s e l f - i n t e r e s t as
i n t h e i r t r a d it io n s o f r e p u b li c a n is n , law and axanhp o rd e r.
F i n a l l y , i t may be conceded t h a t Jonson i s n o t
always as happy i n h i s d ic t io n as w ith Sempronia and
G r a iia ,
Caesar and C ato. Thus, P e tr e iu s , a sim ple s o ld ie r from h is
boyhood, speaks i n a s t r a in s t r o n g ly re m in is c e n t o f th e
*'b le e d in g se rge a n t 1s " tu r g id ve rb ia g e .
The m ost s o lid and e x te n s iv e p ie a e s o f m a t e r ia l t h a t
,
!
j
Jonson found ready to h i s hand f o r the c o n s tr u c tio n o f
“ C a t ilin e " were C ic e ro ’ s C a t i lin a r i a n O ra tio n s . F o r Jonson
the t r a n s la t io n o f these la r g e ly made th e p i a y rand fb r h is
audience th e y la r g e ly damned i t .
And the c o n tin u e d success o f
the acte d v e r s io n o f th e p la y la t e i n th e I 7 t h c e n tu ry i s no
p r o o f t h a t th e E liz a b e th a n v e r d ic t i s n o t the norm al
r e a c tio n o f an audience ju d g in g .a contem porary p la y p u r e ly
\
as suoh. L a t e r s c h o la rs and a n tiq u a ria n s n a t u r a lly judge moere
J
h ig h ly o f the m e r its o f Ben’ s co p io u s d ra u g h ts fro m C ic e ro
J
as
il
these are m atu re d by tim e and im proved by th e u n tu r b id atmosphe*
o f th e s tu d y . S t i l l th e average v ie w m ust be t h a t such speeches
are a dangerous e xp e rim e n t i n drama because th e y are to o lo n g
and to o d e f ic ie n t i n ” a c t io n ” .
I n Jonson* s fa v o u r i t may be observed t h a t le n g th ,
w h ile r is k y , i s n o t i n i t s e l f f a t a l .
I f th e speeches had th e
o th e r d e s id e ra ta o^l drama, th e n +he le n g th Ben a llo w s h is
C ic e ro w ould n o t be f a t a l . S e co n d ly, Jonson does c u t C ic e ro ,
158.
and r e r o i l \ e s s l y to o , though n o t so Tv"uck by c o n d e n sa tio n as
hy s e le c tio n and a m issio n . The le n g th o f these speeches th e n
i s due to Jonson* s s c h o la r ly re g a rd f o r the o r i g i n a l : and th e
le n g th he r i g h t c la ir
i s a reasonable a tte m p t to suggest th e
le n g th o f th e spoken (n o t w r i t t e n )
o r ig in a l.
B ut th e y la c k “ a c t io n " , i t i s g e n e r a lly agreed.And
y e t the liv e s o f -^he c o n s p ir a to r s and maybe the f a t e o f a l l
name are bound up i n the se speeches, a c tio n enough I n
p o t e n t ia l O n ly w o rd s, b u t w e ig h ty , f a t a l , d ig n if ie d w o rds.
The tr o u b le i s
t h a t t h is in h e re n t drama i s
somewhat lo s t i n
th e s t y le o f th e speeches: a c t io n , s p i r i t u a l s t r if S f , a sense
o f a w fu i danger and u rg e n c y , awe, h o r r o r , f e a r , suspense, add
a l l t h a t c o u ld make drama o f the se speeches and i s i m p l i c i t
i n these speeches i s
o v e r la id w it h s t a t e ly r h e t o r ic and the
a r t i f i c e s o f v e r b a l te c h n iq u e . The te n s io n i s
l o s t . So i s th e
a t t e n t io n o f an average lis te n in g - w a tc h in g au dien ce. But
whose f a u l t i s
th is ? Jonson i s n o t t o blame e xce p t i n so
f a r as he was a tte m p tin g two ir r e c o n o ile a b le ta s k s , each
s e p a r a te ly d i f f i c u l t enough, (a ) to xx e n t e r t a in and i n s t r u c t
a n ^ E n g lis h audience and (b ) to re -c re a te Rcme A c c o rd in g t o
■the o n ly a u th e n tic evidence a v a ila b le . To re p re s e n t C ic e ro
sp e a kin g w ith o u t f lo u r is h e s , much le s s b r i e f l y , m ust have
s tr u c k Jonson as an h i s t o r i c a l a b s u r d ity - on th e evidence i k
t h a t C ic e ro had l e f t h im . But t h a t evidence f i l l e d Jonson*s
eye. He was p re p a re d t o s e le c t from C ic e ro , b u t he w o uld
n o t w»ong h is v is i o n o f the t r u t h t y any severe m o d if ic a t io n
o f th e n a tu re and q u a l i t y o f the passages he s e le c te d .. A la s ,
he may have a rg ue d, I can no t w o rk a n C ic e ro ’ s evide nce in t o
a thSree-hour p la y : I cannot have any b r i e f re p re s e n ta tio n o f
a n o t o r io u s ly d if f u s e o r a t o r : e r g o , I m ust i n s e r t th e v i t a l l y
a^propos passages o f th e " C a t ilin a r ia n s ^and th e s e m ust be
lo n g . He r a th e r chose to wrong h is audience th a n to w rong
th e dead, o r h i s c o n c e p tio n o f th e dead. I n s h o r t, he was
159.
n o t so iruch a t f a u l t i n h a n d lin g h i s m a t e r ia l as u n iu o k y
o r in ju d ic io u s in h is ch o ice o f s u b je c t m a tte r f o r an acte d
p la y . C a t ilin e chosen,and C ic e ro e x ta n t,a n d Jonson h a v in g
th e reverence he had f o r h i s t o r y , a u t h e n t ic it y and
th e s a c ro s a n c tio n o f th e L a t in o r i g i n a l s , th e r e s u lt a n t
" C a t ilin e " fo llo w e d as 13a.e n ig h t the day.
0^ th e a c tu a l t r a n s la t io n s f as s u c h ,n o th in g can be
s a id b u t t h a t th e y f o llo w th e o r i g i n a l speeches c lo s e ly ,
though p e r m it t in g a d a p ta tio n s . They are to o s tro n g i n a
v i r i l e manner to re p re s e n t p e r f e c t ly th e tru e atmosphere ct
a C ic e ro n ia n o r a t io n . They are b u t as n e a r as J o n s o ^ s
rugged s p i r i t c o u ld a t t a i n to th e more s u b tie and f l e x i b l e
s p i r i t o f the Reman.
From a i l t h is i t w i n appear +h a t kxxxa i n nC a t ilin e
and “ S ejanus" h is a t t it u d e tow a rds h is a u t h o r it ie s and h i s
employment o f h is a u t h o r it ie s was p r e c is e ly th e sane. Atxssg
Any d iffe r e n c e s i n
tone between the p la y s (as i n the n e a re r
approach to humour typ e s i n “ C a t i l i n e ” ) are p e r f e c t ly x x s x x t
e x p la in e d by th e d i f f e r e n t q u a l i t y o f th e re s p e c tiv e
s o u rce s. Thus p e n - p o r t r a it s o f m e re ly s o c ia l w a s tr e ls i n
S a llu s t p e im it a gleam o f a im o st p r iv a t e l i f e
in “C a tilin e ”
n o t to be found i n “ S e ja n u s ".B u t th e gleam i s t r a n s it o r y
and the scenes o f i t s
appearance isgOTxmsmxx&iipD* are s t i l l
grim, and p u rp o s e fu l. Purpose c le a r - o u t , r e le n t le s s , com plete
s e if- c o n fid e m t t h a t was Jonson has o u i i t b o th p la y s . The
i d e n t i t y o f p la n and s i m i l a r i t y o f m a te r ia ls chosen show
t h a t i n h i s t o r i c a l p l a y - w r i t i n g Jonson n e it h e r le a rn e d
n o t fo rg o t#
T h is c l a r i t y o f v is i o n - be i t
a lim it e d v is io n -
t h i s in t e llig e n c e and wisdom to th e p o in t o f i n e v i t a b i l i t y
i n tre a tm e n t o f h i s t o r i c a l s o u rc e s , and the r e la t iv e -
j
p u re!:/- r e la t iv e - f a i l u r e o f h is two com plete h i s t o r i c a l
j
p la y s prom pts a liC C le d o u b t and q u e s tio n in g : D id Jonson
f a i l to s t r ik e h is p ro p e rx c a llin g ?
i
160.
Throughout, t h i s e n q u iry we have e n d le s s ly had to observe
Jon son1s c o n s t it u t io n a l care i n th e m in u tia e o f a n c ie n t
la w , custom , r i t u a l and d re s s . He soared ho r a in s to
a c q u a in t him s i f w it h th e m u lt ip le x c u r i o s i t i e s o f a rn ia n t
a n t iq u it ie s and m yth s. In h is h i s t o r ie s we have n o te d h is s
e x h a u s tiv e c o m p ila tio n and c ro s s -c h e c k in g o f a l l a v a ila b le
evidence f o r th e fa c ts o f h is p l o t s and c h a ra c te rs ; and we
have seen h is reverence f o r the f a c ts and even th e f o m
of
th e o r i g i n a l ta k in g in d is c r e e t precedence o v e r h is immediate
b r e a d -a n d -b u tte r needs. We have seen him h a r b in g e r i n E n g lis h
l i t e r a t u r e o f Im a g in a tio n th e h i s t o r i c a l method o f e x h a u s tiv e
d e te c tio n and search f o r lo c a l c o lo u r . A l l o f w h ich le a d s
n a t u r a lly to th e t e n t a t iv e c o n c lu s io n t h a t Jonson was
equipped by tem per and t a le n t to
be an h is t o r ia n , though
fo rc e d by u n k in d fa te to rtix ftg g * d i v e r t h is a t t e n t io n to
j
i
th e s ta g e . H is om n ip rese nt i n t e r e s t i n h i s t o r y w as, o f c o u rs e , ;
p r e - e m in e n tly the in t e r e s t o f a m o ra l p h ilo s o p h e r o f pedagogic,!
s a t i r i c , p ro p h e tic b e n t. I t was h is m is fo rtu n e t h a t , t h u s
equipped and in c lin e d , h e was b o m untim e ly fc and fo rc e d to
express h im s e lf i n the r e l a t i v e l y u n c o n g e n ia l and u n s u ita b le
f o m o f drama. C o n s ta n tly he s o la c e d h is n a t u r a l le a n in g s
by re m in d in g h im s e lf and o th e rs t h a t th e stage was a d ig n if a d
p r o fe s s io n , and t h a t th ro u g h i t he d id essay to im prove as
w e ll as e n t e r t a in h i s a u d ie n ce . He p ro te s te d to o o fte n . And he
de nied the stag e too offalfe. t o be o o n sid e re d q u ite a t home as a j
d r a m a tis t. The co m p a ra tive g re a tn e s s o f h i s d ra m a tic success
does n o t
lessen t h i s c o n te n tio n , f o r he had th e s o r t o f
?
I
i
m e n ta l en erg y and fo r c e fu ln e s s t h a t w ould have won h im fame,
and maybe g r e a te r fo rtu n e f on many o th e r f i e l d s . When h i s
j
s u b je c t le n t i t s e l f to bo th m o ra l p h ilo s o p h y and drama, as i n
j;
h is g r e a t p ia y s on ro g u e ry , Jonson w ro te memorable comedy.
j.
But when h is s u b je c t d id n o t le n d i t s e i f r e a d ily t o the
j
d ra m a tis a tio n o f s a tire -o u m -p h iio s o p h y , Jonson ceased to be a
161.
d r a m a tis t; b u t he n e v e r oeased to be a m o ra L is t. And t h is i s
tru e o f +he f l a t t e r p a r ts o f h i s g r e a te r p la y s as w e n as o f
h is “ dotages'*. He w ould n o t s a c r if ic e
“u p l i f t " ,
s a t ir e ,
e d u c a tiv e v a lu e and m o ra ls drawn from h i s t o r y o f the race
o r the s to r y o f in d iv id u a ls i n fa v o u r o f th e needs o f h is
im m ediate audience o r medium. I t i s i h e r e f i n
reasonable to
suggest t h a t he w ouid have been more “ a t h i n s e i f “ , to +he
b e n e f it o f h i s w ork and fame, i n w r i t i n g , l i k e S a iiu s t ,
the p h ilo s o p h y o f h is t o r y , i n s y s te m a tis in g w it h le s s b ia s
and more care th a n T a c itu * th e m o tiv e s o f h i s t o r i c a l characters
van
in c l i n a t i o n i m p l i c i t i n th e humours c o n c e p t), i n b a la n c in g
the evidence f o r and a g a in s t th e heroes and rogues o f , sa y,
h is own c o u n try * s s t o m a s on in a d e q u a te grounds he t r i e d to
do f o r
th e Rome o f C ic e ro and T ib e r iu s , and as he i n f a c t
perhhps d id i n h is l o s t w o rk s ,” R o b e rt I l V ^ i c h a r d C rookback^
th e in c h o a te * M o rtim e rj th e e p ic “ H e ro o io g ia “ , aral above a l l
th e prose h i s t o r y o f HenryV. B ut i n h i s tim e he co u ld no
more a v o id th e stage (and l i v e w i t h seme c o m fo rt and fame)
th a n an a u th o r o f to - d a y w ith h i s name and way to make can
a v o id b e in g a n o v e lis t o r J o u r n a lis t o f same s o r t ; and so Ben*s
s c h o la r ly , docum entary, m o r a lis in g , r a t io n a lis i n g , s a t i r i s i n g
h is t o r ie s rem ain u n w r itte n o r io s t,s a v e i n th e s c e n a rio fo m
o f “ S e ja n u s“ and “ C a t ilin e " ,and th e em bryonic “ M ortim er*1.
162.
Chap. V I.
C o n c lu s io n : Jonson the Kan and S c h o la r: th e Pedagogue.
So f a r we have concerned o u rs e lv e s w it h Jonson* s
a t t it u d e tow ards in d iv id u a l L a tin a u th o rs and w it h the gleams
o f l i g h t throw n on h is c h a ra c te r by h is a t t it u d e . I t
remains to
A
c o r r e la te the se glepis and assemble the s c a tte re d h in t s in t o
a c o m p o s ite -p ic tu re o f th e man a t la rg e i n h is r e la t io n s w it h
L a t in and m a tte rs p e r t a in in g th e r e to .
And f i r s t , w hat k in d o f s c h o la r was he? W e ll, we soe
th a t he was a s c h o la r w i t h marked p e rs o n a l id io s y n c r a s ie s o f
o u tlo o k and t a s t e ; b y no means th e u n iv e r s a l s c h o la r , o b je c tiv e ,
r e c e p tiv e , n e g a tiv e ; b u t a s c h o la r who, f o r exam ple, p r e fe r r e d
L a tin to C reek, i n p r a c tic e i f n o t i n th e o ry ; who had v io le n t
l i t e r a r y lik e s and i s su s p e c t o f d a rk d i s l i k e s , who e x a lte d Lucan
and t a c i t l y d e c rie d L u c r e t iu s ; a s c h o la r ly advocate o f a
d is c o v e r^ 1s c la im s to im m o r t a lit y o r a t le a s t a t t e n t io n , in
the case o f C la u d ia n ; a s c h o la r who in c lu d e d i n h is f a m il ia r
t)
re a d in g a l l th e L a tin a u th o rs regarded to -d a y as m a jo r c la s s ic s ,
2)
to g e th e r w it h a number n o t now i n such h ig h re p u te ; a s c h o la r who
s e t much s to re b y the e x a c t t e x t o f th e a n c ie n ts , as i n h is
t r a n s la tio n s and q u o ta tio n s ; a s c h o la r who fla c k in g a f ix e d co n ce p t
o f s o - c a lle d G olden l a t i n i t y ,
lik e d to f e e l th e flo w o f L a t in
a u th o rs h ip and s tu d ie s down to h is own day and w o rk , and y e t
had a l i v e l y contempt f o r ^ p r ie s t * s Latin", easy Latin! and
(®)
dog L a t in . And above a l l he was a s c h o la r who regarded the
body o f L a t in l i t e r a t u r e as th e g re a t e n c y c lo p e d ia o f wisdom
f o r a l l tr u e seekers a f t e r th e l i g h t who-ter l i g h t on h is t o r y ,
hum anity, m y th o lo g y , p h ilo s o p h y , e tym o lo g y, d ia b le r ie , m e d ic in e ,
o r scienoe i n g e n e ra l. F o r Jonson ,as we have n o tic e d ad nauseam,
the c la s s ic s were the E n c y c lo p e d ia B r ita n n ic a and a g re a t d e a l
more, th e in e x h a u s tib le store ho use o f th e m in u te s t f a c t s . Had
th e re e x is te d a r e a l e n c y c lo p e d ia i n h is day Jonson* s fo o tn o te s
' I ) See l i s t p . 8 .
(2 ) e . g . 'C o n v a r s . '- " t h a t P e tro n iu s , P lin iu s
S ecundus,Tacitus spoke b e s t L a t in ; t h a t Q u in t.6 ,7 .8 were to be
J lto g e th e r d ig e s te d " ( o f B acon), o r " P r o p .S ta t# S id o .A p o ll.. .ameng
r +4 i sJ and m ost r e c e iv e d .."
(3 ) "T a le o f a Tub" - " p r i e s t * s la o k ^ a t in " ; "Oh, p r i e s t th y la z y L a tin to n g u e ". (4 ) See em ploynet o f b o y
111 ^ag .L ad y1 o r "Ode to H im s e lf" . (5 ) " P o e t.1 V , i . l G a llo - B e lg lo i .
163.
to the c la s s ic s would have been le s s than, a q u a r te r the number
th a t th e y a re . I h r can i t be de nied t h a t h is employment o f the
c la s s ic s as books o f re fe re n c e so a s s id u o u s ly begat some o f the
c h i l l and d ryn e ss,a n d la c k o f h u m a n ity and l i f e
o f th e s p i r i t
t h a t e n c y c lo p e d ia s s t i l l engender i n t h e i r d e vote es.
F o r t h is s c h o la r Ben th e c la s s ic s p ro v id e d th e m ost
im m ediate and p le a s a n t "escape " .We can p ic t u r e him immersed i n
h is beloved Horace and J u v e n a l and M a r tia l,a n d immured i n the
heme o f S i r R o b e rt Townshend o r th e Lord o f A u b ig n y, d o u b ly
w a lle d i n frcm dom estic t r i b u l a t i o n and p u b lic ce n su re .
H is knowledge o f th e c la s s ic s were o f th e g re a te s t
s o c ia l s e rv ic e to him . I n h is p re fa c e s ,a s i n h is le v e e s , we see
him d ra w in g round h im s e lf a f u r t h e r ram part a g a in s t b o th ig n o ra n ce
and hones+ c r it ic i s m . T h is was a c ir c l e o f le a rn e d o r , a t le a s t ,
c u ltu r e d g e n t le f o lk . To them he spoke and w ro te ; th e y were h is
"re a d e rs e x t r a o r d in a r y " . He h e ld them both as h is bodyguard
and h is d is c ip le s . They sto o d w it h him a p a rt fr a u the ra b b le ,
and t h e i r d i s t i n c t i v e badge was a knowledge o f th e c la s s ic s .
F or i n those days an i n t e r e s t i n c u l t u r a l s c h o la rs h ip was as
much the mode and p r o o f o f g e n t i l i t y as broad lands o r s h o rt
le g s . And Jonson had the e n tre e to t h is s e le c t caste th ro u g h
h is le a r n in g ; i t
alone o o u ld be th e s h ib b o le th o f a novus homo
li k e h im s e lf. And i n t h i s c i r c l e o f p a t r ic ia n c u ltu r e (and
it s
hangers-on no do u b t) Jonson won th ro u g h to a l i t e r a r y d ic t a t o r s h ip
th a t m ust have warmed h is p a s s io n a te ly proud h e a rt a g a in s t a l l
s lig h t s and in s u l t s frcm the s t r e e t below. T h is group he
d e lig h te d by th e in t r i o a c y and w e a lth o f c la s s ic a llu s io n seen
in h is masques, a llu s io n w h ic h gave Ben and h is fr ie n d s an
e x q u is ite sense o f a p a rtn e s s . True, th e v u lg a r m ig h t applaud th e
show. To them , however, i t was t i n s e l n u n n e ry , mere ha nd iw ork o f
cra ftsm a n , cook, o r I n ig o . But th e o o g n o s c e n ti,a lo o f, am ile d to
one a n o th e r as th e y caught th e happy li n e from Seneca, th e p r e t t y
tu rn to th e w e ll-k n o w n c o n c e it o f M a r t ia l. The s u b tle a llu s io n s ,
the in g e n io u s a lle g o r ie s , th e a p t q u o ta tio n s , th e “ we-know-where*y
a rd le s were were a l l code words and c o u n te rs ig n s o f an u n o f f i c i a l
164.
f r a t e r n i t y o f c la s s and c u ltu r e among w het. Jonson w as secure
and honoured. F o r among them h is le a r n in g w as a ta lis m a n , a carmon
in te r e s t and p r id e , a c o m fo rta b le m oat entrenched about a noble
house.
And when in c l i n a t i o n o r im m ediate o cca sio n d id n o t p e rm it
him to r e fr e s h h is s p i r i t w it h such g ra c io u s company we see the
c la s s ic s p ro v id e him w it h a s t i l l s e c u re r escape from th e w o r ld ,
escape in t o h is own s o u l. And th e f r u i t s
o f t h i s w ith d ra w a l he
has l e f t , i n p a r t , i n h is " D is c o v e r ie s " . T h is cccmonplace book
reve als how o fte n he was in d e b te d to h is lo v in g s tu d y o f L a t in
f o r the b e g in n in g o f a t r a i n o f th o u g h t o r a w h o lly a cce p ta b le
d is q u is it io n whose hercmering oufe o r mere t r a n s c r ip t io n m ust have
detached him h e a l t h f u l l y frcm th e m a te r ia l and th e mundane. He
sought and found h im s e lf i n these L a t in s tu d ie s .
F o r th e y were no p a s s iv e o r cow ard ly escape; th e y were
the re ve rs e o f p a s s iv e . In d e e d , the q u a l it y o f h is concentaraticn,
the le n g th o f tim e he m ust have spent - and even the money in d ic a te t h a t to Jonson th e c la s s ic s , as a r e la x a tio n , were as
a b sorb in g and as e x h a u s tin g as th e r e la x a tio n o f " s p o r t" has
beccme to -d a y . The f a n t a s t ic m in u te n e ss o f care t h a t he shows
in the f r u i t s o f h is s tu d ie s p ro ve s t h a t these s tu d ie s m ust hae
been a t le a s t as e x h a u s tin g as th e e f f o r t s to e a rn h is bread and
b u tte r on th e s ta g e , and may w e ll have in flu e n c e d the methods
and r a tio n a le o f the l a t t e r as th e y c e r t a in l y in flu e n c e d the
approach and p o in t o f v ie w .
Frcm h is trea+m ent o f the h is t o r ia n s and h is methods i n
masquery we p ic t u r e him as a man who z e a lo u s ly sought to know
h is t o r ic t r u t h i n th e a b s o lu te , w ith o u t regard to the i n t r i n s i c
ir-nortance o f p a r t i c u l a r cases. The m urderous methods o f T ib e r iu s
or the c o lo u r o f Hynen, s lo c k s , i t was a l l one. L ik e Lamb1s
Quakers, he f e l t h im s e lf to b e always upon o a th to seek and t e l l
T ru th . And so h is e la b o ra te c ro s s -re fe re n c e s and p i t t i n g o f
a u th o r ity a g a in s t a u t h o r it y go beyond d ra m a tic needs and even
on occasion c o n f l i c t w it h d ra m a tic d is c r e t io n . They are o f th e
Kan h im s e lf, a man o f s u rp a s s in g i n t e l l e c t u a l h a x e s ty , and; i n p a r t
oonsequ^ence ; a m a n ^ ill to g e t on w it h !
H is L a t in s tu d ie s by t h e i r f r u i t s
re v e a l h is p a tie n c e ,
c o n c e n tra tio n , and reverence f o r the le a rn e d to n g u e . These re v e a l
ju s t as c le a r ly the s te rn s e l f - d i s c i p l i n e
o f the r a n and i t s
conron c o r r o la r y , a lo ve o f system and m ethod. We see t h is i n
h is c o n s u lta tio n and c o r r e la t io n o f a l l known sources in h is
h is t o r ie s and m a s q u e -lik e p la y s . In e f f e c t , Jonson th e s c h o la r
a cts w it h i n f i n i t e
care as th e * g h o s t1 o f Jonson th e p la y w r ig h t.
Though th e s c h o la r was n o t always s u b s e rv ie n t. P la y w r it in g e s p e c ia lly when u n s u c c e s s fu l -
seemdd to Ben an u n p le a s a n t
b y -p ro d u c t o f s c h o la rs h ip ; th e l a t t e r was the w o rth w h ile l i f e .
This care to mean, n o t t h a t he regarded h is "w orks" l i g h t l y , b u t
th a t he tended to v a lu e them a c c o rd in g to the amount and
accuracy o f th e s c h o la rs h ip th e y e n s h rin e d . I f o th e rs sneered a t
h is p la y s as mere p ro d u c ts o f p la g ia ris m
and m id n ig h t o i l ,
Ben
was o f a m ind t h a t o n ly such o i l was f i t * to a n o in t a k in g among
a u th o rs . Such c r it ic is m
o r je e r s m e re ly hardened him i n h is
a p p lic a tio n to s tu d y . And i n t h i s we may see h is s e lf- c o n fid e n c e ,
and a rro g a n c e , and independence, and a rg u m e n ta tiv e n e s s , and
c o rb a tiv e n e s s , o r perhaps j u s t p la in "thra w n ne ss", p a r t in h e r ita n c e
frcm "A n n a n d a le ". A t a v i s t i c , to o , may be h is S co ts lo v e o f o rd e r
and d is c ip lin e d . Or Camden, more l i k e l y , may have begun the
process by e x h o r ta tio n and exam ple, s e t him i n th e p a th o f
p a tie n t re s e a rc h . Such s tu d y , a t f i r s t , m ig h t seem a d u ty , a d u ty
a p p e a lin g to h is tem per, th e more t h a t i t m et w it h the d is a p p ro v a l
o f h is b r ic k la y e r s t e p - f a t h e r . That d u ty w ould change in s e n s ib ly
i n t * a h a b it and a lo v e , a h a b it s tre n g th e n e d by Can den’ s m o ra l
te a c h in g o f th e need to seek o u t th e v e ry t r u t h . And so Ben cane
in tim e to a n a lyse a l l th e rough m a t e r ia l o f h is le a rn e d p la y s
w ith seme o f th e e la b o ra te n e s s o r c o m p le x ity o f h ie own A lc h e m is t,
a c h a ra c te r b e g o tte n o f h is c r e a t o r ’ s lo ve o f system and a n a ly s is
and accu ra cy i n re s e a rc h .
T h is lo v e o f t r u t h i n h is s tu d ie s i s , o f co u rse , b u t one
fa c e t o f h is g e n e ra l m o ra l e a rn e stn e ss and fe r v o u r f o r v i r t u e ’ s
cause. H is expressed a p p r e c ia tio n o f p re a tn e ss i n c la s s io
a u th o rs i s
re se rve d f o r such as s o u g h t,in h is v ie w , to e le v a te
t h e i r f e llo w s : V i r g i l the m ost C h r is t ia n o f the a n c ie n ts ,
J u v e n a l th e cen sor, H e braic and Jo n so n ia n i n d e n u n c ia tio n o f
m o ra l t u r p it u d e , Horace th e l i t e r a r y and m o ra l s a t i r i s t ,
n o t th e s o n g s te r v e r e ly , and Q u in t ili a n the p r o fe s s io n a l
pedagogue.
W ith th e 8? q u a l i t i e s o f m ind and w it h t h a t background
o f e xp e rie n c e Jonson was re a d y to g iv e th e r e in to h is
g re a te s t "hum our", and t h a t , I take it , w a s the humour o f a
pedagogue.
Nat h is o n ly hum our, o f co u rse , but the o th e rs
were s u b s id ia r y to i t ,
and Jonson w a s , be fo re e v e r y th in g ,
a man w it h a message .
When I say t h a t Jonson had an i r r e s i s t i b l e urg e to
p la y th e te a c h e r I use th e t e a r , o f co u rse , i n i t s w id e s t
sense, and the im p u lse to te a c h was c le a r e r th a n th e m a tte r
he w ished to te a c h .
Even i n th e n a rro w e r sense he a p p a re n tly lik e d t o
p la y the pedagogue, 'lie r e i s th e famous m isa d ve n tu re w it h
young R a le ig h . P ro fe s s o rs H e rfo rd and Simpson re a s o n a b ly
q u e s tio n th e wisdom o f e n t r u s t in g such a yo u th to such a
t u t o r i n such a p la c e . But t h i s i s
ju d g in g by and frcm to - d a y .
R aleigjh knew Ben f o r a r ip e s c h o la r w it h a humour f o r te a c h in g
th a t h is 6on m ust b e n e fit fro m ,a s lo n g as Ben was sob er.
And R a le ig h , ju d g in g frcm Ben’ s c o n v e rs a tio n ,c a n e to the
same c o n c lu s io n as we m ust rea ch frcm Ben’ s "D is c o v e r ie s 1, th a t
ju v e n ile e d u c a tio n was a m a t t e r o f p ro fo u n d con cern to Jonson.
He m e d ita te s on i t s methods and t h e o r ie s , o b je c tiv e s and
c o n te n t i n a manner s u g g e s tiv e o f deep in t e r e s t and p r a c t ic a l
e x p e rie n c e . NLd F ie ld and young Da le ig h were perhaps n o t h is
o n ly two ju v e n ile p u p ils . And f o r in s p i r a t io n and guidance i n
t h is p a r t i c u l a r branch o f e d u c a tio n he c o n s ta n tly r e fe r s to
Q u in t ilia n , and no doubt d id i n c o n v e rs a tio n i n a manner t h a t
167.
le d R a le ig h to o v e rlo o k h is g e n tle m a n ly tendency to in s o b r ie t y .
R a le ig h may w e ll have f e l t he had r ede an e x c e lle n t choice o f
an e n th u s ia s tic , le a rn e d , m a n ly , and sa fe c u s to d ia n f o r h is w ild
o ff s p r in g i n P a ris .
But t h is in t e r e s t i s m e re ly p a r t o f h is w id e r in t e r e s t . In
t r o t h Jonson n e v e r ceased to te a c h , o r , as a s a t i r i s t , to unbeach.
For o u r purposes h is c h ie f m is s io n was to e n lig h te n h is f e llo w
p la y w rig h ts and a u d ito rs on th e c la s s ic s i n g e n e ra l and th e
best methods o f w r i t i n g dramas i n ^ a r t i c u l a r .
The c a r d in a l p r i n c i p le and v ir t u e i n a ccrnedy,he t o ld them
and showed them , was to m ix th e u s e fu l w it h th e agreeable as
the a n c ie n ts had lo n g d is c o v e re d . T h is he i n s is t s i n h is p ro lo g u e
to "v o lp o n e " was h is p r a c t ic e , and s in c e he w ro te p la y s such as
o th e rs s h o u ld be, t h i s was h is le sso n f o r h is b ro th e rs o f th e
stage. He was s e e k in g to educate to a b e t t e r way both th e demand,
the p u b lic , and th e & u p p ly, th e p la y w r ig h ts . I n a s a fe r s e t t in g
the same le s s o n reappears i n the in t r o d u c t io n to th e "Masque o f
Queens": " s u f f e r no o b je c t o f d e lig a t to pass w ith o u t h is
m ix tu re o f p r o f i t and e x a r p le " , h is f a v o u r it e id e a frcm Horace.
In consequence o f an honest endeavour to l i v e up to t h is
p r in c ip le , i t i s Jonson* s s tr e n g th t h a t h is comedies n e v e r la c k
body; th e y are f u l l o f m a tte r . I t i s a c o rre la te d weakness t h a t
the d id a c tic Im pulse i n him: w o uld n o t o r c o u ld n o t be concealed
in h is co m e d ie s,to the b e tte rm e n t o f h is a r t .
The e a rn e stn e ss o f th e man and th e e n n o b lin g d i g n it y
w hich he accorded h is p r o fe s s io n re a c te d upon each o th e r i n
h is c o n s ta n t s tr e s s in g o f th e d r a m a tis t’ s d u ty to th e s t a t e .
We p ic tu r e him i n green-room and ta p -ro o m , i n season and o u t,
expounding i n h is l a t e r ye a rs to th e t r i b e o f Ben, i n h is e a r l i e r
to h is e q u a l a s s o c ia te s , th e p r in c ip le s o f p o e tic and d ra m a tic
craftsm an ship Im bibed by h im s e lf from. Horace o r th e S t a g ir it e d ir e c t.
And here f o r a moment we a g a in cro ss Shakespeare’ s o a th . Thus,
P ro fe s s o r Q u il le r Oouoh has observed o f Shakespeare, "There i s
good reason to suppose t h a t he had n o t heard o f these s o - c a lle d
16 8 .
ru le s o f A r i s t o t l e *.
Now, t h i s i s v e ry ra sh . I t ig n o re s
Shakespeare* s c o n s id e ra b le a s s o c ia tio n w it h Jonson and i t
ig n o re s Jon son’ s d id a c t ic humour w h io h appears on n e a r ly eve ry
page* he w ro te . I t i s
s u r e ly a reasonable c e r t a in t y t h a t
Ben who th o u g h t and w ro te so much and e a r n e s tly about ju s t
such m a tte rs m ust have made o cca sio n to expound them to a f r ie n d
and d is tin g u is h e d f e llo w d r a m a tis t, a l l th e more because he
was a p p a re n tly i n d i f f e r e n t f P r h o s t ile to such fundam ental
t e c h n ic a lit ie s and causes o f t o p ic a l h e a rt-b u rn in g . In s h o r t,
i f Shakespeare d id n o t know a v e ry g re a t d e a l about the
c la s s ic a l u n it ie s and w h a t-n o t, i t was because he chose to fo rg e F or c e r t a in , he had a w i l l i n g and p e r s is t e n t remembrancer i n
J onson.
Perhaps the le a s t d is g u is e d appearanoe o f JonSon
as a te a c h e r i n the n a rro w e r sense concerns ju s t these " U n it ie s " .
I t occurs i n the "M a gn etic La d y"* T he re , i n d ra m a tise d
in te r s c e n a l e x p la n a tio n s he la y s bare to the uncom prehending
v u lg a r and the a p p ro v in g c o g n o s c e n ti the w o rk in g o f h is p l o t
by numbers. T h e ir a t t e n t io n i s d ir e c te d to h is observance o f
the U n it y o f Time, and P la c e , to th e C a ta s tro p h e , the E p it a s is ,
the g e n e ra l a p p l i c a b i l i t y o f h is in c id e n t a l s a t ir e , the
anonym ity o f h is v ic t im s . He i l l u s t r a t e s h is te n e ts by c i t i n g :
Davus, P se ud olu s, P y rg o p o lin ie e s , T hraso , E u c lio , and th e 6 th e r
„ (2)
c la s s io "John a rbkes" - th e audience i s spared n o th in g , n o t
even a d e a l o f L a t in i n i t s
o r i g i n a l d re s s . The p r o te s ts and
o b je c tio n s o f th e in e r u d it e and adverse c r i t i c a s t e r s he
(3)
a n tic ip a te s i n th e p la y i t s e l f , w h ic h i s worse th a n t a k in g the
w ind o u t o f t h e i r s a i ls and amounts to rem oving th e v e ry s a i ls .
The p la y w r ig h t who, w it h h is eyes op9n - even i n p iq u e a f t e r
d ra m a tic f a ilu r e s t h a t s tu n g -
le c tu r e d h is audience i n t h i s
fa s h io n had an u rg e to te a c h o r p re ach t h a t was o f q u ite r e l ig io u i
in t e n s it y .
I t was h i s param ount humour.
to th e 'M a g ^ a d y 1'. J o n s o n -d e c la re s i& s c r i t i c i s m
( I f ® f o llo w s ' ig n o ra n c e i s g iv e n 'w it h th e 11? i. e . in d if f e r e n c e ?
V /End o f A c t IX .
(3 ) End o f A c t I . Do you lo o k , m a s te r
uaniplay f o r c o n c lu s io n s i n a p r o t a s is , e t c . e t c . • *
T h is gas4; f o r te a c h in g i s a n a * * e r f o r the p s y c h o lo g is ts ,
so we rray a cce p t i t
as fu n d a m e n ta l, © it we can see what d ir e c te d
i t tow ards te a c h in g the c la s s ic s , and t h e r e a f t e r we may examine
how muoh and n e c e s s a r ily i t
in v o lv e d him i n th e converse o r
n e g a tiv e p r e lim in a r y to te a c h in g , nam ely, s a t ir e * He was drawn to
h is p ro fe s s io n o f P u b lic In fo m a r on th e C la s s ic s by th e sense o f
Awe w it h w h ic h th e y f i l l e d
him . He f e l t tr u e h u m ilit y b e fo re the
best t h a t was i n them, and c o n s ta n t s tu d y m e re ly served to show
how e x te n s iv e as w e ll as sub lim e were th e u p p e r reaches o f th o u g h t
w it h in th e c la s s ic s th ro u g h whioiwHamquam e x p lo r a to r ! he f o u ^ i t
and g lid e d on new t r a i l s
and s tra n g e seas, p l o t t i n g o u t courses
f o r h is ig n o r a n t c o n te m p o ra rie s . He th o u g h t o f h im s e lf as more
than an e x p lo r e r , though t h a t was h is m o tto on e v e ry book he
owned* So d iv in e were th e c la s s ic s t h a t th e p o e t who s tu d ie d than
and im ita te d th e b e s t i n them was a p r i e s t , a man a p a r t. The
p o e t’ s o f f ic e he t r u l y f e l t was a r e lig io u s o f f ic e because i t
deals w it h a l l t h a t i s n o b le s t i n man’ s a s p ir a tio n s and m ost
s p i r i t u a l i n h is c a p a c itie s . He a n tic ip a te d M ilto n , as so o f t e n ,
in a c c e p tin g th e c la s s ic d ic tu m t h a t i t
i s im p o s s ib le to be a
good p o e t* w ith o u t b e in g a good man J f o r the p o e t, i n H orace’ s
words m ust be te a c h e r, m o r a lis t , p h ilo s o p h e r and le a d e r o f
th o u g h t. I t i s to t h is n o ble concept o f h is fu n c tio n t h a t
Jonson’ s w orks owe kfca b o th t h e i r p r e v a ilin g atmosphere o f
high purpose and g r a v it a s , on the one hand, and, on th e o th e r ,
t h e ir fre q u e n t d u lln e s s and f la t n e s s .
And t h e le i s a n o th e r a sp e ct o r consequence o f h is
a d o ra tio n o f th e c la s s ic s and h is borrowed v ie w o f the p o e t’ s
c a llin g : h is v e r y " p ie t y " hardened h is con’p p t f o r those who
contemned the fo u n ts o f h is wisdom , despised h is r i t e s , and
c r i t i c i s e d h im s e lf, th e h ig h p r i e s t o f th e c la s s ic m y s te rie s .
Soo f f e r s , ro m a n tic p o e ta s te rs , and th e s t i l "lb ore ig n o r a n t l a i t y
seemed to him i n h is fe r v o u r a l l a lik e blasphemous. Henoe th e
v iru le n c e o f h is d ia t r ib e s a g a in s t tho se who de n ie d h is gods, cr
denied a l l l i t e r a r y gods and made graven images o f t h e i r own
" n a t u r a ls " , and who denied h is mandate as a p ro p h e t.
I t was frc tr suoh t h a t he to o k re fu g e i n h is s tu d y .
But from h is communion w ith th e c la s s ic s he c o u ld b u t emerge
stren gthe ne d i n h is f a i t h i n the c la s s ic s and i n h im s e lf, s tro n g e r
both i n h is sense o f rig h tn e s s and rig h te o u s n e s s , common
con com ita nts o f r e lig io u s enthusiasm . I n h is s tu d y w i t h in the
h o ly books he found exem plars and e x p o s itio n s o f the e x a c tin g
"law s" t h a t were th e t e s t and g lo r y o f the tru e p o a t-s e e r. A l l
w ere,as he lik e d them to be, c le a r o u t, lo g ic a l i n th e m a in ,
n o t u n a lte r a b le b u t to be m o d ifie d o n ly i f e a rn e s t endeavour
proved them in a p p lic a b le to m odem needs. These were h is l i t e r a r y
laws and p ro p h e ts e n s h rin e d i n h i s s tu d y . But i n th e w o rld
o u ts id e h is s tu d y and h is books were th e fa ls e p ro p h e ts ; m aking
a m e r it o f t h e i r ig n o ra n c e ; a b u sin g t h e i r t a le n t s ; m is le a d in g
t h e i r degraded f o llo w e r * who cheered the w ild e s t o f t h e i r
excesses and t h e i r g ro s s e s t m alfe&sance i n th e p o e t’ s h o ly o f f i c e .
So o u t from h is s tu d y w ould Ben emerge g ird e d f o r a n o th e r
on sla u g h t on many-headed Ig n o ra n c e , e i t h e r to w r i t e a p la y , o r
a p ro lo g u e , o r to h o ld f o r t h i n th e ta v e rn . And so we have a n o th e r
p ic tu r e o f th e man i n r e l a t io n to th e c la s s ic s . We see him
com bining the e r u d it io n o f P a u l w it h th e fie rc e n e s s o f John
B a p tis t, and th e fe r v o u r o f b o th i n h is own chosen cause, nam ely,
thh advocacy by p re c e p t and example o f a l l t h a t he comprehended
under L a t in l e t t e r s , c u lt u r e , and h u m a n itie s .
A t once, however, one m ust c o re c t the im o re s s io n th a t
Jonson was s tra n g le d w ith c la s s ic re d -ta p e . The many males he aBL
d id up h o ld are i r r e f r a g l b l e
r u le s o f c o m p o s itio n to t h is day.
The r e a l l y ham pering and lo c a l ru le s o f drama, such as the
U n itie s , he was ready to deny and d e fy . F o r exam ple, th e " S ile t it
171.
Waran'’ observes th e U n itie s i n f u l l , and p r o f i t s by the
observance. So does "E ve ry Man i n h is Humour". "The M agnetic
L a d y ", Ben h im s e lf c la im s , i s p re s e n te d " i n fo ro as a tru e ccmady
should b e ", w hich was n o t, th a n ks to ig n o ra n c e , con te rro fltfa iy
p r a c t ic e . And "^ o lp o n e 11 ,he a s s e rts , observes th e s t r i c t e s t
l e t t e r o f c la s s ic la w . Yet nobody can p o in t to any awkwardness
i n these g ro a t comedies and say i t
o f any suoh U n it ie s . The g a in i s
hand, i n
i s due to th e observance
J u s t as c le a r . On th e o th e r
" C a t ilin e " and "SeJanus" he smashes th e bonds o f
Time and P la ce w it h J u s t le s s th a n Shakespearean freedom . T rue,
he d id i t
r e lu c t a n t ly , b u t he d id i t e m p h a tic a lly . H is conscience
tro u b le d him ,a s we se9 i n h is p le a t h a t the f i l l m a je s ty o f the
c la s s ic p ro lo g u e he had foi/nd im p r a c tic a b le , la r g e ly ow ing to
changes i n au die n ce ,h e suggested. And these two extrem es o f h is
p r a c tic e re v e a l Ben’ s a t t it u d e to c la s s ic law s. He was
c o n s e rv a tiv e b u t n o t h id e -b o u n d . D e p o s itio n , to o , may have
in c re a s e d o r a p p a re n tly in c re a s e d h is
co n se rva tism . H is re s p e c t
f o r the accum ulated wisdom o f th e ages made him d e p a rt
fra n t r a d i t i o n a l l i t e r a r y dogna o n ly w it h c irc u m s p e c tio n ,
and on dem onstrable grounds o f u rg e n cy and ocmmonsense.
I n h i s a tte m p ts t o " b r in g hctneH the c la s s ic s he
m et w it h l i t t l e
a t t e n t io n . The m a s te r’ s c la s s was in a t t e n t iv e
and so th e m a s te r to g e t him a h e a rin g in d u lg e d i n sarcasms
known as s a t ir e , to w h ic h i n any case he had a n a t u r a l b e n t,
a n o th e r humour. As we have seen, J u v e n a l, M a r t ia l, Horace o f
the Seimones and T a c itu s o f p o l i t i c a l s a t ir e fo n re d a g o o d ly
p o r tio n o f h is f a v o u r it e re a d in g . The ups and downs o f hr* s
c a re e r, h is a g g re s s iv e n e s s , fre q u e n t m is u n d e rs ta n d in g ,
and th w a rte d a m b itio n s to g e th e r w it h sane n e s c io q u id i n h is
n a tu r a l f ib r e enhanced the s a t is f a c t io n he found i n re a d in g
and i r r i t a t i n g th e Rar an m a ste rs o f s a t ir e . The v e r y in t e n s i t y o f
h is fe r v o u r f o r the Good, h is Good, in c re a s e d h is s a t is f a c t io n
i n re a d in g s a t ir e , and added g a l l to h is in k . Damnation o f
a l l id e a s and men he d e te s te d ceased to be a means to an end,
re fo im , and became an end i n i t s e l f , h is own e x p lo s iv e
s a t is f a c t io n .
We have noted a g a in and a g a in J e n 1s assurances
t h a t h i s s a t ir e was Im p e rs o n a l, as, o f course t iu e s a t ir e m ust
be. A p p a re n tly these assurances were re q u ire d o f him f r e q u e n tly
by the d u b ie ty o f h is confcempcraries. They m isdoubted h is
im p e r s o n a lity , o r f r a n k ly d e n ie d i t .
They sought and found
E lza b e th a n o r ig in a ls f o r th e d ra m a tis personae o f h is s a t i r i c
com edies. And i n th e b e l i e f t h a t th e y c o u ld tra c e p a r a lle ls
th e y cannot have been w h o lly w rong. And y e t Jon son1s anim ated
e x c u lp a tio n s show t h a t he h o n e s tly b e lie v e d th e y were w rong.
He v ig o r o u s ly and s in c e r e ly p ro te s te d t h a t th e he ad-gear t h a t
he s u p p lie d was "ready-m ade" to be w orn by those i t
fit.
happened t o
The p u b lic were e q u a lly con vin ced t h a t th e y knew some
f o lk he had used as m o d e ls, and were even o f a m ind t h a t
the caps were v e r y good ta ilo r - m a d e s , in d e e d . How can these
ir r e o o n e ile a b le vie w s be e x p la in e d ?
The p u b lic s u s p ic io n o f Jonson* s methods and nbc
m o tiv e s i n s a t i r i c p o r t r a it u r e i s e x p la in e d , if n o t j u s t i f i e d , by
the custom o f th e tim e , th e p e r s is t e n t in t r o d u c t io n o f
p o l i t i o a l a llu s io n s i n p la y s , o r th e re a d in g in t o p la y s o f
doubles en te n d re s on m a tte rs o f t o p ic a l in t e r e s t .
I t i s e x p la in e d
too by Jo n so n 1s r e p u ta tio n f o r the e x t e n t , v ir u le n c e and
even v io le n c e o f h is p e rs o n a l v e n d e tta s , w h ich e s ta b lis h e d a
prim a fa c ie case t h a t he w o u ld p i l l o r y h is p r iv a t e foe s i n
173.
h is p u b lic w o rks. Ben was — and i s — b e fo re a l l e ls e , a "c h a ra c te r*
whose c a re e r and o p in io n s m ust have been much canvassed i n th e
r e l a t i v e l y s m a ll w o rld o f London w it s and s o c ie ty . And those
who knew b o th him and h is opponents so w e ll knew e x a c tly w h at to
lo o k f o r i n h is p la y s to s a t i s f y t h e i r ta s te f o r "u n b ru s s in g ".
I f we judge by Ben’ s p r o t e s t s , th e y n e ve r f a il e d to f in d i t .
But a g a in s t t h is be i t n o te d t h a t we g e n e r a lly see w hat we
expect to see, and o fte n Ben may have been h o n e s tly c h a g rin e d
to f in d a g e n e ra l p ic tu r e o f a human typ e accepted w it h d e lig h t
as a good o r bad lampoon on some lo o a l w o rth y . The p u b lic v ie w
was, i n s h o r t, n a t u r a l, o ft e n r i g h t , and o fte n w rong.
But Jonson was i n s im i la r case. I q u e s tio n w h e th e r he
was the s o r t o f man who c o u ld t h in k o f m ankind im p e rs o n a lly ,
and i n th e p h ilo s o p h ic a b s tr a c t. F o r he was f a r to o p a s s io n a te
o f h e a r t, and c lo s e though he o fte n c lo s e te d h im s e lf, h is l i f e
was y e t m a in ly liv e d i n b u s tle and s t r i f e
a lo o f s p e c ta to r. M oreover h is
among men.He was no
r e la t io n s w i t h h is fe llo w s were
warn r e la t io n s , i n b o th senses. He b e a t M arston and to o k h is
p i s t o l from him ;h e slew G a b rie l Hpenoer; he was th ro w n in t o
p ris o n f o r l o y a l t y to h is f r ie n d s , among o th e r o f fence s;h e
loved Shakespeare, and reve ren ced Camden and Chapman; he was
s p i r i t u a l f a t h e r to th e t r i b e o f Ben who m ust have re c e iv e d tfa r
more th a n pa tro n a g e frcm him . In b r i e f , he was an e m o tio n a lly
a o tiv e man who liv e d a f u l l l i f e
o o n f li c t w i t h h is fe llo w s , a l i f e
i n c o n s ta n t c o n ta c t and
f u l l o f s p i r i t u a l " s t u r t and
s t r i f e * . He was a p e r s o n a lit y among p e r s o n a lit ie s whose a r t
was th e p r e s e n ta tio n o f p e r s o n a lit ie s , whose s tu d y p e r s o n a lit y ,
whose tim e 8 demanded th e in t r o d u c t io n o f p e r s o n a lit ie s in t o p la y s ,
o r made good th e d e f ic ie n c y w i t h t h e i r im a g in a tio n s . Such a man
in suoh a tim e c o u ld n o t a v o id the p a s s in g a llu s io n i f n o t the
o v e rt exposure o f co n te m p o ra rie s . And we know t h a t Jonson d id n o t
avoid " p e r s o n a lit ie s " . I t cu lm in a te d i n
"P o e ta s te r” , o f co u rs e ,
b u t th a t was n o t th e whole s to ry .H o lampooned C e c ily B lu s b ro d c ,
he sneered and je e re d a t In ig o Jones. And these are no is o la te d
e x p lo s io n s : th e y are sym ptom atic. Perhaps the b e s t p r o o f o f h is
h a b itu a l m e n ta l a t t it u d e i s
fou nd i n h is e x ta n t books. I t was
h is h a b it to note i n the m a rg in the names o f co n te m p o ra rie s whose
fa te and c h a ra c te r happened to be a r a lik e n e s s to the m a tte r o f
the a n c ie n t t e x t . The B a ^viu s and th e Maevius o f h is f r ie n d
Horace be care th e Mars to n and Dekker o f h is own e x p e rie n c e . He
imCT th e la v is h E n g lis h p e e rs denounced by J u v e n a l, th e w h is p e rin g
p o l i t i c i a n o f M a r t ia l, H orace’ s b o re , and so on: he knew then:
a-11 be causes th e y were h ie p e rs o n a l b£tes n o ir s . And t h i s I t h in k
is v i t a l to an u n d e rs ta n d in g o f Jonson’ s r e la t io n s w it h L a t in .
The h u r ly b u r ly o f th e w o rld fo llo w e d him in t o th e s tu d y where he
sought escape. I n h is re a d in g s o f th e p a s t he re v iv e d th e p re s e n t.
He te le s c o p e d th e ages, i n a senss, t i l l T a c itu s became to - d a y ’ s
g a ze tte o f p a r t y p o l i t i c s , S a llu s t a con tem p orary c o u r t r e p o r t e r ,
Horace w ro te c a u s e rie s on town and c o u n try l i f e ; J u v e n a l and
M a r tia l were th e m ost b i t i n g o f contem porary " c o lu m n is ts " . T h is
r e a lity
gave to h is re a d in g an Immense x t t x l i t y x and a n im a tio n * H it a
man who th u s
d ra m a tise s and lo c a lis e s h is re a d in g o f th e p a s t
cannot u t t e r l y rv e rs e the h a b it o f h is m ind when he tu rn s to
w r ite f o r th e p re s e n t. And i t may be t h a t * o fte n when Jonson
th o u g h t he was w r i t i n g i n the k b s t r a c t and u n iv e r s a l th e tw c r e p t
in p e r s is t e n t echoes o f l i v i n g co n te m p o ra rie s as w e ll as o f
the dead t h a t he s t i l l f e l t to be contem porary. Both those who
saw the l i v i n g i n h is s a t ir e s may have been r i g h t , and he who
oladmed u n iv e r s a li t y f o r h is p o r t r a it u r e may have been i n a way
r ig h t to o . He judged o f th e r e s u lt by l i i e in t e n t io n : th e y by th e t v
e x p e c ta tio n , an e x p e c ta tio n founded on t h e i r e xp e rie n ce o f the
ra n . I b e lie v e t h a t Jonson1s m odels f o r h is s a t ir e s , h is Does ad
and Rocs and John a Hokes, are le s s im p e rso n a l and more Imm ediate
than may be reasonably expected o f th e s a t i r i s t . He hated to o
w e ll and to o many, he enjoyed re a d in g and w ritin g x ic ra x w a tii s a t ir e
too w e ll, he is o la t e d th e t r a i t he d e te s te d to o c le a r l y and
th o ro u g h ly , th e re was a lto g e th e r to o much b lo o d i n the man f o r
him to le a ve h is la y fig u r e s a lto g e th e r u n id e n t if ia b le and
8nonynous. He a tta c k e d the v ic e w it h a t le a s t one eye on th e
v ic io u s , so t h a t those who knew Jonson and h is a s s o c ia te s c o u ld
o fte n , i b e lie v e , "name h is name", and t e l l each o th e r t h a t
and
Mammon ^and S i r P o l i t i o k W ould-b9,and Cutbeard, S o g lia rd o were
re s p e c tiv e ly So-and-8o fo r F lu te the be llow s-m e nd or.
But th e v e ry e a rn e stn e ss and v io le n c e o f s p i r i t t h a t
pre ven ted th e a lm o st im p o s s ib le de sideratum o f im p e r s o n a lity
in h is s a t ir e gave him tremendous im p etus and power as an ethtoal
re fo rm e r. And t h is
ze a l f o r re fo rm , i n i t s
t u r n , m il i t a t e d
a g a in s t h is success as a p o p u la r d ra m a tis t and was, id e e d , o fte n
w h o lly a t v a ria n c e w i t h th e comic s p i r i t , f o r w h ic h reason, among
tk
ofkA ers I have a lre a d y suggested t h a t comedy was n o t h is m e t ie r
a t a l l . Profess&rs H e rfo rd and Simpson have examined the ways
in w h ic h h is s a t i r i c urg e c o n f l i c t s w it h th e com ic s p i r i t
and
towards m o d ify in g the con cep t o f comedy i n "vo lp o n e " th e humour
types *They showftoo, how i n
"C y n th ia ’ s B evels"he made in n o v a tio n s
in the s a t i r i c v o g u e .( ju s t here i t i s
a p p o s ite to no te t h a t the
word "vogue" i s to o , to o m o d ish to be a p p lie d to Jonson. He b ro u g h t
such pow er, c a re , and enthusiasm to b e a r on any s u b je c t t h a t he
made o f e v e ry vogue he adopted a crusa de ; and h is fe r v o u r was
never exhausted b e fo re h is s u b je c t, w h e th e r t h a t was th e g ra n d e s t
s a t ir e , w it c h c r a f t o r fe m in in e t o i l e t . Such was th e o w c rflo w in g f
u n d is c r im in a tin g energy o f th e man and h is s c h o la r s h ip .)
Though wo m ust d e c lin e to p ro fe s s the om niscience which,
alone oould " e x p la in * Jonson* s s a t i r i c u r ^ , we may b e fo re le a v in g
i t p o in t o u t c e r ta in s in g le s o f w h ich i t i s
ccrpounded.
(a) H is n a t u r a l and b a sic a g gre ssive ne ss made him ready to a tta c k .
(b) H3 s oare i n s tu d y and m e d ita tio n hardened h is sense o f
dogm atic rig h tn e s s in t o s e lf- r ig h te o u s n e s s . T h is he xsnxdtsDt d id
penance f o r i n p e r io d ic masochism o f d a s n a ir, s e lf- b la n e ,
r e lig io u s q u e s tio n in g s , and even r e lig io u s refoxm - the iafcfcstr
la s t p a r t i c u l a r l y g ra c e - g iv in g because m a t e r ia lly in ju d ic io u s .
B u t, the penance o v e r, he rose as a s in n e r re fre s h e d i n h is s in .
(c) H is f r e q u e n t ly wounded and v e r y s e n s itiv e v a n it y found
r e l i e f i n u n iv e r s a l o r p s e u d o -u n iv e rs a l o r o n ly s u b -c o n s c io u s ly
p e rs o n a l s a t ir e , as w e ll as i n o v e rt lampoons.
(d) From h is y o u th i n W e s tm in s te r to h is p a r a ly t ic bed i n th e sox
same u a r is h he had been de vote d to th e s tu d y o f the s u b je c tm a tte r , th e o b je c tiv e s , th e te c h n iq u e , and th e tone o f th e g re a t
Raman s a t i r i s t s . And i f
it,
in i t s
such s tu d y denotes o r i g i n a l i n c l i n a t i o n ,
t u r n , s tre n g th e n s t h a t i n c lin a t io n . As a s a t i r i s t he
was b o th b o m and made.
Jonson* s two m a s te r Im p u ls e s , to te a c h and to
s a t ir is e have appeared th ro u g h o u t th is e n q u iry i n h is r e la t io n s
w ith numerous L a t in a u th o rs . B u t, o f c o u rs e , he had c o n ta c ts
w ith L a t in i t many o th e r p o in t s , and was in flu e n c e d i n o th e r
ways by these c o n ta c ts . We m ust now c o n s id e r the n a tu re and
e f f e c t s o f w hat we may c a l l h is le s s s p e c if ic and h is m in o r
c o n ta c ts w it h L a t in and q u e s tio n s p e r t a in in g th e r e to .
We may f i r s t c h a lle n g e th e n o t u n u s u a l p ic t u r e o f
Jonson as a man who n e a r ly always s a id in ia d gfat a ctefc E n g lis h
what he had f ilc h e d b ra x e n ly from a m a jo r L a t in c la s s ic o r more
s u r r e p t it io u s ly from a m e d ie v a l c la s s ic is t . T h is i n r e la t io n to
177.
numerous a u th o rs and p a r t i c u l a r l y i n c o n n e c tio n w it h h is
tr a n s la tio n s we have shown to be a b s o lu te ly d is t o r t e d and
exaggerated, and i n the sense o f " p la g ia ris m * q u ite u n ju s t.
But i t
a l l re q u ire s r e c a p it u la t io n . When I say t h a t h e , f o r
example, quoted w i t h m o d e ra tio n , I mean w it h m o d e ra tio n when one
co n s id e rs how muoh he knew t h a t was q u o ta b le and how w e ll he
knew i t ,
how muoh reverence m u st have prom pted him to q u o te ,
and how f u l l y th e p r a c tic e o f contem porary s c h o la rs condoned
q u o ta tio n .
Note i n p a s s in g , to o , t h a t assuming an a u th o r oif
h is tim e d id w is h , as m ost do, to g iv e h is w ork the s a n c tio n
o r d e c o ra tio n o f a q u o ta tio n from somebody e ls e f s, h is cho ice
as compared w it h th e scope o f to -d a y , was v i r t u a l l y lim it e d to
tU*C
the a n c ie n t to n g u e s, f o r p la y s were ^un published and romances
were n o t l i t e r a t u r e , sp e a kin g g e n e r a lly o f c o u rse . And th e
e s tim a te o f h is m o d e ra tio n i n t h i s i s a r r iv e d a t by d e d u c tin g
h is f a c t u a l q u o ta tio n s from the h is t o r ia n s , f o r exam ple, i n
" C a t ilin e " and "S e ja n u s ", and from everybody i n masques. As
s a id b e fo re t h i s i s
to use th e c la s s ic s as an e n c y c lo p e d ia .
We do n o t condemn o r even rem ark on an a u th o r* s p a r t i a l i t y f o r
the " B r it a n n ic a " . Such q u o ta tio n s and a llu s io n s are n o t wanned
by Jonson* s m in d ; i t i s
b u t by u n im p o rta n t chance t h a t th e y
are n o t to w orks i n H in d u s ta n i o r Bantu. B ut c o n s id e rin g o n ly
such re fe re n c e s to th e L a t in c la s s ic s as seem to have moved
Jonson to r e c a ll them l a t e r , such as suggested a fa n c y t h a t
p le a s e d , the p l o t o f a scene, th e theme o f a l y r i c , o r th e
t e x t o f a sermon, we may s a f e ly say t h a t Jonson q u ote d a lm o st
s p a r in g ly f o r a man o f h is tim e , and tem p er, and e n v iro n m e n t.
What th e n c re a te s th e u n d e n ia b le im p re s s io n made by
a re a d in g o f Jonson t h a t h is L a t in le a r n in g i s
b o th anourous
and o b tru s iv e ? H is v o c a b u la ry , o f c o u rs e . But t h a t re q u ire s
to be q u a l if ie d . F o r th e oase i s n o t q u ite sim .ole, and Jonsoaese
is n o t Johnsonese. The L a t in elem ents i n h is s t y le may be p u t
th u s : i t
i s n o t L a iin a t e , t u t i t
i s peppered w i t h L a t in w ords.
Ke does n o t exceed the average o f h is day when la i i n i s n s were
a vogue i n E n g lis h w i l t i n g . He uses no L a tin ia r .s o f no te t h a t
are n o t to be found i n o th e r E n g lis h a u th o rs - w it h th e , J u s t i f i a b l e ,
e x c e p tio n o f h is L a t in p la y s . I n t h i s sense, t h e r e f o r e , even h is
v o c a b u la ry , to o , i s
r e s tr a in e d f o r the man and th e tim e . The r e a l
humour o f th e s c h o la r re v e a ls i t s e l f i n p e p p e rin g h is cages w it h
words and ph rase s t h a t make no p re te n c e a t a l l to any process
o f a n g l if ic a t i o n , b u t rem ain naked L a t in w o rds, o r a t b e s t th e
(I)
most L a tin a te o f L a tin is e ;s .
I n th e ■ A lch e m ist , n o t re c k o n in g
^
pro p e r names o r m y t h o lo g ic a l, th e re o c c u r same 50 o f w h ich
Shakespeare n e ve r makes use. The g r e a te r p r o p o r tio n a re te c h n ic a l
terms o f the m y s te ry o f alchem y, p a lm is tr y , and g e n e ra l cozenage
;
whioh add r e a l c o lo u r to t h i s p la y , though h is p r a c tic e elsew here
d is c o u n ts t h is as h is w hole in t e n t io n . I n "B a rt h o i cmaw lift F a i r ”
,:i
- t h is b e in g the m ost "u n le a rn e d " o f h is p la y s - th e re are s t i l l
15, m o s tly frcm th e li p s o f Adam Overdo who a c ts as a s a fe ty - v a lv e
f o r th e le a rn e d a u th o r 1s
L a t in y e a r n in g s .In the " D e v il i s
an
;j
Ass" are 19, and a l i t +f t S p a n ish , n o t
in a p p r o p r ia te i n a p la y
j
th a t e x p re s s ly re co g n ise s th e d e v i1 to
be an e x c e lle n t l i n g u i s t .
;
"The S ta p le o f rbws" has 2 3 , the " Ibw In n ” 19 and the "M agnetic
j!
;--ady" i s d e ta ile d below . These L a tin is m s are o f such in t o le r a b le
f;
q u a lit y t h a t even these c o n s id e ra b le numbers seam v a s t ly g re a te r
|i
( i ) The f o llo w in g , f o r exam ple, are to be found i n the "M agnetic
Lady": f a eces, caves and wedges o f th e th e a tr e , p o p u lo u t p la c e re n t,|.
quas f e c i sse n t fa b u la s , a w hole d e c le n s io n g iv e n by boy, i n f o r o ,
dictam en, e rg o , H in c i l l a e lachrym ae, p a re rg a , nemo s c i t , rem ora,
tja n p a n ite s , anasarca, a s c it e s , aquosus, dcaninus, c im i c i, p e r s trin g e ,'!
arr p h i bo l i e s , s c ie n c e , e p it a s is , H ip p o c ra te s and o th e r d o c to r s ,
u m b r a til, v e s ic a , marsupium., xfcxx&xgxx c h ir a g r a , secundum a rte m ,
^ ro cap tu r e c i p i e n t is , o p p ila t i o n , obnoxious t o , re d a rg u e , s in e
d iv in o a liq u o a f f l a t u , l e t y o u r n a i l run (Jgggth, sub s i g i l l o ,
q uasi i n canmunan famam, annulus h is nobi s sx.c u te r q u e , d a b it ; quaere
wany n o tic e a b ly anent th e m e d ic a l a r t . W e ll may one o f them sa y,
o f so many o f Ben1s c h a ra c te rs , " A l l e r r a n t le a rn e d men, how
the y 1sputa L a t in ! "
4
179.
than the y ere * and* ta ke n w ith , the l a i i n a t e Q u a lit y o f g e n e ra l prose
style favoured b y h i s day and a c la s s o f s c h o la rs * th e y serve to c re a te
the c o rre c t y e t u n d is c r im in a tin g vie w t h a t h is s t y le i s
rank w it h
undigested L a tin is r r s .
Was heathen* a "pedant*? The tear, can be a p p lie d to Jonson
hut o n ly i n a v e ry lo o se F an ne r. I t denotes s u r e ly a fo rc e d * a ffe c te d ,
or unwarranted d is p la y o f le a r n in g . Jo n so n 1s le a r n in g , to be s u re , i s
very fr e q u e n tly on d is p la y ; b a t, as we have i l l u s t r a t e d a t le n g th , i t
is the n a t u r a l, u n s e lf-c o n s c io u s language o f th e man h im s e lf.
Its
apparent fo rce d n e ss o r excess i s due to a change o f ta s te between th e
ord in ary re a d e r o f to -d a y and th e 1re a d e r e x tr a o r d in a r y * o f h is own.
The charge o f wanton d is p la y i s a t once re fu te d by adduoing a w o r t by
iro tive f o r the d i s p la y . Jons on* s p u rp o se , as we have seen, was to g iv e
his fe llo w s a key to c la s s ic 3 -ite ra iu re and th e h u m a n itie s . Th9 s t y le
and a deal o f th e substance o f h is "p e d a n try * are c o r o lla r ie s and
illu s t r a t io n s aizxx o f t h is aim . In so f a r as th e y are p u rp o s e fu l th e y
cannot be w anton; i n so f a r as th e y are unconscious th e y cannot be
called " d is p la y " . B u t, o f c o u rs e , p # d a n try may a ls o im p ly e xce ssive
care and accu racy i n th e m in u tia e o f know ldge. A g a in Jonson1s e d u c a tiv e
purpose and pedagopic methods may be p le a d e d , b u t t h is tim e perhaps
i t i 8 more d i f f i c u l t to a c q u it him a lto g e t h e r o f th e many "o ffe n c e s *
that can be la id to h is charge.
p e ttifo g g in g p a r t i c u l a r i t i e s i s
Be i t
g ra n te d t h a t a te n de ncy to
as c h a r a c t e r is t ic o f Jonson as a n y th in g
can be. Yet b e fo re we i n consequence dub him pedant we m ust ask
whether these scru p u lo u s observances o f accu racy i n t r i f l e s
and
erudite d u e w o rk i n p u r s u it o f v e r y p i f f l i n g m in o ta u rs o f f a c t are
in fa c t fundam ental to h is w o rk o r m e re ly in c id e n t a l to i t , though
as c h a r a c te r is tic as th e a r t i s t 1s s ig n a tu re i n th e c o rn e r o f h is
p ic tu re . In th e la r g e r m a tte rs e f h is a r t we have seen t h a t he was n o t
(l)H e observes L a t in fo u rs i n a l l s t r ic t n e s s . Thus i n th e "S ta p le " ' m
read o f " g re a t S o lo n s. Nmnae P a m p ilii" . The q u a rto re a d in g was "Come
le v s w a lk i n th e M editerreneum " w h ic h i n th e f o l i o he c a r e f u lly
p rin te d as " i n M editerraneo*. And a phrase l i k e *hcino f r u g i H he found
ir r e s is tib le .A g a in r f these a c c u ra c ie s may be s e t th e e rro rs o f "SeJanus"
ond the even le s s l i k e l y Jo n so n ia n s li p s o f th e "C o n v e rs a tio n s ",
i f the fo o tn o te s to th e masques be urg e d a g a in s t him we may p le a d th & t
+v?re«Jie w&s on b is m e ttle to produce h is e v id e n c e , a ocmmand perfom anf?
juis.The notes to h is Roman p la y s are e q u a lly J u s t if ia b le as s e l f t o s t if ic a t io n . I t may be t h a t 1he g ra v e s t charge concerns th e a r t s
m y s te rie s he t r e a t s o f i n c id e n t a lly , such as co sm e tics o r alchem y,
deal
^ f ^ o u l t to deny t h a t i n th e se he seems to know a g re a t
more th a n he need have know n-or shown.
hid©hound by th e c la s s ic s ; be was no p e d a n tic o b s e rv e r o f th e
m ajor c la s s ic d ic t a on a r t . Ife sought i n i t w h a te v e r was
p e re n n ia l and w o rth w h ile . B ut i n la tg e m a tte rs he avoided s la v is h
pe da ntry and i n s m a lle r v e rb a l m a tte rs he was t u t hum ouring h is
"humour1as a s c h o la r.
How th e n can one e x p la in th e p r e v a ilin g c o n ce p tio n t h a t
Jonson was a pedant? F i r s t l y , i n t h i s cha rge , fo im u la te d o r d im ly
f e l t as r a y be, th e re i s
same backwash from th e p o p u la r im p re s s io n
o f h is g re a t c o n te m p o ra ry ^ "c a re le s s n e s s ".T h e lig h tn e s s o f h is
p a s try -c o o k to u c h adds abom inably to th e undoubted s tra tu m o f
dough i n Ben1s c o n fe c tio n s . Perhaps th e p o p u la r c o n c e p tio n and Jonsond
♦xue p o s it io n may be p u t th u s : Jonson was n o t a pedant i n the
absolute sense: s a y ; ra th e r, t h a t he was an e x p e rt - i n th e b e s t
sense o f t h a t overw orked w ord. He was an e x p e rt i h le a r n in g ,
p a r t ic u l a r ly i n a l l foim s o f L a t in le a r n in g , and an e x p e rt w it h
and urg e to te a c h t h a t g r e a t ly in t e n s i f i e s h is ap p a re n t e x p e rtn e s s .
To a l l who do n o t care f o r h is " s u b je c t" he m ust th e re fo re be,
lo o s e ly s p e a k in g , a p e d a n t. But,m ore s t r i c t l y , h e
should be c a lle d
a "bore®. The l a t t e r i s th e b e t t e r te im because i t
absolute and because i t
is
le s s
c o r r e c t ly im p lie s a c e r t a in la c k on th e
p a r t o f th e o b s e r v e r - c r it ic ; i t i s
tw o-edged. To a savage a l l
branches o f sim p le a r ith m e tic t h a t range beyond fin g e r s and to e s
are d o u b tle s s p u re pedantry.W e may n o t be a b le to share Jonson1s
in t e r e s t i n m y th o lo g y and a n t iq u it ie s b u t i t
i s s h o rts ig h te d to
dism iss him as a p e da nt because o f a l i m i t a t i o n i n o u r own
sympathies f o r th e s u b je c ts o f h is e x p e rtn e s s . A t w o rs t he i s no
more o f a bore th a n a l l e n th u s ia s ts m ust be to th e i n d i f f e r e n t
and a n t ip a t h e t ic . But w h a t k in d o f bore i s he? Suprem ely paohydeim ic?
Ifc. Indeed r a th e r a th in - s k in n e d t a x * e le p h a n t w it h o ffe n s iv e
powers f a r i n excess o f h is d e fe n s iv e eq uipm e nt, y e t e le p h a n tin e
enough i n o c c a s io n a l ra g e,a nd o c c a s io n a l w i t , and l i m i t l e s s memory.
131.
Second o n ly i n p re va le n ce to the charge o f p e d a n try i s the
charge e g a in s t Jonson o f p la g ia r is m , o f brazen and sometimes irastxKxx
u n d is c id m in a tin g breaches o f c o p y r ig h ^ H e was charged by h is
e a r li e r c r i t i c s w it h t h e f t s frcm th e c la s s ic s and by l a t e r c r i t i c s
w ith t h e f t s from h is c o n te m p o ra rie s , the o rd e r o f t i r e
b e in g n o ta b le .
And i n th a t the L a t in c la s s ic s were o f course m ain o b je c ts o f h is
" p la g ia r is m " i t i s ne cessa ry to examine and assess th e p o s it io n .
Be i t n o te d t h a t Jonson was a p p a re n tly th e f i r s t to use i n
E n g lis h the te im " p la g ia r y " . A llow ance may th e r e fo r e be made f o r
the tendency o f h is c r i t i c s to re g a rd h is weapon as a boomerang.
F u rth e n ro re th e q u e s tio n o f p la g ia ris m k e e n ly e x e rc is e d
Ben h im s e lf, i f
one may so conclude fr o n th e number o f a llu s io n s £
found th ro u g h o u t h is w o rk . A man who in v e ig h e d so o fte n a g a in s t
p la g ia ris m c o u ld n o t have been h im s e lf an u n con scio us p l a g i a r i s t .
And i f th e l i m i t l e s s range o f s e lf- d e c e p tio n we r e g u la r ly p r a c t is e
should make t h i s p o s s ib le , i t w i l l y e t be conceded t h a t i t
is
g ra v e ly jm p ro b a b le . How th e n can one e x p la in the f a c t t h a t
1
Jonson who so o b v io u s ly f e l t h im s e lf in n o c e n t o f p la g ia r is m should
y e t be so o fte n and so p la u s ib ly accused o f p la g ia ris m ? T h e s o lu t io n
is to be found i n h is a t t it u d e tow a rds h is sources and i n h i s
i
id e a o f " o r i g i n a l i t y " .
'
W ith h is a t t it u d e to h is sou rces we have d e a lt th ro u g h o u t
t h is e n q u iry . From w hat has gone b e fo re i t
is
rea son ab le to
oonclude t h a t a man w i t h Jonson1s re g a rd f o r th e c la s s ic s * and
w ith Jonson*s m is s io n t o " p o p u la r is e ” th e c la s s ic s i n h is n a tiv e
land c o u ld h a r d ly reproduce to o c lo s e ly o r two o fte n th e w orks
and passages he to o k as themes and m o d e ls(2l
consciousness o f h is
own purpose t o educate h is fe llo w s by " b r in g in g heme" k n o t t y
o r sublim e a u th o rs m ust have a lm o st o a n p le te ly e xo n e ra te d him i n
h is own m ind from any s tig n a o f p la g ia r is m , m ust in d e e d , and d id *®
_make c o p y in g a m e r it , " p la g ia r ia n " a h ig h and v i t a l d u ty ._____________
( ! ) See, f o r exam ple, P e rcy A lle n 1 s "S h a k .J o n s .W ilk in s as B o rro w e rs .”
P * H a s l it t * s d ictu m on "S ejanus" - Ba n c ie n t m osaic o f tr a n s la te d b its " ,
' 2 j See Appendix I , "Jo n so n ’ s T r a n s la tio n s ” .
132.
As to " o r i g i n a l i t y " , c le a r l y h is a t t it u d e was v e ry u n lik e
ours,
ia t iv e t a le n t he regarded as a te n d e r s e e d lin g t h a t was
d e s tin e d to reach no f r u i t f u l m a t u r it y u n le s s guided and fo s te re d
by c u l t i v a t io n a c c o rd in g to t r a d i t i o n a l r u le s - allo w a n ce s b e in g
made f o r change o f c lim a te . "Y our hone b o m p r o je c ts " he d e rid e d
as be in g mere m e n ta l la z in e s s . He d e n ie d th e e x is te n c e o f a broad
road up Parnassus. S t i l l le s s w ould he concede t h a t m o th e r w it s
m ig h t f l y to th e summit borne by sane d iv in e a f f la t u s . On th e
c o n tr a r y he s e t s to re b y d i f f i c u l t y .
The lo n g e r th e se a rch f o r an
id e a o r a f a c t , th e more he th o u g h t o f i t .
W ith ra re modSsty he
t a c i t l y d e c rie d w hat he found i n h is own head compared w it h w hat
he found i n th e head o f a Roman se p a ra te d from him by d i f f i c u l t i e s
o f tim e , space, and language. He reg ard ed h a rd w o rk , la b o r lim a e ,
s y s te m a tis a tio n o f knowledge as th e s in e qua non o f w hat he
con sid ere d g e n iu s . Though he oonceded th e n e c e s s ity f o r o r i g i n a l
t a le n t , o f c o u rs e , h is own m e n ta l make up and h is h i s t o r i c a l
p o s it io n fo rc e d him to s tr e s s i n p r a c t ic e and th e o ry th e need
f o r th e p r e p a ra to ry t o i l t h a t we a re a p t to re g a rd as alm ost
the a n t it h e s is o f genius and o r i g i n a l i t y . H is b ile o v e rflo w s on
a l l th e ig n o r a n t and p re te n d e rs who e x a lt in s p i r a t io n a t th e
oost o f s c h o la rs h ip . When th e c r a s s ly ig n o r a n t Busy o f "Bartholom ew
F a ir * darns L a t in as "th e rags o f Rome" th e re i s b i t t e r s a t ir e i n
D ionysius’ p l e a , " I * 11 pro ve t h a t I speak by i n s p i r a t io n ; t h a t I have
le a r n in g
as l i t t l e to do w it h ix s p ix s & iK X as he" • The l i t t l e p la c e t h a t
Ben a llo w e d i n th e scheme o f th in g s to o r i g i n a l i t y i n o u r sense i s
c le a r i n these li n e s : " . . h e d e iid e s a l l a n t iq u it y ; d e fie s any
o th e r le a r n in g th a n in s p i r a t io n ; and w hat d is c r e t io n so e ve r ye a rs
should a f f o r d h im , i t i s a l l p re v e n te d i n h is o r i g i n a l ig n o ra n c e ".
H o ld in g n a tiv e t a le n t i n such low e s te e m ,it was b u t n a t u r a l
th a t Jonson s h o u ld make sane form: o f p la g ia r is m h is summum bonum,
n o r t h in k i t
+ h e f t" , as O are w ^iays, t h in k i t
— c o n tr ib u tio n to th e l i t e r a t u r e
v2 )
To Ben J o n s o n ".
r a th e r h is g re a te s t
o f hi s n a tiv e la n d .
183.
H is g e n e ra l a t t it u d e tow ards h is L a t in sources fr o n th e pcdini
o f v ie w o f p la g ia ris m may he r e c a p itu la te d th u s :
(a) He observes no r i g i d system o f " c o n fe s s ia ! o r " s ile n c e ” w it h
regard to th e o r ig in a ls o f h is s t o r ie s , id e a s , f a c t s , o r p h ra se s.
(b) I n h is fo o tn o te s he acknowledges fa c ts about h i s t o r i c a l eve nts
and personages much more f r e q u e n t ly Ihlan he acknowledges h is iw M r t K
( i)
indebtedness f o r id e a s .
What th e n d id he c o n s id e r to be p la g ia ris m ? B r i e f l y f o r Ben
p la g ia ris m seems to have been u n s u c c e s s fu l t h e f t . I t meant s n a tc h in g
a t a grace o r f la u n t in g borrow ed plum es o u t o f k e e p in g w i t h th e
g e n e ra l tone and te x tu r e o f one 1 s own o r i g i n a l w o r l^ A s a c o r o ll a r y ,
any id e a to w h ich one’ s own c o n te x t fonr.ed a lo g i c a l and a r t i s t i c a l l y
h a rro n io u s background became one’ s own p ro p e rty ,th o u g h f i f t y
had used i t
a u th o rs
b e fo re . And t h is c o n c lu s io n and v ie w e x a c tly squares
w ith a l l th a t we have observed about the n a tu re o f h is b o rro w in g s .
There i s no evidence t h a t he a tte m p te d to conceal h is " t h e f t s " ,
though he d id n o t m e n tio n them a l l .
Seme he m en tion ed are so
obscure as to d e fy d e te c tio n , so t h a t s ile n c e w ould have been s a fe .
Sane are to o obvious to re q u ire rem ark o r hope f o r escape. E it h e r
way concealm ent was th e e x a c t re v e rs e o f Jonson* s in t e n t io n . He
regarded " o r ig i n a l" a u th o rs h ip o f an id e a as an h i s t o r i c a l
a c c id e n t, and lo o ke d on p a s t l i t e r a t u r e
as a v a s t canmunal
s to re o f id e a s fr a n w h ic h a l l were e n t i t l e d t o draw , b u t to draw
onl^p a t need and w it h a r t i s t i c p r o p r ie t y . T h e re fo re , on h is own
code, th e q u e s tio n o f p la g ia ris m becanes an a r t i s t i c
r a th e r th a n a
le g a l fe lo n y , and as we have seen i n h is own w o rk r a r e ly a r is e s .
(1) We have seen t h a t f a r the g r e a te r number o f h is borrow ed id e a s s p a r in g ly borrowed these - have been n o te d by h is e d it o r s , n o t h im s e lf
( 2 ) So i n JP o et-A pe ":
F o o le , as i f h a lf e eyes w i l l n o t know i fle e c e
Frcm lo c k s o f w o o l, o r shreds from th e w hole p e e c e ".
We are n o t he re d i r e c t l y concerned w it h p la g ia ris m
from
contem poraries, though we have has o cca sio n to tou ch on Ben’ s debtlfys,
ie a l and a lle g e d , to Shakespeare. T he re , in d e e d , seems l i t t l e
doubt
th a t Jonson accepted as p la g ia ris m a l l t h e f t s from the liv in g ^ , and
th a t such p r a c tic e s may, i n f a c t , have been h is c o n c e p tio n o f
p la g ia ris m when th e a n c ie n ts were n o t i n q u e s tio n . The best p r o o f o f
th is i s perhaps th e speech o f A naides i n "C y n th ia ’ s R e v e ls "(1 1 1 ,2 )
in w h ich he i s made to p o u r ir o n y on th e c r i t i c s o f O r it e s , a lia s
Jonson, and t h e i r calum nious charges o f p la g ia ris m .
I t i s w o rth y o f n o te , i n c o n c lu s io n , t h a t m ost o f the
o u tsta n d in g q u a l it ie s o f Jon son’ s c h a ra c te r as r e f le c t e d i n h is
works im pinge on the s u b je c t o f o u r in q u ir y . He was a man o f
d i s t in c t iv e ly Raman c a s t, m e n ta lly and s p i r i t u a l l y . W hettfher he was
w h olly b o m to b e a r t h is resemblance and a t t r a c t e d by in s t i n c t i v e
a f f i n i t i e s to th e l i t e r a t u r e
o f h is b ro th e rs i n the s p i r i t , o r
whether lo n g and lo v in g s tu d y o f Reman l i t e r a t u r e la r g e ly fo s te r e d ,
or alm ost w h o lly c r e a t e d , t r a it s Reman o r Romanesque cannot now be
resolved. The f a c t s rem ain t h a t the se resem blances e x is te d and malcked
his w ork.
H is s a lie n t Raman fe a tu re s may be ta b u la te d as f o l l w s :
(1) An u n d is s o lu b le compound o f d i g n i t y , s e lf- c o n fid e n c e , arrogance
o r im p e rio u sn e ss, h ig h se rio u s n e s s o r g r a v it a s , and a p r e d is p o s it io n
to m o ra lis e .
(2) An o r d e r lin e s s o f m in d i n h is s tu d ie s , a h a b it o f m aking a
d is c ip lin e d a s s a u lt on h is own and o th e r s ’ ig no ran oe .A n d a n o t u n u s u a l
c o r o lla r y to t h i s , nam ely, e n d le ss p a tie n c e w it h f a c t s , and im p a tie n o e
w ith men.
(3)
a
R om an-like a le rtn e s s o f th e p o l i t i c a l and s o c ia l in t e r e s t s and
i n s t i n t t s , li k e h is f r ie n d , Bacon.
(4 ) A c e r ta in he a vin e ss o f w i t n a t u r a lly enough in h a b it in g w it h
q u a lit ie s i n ( I )
the
above, and an abounding lo v e o f bawdry p e ih a p s
p ro v id in g th e n e ce ssa ry "escape" from the se same re s p e c ta b le v ir t u e s .
4£^-ThQugh n o t unnat u r a l i n an a s s o c ia te o f th e E n g lis h n o b i l i t y
( i ) And from the r e c e n t ly dead. e .g . M arlowe. C u n n .I.p . 39 .
185.
h is a t t it u d e tow ards th e lo w e r o rd e rs , tra d e , commerce and "fla tc a p s j*
is s t i l l d i s t i n c t i v e l y p a t r ic ia n .
( 6 ) H is a t t it u d e tow ards women was a m ix tu re o f s a t ir e , m ockery,
and possassiveness - w it h n o ta b le e x c e p tio n s o f la d ie s whose
w it and w o rth , l i k e P a r t ia ’ s , ra is e d them above t h e i r sex.
(7) He was a goutmand, a gross and h e a r ty e a te r and d r in k e r .
( 8 ) I n g e n e ra l h is c h a ra c te r had a h a rd n e ss, u n g ra c io u s n e s s ,
c o n s is te n c y , and la c k o f v a r ie t y and d e pth t h a t , r i g h t l y o r
w ro n g ly , i s now regarded as c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l ly Roman.
The End.
A ppendix. I .
Jonson*s T ra n s la tio n s from th e L a t in .
J u s t how s e r io u s ly Jonson regarded i t
as h is d u ty to
educate h & n s e lf and h is fe llo w s can he i l l u s t r a t e d i n v a rio u s
ways and p la c e s : fra r. h is " D is c o v e rie s * , from h i s e x p o s itio n o f
dra m a tic th e o r ie s i n th e form o f c r i t i c a l "a s id e s " to c e r t a in
p la y s , and - b e s t o f a l l - fr o r h is t r a n s la t io n s .
The number o f these t r a n s la t io n s , th e manner o f them ,
and h is avowed re g a rd f o r them prove t h a t he co n s id e re d w hat
to -d a y i s c a lle d " c u lt u r a l and c la s s ic a l* e d u o a tio n to be one
o f h is m ain d u tie s tow ards h is age and h im s e lf.
H is c la s s ic dictu m on th e q u e s tio n e f t r a n s la t io n i n
"P o e ta s te r" has d ready been q u o te d ; i t
is v it a l.
" . . . . f o r h is tr u e use o f t r a n s la t in g men
!
I t s t i l l h a th been a w o rk o f as muoh palm
I n c le a r e s t Judgments, as to in v e n t o r m ake."
CD
S
|
1
T his i s s ig n i f i c a n t because i n th e passage Ben i s on th e d e fe n s iv e .
That a t t it u d e ensures b o th e a rn e stn e ss o f c o n s id e r a tio n and a
measure o f o v e rs ta te m e n t. And no doubt th e passage a r r o g a n t ly
begs the q u e s tio n by m aking Ben h im s e lf and o th e r " c le a r
j
Judgments", unnamed, th e Judges o f the case: b u t such was Ben* s
honest v ie w .
I b r i s th e s ta te m e n t, though a d e fe n s iv e r e b u t t a l,
j
any s e rio u s e x a g g e ra tio n o f h is nonr.al te n e t and p r a c t ic e , f o r he
j
d id always m a in ta in t h a t h is t r a n s la t io n s were
the b e s t p a r t o f
J
h is w ork. J u s t how f a r he was fo rc e d in t o
c la im by h is
1
t h is
o p p o s itio n t o the p r a c t ic e o f contem porary p la y w r ig h ts ^ ig n o r a n t o r
c a re le s s o f L a t in , how much by a r e a l h u m il it y
o f a d o ra tio n
ij
f o r the a n c ie n ts , and how much by u n p re ju d ic e d
c o n v ic tio n
\
cannot be known.
H is c o n s id e ra b le t r a n s la t io n s are numerous -
i
so
very
numerous, in d e e d , t h a t i h number alone th e y prove t h a t he
( i ) Ounn.1 .2 5 8 . " P o e t a s t e r * , V ,i.
|
regarded i t
as one o f h is p rim a ry d u tie s and p r iv ile g e s to
in tro d u c e h is lis t e n e r s and rea de rs to a p p o s ite passages o f the
an cie n ts and to r e fr e s h t h e i r memories i n th e s u b je c t- m a tte r o f
t h e ir scho olda y lu c u b r a tio n s . Many have been n o tic e d i n o a s s in g ,
under the he ad in g o f the L a t in a u th o r concerned. F o r convenience,
these and o th e rs are here ta b u la te d , w it h some in d ic a t io n o f
the s u b je c t m a tte r .
C a tu llu s : "E p ith a la m iu m " p ro v id e s m a t e r ia l i n the "Masque o f ^ r e n l
L X X I I , lin e s 4 2 -6 2 (See C a tu l.) v. C ic e ro :
1vo Ip o n e ",
" C a tilin e *
"The B a rrie rs T
"To C e lia " .
, I T7, 2 . C ice ro * s speech i s drawn from the
F i r s t C a t ilin a r ia n . See " H is t o r ia n s " .
Horace: "th e A r t o f P o e try * tr a n s la te d w ith "o b s e rv a tio n s * B u rn t,
see h is "E x e c ra tio n upon V u lc a n ". See *Se$anus* Readers* O u n n .III.p .3 6 9 f o r e x ta n t p o r t io n .
"P o e ta s te r* ,1 1 1 , i .
"To th e
The s e t t in g , th e v ia S a cra , i s a
t r a n s la t io n o f L i b . I , S a t . I X .
" P o e ta s te r * , c o n c lu s io n , f o l i o o n ly , to A c t I I I i s th e
T re b a tiu s v Horace D ia lo g u e o f L i b . I I , S a t . I .
F o r th iig jh t t r a n s la t io n o f L ib . v , o d e I I .
do.
L ib .I" ,O d e I .
do.
L ib . I ll, O d e IX .
J u v e n a l: * S e ja n u s " ,iv , S c .5. s e v e ra l s h o rt passages.
"To th e Reader* "v o lp o a e ", I I I .
do.
17.
"P o e ta s te r"
8 0 s .2
do.
and 3. Lady Would-Be* s c o llo q u y ,
g o . I . im it a t io n s .
M a r tia l: L i t e r a l t r a n s la t io n C u n n .III.p .3 8 8 o f E p ig . L i b . v i l l , 7 7 .
do.
O vid:
do.
do.
X ,4 7 .
See th e " S ile n t War an* f o r la rg e s e c tio n s ® o f the "De
Amandi" a lre a d y tr e a te d u n d e r "O v id * .
a r te
(o)
P e tro n iu s : C u n n .III.p .3 8 7 . P u ll t r a n s la t io n o f a- frag m e nt of*
P e tro n iu s .
C u n n .II.p .8 8 d e sig n and m a tte r of* Chorus bo A ct I o f
" C a t ilin e ” . (a d a p ta tio n )
Q u in t ilia n :
"E v e ry Man i n h is Humour*,1 1 ,3 ,1 1 .1 4 -3 5 i s a fre e
t r a n s la t io n o f " I n s t i t u t e s " , L i b . I , o . 2 .
S a llu s t:
S e v e ra l o f C a t i l i n e ’ s speeches, e .g .A c t I ,
ta k e n d ir e c t .
S a l, are
F o r C ic e ro ’ s and C aesar’ s speeches i n T7.6 . see "H is to ria n ^
T a c itu s :
"S e ja nu s" 111*1. Crem. Cordus* spe-oh
d o .1 1 1 ,2 . Sejanus* req ue st f o r L i v ia .
v ir g il:
"P o e ta s te r" , v , i . T)ri r g i l i s rep resen ted d e c la im in g
th e "A e n e id " , L i b . IV , 11 .160-185. (Aeneas and Dido i n th e
Cave n f l Psme.j
A l i n e o r two o f the above are r e - t r a n s la te d i n th e
"Basque o f Hymen" ,0unn. I I I . p . 26.
j
i
Though h a r d ly w it h in o u r s u b je c t,w e may add Bonnefonius whose
"Semper ir u n d it ia s " i s th e o r ig in o f " S t i l l to b9 n e a t"
See th e " S ile n t Wcman", I , i .
A c a r e f u l re v ie w o f each o f these passages and a
s t a t i s t i c a l a n a ly s is o f t h e i r t o t a l e f f e c t re v e a l these p ro b a b le
i
c o n c lu s io n s - i n a d d itio n to the fin d in g s and su g g e s tio n s
i
a lre a d y n o te d u n d e r Horace (p p . 1 2 7 -9 ):
j
(a ) The g re a t m a jo r it y o f th e t r a n s la t io n s are a lm o st word f o r
j
word v e rs io n s o f th e o r i g i n a l L a t in . G race, p lia n c y , flu e n c y ,
j
i
rhythm are a lik e s a c r if ic e d i n an e f f o r t to achieve l i t e r a l
!
f id e lity .
(b) In the case o f "S e ja n u s ", " C a t ili n e " , and "P o e ta s te r" the
re a so n in g b e h in d t h is method i s
f a i r l y c le a r . H is id e a i s to
ensure t i u t h to n a tu re by re c o rd in g t r u t h to f a c t s , v i r g i l
quotes v i r g i i ; C io e ro d e liv e r s a v e rb a tim o f copy o f h is own
o r a tio n ; C a t ilin e q u o te s h im s e lf , from S a llu s t , h is r e p o r te r
and remembrancer; Horace ( a lia s Ben) appears i n a d ra m a tise d
v e rs io n o f h is own s k e tc h o f a bo re and a n o th e r o f h is d is p u te
j
i
(d )
w ith T re b a tiu s . The de vice rem inds one o f the atbenrot to produce
a d e te c tiv e s t o r y by a rra n g in g p s e u d o -p o lic e c o u rt e x h ib it s and
clu e s photographed and la b e lle d . W hatever be the la c k o f s e l e c t iv i t y
andot, c o n s e q u e n tly , a r t i n t h i s m ethod, i t
i s t e c h n ic a lly in te re s tin g
as a recoaW ing o f h i s t o r y and a p r o o f o f e a rn e s t d e s ire to
convince and te a c h , to convinoe th e i l l i t e r a t e
and d e lig h t th e
s c h o la r.
F in a ll y i t
bears on the q u e s tio n o f p la g ia ris m
a lre a d y d e a lt w it h . Ben’ s con scie nce i s c le a r , f o r s u r e ly
l i t e r a l t r a n s la t io n i s n o t the method o f a man who w ish e s to
embezzle a n o th e r’ s fa c ts and f a n c ie s . I n a l l the cases c it e d
above Ben’ s method o f t r a n s la t io n a c q u its him o f the oharge.
I
Appendix I I .
(Works d e a lin g i n v a rio u s degree w i t h Jonson’ s E d u c a tio n , L e a rn in g e tc ) j
A lle n , P e rc y : Shakespeare, Jonson and W ilk in s as B o rro w e rs.
B r in s le y , Joh n: Ludus L i t e r a r i u s , 1612 and *27.
Car "bridge F i s t , o f Eng. L i t . - B ib lio g ra p h y .
C a s b e la in , F a u rio e : L^homr.e e t 1 *oe uvre . (C o n ta in s a b ib lio g r a p h y
Chambers, E .K .: The E liz a b e th a n Stage.
Conybeare, John: L a t in L e t te r s and E x e rc is e s , 1580-94.
Dryden, Jo h n : Essay o f D ra rra tio Poesy; P reface to "An E ve n in g ’ s
( L o v e If
E l l i s , S i r H enry: f o r Humphrey G ilb e r t ’ s scheme f o r Queen'*
E liz a b e th ’ s Academy - A rc h a e o lo g ia , X X I, 506 f f .
P le a y , F .G .: B io g ra p h ic a l C h ro n ic le o f th e E n g lis h Drama,
^ o l . I . p p . 3 1 1-3 87 , and I I . p p . I - I 8 .
!
G if f o r d , W illia m : Ite m o ir p r e fa c in g h is e d it io n o f Jonson’ s Works, j
G-osse, Edmund: The Jacobean P o e ts.
H a rt, H .C .: f o r a s tu d y o f J u n ip e r ’ s (th e Case i s A lte re d ) sham
le a rn e d v o c a tu la r y - see H.& S. V o l . I . p . 325.
H a z l i t t , W illig m : The E n g lis h Comic W r ite r s .
i■
1
H e rfo rd , C .P .:
h
1Ben Jonson" i n D ic tio n a r y o f ra tio n a l.B io g .X X X ,
( p . 1802.
do. w it h P e rcy Simpson i n ^ o l s . I and I I p a t t i c u l a r l y o f t h e i r
c u r r e n t e d it io n o f Jonson* s W orks.
!
Koeppel, B r i l : Quel le n s tu d ie n zu den Dramen Ben Jonson* s e tc .
and Ben Jon son’ s W irkung a u f z e itg e n o s s is c h e
D ra rr:a tike r e tc . i n " A u g lic is t is c h e Porschungen11.
Legouis and C azanain: A H is t , o f Eng. L i t .
(C o n ta in in g a b r i e f
b u t sound sta te m e n t o f Jonson* s p o s it io n
w it h r e l a t io n to L a t in C u ltu r e .)
L ir ik la t e r , E r ic : Ben Jonson and K in g James. ( S lig h t s t u f f )
I
j
I
|
j
Mantuanus, B a p tis ta : Eclogues (ed.W .P. M usta rd , B a ltim o r e ,19I I . )
I
2
■i
M assebieu: Las C o llo qu es S o o la ire s du Seiziem e S ie c le .
Ibiw oo d, G ilb e r t : Our Debt, to Greece and Rome.(An appendix
suggests a lis +
o f E n g lis h p la y s in flu e n c e d
by P la u tu s and T e re n ce .)
R ayher, P .: Les Masques A n g la is .
R o o t, R .K .: C la s s ic a l M yth o lo g y i n Shakespeare.
R e in s c h , P .: Ben Jonson1s P o e tik und seine Beziehungen zu
Foraz i n "Munohener B e itr a g e ,168.
S a in ts b u ry , George: H is t o r y o f C r i t i c i s m , I I , p . 204.
Serge a u n t, J . : A nnals o f W e stm in ste r S chool.
S c h e llin g , F e lix : E liz a b e th a n Drama; and Ben Jonson and
th e C la s s ic a l S chool.
S c h r id t , J . : U ber Ben Jo n so n 1s M askenspiele i n H e r r ig 1s
A r c h iv e .a te .X X V II, 51 -91 .
S o e rg e l, A .: Die e n g lis c h e n M aske nsp ie le.
S yronds, J . A . : Ben Jonson i n Eng. W o rth ie s s e r ie s .
Sm art: Shakespeare, T iu t h and T r a d itio n .
S m ith , G reg ory: Ben Jonson (Eng. Men o f L e tte r s )
S w inburne, A .: A S tu d y o f Ben Jonson.
T h o rn d ik e , A .H .: Tragedy ( c it e s l i s t s
o f a u t h o r it ie s ) .
TTpton: h is Exsmen o f Jonson1 s p a r a lle ls and a llu s io n s d?
fo m e d th e n u cle u s o f W h a lle y ! s and G if f o r d 1s n & te s.
W atson, F o s te r: The C u rric u lu m and T e xt Books o f Eng.
S c h o o ls , 1600-50.
T udor S ch oo lbo y L i f e .
The E n g lis h Grarmar Schools to 1600.
Ward, A .W .: F i s t , o f Eng. D ra n a tio L i t . ,1 1 .p p .296-407.
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