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4. 3. 94. Propertivs his Cynthia. On the forming of possessives, cf. Jonson's English Grammar, ch. 13:
'Nouns ending in 2, s, sh, g and ch, in the declining take to the genitive singular i, and to the plural e; as
so rose, bush, age, breech, &c. which distinctions not observed, brought in first the monstrous syntax of the pronoun his joining with a noun betokening a possessor; as the prince his house, for the prince's house.' 4. 3. 98-9. Why?
plagiary. These words cannot be taken literally: they may even be ironical. The only passage in Horace which Crispinus' song even remotely suggests is Carm. 2. 8. 13-16:
Ridet hoc inquam Venus ipsa, rident
4. 3. 113 ff. Hey in his horne. ‘As a mark of a petulant or dangerous person: this is well explained by the old scholiast [Porphyrion]: "Romae, videmus hodieque foenum velut ansulam factum, in cornulo bovis, quo signum datur transeuntibus, ut eum vitent.” The whole of what follows is from Horace (Sat. I. 4. 34-38].' (G.)
4. 3. 118. Bake-house. Cf. Massinger, Parliament of Love 4. 5:
Live to be wretched; live. to be the talk
4. 3. 124. Vnder-take. Their 'undertaking resulted in Dekker's Satiromastix (4to 1602), which Marston probably supervised. Satiromastix was acted by the Chamberlain's company at the Globe in the early fall of 1601, and entered S. R. Nov. II of that year. 4. 3. 125-7. Arrogancie,
translating. Cf. 5. 3. 317 ff., also the speech of Virgil 5. 3. 357 ff. ‘Commending his owne things' is an allusion to the epilogue to C. Revels of the preceding winter: see note P. 15-16.
In the words that Jonson puts into the mouths of Crispinus and Demetrius, Virgil, Horace, and Augustus, he is trying to anticipate and answer the charges likely to be made against him in the reply to Poetaster. To the actual assault he subsequently opposed the Apologetical Dialogue, 'which was only once spoken upon the stage.' His stock defense was that in dramatic art he followed the ancients, who could do no wrong; that in satire he attacked deeds, not men;
that-and this was more than merely implied—the poetasters and the sixpenny critics were too small and grovelling to sit in judgment upon him. “As for his translations,' writes Gifford, 'he was perfectly incorrigible there; for he maintained to the last, that they were the best parts of his works : in which heresy he was countenanced not only by many of his friends, but also of his enemies !'
4. 3. 128. Open. This means, primarily, liable to attack'; but I suspect Ben of a punning compliment to himself also.
4. 3. 131. Sting • neufts. Cf. Barth. Fair (folio 1631-41) 2. 3, Knockhum loq.: 'What? thou'lt poyson mee with a neuft in a bottle of Ale, will't thou?'
4. 3. 138. Pythagoreans. Cf. Discoveries, Argute dictum.
Of the discipline of Pythagoras, Aulus Gellius (Noctes Atticae, tr. Beloe, 1795, ch. 9) writes: 'First of all, the youths who offered themselves for his instruction he physiognomized ... Then he, whom he had thus examined and approved, was immediately admitted to his discipline, and, for a certain time, was enjoined silence; the period was not the same to all, but it varied according to his opinion of their talents.
No one was silent for a less space than two years, in which process of being silent, or of hearing, the disciples were called hearers.' Cf. Ritter, Hist. of Philosophy, tr. Morrison, I. 340.
Cf. Jonson's Masque, the World in the Moon, 2 Herald loq.: 'They are Pythagoreans, all dumb as fishes, for they have no controversies to exercise themselves in.'
4. 3. 148, 153. Chloe's ignorance of Mars and Mercury is hardly to be expected in a Roman matron, but is not surprising in a London citizen's wife.
4. 3. 158. With her face. Mercury having a little to do with Venus is of course an allusion to the use of mercury in cosmetics. Cf. C. Revels 1. I, Cupid loq.: ‘Alas, your palms, Jupiter knows, they are as tender as the foot of a foundered nag, or a lady's face new mercuried, they'll touch nothing. And Drayton, Moon Calf (Anderson's Poets 3. 184):
The sun yet ne'er exhal'd from any fen,
On the general use of cosmetics, cf. Guilpin, Skialetheia, Satyre 2.
4. 3. 167. Mum. “While he speaks this, he must be supposed to lay his finger on his lip, as a sign of secrecy.' (G.) Tucca and the poetasters seem to have been plotting the untrussing of Horace.
4. 4. 42–3. This is a strange jumbling of the ancient and the mediaeval. About the 15th century, the pike was a wooden shaft, 15 to 20 feet long, with an iron head. It was used throughout the 17th century, but at last gave place to the bayonet. Of the half-pike there were two kinds, the spontoon, formerly carried as a sign of rank by infantry officers, and the boarding-pike, for repelling an enemy's attempt to board a ship. The halberd is thus described by N.E.D.: ‘A military weapon, especially in use during the 15th and 16th centuries; a kind of combination of spear and battle-ax, consisting of a sharp-edged blade ending in a point, and a spear-head, mounted on a handle five to seven feet long.'
'The Lares were the domestic tutelary deities of the Romans : their images seem to have been placed near the hearth of the grand entrance room, where a fire was constantly kept up by the servus atriensis, or janitor. This room was adorned with the statues of the possessor's ancestors; and here too, either for ornament or preservation, were suspended, along the sides of the wall, the bucklers, swords, and javelins of the family.' (G.)
4. 5. 5. Clarified. 'He insinuates "too thin.”' (N.)
4. 5. 8. God of reprehension. Among the Greeks Momus was the personification of mockery and censure.
4. 5. Resemblances between this scene and the synod and banquet of the gods in Iliad, book 1, have been noted by Whalley (2. 76 note) and Small (Stage-Quarrel 27). Whalley remarks that in Suetonius, (Augustus 70) a similar masquerade feast is laid at the door of Augustus himself. On these points, cf. Introduction.
4. 5. 30–2. Euery .. their. Jonson commits the still common solecism of using a plural possessive pronoun which refers to a preceding singular substantive.
4. 5. 40. Iester. Jonson's charge against Demetrius-Dekker is that he is a jester and buffoon who is consumed with malice and envy.' Cf. 3. 4. 355 ff.; 5. 3. 311 ff., 332 ff., 463–470, 598-603.
4. 5. 47–8. I ... wisdome. The wit of Albius is just sufficient to bungle a sententious remark originating with some one else (cf. line 37).
Feis (Shakespeare and Montaigne 159 note) regards this speech of Albius as an allusion to Twelfth Night 3. 1. 60-61. In his edition (p. 186) Furness says Twelfth Night, like Poetaster, was produced in 1601, adding: ‘Jonson could not use the words “read in a book” when in truth it had only been heard on the stage. Possibly, the book to which Jonson refers is Guazzo's Civile Conuersation, translated by “G. pettie” and published in 1586, wherein, on p. 74, is the following: “To plaie the foole well, it behooueth a man first to be wise."
To the present editor it seems probable that Albius has merely appropriated the remark of Hermogenes in line 37, changed it slightly, and ascribed it to a book' in order to appear a well-read
4. 5. 66–71. It is Pyrgus who plays Ganymede. The sooty brother is Albius, who has collied (line 135) or blackened his face to appear as Vulcan.
4. 5. 111. Thetis. In the Iliad, book 1, Juno is jealous of Thetis, who has just prevailed on Jove to espouse the cause of Achilles. Juno's upbraidings provoke Jove's ire; Vulcan reminds his mother of the power of her consort, induces her to forget discord in a pledge of nectar, and thus restores harmony to the heavenly banquet. The 'lame skinker' of line 139, and the music and song that follow, are other allusions to Homer.
4. 5. 113. Phrygian frie. Phrygian, because Ganymede was the son of Tros, the Dardan king. 4. 5. 121–2. Shake
scolding. Alluding to the proverbial proficiency of the fish-wife or oyster-woman in the use of billingsgate.
4. 5. 141. Liuers. The liver was formerly regarded as the seat of love. Cf. Much Ado 4. 1. 232–3.
4. 5. 150. Gent'man vsher. The gentleman usher was originally an officer of the court, but private persons made his employment a fashion until at last every household of any pretentiousness had its usher. He thus became a mere upper servant, though not in livery, with the duty chiefly of attending upon the ladies.
4. 5. 158. Blocke of wit. Cf. Satiromastix (p. 194): But sirra Ningle, of what fashion is the knightes wit, of what blocke?' Also Much Ado 1. 1. 77.
4. 5. 163. So long, till. A strange construction: we should now write ‘so long that,' or substitute 'until.'
4. 5. 199. Feast of sense. In 1595 Chapman had published 'Ovid's Banquet of Sense, which attained great popularity. Possibly Jonson was thinking of that title. Cf. the New Inn (1629) 3. 2: "Give me a banquet of sense, like that of Ovid.'
4. 5. 223. Well-nos'd. Cf. line 123. Naso (from nasus, largenosed) was a family name not confined to the Ovids. It of course indicates nothing as to the nose of the poet.
4. 6. Whalley has noted that 'the infamy of this feast,' from which the emperor recoils, lies at the door not of Ovid but of Augustus Caesar himself. Cf. Suetonius, Augustus 70. 4. 6. 4-5. Whalley's text:
Why speak you not?
Why speak you not?
Let us do sacrifice.
Whalley's interpretation is preferable, as nearer to the implications of folio 1616 and to Caesar's meaning. Those who have entered with Caesar are the ones addressed: he asks why they do not suggest, 'Let us do sacrifice ?' But Gifford implies that the first question is addressed to the banqueters, and that the second is a command. 4. 6. 11-12. There
dead. The reference is to Julia. Cf. Pliny (Nat. Hist. 2. 274): 'It is said that all quadrupeds are attracted in a most wonderful manner by their si. e. the panthers'] odour, while they are terrified by the fierceness of their aspect; for which reason the creature conceals its head, and then seizes upon the animals that are attracted to it by the sweetness of the odour.'
4. 6. 32. Degenerate monster. i. e. Julia.
4. 6. 42. Centaures. The centaurs were fabled to be the offspring of Ixion and the cloud; or of Centaurus, born of the cloud, and wild mares.
4. 6. 44-5. Who ... excellence. These lines are obscure, but may be thus paraphrased: 'Who shall understand and describe, with greater comfort to men, the hidden nature and excellence of Virtue?'
4. 6. 64. Reall. Real in the sense of actual is sufficient here, but since it follows so closely upon royall (line 62), I can but suspect Jonson of a punning use of his favorite real= royal.
4. 7. 2. Poult-foot. In his masque, Mercury Vindicated, Jonson makes Mercury speak thus of Vulcan:
I will stand close up, anywhere, to escape this polt-footed philosopher, old Smug here of Lemnos, and his smoaky family.'
4. 7. 11. Fawne. 'The writers of Jonson's day seem to have connected, I know not why, the idea of a spy, or splenetic observer, with that of a faun. Marston calls one of his plays the Fawne, in allusion to a character in disguise, who watches and exposes all the persons of the drama in succession.' (G.)
4. 7. 17. Tam Marti, quàm Mercurio. ‘By Mars (cudgel), as well as by Mercury [libel]. (N.) At the feast, Tucca had played Mars, and Crispinus, Mercury.
4. 7. 20. Horace is a man of the sword. Gifford's note seems to go a little too far back of the Horace of Poetaster: 'It would seem from this as if Jonson did not join in the general outcry against the cowardice of Horace. I confess myself to be of his opinion. If Horace fled at the battle of Philippi, it was not till courage was become unavailable (sic), and the best and bravest troops of the army had fallen on the spot. How beautifully does he paint all this (Carm. 2. 7.9–12]!' (G.)
But the real point is that Jonson here alludes obliquely, if at all, to the Roman Horace's courage, but directly to that of the English Horace. Dekker understood this, and ridiculed Jonson in Satiro