Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

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Arcadian Ego
Last night I dreamed that my life was being blogged by the ghost of Sir Philip Sidney, in the style of the Arcadia.

When I realised this in my dream, I thought, "How exciting!" Now that I'm awake I'm not so sure. To be honest, I don't think Sidney would approve of me at all - for witness whereof allow me to quote the passage that always stuck with me most from the Arcadia, for what I think are understandable reasons. Here's Musidorus upbraiding his best friend, Pyrocles (currently disguised as an Amazon for reasons that seem good to him):

And is it possible, that this is Pyrocles, the onely yong Prince in the world, formed by nature, and framed by education, to the true exercise of vertue? or is it indeed some Amazon that hath counterfeited the face of my friend, in this sort to vexe me? for likelier sure I would haue thought it, that any outwarde face might haue bene disguised, then that the face of so excellent a mind coulde haue bene thus blemished. O sweete Pyrocles separate your selfe a little (if it be possible) from your selfe, and let your owne minde looke vpon your owne proceedings: so shall my wordes be needlesse, and you best instructed. See with your selfe, how fitt it will be for you in this your tender youth, borne so great a Prince, and of so rare, not onely expectation, but proofe, desired of your olde Father, and wanted of your natiue countrie, now so neere your home, to diuert your thoughts from the way of goodnesse; to loose, nay to abuse your time. Lastly to ouerthrow all the excellent things you haue done, which haue filled the world with your fame; as if you should drowne your ship in the long desired hauen, or like an ill player, should marre the last act of his Tragedie. Remember (for I know you know it) that if we wil be men, the reasonable parte of our soule, is to haue absolute commaundement; against which if any sensuall weaknes arise, we are to yeelde all our sounde forces to the ouerthrowing of so vnnaturall a rebellion, wherein how can we wante courage, since we are to deale against so weake an aduersary, that in it selfe is nothinge but weakenesse? Nay we are to resolue, that if reason direct it, we must doo it, and if we must doo it, we will doo it; for to say I cannot, is childish, and I will not, womanish. And see how extremely euery waye you endaunger your minde; for to take this womannish habit (without you frame your behauiour accordingly) is wholy vaine: your behauiour can neuer come kindely from you, but as the minde is proportioned vnto it. So that you must resolue, if you will playe your parte to any purpose, whatsoeuer peeuish affections are in that sexe, soften your hart to receiue them, the very first downe-steppe to all wickednes: for doo not deceiue your selfe, my deere cosin, there is no man sodainely excellentlie good, or extremely euill, but growes either as hee holdes himselfe vp in vertue, or lets himself slide to vitiousnes.


I had too many conversations like that in real life to need this kind of misogynist gender-policing repeated on a spooky Livejournal account, thank you very much, Sir Philip.

This only leaves the question, what would ghost-Sidney's LJ name have been? I favour zutphen. (Actually, giving LJ names to famous dead bods could be a diverting pastime, but I must leave it to others, for work calls me and I must not say no.)

Surely it would have been astrophil?

You're right, of course!

(Deleted comment)
That was my first thought.

---L.

'misogynist gender-policing'

Know it well and have been around long enough to see how it has changed over time.

I'm at present reading a book about what has come to be termed the 'first sexual revolution' (late 17th and early to mid 18th century) and it's the one constant throughout- like the aristocratic classes, it trims sails to survive, but it's ever with us.

Edited at 2013-10-21 10:02 am (UTC)

By coincidence, I read this 1703 poem only the other day:

"To the Ladies", Lady Mary Chudleigh

Wife and servant are the same,
But only differ in the name:
For when that fatal knot is tied,
Which nothing, nothing can divide:
When she the word obey has said,
And man by law supreme has made,
Then all that’s kind is laid aside,
And nothing left but state and pride:
Fierce as an Eastern prince he grows,
And all his innate rigour shows:
Then but to look, to laugh, or speak,
Will the nuptial contract break.
Like mutes she signs alone must make,
And never any freedom take:
But still be governed by a nod,
And fear her husband as a God:
Him still must serve, him still obey,
And nothing act, and nothing say,
But what her haughty lord thinks fit,
Who with the power, has all the wit.
Then shun, oh! shun that wretched state,
And all the fawning flatt’rers hate:
Value your selves, and men despise,
You must be proud, if you’ll be wise.

I've seen that one--somewhere around here I've a book full of poems and writings on a similar theme. Could only admire the dedicated spelunking that turned these up.

I had to look up 'spelunking'!

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