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Home > Early Dance Texts >The Institution of a Young Noble Man



The Institution of a Young Noble Man

-- My transcription of dance-relevant passages from the NYPL Mid-Manhattan Research Library's copy of James Cleland's The Institution of a Young Noble Man (Oxford: Joseph Barnes, 1607, 1611, 1612), introduction by Max Molyneux. New York: Scholars' Facsimiles & Reprints, 1948. Vol. 1.

-- As concessions to Dreamweaver and web compatibility, double spaces between sentences have been reduced to single spaces, certain irregularities of spacing and punctuation for margin justification have been regularised, and the ∫/s is modernised except in titles. The ' ------ ' denotes page breaks. Obviously this does not replicate the look or type face of the original... but I've done my best! --E. F. Winerock

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Chap. 6: The Description of a young Noble-mans Tutor.

... It is a pittie that men should more regard their Horse-boy then their sonnes Tutor, they denie it in words but confirme it in deeds. For to the one they wil allow a pension of twentie or thirtie pounds yearlie, to the other they wil not so easilie afford so manie shillings. But this their liberality is worthilie rewarded, when they have horses wel broken, and unrulie sonnes. therefore I wish al Noble Parents that have happelie found such a Tutor as I have discribed, that they entertaine and esteeme of him according to his office. (Institution 29)

Chapt. 20. Of Apparrel.

Next it followeth to speake of Rayment, the one putting wherof is the ordinarie action after sleep, which is so necessarie, that if it be missing there is / (Institution 214)

is nether goodlines of person, beautie of the body, nor anie good fashion of carryage that is able to make a man esteemed. For it is a lamentable case, when they saie such a one would be a proper handsome man, if hee were wel arraied. But in this land I should rather wish there were some Athenian Nomophylackes, and Censures appointed, as at rome, to see that men should be as moderate in their raiment, as in their diet. Then doubtlesse manie young gentlemen would have rents and possessions, which now have none. They have put their lands, which contained a great circuit, u into a litle trunck, and hold it a point of policie to weare their lands upon their backes, that they maie see that noe wast be done by their Tennants. But alasse when they would spred abroad their gaie cloathes againe into a longe feild, or a pleasant parke, they are so shorte that they cannot reach one ridge length, & so are dubd Sir John Had-land, knights of Pennilessebench.
   Obay therfore his Maiesties Instruction in being nether too superflous, like a deboshed waister, nor yet overbasly clad, like a miserable wretch, not arteficially trimmed like a courtisan, nor yet over sluggishly cloathed, like a countreie clowne, nor over lightly like a Candy souldier, or a vaine young Courtier, nor yet over gravely, like a Minister. But in your garments be proper, cleanely, and honest, weareing your cloathes in a carelesse, yet a comelie forme. None of you should exceed the bounds of your quality and revenues: For he maketh himselfe a mocking stocke to the worlde, who shyneth a far of in his scarlets, and glistering gold lace, like a king of a Stage plaie, and when hee approacheth neare, hath nether a sutable companie / (Institution 215)

nie of followers, nor a living to maintain that bravery, nor yet is of that qualitied, and rancke, unto which such costly and gorgeous apparrel doth appertaine, nor doeth the time or place require. Hee (like the millars Asse carrying the Godesse Isis,) thinketh that everie one who saluteth his faire cloathes, doth honour himselfe: but if a man could look through his gay coat, to see what were within him, he would be astonished, as one going into the Temples of Ægypt, which were so faire without, having no thing within but a wilde catt, or some such like monstrous beast: thus is the world often times illuded with the external senses.
   Make not fooles of your selves in wearing long haire or nailes, which are but excrements of nature, and bewray such misusers of them to bee of a vendictive, or a vaine light nature. For (as the learned Count saith) nemo comatus, qui non sit Cinædus: whosoever delighteth in his long haire, or maketh a vow in keeping therof, doth sacrifice unto the Goddesse Cotys: Wherefore Pherecides meeting with such a young man, covered his face with his cloake. Doth not nature it selfe teach you, that if a man have long haire, it is a shame unto him, and that he denieth his kinde? Some cannot be content as God made them, but as though they were hudled up in hast, and sent unto the world not fully finished, must use drugs, balmes, ointments, paintings, lac virginale, and what not? To amend the least faultes not amisse, but fie upon these frownsing irons, poking sticks, and brushes, that must ever serve to keepe countenance with al, in company, in stroaking up their mustachoes. Others smel so sweetly, as if they were new arrived from Arabia / (Institution 216)

Arabia, and had brought home some perfumes from Horontia; but they know not, that they smel best, when they smel least, & that they stinck in their sweet odors.
Post hume non benè semper olet: for my owne part, Malo quàm benè olere, nil olere.
(Institution 217)

Chapt. 23. How you should play at Tennis, and Daunce.

The Tennis Court, whereby I would have you to recreate your minde, and exercise your body sometimes, besides pleasure it preserveth your health, in so farr as it moveth everie part of the bodie. Neverthelesse, I approve not those, who are ever in the Tennis Court like Nackets, and heat themselves so much, that they rather breed, then expel sicknes; nor yet commend I those, who blacke the Tennis keepers score, & that have ba-ded away the greatest part of their wealth, either in playing great and manie sets, or else in continuing in tossing, until they defie the same game. It is both / (Institution 224)

both an hurt and a shame for a Noble man to be so eager in that play. The Pal Maile is also honourable: as for the French Kyles, the Byas Bowles, the casting of the ston, the Barre, and such like exercises, they are fitter in my opinion for a Citizens prentice, & a countrey Clowne, then for anie Gentleman.
  I wil not ascend up amongst the Gods to shew you them Dancing to asswage Saturn's Melanchollie; nor wil I lead you unto the Curetes, and Curibantes to seeke the first invention thereof; nor wil I staie to tel you of Proteus his Changings, or Gelos his s/fableriestes in offering at Delos; nor the Indians in saluting the Sun; nor to heare the Harmonical motions of the Celestial Spheares with Plato; nor wil I shew you to make war in Dansing, as the old Inhabitants of Aethiopia did; nor to Daunce about the Cittie, as the Romane Salÿ did. neither wil I represent unto you the Majestie of Princes by Eumelia a kinde of Daunce; nor the wanton and dissolute motions of base people by Cordax. But as Socrates did unto the Grecians, and Lycurgus unto the Lacedemonians, I recommend that forme of Dauncing unto you, called by the Ancients, Hormus, which of al others is most like our sort of Dauncing named Numbers, wherein daunced both men and weemen togither: which with our Divines permission (not approving the immoderate moving of the feet, more then I wil describe the proprieties of Honour, of Singles, of Two in Number, of Reprinse, and Double) I thinke it one of the best exercises that a Noble man can learne in his young yeares, and that fashioneth the bodie best. Alwaies I commende me-/ (Institution 225)

mediocritie in al things: for there is nothing so good, but if it be used with excesse wil become bad. Wherefore I praise not those Ordinarie Dauncers, who appeare to be druncke in their legs, (as Chrysippus Serving Maide said unto her Master) in shaking alwaies their feet, singing continuallie, one-two-three: foure; & five. When you go to Daunce in anie Honourable companie, take heede that your qualitie, your Raiment, and your skil go al three togither: if you faile in anie of those three, you wilbe derided. Imitate not so much the Masters Capers, as to have a good grace in the carriage of your bodie: this is the principal, and without the which al the rest is naught.
These are the Exercises wherein I would have you al wel experienced, using them one after another, and not al togither, running from this exercise to that, neglecting your studies, or thinges necessarie to obtaine those meere shaddowes in respect of them. The best is, that you learne but one or two of them at once, not adding your mindes more unto one then to another with Pamphilus.
  Horum ille nihil egregiè præter catera
  Studebat, & tamen omnia hæc mediocriter
(Institution 226)


Copyright 1999-2015 E. F. Winerock
Updated 10 March, 2015