The Arte of English Poesie

by George Puttenham

From Book 3, Chapter 19

Of Figures Sententious, Otherwise Called Rhetorical

Antipophora, or the Figure of Response
Ye have a figurative speech which the Greeks call "Antipophora," I name him the "Response," and is when we will seem to ask a question to the intent we will answer it ourselves, and is a figure of argument and also of amplification. Of argument, because proponing such matter as our adversary might object and then to answer it ourselves, we do unfurnish and prevent him of such help as he would otherwise have used for himself: then because such objection and answer spend much language it serves as well to amplify and enlarge our tale. Thus for example.
       Wily worldling come tell me I thee pray,
       Wherein hopes thou, that makes thee so to swell?
       Riches? alack it tarries not a day,
       But where fortune the sickle list to dwell:
       In thy children? how hardly shalt thou find,
       Them all at once, good and thrifty and kind:
       Thy wife?  fair but frail metal to trust,
       Servants? what theives? what treachers and injust?
       Honor perchance? it rests in other men:
       Glory? a smoke: but wherein hopest thou then?
       In God's justice? and by what merit tell?
       In his mercy?  now thou speakest well,
       But thy lewd life hath lost his love and grace,
       Daunting all hope to pure despair in place.
We read that Crates the Philosopher Cynic in respect of the manifold discommodities of man's life, held opinion that is was best for man never to have been born or soon after to die, [Optimum non nasci vel cito mori] of whom certain verses are left written in Greek which I have Englished thus.
     What life is the liefest? the needy is full of woe and awe,
     The wealthy full of brawl and brabbles of the law:
     To be a married man? how much art thou beguiled,
     Seeking thy rest by cark, for household wife and child:
     To till it is a toil, to grace some honest gain,
     But such as gotten is with great hazard and pain:
     The sailor of his ship, the merchant of his ware,
     The soldier in arms, how full of dread and care?
     A shrewd wife brings thee bate, wive not and never thrive,
     Children a charge, childless the greatest lack alive:
     Youth witless is and frail, age sickly and forlorn,
     Then better to dye soon, or never to be borne.
Metrodorus the Philosopher Stoic was of a contrary opinion reversing all the former suppositions against Crates, thus.
      What life list ye to lead? in good City and town
      Is won both wit and wealth, Court gets us great renown:
      Country keeps us in heal, and quietness of mind,
      Where wholesome airs and exercise and pretty sports we find:
      Traffic it turns to gain, by land and eke by seas,
      The land-born lives safe, the foreign at his ease:
      Householder hath his home, the rogue roams with delight,
      And makes moe merry meals, then doth the Lordly wight:
      Wed and thou hast a bed, of solace and of joy,
      Wed not and have a bed, of rest without annoy:
      The settled love is safe, sweet is the love at large,
      Children they are a store, no children are no charge,
      Lusty and gay is youth, old age honored and wise:
      Then not to dye or be unborn, is best in mine advise.
Edward Earl of Oxford a most noble and learned Gentleman made in this figure of response an emblem of desire otherwise called Cupid which for his excellency and wit, I set down some part of the verses, for example.
      When wert thou born desire?
      In pomp and prime of May,
      By whom sweet boy wert thou begot?
      By good conceit men say,
      Tell me who was thy nurse?
      Fresh youth in sugared joy.
      What was thy meat and daily food?
      Sad sighes with great annoy.
      What hadst thou then to drink?
      Vnfeigned lovers tears.
      What cradle wert thou rocked in?
      In hope devoid of fears.

To Puttenham Excerpts To Terry Ross's essay on Puttenham and Oxford
To FRONTLINE's Response--and A Reply
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