Saturday, April 9, 2011

Parallel - Saw the Air; Whirlwind of Passion; Suit the Action

[Hamlet's advice to the players] "Do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus, but use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may say, the whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance...Suit the action to the word, the word to the action, with this special observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature".
  Hamlet 3.2.4-8 & 17-19

"It is necessary to use a steadfast countenance, not wavering with action, as in moving the head or hand too much, which showeth a fantastical light and fickle operation of the spirit, and consequently like mind as gesture; only it is sufficient with leisure to use a modest action in either."
  Short Notes for Civil Conversation

"But men...if they be not carried away with a whirlwind or tempest of ambition"
  The Advancement of Learning

Comment:  Bacon's advice for private conversation is in essence the same as Hamlet's advice to the players, and both authors proscribe specifically too much movement of the hand. And in both there is the quintuple verbal collocation of "hand", "much", "action", "modest" / "modesty" and "tempest and...the whirlwind of your passion" / "a whirlwind or tempest of ambition".

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