The leaders, of course, observed a due decorum
, but some of the subalterns could not restrain their chuckling exultation, boasting that they would soon plant the British standard on the walls of Astoria, and drive the Americans out of the country.
She was a benevolent, charitable, good woman, and capable of strong attachments, most correct in her conduct, strict in her notions of decorum
, and with manners that were held a standard of good-breeding.
There are certainly times when the new formulations do not earn their keep; even in the main text I am not at all sure that "decorums of vision" delivers all it seems to promise, since decorum as a cultural category gets quite limited play here overall.
This pursuit of alternative titles seemed not altogether beside the point, since the title as it stands does the book less than justice in more ways than one, both obscuring the argument's essential cohesiveness and suggesting a more general interest than this text bears out in stylistic decorum as well as in Spenser as imitator.
Dryden suggests how social and political prerogatives and decorums may be represented and preserved by serio-comic forms that disguise ideological purposes and defuse ideological conflicts, even as identities, values, and relations that exceed decorum thereby become not only exposed to closer scrutiny, but also made symbolically available for the audience.
The comic plot also negotiates the decorums of love and marriage, as the rakish but secretly monogamous Florimell bargains with her inconstant lover Celadon, both working collectively to create a contractual arrangement in marriage that will enable them to express their love for each other while preserving some sense of individual agency.
As these brief plot summaries suggest, both Secret Love and Sir Martin Mar-all offer contrasting and complementary strategies for representing and restructuring the political decorums of gender, class, sex, and money at a time when Charles II and his subjects were deeply concerned over whether such relations, desires, and identities could be restored or renegotiated among competing claims and interests.
The Queen does not seek political tyranny; she is less concerned over forsaking her royal power for marriage than she is over forsaking her social identity by breaching decorums that regulate class relations and female expressions of sexual desire.
These contradictions are revealed in scenes that focus on the differences between the Queen's and Philocles' practice of the decorums associated with rank and gender.
While he has himself risen through the Queen's favor and aspires to Candiope, Philocles cannot bear the idea of the Queen transgressing the social and political decorums of the status quo.
However, our sympathy for Sir Martin may be tinged with contempt: his behavior does more to undermine than to underscore the heroic decorums associated with rank and honor.