« iepriekšējāTurpināt »
Er. We have cleft the bough,
An. I call to mind the wisdom of our
Venus, who would have Cupid have a brother
Er. To look upon and thrive. Me seems
For love by love increaseth mutually.
An. Shoot up, grow galliard-
No more of your poetry, pretty Cupids, lest presuming on your little wits, you profane the intention of your service. The place, I confess, wherein (by the providence of your mother Venus) you are now planted, is the divine School of Love: an academy or court, where all the true lessons of Love are thoroughly read and taught. The reasons, the proportions and harmony, drawn forth in analytic tables, and made demonstrable to the senses. Which if you brethren should report and swear to, would hardly get credit above a fable, here in the edge of Darbyshire, the region of ale, because you relate in rhyme. O that rhyme is a shrewd disease, and makes all suspected it would persuade. Leave it, pretty Cupids, leave it. Rhyme will undo you, and hinder your growth and reputation in Court more than anything beside you have either men
An. When one's away, it seems we both tioned or feared. If you dabble in poetry are less.
I We have already had this fable in the Tilting at a Marriage. There is not much to be said of it here. In fact, these effusions, which attended the king in his progresses, and which perhaps came upon him unexpectedly, are merely
once, it is done of your being believed or
understood here. No man will trust you in this Verge, but conclude you for a mere case of canters or a pair of wandering gipsies.
Return to yourselves, little deities, and admire the miracles you serve, this excellent King and his unparalleled Queen, who are the canons, the decretals, and whole school divinity of Love. Contemplate and study them. Here shall you read Hymen, having lighted two torches, either of which inflame mutually, but waste not. One love by the other's aspect increasing, and both in the right lines of aspiring. The Fates spinning them round and even threads, and of their whitest wool,1 without brack or purl. Fortune and Time fettered at their feet with adamantine chains, their wings deplumed for starting from them. All amiableness in the richest dress of delight and colours courting the season to tarry by them, and make the Idea of their felicity perfect; together with the love, knowledge, and duty
1 [This is almost identical with the couplet in the Lines on Lord Bacon's Birthday, Underwoods, lxx.:
"Whose even thread the fates spin round and full,
Out of their choicest and their whitest wool." F. C.] [In this same year, 1634, was published a
of their subjects perpetual. So wisheth the glad and grateful client seated here, the overjoyed master of the house; and prayeth that the whole region about him could speak but his language. Which is, that first the people's love would let that people know their own happiness, and that knowledge could confirm their duties to an admiration of your sacred persons; descended, one from the most peaceful, the other the most warlike, both your pious and just progeni→ tors; from whom, as out of peace, came strength, and "out of the strong came sweetness;" so in you joined by holy marriage, in the flower and ripeness of years, live the promise of a numerous succession to your sceptres, and a strength to secure your own islands, with their own ocean, but more your own palm-branches, the types of perpetual victory. To which, two words be added, a zealous Amen, and ever rounded with a crown of Welcome. Welcome, welcome!
noble engraving by Van Voerst, after Vandyck, in which the Queen (in a most interesting condition) is presenting an olive wreath to the King. The couplet subscribed may have been supplied by Jonson :
"Filius hic Magni est Jacobi, hæc filia Magni Henrici; soboles dic mihi qualis erit ?” F. C.J
EPIGRAMS.] From the folio of 1616. The Collection is there called Book I., from which it may be collected, that Jonson intended, at the period of its appearance, to make a further selection. It is to be lamented, on many accounts, that he subsequently changed his purpose. The character of the illustrious nobleman to whom this manly and high-spirited dedication is addressed, must be looked for in the history of the times. It may be necessary to admonish the reader not to take up these poems with the general expectation of finding them terminate in a point of wit. This, indeed, is the modern construction of the word; but this was never Jonson's: by Epigram he meant nothing more than a short poem, chiefly restricted to one idea, and equally adapted to the delineation and expression of every passion incident to human life. The work is, in short, an Anthology, and may occasionally remind those who are studious of antiquity, of the collections which pass under that name.
TO THE GREAT EXAMPLE OF HONOUR AND VIRTUE, THE MOST NOBLE
WILLIAM EARL OF PEMBROKE,
LORD CHAMBERLAIN, &c.
While you cannot change your merit, I dare not change your title: it was that made it, and not I. Under which name, I here offer to your lordship the ripest of my studies, my EPIGRAMS; which, though they carry danger in the sound, do not therefore seek your shelter; for, when I made them, I had nothing in my conscience, to expressing of which I did need a cipher. But, if I be fallen into those times wherein, for the likeness of vice and facts, every one thinks another's ill deeds objected to him; and that in their ignorant and guilty mouths, the common voice is, for their security, Beware the poet! confessing therein so much love to their diseases, as they would rather make a party for them than be either rid, or told of them; I must expect, at your Lordship's hand, the protection of truth and liberty, while you are constant to your own goodness. In thanks whereof, I return you the honour of leading forth so many good and great names (as my verses mention on the better part) to their remembrance with posterity. Amongst whom, if I have praised unfortunately any one that doth not deserve; or, if all answer not, in all numbers, the pictures I have made of them; I hope it will be forgiven me that they are no ill pieces, though they be not like the persons. But I foresee a nearer fate to my book than this, that the vices therein will be owned before the virtues (though there I have avoided all particulars, as I have done names), and that some will be so ready to discredit me as they will have the impudence to belie themselves: for if I meant them not, it is so. Nor can I hope otherwise. For why should they remit anything of their riot, their pride, their self-love, and other inherent graces, to consider truth or virtue, but with the trade of the world, lend their long ears against men they love not, and hold their dear mountebank or jester in far better condition than all the study, or studiers of humanity? For such, I would rather know them by their visards still, than they should publish their faces, at their peril, in my theatre,' where Cato, if he lived, might enter without scandal.
Your Lordship's most faithful honourer,
In my theatre.] i.e., in the ensuing collection of epigrams. This would not have deserved mention had not Oldys, in his MS. notes to Langbaine, gravely produced the passage to prove that Jonson was "master of a playhouse !" "He (Ben) mentions something of his theatre to the Earl of Pembroke, before his epigrams.' So men sometimes read!
TO THE READER.
Pray thee take care, that tak'st my book in hand,
To read it well; that is, to understand.
TO MY BOOK.
Deceive their malice who could wish it so; And by thy wiser temper let men know Thou art not covetous of least self-fame Made from the hazard of another's shame; Much less, with lewd, profane, and beastly phrase,
To catch the world's loose laughter or vain gaze.
1 Send it to Bucklers-bury, there'twill well.] "The whole street (Stow says) called Buckle'sbury, on both the sides throughout, is possessed of grocers and apothecaries." So that there must have been a terrible consumption of poetry, and, of course, a never-failing demand for it. "The pepperers," also, it appears from the same authority, mightily affected this street.
How, best of kings, &c.] "Dr. Hurd," Whalley says in the margin of his copy, "has severely but justly reprehended Jonson for the gross adulation in these verses." Reprehensions of adulation come with a good grace from Hurd, it must be confessed! But why this outcry against our poet? His epigram was probably written soon after the accession of James, and when this good prince had surely given little cause for complaint to any one. With respect to his boyish poetry, of which I presume Hurd never read a line, it is really creditable to his talents. Some of the Psalms are better translated by him than they were by Milton at his years; and surrounded as he was by the hirelings of Elizabeth, who betrayed his mother, and only waited for the word to do as much by him, it is greatly to his honour that he turned his VOL. III.
He that departs with his own honesty For vulgar praise, doth it too dearly buy.
TO MY BOOKSELLER.
Thou that mak'st gain thy end, and wisely well,
Call'st a book good or bad, as it doth sell, Use mine so too; I give thee leave: but
For the luck's sake, it thus much favour have,
To lie upon thy stall till it be sought;
If, without these vile arts, it will not sell,
TO KING JAMES.
How, best of Kings, dost thou a sceptre bear!? How, best of Poets, dost thou laurel wear!
studies to so good an account. But why, let me ask again, this eternal outcry against Jonson? Hurd had not very far to look for those who flattered much more grossly than Jonson, without his plea for it. James was his munificent patron, and gratitude, which none felt more ardently than our poet, might excuse some little exaggeration of praise.-But what extraordinary inducement had Shakspeare for his adulation? Hurd never asked himself this question. What plea had Drummond, or his friend Alexander (Lord Stirling) for their gross sycophancy? The latter has a panegyric on James for a sonnet greatly inferior to anything which his Majesty had written at the date of this Epigram, in which he says,
"He, prince or poet, more than man doth
that the reader will not be mortified at discover ing that our author has partners in his delinquency: a fact that never appears to have been suspected by those who write against him.
[King James was a very tolerable versifier, and studied poetry as an art. Besides The Essayes of a Prentise in the Divine Art of Poesie, which were published in Edinburgh eighteen years before he came to England, he was also the author of Some Reulis and Cautelis to be observit and eschewit in Scottis Poesie.
Bishop Hurd, before he reprehended Jonson for adulation of James I., should have remembered the Dedication of the Bible to the "Sun in his strength." F. C.]
A bagnio. Thus Shakspeare: "Now she professes a hot-house, which I think is a very ill house too."-Measure for Measure.
That haunt Pickt-hatch, Marsh-Lambeth,
and White-friars,] The respective resorts of debauchees, thieves, and fraudulent debtors.
God pays.] The impudent plea for charity, or rather for running in debt, advanced by disbanded soldiers, of whom there were many at this period, and more who pretended to be such. The expression occurs in the London Prodigal, in a passage much to the purpose:
"Sir Arthur. I am a soldier and a gentleman. Lace. I neither doubt your valour nor your But there be some that bear a soldier's form, love, That swear by him they never think upon Bon Go swaggering up and down from house to house,
Crying, god pays."