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By that one spell he lives, eats, drinks, arrays Himself: his whole revenueis, god pays. The quarter-day come; the hostess says, She must have money: he returns, god pays. The tailor brings a suit home; he it 'ssays, Looks o'er the bill, likes it: and says, god pays.
He steals to ordinaries; there he plays At dice his borrowed money: which, god pays.
Then takes up fresh commodity for days; Signs to new bond; forfeits; and cries, god pays.
That lost, he keeps his chamber, reads
They gave a cock to Esculape.] The last request which Socrates made to his friends was that they would offer this popular sacrifice for him. This has led some to imagine that the poison had begun to take effect, and that he was becoming light-headed. He was quite as rational as his critics; and, in perfect consistency with his creed, viewed his death as a recovery to life.
2 Camden, most reverend head, to whom I owe All that I am in arts, all that I know. Camden was our poet's master at Westminster School; and gratitude has led him to make a proper acknowledgment for his care and pains in teaching him, both by this epigram, and the dedication of Every Man in his Humour to him.-WHAL.
These are not the only places in which Camden is mentioned with respect. In the King's
(How nothing's that?) to whom my country
The great renown and name wherewith she goes!
Than thee the age sees not that thing more grave,
More high, more holy, that she more would
What name, what skill, what faith hast thou in things!
What sight in searching the most antique springs!
What weight, and what authority in thy speech !
Men scarce can make that doubt, but thou canst teach.
Pardon free truth, and let thy modesty, Which conquers all, be once o'ercome by thee.
Many of thine, this better could than I ;
All men are worms; but this no man. In silk
'Twas brought to court first wrapt, and white as milk;
Where, afterwards, it grew a butterfly,
HARDY, thy brain is valiant, 'tis confest, Thou more; that with it every day dar'st jest
Thyself into fresh brawls: when, called upon,
Scarce thy week's swearing brings thee off of one.
Entertainment, Jonson terms him "the glory and light of the kingdom," and in the Masque of Queens, he introduces him with similar commendation. No man ever possessed a more warm and affectionate heart than this great poet, whose name is made synonymous with envy and ingratitude by every desperate blockhead who reprints an old play or a poem.
Davis and Weever.] Davis was the author of a collection of epigrams called The Scourge of Folly: he was by profession a writing-master, and chiefly taught in the University of Oxford. He was a contemporary of Jonson, and has an epigram addressed to him. Weever was the author of a work in folio, which is called Funeral Monuments, and is a miscellany of epitaphs and inscriptions, collected from ancient monuments in various parts of the kingdom.-WHAL. 3 He wooes with an ill sprite.] A play on the double meaning of the last word, an evil genius or spirit, and a stinking breath. To this last sense of sprite young Knowell alludes in the inflated panegyric with which he puzzles and plays upon Master Stephen: "A wight that hitherto, his every step hath left the stamp of a great foot behind him, as every word the savour of a strong spirit." The name of the person to whom this epigram is addressed is borrowed from the cod
Upon which Mr. Weber observes: "In some MS. notes which have been procured for me, the allusion is not so delicate." cod is explained, a pillow, a belly. I am afraid fears are about as ideal as those of Mr. Steevens, from whom this miserable cant is adopted; his ignorance, however, here, as well as everywhere else, is sufficiently real: what did he suppose Livia to mean? Counterfeit cods are spurious or adulterate civet-bags, and nothing more.
His hair close cut, &c.] These are the characteristic marks of a Puritan, which Gamester was now become. The word was the cant phrase for the Scripture, which was profanely applied to every incident of life. This is an epigram of all times.
ON MY FIRSt Daughter.
Here lies, to each her parents ruth,
At six months end she parted hence
In comfort of her mother's tears,
Hath placed amongst her virgin-train :
TO JOHN DONNE.*
ON THE SAME BEAST.
DONNE, the delight of Phoebus and each Than his chaste wife though BEAST now
Muse, Who, to thy one, all other brains refuse; Whose every work, of thy most early wit, Came forth example, and remains so yet: Longer a knowing than most wits do live, And which no affection praise enough can give!
To it, thy language, letters, arts, best life, Which might with half mankind maintain a strife;
All which I meant to praise, and yet I would; But leave, because I cannot as I should!
TO THE PARLIAMENT.
There's reason good, that you good laws should make:
Men's manners ne'er were viler, for your sake.
1 Whose soul heaven's Queen, whose name she bears.] i.e., the Virgin Mary; this seems to have been written when our poet was a convert to the church of Rome. WHAL.
There is both pathos and beauty in this little piece: Jonson appears to have been a most kind and affectionate parent; and if, as Fuller says, he did not always meet with an equal return of duty and love, those who denied it to him have the greater sin. It is here the proper place to observe that our poet is by far the best writer of epitaphs that this country ever possessed.
John Donne.] The celebrated Dean of St. Paul's. His character is excellently given in this affectionate memorial of his virtues; indeed no one knew him better, or valued him more justly than Jonson. The domestic life of this eminent man is admirably written by Izaac Walton and a severe, though not unjust esti
know no more,
He adulters still: his thoughts lie with a whore.
mate of his poetical merits will be found in Dr. Johnson's Life of Cowley.
[Jonson told Drummond that he esteemed Donne "the first poet in the world in some things." He had "written his best pieces ere he was twenty-five years old."-F. C.)
3 On Sir John Roe.] Probably the son of Sir Thomas Roe, knt., an eminent merchant of London, who after passing with distinguished credit through every municipal honour, died full of years and good works about 1570. This worthy citizen, whose charity was directed by his piety to the most useful purposes, left four sons, who appear to have trod in the footsteps of their father.
[Jonson said emphatically to Drummond that "Sir John Roe loved him. "1 "6 He died in his arms of the pest."--F. C.]
cry hem I and bid you play it off." The parallel passage follows:
He speaks to men with a rhinocerote's nose,]"they
Nescis, heu nescis domina fastidia Roma,
That breathes in his dog's way.] "Breathes (Whalley says) is intended to express what Shakspeare means when he describes such as "breathe in their watering." There is no end to this nonsense, since Steevens first set it abroach. I have already relieved Shakspeare from the obloquy of so filthy a meaning (vol. i. p. 73 b,) and to take away every possible plea for its being charged upon him again, I will now add the following decisive passage. The words of Shakspeare are: "They call drinking deep dying scarlet, and when you breathe in your watering," (stop to take breath in your draught,)
Fill Will his beaker, he will never flinch
S. Rowland, Sat. vi.
8 Jonson appears to have sincerely loved and lamented this excellent person, of whose actions I can give the reader no account. He seems to have followed the business of a merchantadventurer at first, like his father, and subsequently, in imitation of many gallant spirits in those days, to have embarked in the wars of the Netherlands. He died, however, in peace, at home.
Among Whalley's loose papers I find another memorial of our author's regard for him. It is taken from the blank leaf of Casaubon's Commentary on Persius, with which Jonson pre
quis of Bievre on this word. Mad. d'Angivilliers had a favourite serin (a canary-bird), and the Marquis, on coming into her drawing-room, gravely put on his hat, with this notable piece of wit: I beg your ladyship's pardon-but I am afraid of the serein !" The Marquis was a great reader of Joe Miller-so were not the French in general: his second-hand wit therefore was in high request.
Who wets my grave, &c.] This is a beautiful little valediction; there is a simple grandeur of thought, a high moral dignity in all the addresses of Jonson (for there are more to come) to this distinguished family, which does no less honour to them than to the poet.
3 And since the whole land was preserved for thee.] This epigram was probably written in 1604, as the last allusion is to the plague, which broke out in London soon after the death of Elizabeth. The "treasons" spoken of just above are probably those of the Gowrie and Sir Walter Raleigh.
• GUILTY, because I bade you late be wise.] See Epig. XXX. This is an excellent epigram; replete with strong sense and keen observation of mankind.