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Not glad, like those that have new hopes, or suits,
With thy new place, bring I these early fruits
Of love, and what the golden age did hold A treasure, art; contemned in th' age of gold.
Nor glad as those that old dependents be,
And not to dangers: when so wise a king Contends to have worth enjoy from his regard,
As her own conscience, still the same reward.
These, noblest CECIL, laboured in my thought,
Wherein what wonder see thy name hath wrought!
That whilst I meant but thine to gratulate, I have sung the greater fortunes of our
1 Enough has been said already of the character of this eminent statesman; but it may not be amiss on the present occasion to enumerate the periods of his successive honours. He was born June 1, 1563, knighted in 1591; sworn of the privy council in the following August, and in 1596 appointed principal secretary of state. In 1599 he was made master of the court of wards, and in the same year sent to France to negotiate a peace between that country and Spain. On the accession of King James, 1603, he was created Baron Cecil and Viscount Cranborne, and in 1605 Earl of Salisbury. In 1608 (which is therefore the date of this epigram) he was created LORD HIGH TREASURER; and in this post he died May 24, 1612.
Sir Henry Cary.] First Lord Falkland,
and father of the celebrated Lucius, Lord Falkland, who acted so conspicuous and noble a part in the Rebellion. Sir Henry was also a very distinguished character as a statesman and soldier. He had been master of the Jewel Office to Elizabeth, was made a Knight of the Bath at the creation of Prince Henry, and soon after Lord Deputy of Ireland. The intimacy of Jonson with this family (for he was much endeared to the son as well as father) is not a little to his credit; but indeed this great poet, who is represented by Steevens and his followers as little better than an obscure garretteer, lived on terms of honourable familiarity with all the genius, worth, and rank of his age.
1 "The castle and river (Jonson says) near where he was taken." It appears from a letter of Sir Thomas Edmonds (resident ambassador with the Archduke, at Brussels) that while Spinola was engaged in securing the passage of the Roer by the erection of a battery, an attempt was made to surprise the covering party by Count Maurice. The action was short but severe, and in the end the Count was obliged to retreat. Some officers of rank fell on each side, and Spinola made some prisoners, among whom," Sir Thomas says, were certain English gentlemen, whereof the principal are Sir Henry Carey and Mr. Radcliffe, brother to Sir John Radcliffe (and to Margaret), and one Captain Pygot." Winwood's Mem. vol. ii. 145. This letter is dated 21st October, 1605; and the action took place a few days before.
The capture of Sir Henry Carey seems to have been viewed by the Spanish court as a matter of considerable moment, and it required all the influence of Cecil and all the dexterity of Sir Charles Cornwallis, our ambassador at Madrid, to procure his release. "In conclusion," Sir Charles writes to the Earl of Salisbury, "I moved him (the Duke of Lerma) for Sir Henry Carey; saying 'I was thereunto sollicited by the entreatie of many honourable personages
that wished well to the state; and by some fair ladies, whom I knew his Excellencie would be apt to favour. I delivered his valuable estate, and the hard course taken against him. And lastly told what between the Conde de Villa Longa and me, had been agreed to be done in his favour, whereat he smyled, and desired he might be put in further memorie of it, which by God's grace shall not be omitted." This was in June, 1606; but it required yet many conferences before his liberty was procured.
To Thomas, Earl of Suffolk.] He was so created by James I. in 1603, and bore several great offices of state. In the twelfth year of the same king he was constituted Lord High Treasurer; and it is not improbable but this epigram was addressed to him on his promotion to that high station.-WHAL.
The epigram has a much earlier date than Whalley assigns it. It was probably written upon his accession to the title of Suffolk, when he was also appointed Lord Chamberlain.
3 Each best day of our life escapes us first.] From Virgil:
ON COURT PARROT.
To pluck down mine, POLL sets up new
Still 'tis his luck to praise me 'gainst his
Item, the Babylonian song you sing;
I grieve not, COURTLING, thou art started Item, an epitaph on my lord's cock,
A chamber-critic, and dost dine and sup
Go high or low, as thou wilt value it.
TO FINE GRAND.1
In most vile verses, and cost me more pain, Than had I made 'em good, to fit your vein.
Forty things more, dear Grand, which you know true,
For which, or pay me quickly, or I'll pay you.
TO THOMAS, LORD CHANCELLOR
What is't, FINE GRAND, makes thee my Whilst thy weighed judgments, EGERTON, friendship fly,
Or take an Epigram so fearfully,
The world must know your greatness is my
Imprimis, Grand, you owe me for a jest
Item, a tale or two some fortnight after;
To our times returned, hath made her heaven in thee.] This is high praise, but it is not bestowed at random; and it comes from one who knew, and judged him well.
This great man was the natural son of Sir Richard Egerton, of Ridley, Cheshire, by Alice, daughter of Mr. Sparke, also of Cheshire. He was born in 1539, sent to Oxford when he was about seventeen, and thence to Lincoln's Inn. In 1584 he was appointed Solicitor-General, and two years afterwards he was made Master of the Rolls, which office he held together with that of Lord Keeper until the accession of James I., 1603, when he was advanced to the dignity of Baron of Ellesmere, and constituted Lord High Chancellor of England. In 1610 he
And know thee then a judge, not of one year;
As is thy conscience, which is always one:
was created Viscount Brackley, and died at York House in the Strand, 15th March, 1617, having on the third of that month obtained the King's leave, after long and earnest importunity, to resign the Great Seal. He was in his seventyeighth year.
His person, as to its exterior, was so grave and dignified, that many people, Fuller says, have gone to the Chancery on purpose only to see his venerable garb, and were highly pleased at so acceptable a spectacle. But his interior presented a subject of higher admiration. "His apprehension was keen and ready: his judgment deep and sound, his reason clear and comprehensive, his elocution eloquent and easy. As a lawyer he was prudent in council, extensive in information, honest in principle, so that while he lived he was excelled by none; and when he died he was lamented by all."-Coll. Peerage, vol. iii. p. 190.
Jonson has some allusions to the Ode to Lollius, who was very far from an Egerton : Consulque non unius anni
Sed quoties bonus atque fidus Judex honestum prætulit utili," &c
ON LUCY, COUNTESS OF Bedford.
This morning, timely rapt with holy fire,1 I thought to form unto my zealous Muse, What kind of creature I could most desire
To honour, serve, and love; as Poets use. I meant to make her fair, and free, and wise, Of greatest blood, and yet more good than great;
I meant the day-star should not brighter rise, Nor lend like influence from his lucent seat.
I meant she should be courteous, facile, sweet,
Hating that solemn vice of greatness, pride;
I meant each softest virtue there should meet,
Fit in that softer bosom to reside. Only a learned, and a manly soul
I purposed her; that should, with even powers,
The rock, the spindle, and the sheers control
Of Destiny, and spin her own free hours. Such when I meant to feign, and wished to
1 This morning, timely rapt with holy fire,] The English language, rich as it is in effusions of this kind, does not furnish a complimentary poem that for delicacy of sentiment and beauty of diction can at all be compared with this exquisite epigram; which has yet the further merit of being consonant to truth. See ante, p. 8 a.
That poets are far rarer births than kings, Your noblest father proved.] This lady, wife to Roger, Earl of Rutland, was daughter to Sir Philip Sidney, by his wife Frances, only daughter to Sir Francis Walsingham, Secretary of
For, if thou shame ranked with my friends to go,
I'm more ashamed to have thee thought my foe.
HORNET, thou hast thy wife drest for the stall,
To draw thee custom but herself gets all.
TO ELIZABEth, CountesS OF
That Poets are far rarer births than kings, Your noblest father proved; like whom, before,
Or then, or since, about our Muses' springs, Came not that soul exhausted so their store.
Hence was it that the Destinies decreed (Save that most masculine issue of his brain)
No male unto him; who could so exceed Nature, they thought, in all that he would feign.
At which, she happily displeased, made you: On whom, if he were living now, to look, He should those rare and absolute numbers view,
As he would burn, or better far his book.
OF LIFE AND DEATH.
The ports of death are sins; of life, good deeds;
Through which our merit leads us to our meeds.
How wilful blind is he, then, that would stray, And hath it, in his powers to make his way!
This world death's region is, the other life's; And here, it should be one of our first strifes,
State to Queen Elizabeth. It is necessary to know such trivial circumstances, as in these smaller poems their chief merit often consists in the turns of thought which allude to them.WHAL.
It is somewhat singular that Whalley should entertain this opinion, and yet that this should be almost the only person whom he has noticed. This celebrated lady, who was also the patroness of Donne and Daniel, and to whom Jonson wrote other verses, died before these poems were published. The "masculine issue" of her father was the Arcadia.
ON CASHIERED CAPTAIN SURLY.
SURLY'S old whore in her new silks doth swim:
TO LUCY, COUNTESS OF Bedford. Madam, I told you late, how I repented,
I asked a lord a buck, and he denied me; And, ere I could ask you, I was prevented. For your most noble offer had supplied
Straight went I home; and there, most like a Poet,
I fancied to myself, what wine, what wit I would have spent; how every Muse should know it,
And Phoebus' self should be at eating it. O, madam, if your grant did thus transfer me,?
Make it your gift! See whither that will bear me.
TO SIR HENRY GOODYERE. GOODYERE, I am glad, and grateful to report,
Myself a witness of thy few days' sport; He cast, yet keeps her well! No; she Where I both learned, why wise men keeps him.
TO A FRIEND.
To put out the word whore, thou dost me
Throughout my book. Troth, put out
And why that bird was sacred to Apollo:
And never stoop but to strike ignorance;
To be the wealthy witness of my pen.]"An
20, madam, if your grant, &c.] She had
Goodyere, I'm glad, &c.] Sir Henry Goodyere, to whom this and the following epigram are addressed, was a gentleman of great probity and virtue, and much respected by the men of genius in our author's age. There was great intimacy between him and Dr. Donne, whose letters to Sir Henry Goodyere make up the greatest part of the collection published by the Doctor's son.-WHAL.
Sir Henry had a fine seat at Polesworth, in Warwickshire, where Jonson, much to his satisfaction, appears to have passed some time with him.
"To the honour of this Sir Henry," Camden says, "a knight memorable for his virtues, an affectionate friend of his made this tetrastich.' There is certainly more affection than poetry in it:
Ill yeare of a Goodyere us bereft
Sir Henry joined the band of wits who amused themselves with the simple vanity of Coryat. He was not much of a poet: and I give the following extract merely because it serves to illustrate a passage relating to the "trunk" in the Masque of Love Restored, p. 84 b:
"If any think Tom dull and heavy, know
To beare him in a tronke unto the maske."