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That thou hast kept thy love, encreased thy will,
Bettered thy trust to letters; that thy skill Hast taught thyself worthy thy pen to tread, And that to write things worthy to be read; How much of great example wert thou, ROE,
If time to facts as unto men would owe? But much it now avails, what's done, of whom :
The self-same deeds, as diversly they come From place or fortune, are made high or low,
And e'en the praiser's judgment suffers so. Well, though thy name less than our great ones be,
Thy fact is more: let truth encourage thee.
ON PLAY-WRIGHT.' PLAY-WRIGHT, by chance, hearing some toys I'd writ,
Cried to my face they were th' elixir of wit:
1 On Play-wright.] This epigram is said by Stephen Jones (the person so judiciously selected by the booksellers to prepare the new edition of the Biographia Dramatica) to have been written on the appearance of Ford's Ladies' Trial. "Ben Jonson (he says) a bitter enemy of Ford's, charges the latter with having stolen a character in this play from him.
'Playwright (i.e. Ford) hearing," &c. Mr. Jones has not here the usual apology for his stupidity, that "he found it so in the former edition;" for Reed, though Macklin's forgery lay before him, was too well acquainted with dates to adopt it. The fact is, that the Ladies' Trial did not appear till two years after Jonson's death, while the epigram to which it is here said to have given birth, was published two and twenty, and probably written two and thirty years before! All this Mr. Jones must
INVITING A FRIEND TO SUPPER. To-night, grave sir, both my poor house and I
Do equally desire your company:
Not that we think us worthy such a guest, But that your worth will dignify our feast With those that come; whose grace may make that seem
Something, whigh else could hope for no esteem.
It is the fair acceptance, sir, creates
If we can get her, full of eggs, and then, Limons, and wine for sauce: to these a coney
Is not to be despaired of for our money; And though fowl now be scarce, yet there are clerks,
The sky not falling, think we may have larks.
I'll tell you of more, and lie, so you will
Of partridge, pheasant, woodcock, of whic
May yet be there; and godwit if we can; Knat, rail, and ruff too. Howsoe'er, my
Shall read a piece of Virgil, Tacitus, 8
And I'll profess no verses to repeat:
have found stated in the very paper from which he copied the epigram; and all this he chose to conceal from an itch become quite epidemic among the low scribblers of his cast, to insult the memory of Jonson. The assertion that this great poet was the bitter enemy of Ford, is an echo of the profligate falsehood of Weber, who is not afraid to declare that it is proved by indisputable documents! whereas the only memorial of any passage whatever between Ford and Jonson, now known to exist, is a very friendly elegy by the former, "ON THE DEATH OF THE BEST OF ENGLISH POETS, BEN JONSON." It is mortifying to contend with such a case of asses;"but they must not be suffered to kick at the ashes of Jonson with impunity. 2[Knat, or knot, was a bird of the snipe kind. -F. C.]
Howso'er my man Shall read a piece of Virgil, &c.] Richard
To this if aught appear which I not know of,
That will the pastry, not my paper, show of. Digestive cheese, and fruit there sure will be; But that which most doth take my Muse and me,
Is a pure cup of rich Canary wine,
But thou, whose noblesse keeps one stature still, 2
And one true posture, though besieged with ill
Of what ambition, faction, pride can raise; Whose life, even they that envy it, must praise;
Which is the Mermaid's now, but shall be That art so reverenced, as thy coming in, But in the view, doth interrupt their sin; Thou must draw more: and they that hope to see
Of which had Horace or Anacreon tasted, Their lives, as do their lines, till now had lasted.
Tobacco, nectar, or the Thespian spring,
TO WILLIAM, EARL OF PEMBROKE. I do but name thee, PEMBROKE, and I find It is an Epigram on all mankind; Against the bad, but of, and to the good: Both which are asked, to have thee understood.
Nor could the age have missed thee, in this strife
Of vice and virtue, wherein all great life
The commonwealth still safe, must study thee.
TO MARY, LADY WROTH.3 How well, fair crown of your fair sex, might he
That but the twilight of your sprite did see, And noted for what flesh such souls were framed,
Know you to be a Sidney, though unnamed?
To Susan, CountesS OF MONTGOMERY. Were they that named you prophets? did they see,
Even in the dew of grace, what you would be?
Martial, lib. x. epig. 48, of which it has many incidental imitations, particularly of the concluding lines:
De Nomentana vinum sine face lagena,
Qua bis Frontino consule plena fuit. Accedent sine felle joci, nec mane timenda Libertas, et nil quod tacuisse velis: De Prasino conviva meus, Venetoque loquatur; Nec facient quenquam pocula nostra reum.
But thou whose noblesse, &c.] i.e. nobleness, nobility. A word which we have very improvidently suffered to become obsolete.
3 To Mary, Lady Wroth.] She was a woman of genius, and wrote a romance called Urania, printed in folio, 1621; she was wife to Sir Robert Wroth of Durance, in the county of Middlesex, and daughter to Robert, Earl of Leicester, a younger brother of Sir Philip Sidney.-WHAL.
But the plan of the whole is from a little poem of | 4 To Susan, Countess of Montgomery.] Wife
Or did our times require it, to behold
And to your Scene lent no less dignity
A picture which the world for yours must know,
And like it too; if they look equally :
TO MARY, LADY WROTH.
But even their names were to be made anew, Who could not but create them all from you? He that but saw you wear the wheaten hat, Would call you more than Ceres, if not that; And drest in shepherd's tire, who would not say
You were the bright Enone, Flora, or May? If dancing, all would cry, the Idalian queen Were leading forth the Graces on the green; And armed to the chase, so bare her bow Diana' alone, so hit, and hunted so. There's none so dull that for your style would ask,
That saw you put on Pallas' plumed cask; Or, keeping your due state, that would not
There Juno sat, and yet no peacock by:
to Philip, Earl of Montgomery, and granddaughter to William, Lord Burghley.-WHAL
This accomplished and excellent woman, who appeared in most of Jonson's Masques at court, has been more than once noticed. She was a lady of strict piety and virtue, and wrote a little treatise called Eusebia, expressing briefly the Soul's praying robes, 1620.
It is much to the credit, or the good fortune of "that memorable simpleton," as Walpole calls him, Philip Herbert, to have married in succession two wives of such distinguished worth. His second, as the reader knows, was the high-born and high-spirited daughter of George, Earl of Cumberland, widow of Richard Sackville, Earl of Dorset.
Sir Edward Herbert.] Lord Herbert of Cherbury. He was a person of great learning
So are you Nature's Index, and restore, In yourself, all treasure lost of the age before.
TO SIR Edward HerBERT.1
If men get name for some one virtue; then, What man art thou, that art so many men, All-virtuous Herbert! on whose every part Truth might spend all her voice, Fame all her art?
Whether thy learning they would take, or wit,
Or valour, or thy judgment seasoning it, Thy standing upright to thyself, thy ends Like straight, thy piety to God, and friends: Their latter praise would still the greatest be, And yet they, all together, less than thee.
and of many excellent qualities as a statesman, a gentleman, and a scholar. This was all that was known of him at the period when this epigram appeared; but he subsequently fell into strange contradictions: with great professions of piety he openly disavowed all belief in a divine revelation, and yet persuaded him self that his own prayers were audibly answered from heaven! He was advanced to the dignity of baron of the kingdom of Ireland in 1625, and in 1631 was created Lord Herbert of Cherbury, in Shropshire, a favour which he repaid by joining the enemies of his sovereign, on the breaking out of the civil war. His death took place in 1648. "He died (Aubrey says) very serenely; asked what it was o'clock, and then, sayed he, An hour hence I shall depart !" He then turned his head to the other side, and expired.”
And, in some year, all these together heaped, For which there must more sea and land be, leaped,
If but to be believed you have the hap, Than can a flea at twice skip i' the map. Give your young statesmen (that first make you drunk,
And then lie with you, closer than a punque, For news) your Villeroys, and Silleries, Janins, your Nuncios, and your Tuilleries, Your Archdukes agents, and your Beringhams,
That are your words of credit. Keep your
Of Hannow, Shieter-huissen, Popenheim, Hans-spiegle, Rotteinberg, and Boutersheim,
For your next meal; this you are sure of. Why
Will you part with them here unthriftily? Nay, now you puff, tusk, and draw up your chin,
Twirl the poor chain you run a-feasting 1in.
Come, be not angry, you are HUNGRY; eat: Do what you come for, captain; there's your meat.
To true soldiers.] We have this epigram in the Apologetical Dialogue, printed at the end of the Poetaster: and it seems to have been written as a kind of compensation for the character of Captain Tucca, in that play.-WHAL.
This was written before the Poetaster. Could not Whalley see that it alluded to the Captain in the preceding epigram? If there was any soldier stupid enough to take the character of Tucca as a reflexion on the army, he was not to be reclaimed to sense by the power of verse. Jonson produced the epigram in his Apology to shew that he entertained no disrespectful opinion of the profession of a soldier. In a word, it is impossible to read that comedy, and listen to the complaints which the men of arms and of law are said to have made on the occasion, without discovering that they were more captious than just, and that the poet himself was the calumniated person.
2 is such.] i.e. is the Captain Hungry whom I have just satirized. The observation is welltimed.
8 To Sir Henry Nevil] Son to Edward, Lord Abergavenny: he succeeded his father in the title in 1622, and died in December, 1641. Holland, in his additions to Camden's Britannia, mentions a place in Berkshire, called Bilingsbere, the inhabitation of Sir Henry Nevil, issued from the Lord Abergavenny.-WHAI..
Surely Whalley has mistaken the person to whom this is addressed, or confounded two different characters. The Sir Henry Neville of the poet was the son of Sir H. Neville of Billingbear, by Elizabeth, a daughter of Sir Tohn Gresham. He was a very distinguished "lexique bus.
statesman, and much employed by the Queen, to whom he was introduced by Cecil. He was connected with the secretary by marriage; but he was less indebted to this for his promotion at court than to his own merits; "being," as Mr. Lodge says, "a person of great wisdom and integrity." He was sent ambassador to France in 1599, whence he returned in the following year, time enough, unfortunately for his future peace and prosperity, to be implicated in the wild treason of the Earl of Essex. He was committed to the Tower, "which," says Cecil to Sir Ralph Winwood, "being rather matter of form than substance, if any of his friends should have industriously opposed, it had been the ready way to have forced a course of more severity.' What more was to be feared, I know not, but he was heavily fined; and his release from the Tower did not take place till some months after the accession of James. That he had really been in some danger, may be collected from the following passage: "Thou rather striv'st the matter to possess, And elements of honour, than the dress; To make thy lent life good against the fates, And thence," &c.
But though restored to liberty, he was not advanced, as was generally expected. "All men (Sir Henry Wotton says) contemplate Sir Henry Neville for the future secretary: some saying that it is but deferred till the return of the Queen (Anne, who was then at Bath) that she may be allowed a hand in his introduction!" James, however, had strong prepossessions
Where all is fair beside thy pedigree.
Thou rather striv'st the matter to possess,
To be the same in root thou art in height; And that thy soul should give thy flesh her weight.
Go on, and doubt not what posterity,
Now I have sung thee thus, shall judge of thee.
Thy deeds unto thy name will prove new wombs,
Whilst others toil for titles to their tombs.
against him, which no interest could overcome, and the little remainder of this able statesman's life (for his correspondence is among the best in Winwood's collection) passed in dejection and comparative obscurity. It is to the honour of Jonson's steady friendship that he liberally praises, and commends to the notice of posterity, a worthy man depressed by two sovereigns, by each of whom he was himself favoured and patronized.
Sir Henry died 1615. He married Anne, daughter of Sir Henry Killigrew of Cornwall; by whom he had seven sons, whose descendants vet enjoy the family seat of their great ancestor.
And that midst envy and parts; then fell by rage:
His deeds too dying, but in books, whose good
How few have read! how fewer understood!
Thy learned hand and true Promethean art,
TO THE SAME, ON THE Same. Who, EDMONDS, reads thy book, and doth not see
What the antique soldiers were, the modern be?
Wherein thou shew'st how much the later