« iepriekšējāTurpināt »
Think'st thou it is mere fortune that can win,
I cannot for the stage a Drama lay,
I pass to Elegies; thou meet'st me there;
And never art encountered, I confess;
"But Marcus never can encounter right,
Yet drew two aces, and for further spight Had colour for it, with a hopeful draught, But not encountered,it availed him naught." * Sir Thomas Overbury.] This epigram was probably written about 1610, when Sir Thomas returned from his travels, and followed the fortunes of Carr with a zeal and integrity worthy of a better fate. That Sir Thomas was poisoned in the Tower by the infamous Countess of Essex is well known; but it has been, and indeed still may be made a question, whether Carr himself was privy to this atrocious fact. It is said that his opposition to the marriage
That the wit there and manners might be saved:
For since, what ignorance, what pride is fled!
And letters and humanity in the stead! Repent thee not of thy fair precedent, Could make such men, and such a place repent:
Nor may any fear to lose of their degree, Who' in such ambition can but follow thee.
TO MISTRESS PHILIP SIDNEY.3 I must believe some miracles still be, For Cupid, who at first took vain delight When Sidney's name I hear, or face I see: In mere out-forms, until he lost his sight, Hath changed his soul, and made his object you:
Where finding so much beauty met with virtue,
He hath not only gained himself his eyes, But, in your love, made all his servants wise.
ON THE TOWN'S HONEST MAN. You wonder who this is, and why I name Him not aloud, that boasts so good a fame: Naming so many too! but this is one, Suffers no name, but a description; Being no vicious person, but the Vice About the town; and known too, at that price.
between his friend and the divorced countess made it expedient to remove him from court, and that while Rochester (Carr) intreated the king to bestow an embassy upon him, he secretly instigated Overbury to refuse the charge. It would seem however from Winwood's State Papers (vol. iii. pp. 447, 453, 475,) that the refusal originated with Sir Thomas himself, who was of a lofty and unmanageable spirit. However it might be, James was justly irritated; the destined victim was committed to the Tower, and the catastrophe followed with fatal speed.
Overbury was of an ancient family in Warwickshire. He was born in 1581, came to court to push his fortune in 1604, was knighted in 1608, and died in 1613. He was highly accomplished, and, as Granger truly remarks, was 'possessed of parts, learning, and judgment, beyond his years.
Daughter of that great statesman, Sir Francis Walsingham, many years principal secretary to Queen Elizabeth, and widow of Sir Philip Sidney. Walsingham died poor, so that his daughter, who was also his heiress, brought little to her husband besides her beauty and her virtues. [Walsingham did not die for some years after Sidney.-F. C.J
And him it lays on; if he be not there.
"Twill see its sister naked, ere a sword.
Acts Old Iniquity, and in the fit
Of miming, gets the opinion of a wit.
Then the TOWN'S HONEST MAN'S her
GUT eats all day and lechers all the night,
He makes himself a thorough-fare of
er-Thus, in his belly, can he change a sin, Lust it comes out, that gluttony went in.
With me can merit more, than that good
Whose dice not doing well, to a pulpit
No, Shelton, give me thee, canst want all these,
But dost it out of judgment, not disease; Dar'st breathe in any air; and with safe skill,
Till thou canst find the best, choose the least ill.
That to the vulgar canst thyself apply,
Which is to live to conscience, not to show.
AN EPITAPH ON SALATHIEL PAVY, A
And know, for whom a tear you shed
1 He that but living half his age, dies such, Makes the whole longer than 'twas given him, much.]
Qui sic vel medio finitus vixit in ævo
Longior huic facta est quam data vita fuit. Mart. lib. viii. 27. 2 Salathiel Pavy.] The subject of this beautiful epitaph acted in Cynthia's Revels, and in the Poetaster, 1600 and 1601, in which year he probably died. The poet speaks of him with interest and affection, and it cannot be doubted that he was a boy of extraordinary talents. Many of the children of St. Paul's, as well as of the Queen's chapel, evinced great powers on the stage at a very early period of life, and not a few of them became the pride and ornament of it in riper years.
Our times have witnessed several attempts to bring children (pert boys and girls) upon the stage as prodigies, which have all terminated, as might reasonably be expected, in disappointment and disgrace. It should be recollected that the "children" of the old theatre were strictly educated, and that they were opposed only to one another. Nothing so monstrous ever entered into the thoughts of the managers of those days as taking infants from the cockhorse and setting them to act with men and women. And yet it would be unjust, perhaps, to attribute the present encouragement of this degrading exhibition wholly to the managers: if they took advantage of the gross folly of that many-headed beast the town, and indulged its vitiated taste, they did little more than their
'Twas a child that so did thrive
In grace and feature,
As Heaven and Nature seemed to strive
And did act, what now we moan,
As, sooth, the Parcæ thought him one,
So, by error to his fate3
They all consented;
But viewing him since, alas, too late!
And have sought to give new birth,
TO BENJAMIN RUDYERD.4
RUDYERD, as lesser dames to great ones
My lighter comes to kiss thy learned Muse;
precarious situation seemed to warrant.-Let not Mr. Kemble, however, be defrauded of his due praise but for his judicious and well-timed humour in arranging the characters of the Provoked Husband in such a manner as to place light, that forward baby, Miss Mudie, would the absurdity of the attempt in the most glaring have disgraced and delighted all London for the season, instead of being sent back to her dirtpies and her doll after a single exposure. 3 So, by error to his fate They all consented, &c.
Ille ego sum Scorpus, clamosi gloria Circi, Invida quem Lachesis raptum trieteride nona, Plausus, Roma, tui, deliciæque breves; Dum numerat palmas, credidit esse senem. Mart. lib. x. epig. 53.
"Lachesis (Dr. Jortin observes) did not take away Scorpus out of envy, but by mistake. She concluded that one who had gained so many prizes at the chariot-races was an old man, and in consequence of this error, took him in the flower of youth. I fancy, therefore, that Martial wrote,
Inscia quem Lachesis," &c.
Tracts, vol. ii. p. 273.
There can be no doubt that Jonson read Inscia; and it seems highly probable that Jortin was led to the emendation by this epitaph, which was always well known.
Sir Benjamin Rudyerd (for subsequently to the writing of this epigram, he received the honour of knighthood) was, as Granger says,
Whose better studies while she emulates, She learns to know long difference of their
Yet is the office not to be despised,
If only love should make the action prized; Nor he for friendship to be thought unfit, That strives his manners should precede his wit.
TO THE SAME.
If I would wish for truth, and not for show,
The aged Saturn's age and rites to know; If I would strive to bring back times, and try
The world's pure gold, and wise simplicity;
If I would virtue set as she was young, And hear her speak with one, and her first tongue;
If holiest friendship, naked to the touch,
TO THE SAME.
Writing thyself, or judging others writ, I know not which thou hast most, candor or wit:
an accomplished gentleman, and an elegant scholar." It is no small proof of his worth, that he lived on terms of intimacy with the Earl of Pembroke, to whose poetical trifles his own were subjoined, in a little volume which came out in 1660.
In the troubles which led to the usurpation of the Parliament, Sir Benjamin took an active part, and spoke often on the side of moderation and justice, particularly on the question of excluding the bishops from the Upper House. He was the last person who held the office of "Surveyor of the Court of Wards and Liveries," and when that court was abolished in 1646, received a grant of land and money as a compensation for his place He died in 1658, and, as may be conjectured from his epitaph, which he wrote himself, in the practice of that piety and virtue which had formed the consolation of his life. There is a beautiful and touching simplicity in the second of these epigrams, which cannot be too highly praised.
Elizabeth, L. H. Of this lady I can say nothing. If Jonson desired to keep her name secret, he has apparently succeeded; and yet he could scarcely mean to do this, as he has involved it, in some measure, with her history, in the last couplet. A luckier guesser, or a better historian, than I pretend to be, may
But both thou hast so, as who affects the state
Of the best writer and judge, should emulate.
EPITAPH ON ELIZABETH, L. H.1 Wouldst thou hear what man can say In a little? reader, stay.
Underneath this stone doth lie As much beauty as could die : Which in life did harbour give To more virtue than doth live.
If at all she had a fault, Leave it buried in this vault. One name was ELIZABETH, The other let it sleep with death: Fitter, where it died, to tell, Than that it lived at all. Farewell!
TO SIR WILLIAM UVEDALE. UVEDALE, thou piece of the first times, a
Made for whatNature could, or Virtue can; Both whose dimensions lost, the world might find
Restored in thy body, and thy mind!
one day hit upon it. But what is the import of this nameless tribute to beauty and virtue? "To be read by bare inscriptions, (says, Sir Thomas Browne,) to hope for eternity by ænigmatical epithets or initial letters, to be studied by antiquaries who we were, and have new names given us like some of the mummies, are cold consolations to the student of perpetuity, even by everlasting languages," or, as in the case before us, by everlasting verse.
Addison, after drawing a beautiful picture of good humour, innocence, and piety, in the person of Sophronia, adds that he cannot conclude his essay better than by a short epitaph written by Ben Jonson, with a spirit which nothing could inspire but such an object as he had been describing:
"Underneath this stone doth lie
I must observe here that, in the Spectator this passage is very incorrectly given. In a work so universally read, the utmost care should be taken to preserve the integrity of the text.
Mistress Cary.] The usual term in the poet's days for an unmarried woman, or miss. Of her husband, Sir William Uvedale, knt., I can say nothing but that he was of Wickham, in the county of Southampton.
Esme, Lord Aubigny.] Brother to the Duke of Lenox, whom he succeeded in title and estate. He has been already noticed.
3 William Roe.] Younger brother, or perhaps cousin of Sir Thomas Roe (epig. 98.) This gentleman seems to have gone abroad in a mercantile or diplomatic capacity: but with the activity and energy inherent in this distinguished
To Braynford, Hackney, Bow, but thou mak'st one;
That scarce the town designeth any feast To which thou'rt not a week bespoke a guest;
That still thou'rt made the supper's flag, the drum,
The very call, to make all others come: Think'st thou, MIME, this is great? or that they strive
Whose noise shall keep thy miming most alive,
Whilst thou dost raise some player from the grave,
Out-dance the Babion, or out-boast the Brave ;4
Or, mounted on a stool, thy face doth hit On some new gesture that's imputed wit?
family, he subsequently entered on the profession of arms, and probably served under Gustavus Adolphus. A few years of hardship, however, gave him enough of campaigning, and he returned to the pursuits of his youth. "William Roe (Howell writes to his friend at Brussels) is returned from the wars; but he is grown lame in one of his arms, so he hath no mind to bear arms any more; he confesseth himself to be an egregious fool to leave his mercership for a musket."-Lib. ii. let. 62.
Or out-boast the brave,] i.e. the bravo, the ruffian: some well known bully of the time.