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O, run not proud of this. Yet take thy due.
Thou dost out-zany Cokely, Pod; nay Gue: And thine own Coryat too; but, wouldst thou see,
Men love thee not for this; they laugh at thee.
TO ALPHONSO FERRABOSCO, ON HIS Book.'
To urge, my loved ALPHONSO, that bold fame
Of building towns, and making wild beasts tame,
Which Music had; or speak her known effects,
That she removeth cares, sadness ejects,
T'allege, that greatest men were not ashamed,
Of old, even by her practice to be famed; To say indeed, she were the soul of heaven, That the eighth sphere, no less than planets seven,
Moved by her order, and the ninth more high,
Including all, were thence called harmony; I yet had uttered nothing on thy part, When these were but the praises of the art:
1 To Alphonso Ferrabosco, on his book.] This person, descended of Italian parents, was born at Greenwich, in Kent: he was much admired, both at home and abroad, for his excellent compositions, and fancies, as they were then called, in music; he was principally employed in setting the songs to music in our poet's masques. WHAL
Jonson appears to have had an extraordinary regard and affection for this excellent composer. He delights to mention him upon all occasions; and in the Masque of Hymen, hurried away by his feelings, he interrupts the strain of applause in which he was describing Alphonso's exertions with a genuine burst of tenderness, "Virtuous friend take well this abrupt testimony. It cannot be flattery in me, who never did it to great ones; and less than
But when I have said, the proofs of all
Shed in thy songs; 'tis true: but short of thee.
TO THE SAME."
When we do give, ALPHONSO, to the light,
A work of ours, we part with our own right;
For then, all mouths will judge, and their own way:
The learned have no more privilege than the lay.
And though we could all men, all censures hear,
We ought not give them taste we had an
For if the humorous world will talk at large,
They should be fools, for me, at their own charge.
Say this or that man they to thee prefer; Even those for whom they do this, know they err :
And would (being asked the truth) ashamed say,
They were not to be named on the same day.
Then stand unto thyself, not seek with
For fame, with breath soon kindled, soon blown out.
love and truth it is not, where it is done out of knowledge !"
The learned reader will observe that Jonson had in view Horace's admirable description of the office of the ancient Chorus, in the opening of this epigram.
* TO THE SAME.] The "Book" from which the composer probably expected a large harvest of praise seems to have met with some ungentle critic, and Jonson writes this sensible and manly epigram to his friend, to qualify the excess of his disappointment and mortification. I know not the person meant, unless it be Morley, who is mentioned as dissatisfied with some of his compositions by Peacham :-but I will give the passage:
Alphonso Ferrabosco, the father, while he lived, for judgment and depth of skill, as also his son now living, was inferior to none. What he did was most elaborate and profound, and pleasing in aire; though Master Thomas Morley censureth him otherwise. That of his, I saw my ladie weeping, and the Nightingale, upon which dittie Master Bird and he in a friendly emulation exercised their invention, cannot be bettered for sweetnesse of aire or depth of judgment."-Compleat Gent. 1622.
But as it is (the child of ignorance
Since they can only judge, that can confer. Behold! the reverend shade of BARTAS stands
Before my thought, and, in thy right, commands
That to the world I publish for him this; Bartas doth wish thy English now were his. So well in that are his inventions wrought, As his will now be the translation thought, Thine the original; and France shall boast, No more those maiden glories she hath lost.
ON THE FAMOUS VOYAGE.2
No more let Greece her bolder fables tell Of Hercules, or Theseus going to hell,
1 To Mr. Joshua Silvester.] His translation of the French poem of Du Bartas on the Creation, was esteemed to be well done; but he had little genius or invention of his own. In a censure of the poets, ascribed to Drayton, we have his character given in the following
"And Silvester, who, from the French more weak,
Made Bartas of his six days' labour speak
This epigram was written some years before the folio 1616 appeared, being prefixed to the 4to edition of Silvester's Du Bartas, which came out in 1605. Jonson declares his ignorance of French, so that his praise must be confined to the poetical merits of the translator, who was pretty generally supposed to have gone beyond his original. When Jonson became acquainted with the French language, and was able to compare the two works, he then discovered, as he told Drummond, that Silvester had not been sufficiently faithful: this censure, however, must be understood with a reference to his own ideas of translation, and we know what they were from the majority of his professed versions.
Ritson appears to have strangely misunderstood the passage in Drummond. He says, it was Ben Jonson's opinion, "that Silvester's
Orpheus, Ulysses; or the Latin muse, With tales of Troy's just knight, our faiths abuse.
We have a SHELTON, and a HEYDEN got,3 Had power to act, what they to feign had
All that they boast of Styx, of Acheron, Cocytus, Phlegethon, ours have proved in one;
The filth, stench, noise: save only what was there
Subtly distinguished, was confused here. Their wherry had no sail too; ours had ne'er one:
And in it, two more horrid knaves than Charon.
Arses were heard to croak instead of frogs; And for one Cerberus, the whole coast was dogs.
Furies there wanted not; each scold was ten. And for the cries of ghosts, women and men, Laden with plague-sores, and their sins, were heard,
Lashed by their consciences, to die affeard. Then let the former age with this content her, She brought the Poets forth, but ours th' adventer.
translation of Du Bartas was not well done, and that he wrote his verses before he understood to confer."- Bibliographica Poetica, p. 356. But the HE refers to Jonson, not to Silvester, whose knowledge of French was never questioned.
The translation is now little known: an unlucky quotation of Dryden,
Nor, with Du Bartas, "bridle up the floods" And "periwig with wool the baldpate woods," serves as an apology for consigning it to ridicule and neglect; Silvester wanted taste rather than poetry, and he has many shining passages. Goffe, who had a marvellous love for uncouth and extravagant phraseology, has imitated the line above, with noble emulation, in his Courageous Turke:—
"Who set the world on flame? How now, ye heavens,
Grow you so proud as to put on curled lockes, And clothe yourselves in periwigs of fire!"
Of this "Voyage," undertaken, as I have already observed, in a mad frolic, and celebrated in no very sane one, I shall only say that more humour and poetry are wasted on it than it deserves. As a picture of a populous part of London, it is not without some interest, and might admit of a few remarks; but I dislike the subject, and shall therefore leave the reader, who will not follow my example, and pass lightly over it, to the annotations of Whalley.
We have a Shelton and a Heyden got.] The names of the persons who embarked in this enterprise. The first, I suppose, is Sir Ralph
All, that are readers: but methinks 'tis odd,
The many perils of this port, and how
Canst tell me best how ever Fury looks there,
And art a god, if Fame thee not abuses,
Shelton, to whom the 119th epigram is ad-
Yet Jonson says, in the opening of the Voyage, that the latter" was a squire.
It was the day, what time the powerful moon.] i.e. A spring tide, when the river frequently overflows its banks.-WHAL.
The persons alluded to in the next lines are William Kempe, Taylor the water-poet, and Coryat.
Than the ox in Livy.] Jam alia vulgata miracula erant, hastam Martis Præneste suâ
With famine, wants, and sorrows many a dozen,
The least of which was to the plague a cousin. But they unfrighted pass, though many a privy
Spake to them louder than the ox in Livy ;? And many a sink poured out her rage anenst 'em,
But still their valour and their virtue fenced 'em,
And on they went, like Castor brave and Pollux,
Ploughing the main. When see (the worst of all lucks)
They met the second prodigy, would fear a Man that had never heard of a Chimæra. One said, 'twas bold Briareus, or the beadle Who hath the hundred hands when he doth meddle,
The other thought it Hydra, or the rock c Made of the trull that cut her father's lock :3
Is this we hear? of frogs? No, guts windbound, Over your heads: well, row. At this a loud Crack did report itself, as if a cloud Had burst with storm, and down fell ab excelsis,
Poor Mercury, crying out on Paracelsus, And all his followers, that had so abused him;
And in so shitten sort, so long had used him:
In the meantime let them inprison me,
To answer me and sure, it was the intent
And bade her farewell sough unto the lurden:
Stunk not so ill; nor, when she kissed, Kate Arden.2
Yet one day in the year for sweet 'tis voiced, And that is when it is the Lord Mayor's foist.
By this time had they reached the Stygian pool,
By which the Masters swear, when on the stool
Of worship, they their nodding chins do hit Against their breasts. Here, several ghosts did flit
About the shore, of farts but late departed, White, black, blue, green, and in more forms out started,
Than all those atomi ridiculous
These be the cause of those thick frequent mists
Arising in that place, through which, who goes,
Must try the unused valour of a nose: And that ours did. For, yet, no nare was tainted,
Nor thumb, nor finger to the stop acquainted,
But open, and unarmed, encountered all : Whether it languishing stuck upon the wall,
Or were precipitated down the jakes,
And so they did, from Styx to Acheron, The ever-boiling flood; whose banks upon Your Fleet-lane Furies and hot cooks do dwell,
That with still-scalding steams make the place Hell.
The sinks ran grease, and hair of measled hogs,
The heads, houghs, entrails, and the hides of dogs :
For, to say truth, what scullion is so nasty,
And after mouldy grown, again were toasted, Then selling not, a dish was ta'en to mince 'em,
But still, it seemed, the rankness did convince 'em.
Whereof old Democrite, and Hill Nicholas.] "Nicholas Hill was a fellow of St. John's College, in Oxford: he adopted the notions of Democritus about atoms, and was a great patron of the Corpuscular philosophy. The book he published on this subject is entituled Philo sophia Epicurea, Democritana, Theophrastica, proposita simpliciter, nan edocta. Par. 160x." A. WOOD.
For, here they were thrown in with th' melted pewter,
Yet drowned they not: they had five lives in future.
But 'mongst these Tiberts, who do you think there was?
Old Banks the juggler, our Pythagoras, Grave tutor to the learned horse; both which,
Being, beyond sea, burned for one witch,
Thrice did it spit; thrice dived: at last it viewed
Our brave heroes with a milder glare,
Laxative lettuce, and such windy meat,
But you will visit grisly Pluto's hall?
And stays but till you come unto the door!
Were you Jove's sons, or had Alcides' might.
That had so often showed them merry pranks.
They laughed at his laugh-worthy fate; and past
The triple-head without a sop. At last,
An ancient purblind fletcher, with a high
They took them all to witness of their action: And so went bravely back without protraction.
In memory of which most liquid deed, The city since hath raised a pyramid; And I could wish for their eternized sakes, My Muse had ploughed with his that sung A-JAX.2
My Muse had ploughed with his, that sung A-jax.] Sir John Harrington, author of the treatise called Misacmos, or the Metamorphosis of A-jax.-WHAL.