Lapas attēli
[blocks in formation]

THE FOREST.] From the folio, 1616. Between this and the poem which now concludes the Epigrams, Whalley foisted in several compositions under that title, which appeared long after the publication of the volume. This was injudiciously done, for as the date of the folio was well known, it tended to confound the idea of time, and to mislead the general reader. Several of the pieces given by Whalley under the head of Epigrams, closed by the author in 1616, were written by him as late as 1630.


Some act of Love's bound to rehearse,
I thought to bind him in my verse:
Which when he felt, Away, quoth he,
Can poets hope to fetter me?
It is enough, they once did get
Mars and my Mother, in their net :
I wear not these my wings in vain.
With which he fled me; and again,
Into my rhymes could ne'er be got
By any art: then wonder not,

That since, my numbers are so cold,
When Love is fled, and I grow old.


Thou art not, PENSHURST, built to envious show

Of touch or marble;2 nor canst boast a row

1 To Penshurst.] This place is pleasantly situated near the banks of the Medway; it was the ancient seat of Sir Stephen Pencestre, Warden of the Cinque Ports, and Constable of Dover Castle, in the reign of Henry III., and was granted by Edward VI. to Sir William Sidney and his heirs:-having been forfeited to the Crown by the rebellion of Sir R. Fane, its last proprietor.

Thou art not, Penshurst, built to envious show

Of touch or marble.] The common kind of black marble frequently made use of in funeral monuments, was then called by this name; so Weever, giving the account of a tomb at Hampstead:

Of polished pillars, or a roof of gold: Thou hast no lantern whereof tales are told;

Or stair, or courts; but stand'st an ancient pile,

And these grudged at, art reverenced the while.

Thou-joy'st in better marks, of soil, of air, Of wood, of water; therein thou art fair. Thou hast thy walks for health as well as sport:

Thy mount to which th' Dryads do resort, Where Pan and Bacchus their high feasts

have made,

Beneath the broad beech, and the chestnut shade;

That taller tree, which of a nut was set,
At his great birth where all the Muses met,3
There, in the writhed bark, are cut the names
Of many a sylvan taken with his flames;
And thence the ruddy satyrs oft provoke

From its solidity and firmness it was used also as the test of gold: in this sense it occurs in Shakspeare:

"Ah! Buckingham, now do I ply the touch." Richard III., act iv. sc. 2.

And from this use of it the name itself was taken. It seems to be the same with that anciently called basalt.-WHAL.

3 At his great birth, where all the Muses met.] i.e., Sir Philip Sidney's, who was born at Penshurst in Kent.-WHAL.

Sir Philip Sidney was born 29th November, 1554. "That taller tree," produced from an acorn planted on his birthday, and which has been the theme of many poets, is no longer

"Under a fair monument of marble and touch," standing. It is said to have been felled by mis

[ocr errors]

take in 1768; a wretched apology, if true, and,

The lighter fauns to reach thy Lady's Oak.1 Thy copse too, named of Gamage, thou hast there,2

That never fails to serve thee seasoned deer, When thou wouldst feast, or exercise thy friends.

The lower land, that to the river bends, Thy sheep, thy bullocks, kine, and calves do feed ;

The middle grounds thy mares and horses breed.

Each bank doth yield thee conies; and the tops

Fertile of wood, Ashore and Sidneys copp's, To crown thy open table, doth provide The purpled pheasant with the speckled side:

The painted partridge lies in ev'ry field,
And for thy mess is willing to be killed.
And if the high-swoln Medway fail thy dish,
Thou hast thy ponds, that pay thee tribute

Fat aged carps that run into thy net,
And pikes, now weary their own kind to eat,
As loth the second draught or cast to stay,
Officiously at first themselves betray.
Bright eels that emulate them, and leap on


Before the fisher, or into his hand. Then hath thy orchard fruit, thy garden flowers,

in a case of such notoriety, scarcely possible. Waller, in one of his poems, written at Penshurst, where he amused himself with falling in love, has an allusion to this oak:

"Go, boy, and carve this passion on the bark Of yonder tree, which stands the sacred mark Of noble Sidney's birth," &c.

On which the commentator on his poems observes that though no tradition of the circumstance remained in the family, yet the observation of Cicero on the Marian oak might not unaptly be applied to it. "Manet vero et semper manebit. Sata est enim ingenio: Nullius autem agricolæ cultu stirps tam diuturna quàm poetæ versu seminari potest." De leg. lib. 1.

About a century after the date of Waller's verses this oak was still standing, and the ingenious Mr. F. Coventry wrote the following lines under its shade:

"Stranger, kneel here! to age due homage pay
When great Eliza held Britannia's sway
My growth began, the same illustrious morn,
Joy to the hour! saw gallant Sidney born.
He perished early, I just stay behind
An hundred years; and lo! my clefted rind,
My withered boughs foretell destruction nigh;
We all are mortal; oaks and heroes die."

Thy Lady's Oak.] There is an old tradition that a Lady Leicester (the wife undoubtedly of

Fresh as the air, and new as are the hours.
The early cherry, with the later plum,
Fig, grape, and quince, each in his time
doth come:

The blushing apricot, and woolly peach Hang on thy walls, that every child may reach.

And though thy walls be of the country stone, They're reared with no man's ruin, no man's groan;

There's none that dwell about them wish them down;

But all come in, the farmer and the clown;
And no one empty-handed, to salute
Thy lord and lady, though they have no suit.
Some bring a capon, some a rural cake,
Some nuts, some apples; some that think
they make

The better cheeses, bring them; or else send By their ripe daughters, whom they would commend

This way to husbands; and whose baskets bear

An emblem of themselves in plum or pear. But what can this (more than express their love)

Add to thy free provisions, far above The need of such? whose liberal board doth flow

With all that hospitality doth know! Where comes no guest but is allowed to eat,?

Sir Robert Sidney) was taken in travail under an oak in Penshurst Park, which was afterwards called My Lady's Oak.

2 Thy copse too named of Gamage.] "This coppice is now called Lady Gamage's bower; it being said that Barbara Gamage, Countess of Leicester, used to take great delight in feeding the deer therein from her own hands."-Dug. Baron. This lady was daughter and heiress of John Gamage of Coytie, in Glamorganshire, and

the first wife of Sir Robert.

3 Where comes no guest but is allowed to eat, Without his fear, and of thy lord's own meat, &c.] This and what follows may appear a strange topic for praise to those who are unacquainted with the practice of those times. But, in fact, the liberal mode of hospitality here reThe great, indeed, dined at long tables (they corded was almost peculiar to this noble person. had no other in their vast halls) and permitted many guests to sit down with them; but the gradations of rank and fortune were rigidly maintained, and the dishes grew visibly coarser as they receded from the head of the table. No reader of our old poets can be ignorant of the phrase, below the salt; but it may not be generally known that in some countries the custom yet prevails. It is the natural consequence of feudal manners; and the scene between the patron and the client which excited the caustic indignation of Juvenal is daily renewed in many

Without his fear, and of thy lord's own meat: Where the same beer and bread, and selfsame wine,

That is his lordship's, shall be also mine.
And I not fain to sit (as some this day,
At great men's tables) and yet dine away.
Here no man tells my cups; nor standing by,
A waiter, doth my gluttony envý:

But gives me what I call, and lets me eat, He knows below he shall find plenty of meat;

Thy tables hoard not up for the next day, Nor, when I take my lodging, need I pray For fire, or lights, or livery; all is there; As if thou then wert mine, or I reigned here: There's nothing I can wish, for which I stay. That found King JAMES, when hunting late, this way,

With his brave son the Prince; they saw thy fires

Shine bright on every hearth, as the desires Of thy Penates had been set on flame

To entertain them; cr the country came, With all their zeal, to warm their welcome here.

What (great, I will not say, but) sudden cheer Didst thou then make 'em! and what praise was heaped

On thy good lady then! who therein reaped
The just reward of her high huswifery;
To have her linen, plate, and all things nigh,
When she was far; and not a room, but drest
As if it had expected such a guest!
These, Penshurst, are thy praise, and yet

not all.

[blocks in formation]

Read in their virtuous parents' noble parts The mysteries of manners, arms, and arts. Now, Penshurst, they that will proportion thee

With other edifices, when they see

Those proud ambitious heaps, and nothing else,

May say their lords have built, but thy lord dwells.


TO SIR Robert WrotH.

How blest art thou, canst love the country, WROTH,

Whether by choice, or fate, or both! And though so near the city, and the court, Art ta'en with neither's vice nor sport : That at great times, art no ambitious guest Of sheriff's dinner, or mayor's feast. Nor com'st to view the better cloth of state, The richer hangings, or crown-plate; Nor throng'st (when masquing is) to have a sight

Of the short bravery of the night; To view the jewels, stuffs, the pains, the wit There wasted, some not paid for yet! But canst at home, in thy securer rest,

Live, with unbought provision blest; Free from proud porches, or the gilded roofs, 'Mongst lowing herds and solid hoofs: Along the curled woods, and painted meads, Through which a serpent river leads To some cool courteous shade which he calls his,

And makes sleep softer than it is. Or if thou list the night in watch to break, A-bed canst hear the loud stag speak, In spring, oft roused for thy master's sport, Who for makes thy house his court; Or with thy friends, the heart of all the year Divid'st, upon the les deer:

In autumn, at the ptridge mak'st a might, And giv'st thy gladder guests the sight And in the winter, unt'st the flying hare More for thy exercise than fare;

[blocks in formation]

While all that follow, their glad ears apply
To the full greatness of the cry:
Or hawking at the river, or the bush,1

Or shooting at the greedy thrush,
Thou dost with some delight the day out-


Although the coldest of the year! The whilst the several seasons thou hast seen Of flowery fields, of cop'ces green, The mowed meadows, with the fleeced sheep, And feasts, that either shearers keep; The ripened ears, yet humble in their height, And furrows laden with their weight; The apple-harvest, that doth longer last;

The hogs returned home fat from mast; The trees cut out in log, and those boughs made

A fire now, that lent a shade! Thus Pan and Sylvan having had their rites, Comus puts in for new delights; And fills thy open hall with mirth and cheer, As if in Saturn's reign it were; Apollo's harp and Hermes' lyre resound, Nor are the Muses strangers found. The rout of rural folk come thronging in, (Their rudeness then is thought no sin) Thy noblest spouse affords them welcome grace;2

And the great heroes of her race
Sit mixt with loss of state, or reverence.
Freedom doth with degree dispense.
The jolly wassal walks the often round,
And in their cups their cares are drowned:
They think not then, which side the cause
shall leese,

Nor how to get the lawyer fees.
Such and no other was that age of old,

Which boasts t' have had the head of gold. And such, since thou canst make thine own content,

Strive, Wroth, to live long innocent. Let others watch in guilty arms, and stand The fury of a rash command,

Or hawking at the river.] i.c., for the greater game, which frequented it. This, which was the afternoon's amusement, is noticed by many of our old writers. Sir Topas was much attached to it, if we may trust Chaucer:

"He couth hunt at the wild dere

And ride an hawking by the rivere," &c. Again:

"These fauconers upon a fair rivere

That with the hawkis han the heron slaine." Franklin's Tale. The noblest spouse, &c.] This accomplished and learned lady has been already mentioned as the niece of Sir Philip Sidney.

Go enter breaches, meet the cannon's rage, That they may sleep with scars in age; And shew their feathers shot, and colours torn,

And brag that they were therefore born. Let this man sweat, and wrangle at the bar, For every price, in every jar, And change possessions oftener with his breath,

Than either money, war, or death: Let him than hardest sires more disinherit, And each where boast it as his merit To blow up orphans, widows, and their states;

And think his power doth equal Fate's. Let that go heap a mass of wretched wealth, Purchased by rapine, worse than stealth, And brooding o'er it sit with broadest eyes, Not doing good scarce when he dies. Let thousands more go flatter vice, and win, By being organs to great sin; Get place and honour, and be glad to keep The secrets that shall break their sleep: And so they ride in purple, eat in plate,

Though poison, think it a great fate. But thou, my Wroth, if I can truth apply, Shalt neither that nor this envý: Thy peace is made; and when man's state is well,

'Tis better if he there can dwell. God wisheth none should wreck on a strange shelf:

To him man's dearer than t' himself,3 And howsoever we may think things sweet, He always gives what he knows meet; Which who can use is happy: such be thou. Thy morning's and thy evening's vow Be thanks to Him, and earnest pray'r, to find A body sound, with sounder mind; To do thy country service, thyself right; That neither want do thee affright, Nor death; but when thy latest sand is spent, Thou mayst think life a thing but lent.

• God wisheth none should wreck on a strange shelf:

To him man's dearer than t' himself.] The sentiment, with the following verses, is taken from that celebrated passage in the tenth satire of Juvenal:

Permittes ipsis expendere Numinibus, quid
Conveniat nobis, rebusque sit utile nostris ;
Nam pro jucundis aptissima quæque dabunt

Carior est illis homo, quam sibi-
Orandum est, ut sit mens sana in corpore san
A shelf, or shelve, is a bank of sand.-WHAL

Thou mayst think life a thing but lent. This is a very beautiful epode, honourable alike

[blocks in formation]

My tender, first, and simple years
Thou didst abuse, and then betray;
Since stirr'dst up jealousies and fears,
When all the causes were away...
Then in a soil hast planted me,

Where breathe the basest of thy fools;

False world, good-night! since thou hast Where envious arts professed be,


That hour upon my morn of age, Henceforth I quit thee from my thought, My part is ended on thy stage. Da Do not once hope that thou canst tempt A spirit so resolved to tread Upon thy throat, and live exempt From all the nets that thou canst spread. I know thy forms are studied arts, Thy subtle ways be narrow straits; Thy courtesy but sudden starts, And what thou call'st thy gifts are baits. I know too, though thou strut and paint, Yet art thou both shrunk up, and old; That only fools make thee a saint,

And all thy good is to be sold.

I know thou whole art but a shop

Of toys and trifles, traps and snares, To take the weak, or make them stop: Yet art thou falser than thy wares. And knowing this should I yet stay,

Like such as blow away their lives, And never will redeem a day,

Enamoured of their golden gyves? Or having 'scaped shall I return,

And thrust my neck into the noose, From whence so lately I did burn,

With all my powers, myself to loose? What bird or beast is known so dull, That fled his cage, or broke his chain, And tasting air and freedom, wull

Render his head in there again?

If these who have but sense, can shun The engines that have them annoyed; Little for me had reason done,

If I could not thy gins avoid.
Yes, threaten, do. Alas, I fear

As little as I hope from thee:
I know thou canst nor shew, nor bear
More hatred, than thou hast to me.

to the writer and the subject of it. How nobly do Jonson's lines rise above the common ad, dresses of his age! he is familiar with decorum, and moral with dignity; while his unbounded command of classic images gives a force to his language which renders his description of the humblest object interesting.

And pride and ignorance the schools: Where nothing is examined, weighed, But as 'tis rumoured, so believed; Where every freedom is betrayed,

And every goodness taxed or grieved. But what we're born for, we must bear: That what to all may happen here, Our frail condition it is such,

If't chance to me, I must not grutch. Else I my state should much mistake, From all my kind; that for my sake, To harbour a divided thought There should a miracle be wrought. No, I do know that I was born

To age, misfortune, sickness, grief: But I will bear these with that scorn As shall not need thy false relief. Nor for my peace will I go far,

As wanderers do that still do roam ; But make my strengths, such as they are, Here in my bosom, and at home.



Come, my CELIA, let us prove,1
While we may, the sports of love;
Time will not be ours for ever:
He at length our good will sever.
Spend not then his gifts in vain,
Suns that set may rise again;
But if once we lose this light,
"Tis with us perpetual night.
Why should we defer our joys?
Fame and rumour are but toys.
Cannot we delude the eyes
Of a few poor household spies;
Or his easier ears beguile,
So removed by our wile?
"Tis no sin love's fruit to steal,
But the sweet theft to reveal:

1 Come, my Celia, &c.] This beautiful song is to be found in the Fox. See vol. i. p. 370 b. Whalley says, "This and the following are translations from Catullus." Translations they certainly are not, but very elegant and happy imitations of particular passages in that poet.

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »