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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.
WHY I WRITE NOT OF LOVE.
That since, my numbers are so cold,
Thou art not, PENSHURST, built to envious show
Of touch or marble; 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 Hamp
"Under a fair monument of marble and touch," &c.
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 Penshurst in Kent.-WHAL. met.] i.e., Sir Philip Sidney's, who was born at
Sir Philip Sidney was born 29th November, acorn planted on his birthday, and which has 1554. "That taller tree," produced from an been the theme of many poets, is no longer standing. It is said to have been felled by mistake in 1768; a wretched apology, if true, and,
The lighter fauns to reach thy Lady's Oak.! 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
The painted partridge lies in ev'ry field,
Fat aged carps that run into thy net,
Before the fisher, or into his hand.
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 quam 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:
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;
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 Baron. This lady was daughter and heiress of the deer therein from her own hands."-Dug. 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 recorded was almost peculiar to this noble person. The great, indeed, dined at long tables (they 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 gene
rally 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.
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,
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.
Nor, when I take my lodging, need I pray How blest art thou, canst love the country,
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
Thy lady's noble, fruitful, chaste withal. His children thy great lord may call his own ;1
A fortune, in this age, but rarely known. They are, and have been taught religion; thence
Their gentler spirits have sucked innocence. Each moru and even, they are taught to
With the whole household, and may, every day,
parts of Russia and in the whole of Poland. In
England the system was breaking up when Jonson wrote, and he notices it with his usual good sense. It is to the honour of Penshurst that the observation was made there.
Herrick, who abounds in imitations of Jonson, whom he loved and admired, has copied many passages of this and the following poem, in his Panegyrick to Sir L. Pemberton. Here is one of them:
"No, no, thy bread, thy wine, thy jocund beere
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 it makes thy house his court; Or with thy friends, the heart of all the year Divid'st, upon the lea deer:
In autumn, at the ptridge mak'st a ght, And giv'st thy gladder guests the sight And in the winter, unt'st the flying hare More for thy exercise than fare;
While all that follow, their glad ears apply
Or shooting at the greedy thrush, Thou dost with some delight the day outwear,
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
Nor how to get the lawyer fees.
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.
TO THE WORLD.
A Farewell for a Gentlewoman, virtuous
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.
Do not once hope that thou canst tempt
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.
As little as I hope from thee:
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