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CONSISTING OF DIVERS POEMS.
Cineri, gloria sera venit.-MART.
UNDERWOODS.] From the second folio, 1641. The poems collected under this head with the exception of a small number taken from published volumes) were found amongst Jonson's papers. Whether he designed them all for the press cannot now be known it is reasonable to suppose, from the imperfect state in which many of them appear, that he did not. No selection, however, was made, though there appears some rude attempt to arrange them with a reference to dates; but the disposition of them, in general, is very incomplete, and marks of carelessness and ignorance are visible in every page. Much is misplaced or mutilated, and more, perhaps, is lost. It is singular that no notice or memorandum of any kind should hand down to us the name or condition of the editor or printer of this unfortunate volume, unless, as there is some reason to suspect, the whole was put to the press surreptitiously.
TO THE READER.
With the same leave the ancients called that kind of body Sylva, or "Yan, in which there were works of divers nature and matter congested; as the multitude call timber-trees promiscuously growing, a Wood or Forest; so am I bold to entitle these lesser poems of later growth, by this of UNDERWOOD, out of the analogy they hold to the Forest in my former book, and no otherwise.
For, sin's so sweet,
First made of nought;
And slight the same.
ON THE NAtivity of mY SAVIOUR.
I sing the birth was born to-night,
The angels so did sound it. And like the ravished shepherds said, Who saw the light, and were afraid,
Yet searched, and true they found it.
The Son of God, the Eternal King,
And freed the soul from danger;
Was now laid in a manger.
The Father's wisdom willed it so,
What comfort by Him do we win,
1 He whom the whole world could not take.] Le., contain, a Latinism, Quem non capit.
A Celebration of Charis:
IN TEN LYRIC PIECES.
HIS EXCUSE FOR LOVING. Let it not your wonder move, Less your laughter, that I love. Though I now write fifty years,1 I have had, and have my peers; Poets, though divine, are men : Some have loved as old again. And it is not always face, Clothes or fortune, gives the grace; Or the feature, or the youth: But the language, and the truth, With the ardour and the passion, Gives the lover weight and fashion. If you then will read the story, First prepare you to be sorry, That you never knew till now, Either whom to love, or how: But be glad as soon with me, When you know that this is she, Of whose beauty it was sung, She shall make the old man young, Keep the middle age at stay, And let nothing high decay; Till she be the reason why, All the world for love may die.
HOW HE SAW HER.
I beheld her on a day,
When her look outflourished May:
1 Though I now write fifty years.] This fixes the date of this little collection to 1624, the last year of health, perhaps, which the poet ever enjoyed.
There is a considerable degree of ease and elegance in these effusions; and indeed it may be observed in general of our poet's lyrics, that a vein of sprightliness and fancy runs through them which a reader of his epistles, &c., is scarcely prepared to expect. In the latter,
LOVE, if thou wilt ever see
Could be brought once back to look.
WHT HE SUFFERED.
After many scorns like these, Which the prouder beauties pleaje; She contest was to restore Eyes and mbs, to hurt me mor And woul on conditions, be Reconcile to Love and me. First, tha Both the
must kneeling yield ow and shaft I held
Jonson, like serral other poets of his age, or rather of his schol, who also succeeded in lyrics, sedulously reine the imagination, and contents himself with strength of sentiment and thought, in simple but virous language and unambitious rhyme. His CRIS has all the vivid colouring of the best ages antiquity; and it is truly delightful to mark he grace and ease with which this great poet Iys with the boundless ass of his literary acquitions.
Unto her; which Love might take
Left it sticking in my heart:
And would fain have changed the fate,
See the chariot at hand here of Love,
Unto her beauty;
And enamoured do wish, so they might
That they still were to run by her side, Through swords, through seas, whither she would ride.
Do but look on her eyes, they do light
Than words that soothe her:
Have you seen but a bright lily grow,
Before rude hands have touched it? Have you marked but the fall o' the snow Before the soil hath smutched it? Have you felt the wool of bever?
Or swan's down ever?
Or have smelt o' the bud o' the brier?
Or have tasted the bag of the bee?
O so white! O so soft! O so sweet is she !!
1 The two last stanzas of the "Triumph" are given in The Devil's an Ass, so that the opening one alone can bear the stamp of "fifty years."
HIS DISCOURSE WITH CUPID.
And, above her even chin,
2 She is Venus when she smiles, &c.] From Angerianus:
Tres quondam nudas vidit Priameius heros