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lence of his nature!

To Edward Filmer, on his musical work, &c.] This epigram first appeared in the folio of 1640, after the death of our poet. Possibly it might have been prefixed to the work it celebrates, and from thence transcribed into the edition above mentioned. Though no date is set to any of the epigrams, this excepted, yet circumstances will assist us to guess at the time of those addressed to the greatest persons then living. In general they were written before 1616, as most of them are contained in the edition of Jonson's works, which was published in that year.-WHAL.

Here is much ado about nothing. What!

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Whalley means by most of them, and in general, I know not, since, blunders excepted, the second edition of the old folio is a mere transcript of the first, with the reserve of the present lines, which, notwithstanding their date (1629), are absurdly inserted among the Epigrams printed in 1616.

To make the language sweet, &c.] From Chaucer. It is a pretty compliment to Henrietta, who had probably encouraged the work, from an attachment to her native tunes.

dressed "To my faithful servant, and (by his 3 The Northern Lass.] These lines are adcontinued virtue) my loving friend, the author of have already noticed the attempts of Randolph this work, Master Richard Brome. 1632." I and others to create a feeling of hostility in our poet towards Brome. That they met with no warmly attached to his old and meritorious ser success is evident; for Jonson always remained vant, and Brome continued no less grateful and affectionate towards his generous master. Even after Jonson's death the kindness of the latter breaks out in a little poem to the memory of


"I knew him (Fletcher)

I knew him in his strength; even then, when

That was the master of his art, and me,
Most knowing Jonson, proud to call him son,
In friendly envy swore he had outdone
His very self," &c.

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carried on a thriving trade, as Lord Clarendon says, "in the desperate commodity of rebellion." His brother, Henry Rich, notwithstanding his

Both learned and unlearned do write plays, &c.] "Though this," says the watchful Langbaine, "be an imitation of Horace, yet I doubt not but the reader will pardon Ben for his inge-emblem, or impress, trod in Sir Robert's steps. nious application:

Navem agere ignarus navis timet: abrotonum

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Promittunt medici: tractant fabrilia fabri.
Scribimus indocti doctique poemata passim.

This SPEECH, which was copied from Ashmole's MSS. and kindly transmitted to me by Mr. Bliss, is said to have been "presented to King James at a tilting, in the behalf of the two noble brothers, Sir Robert and Sir Henry Rich." The lines have no date, but were probably produced on one of those festive occasions to which the attachment of Prince Henry to martial exercises gave birth. It was the first appearance, perhaps, of the brothers in arms; and this address of the knight, who presented them to the sovereign, formed a part of the entertainment: for these little tournaments were usually prefaced with some kind of poetical fable.

The elder of these two.] These youths were the sons of Robert Rich, first Earl of Warwick, by the too celebrated sister of the Earl of Essex. Robert, the elder, succeeded his father as Earl of Warwick in 1618. He protests much (like Hamlet's player-queen) in his speech, and he kept his word somewhat in the same manner. James was scarcely dead when he deserted his successor, threw himself into the arms of the Parliament, took the command of the fleet, and

James loaded him with favours, and not long before his death created him Earl of Holland. Fresh honours were conferred upon him by Charles, in return for which he deserted and betrayed him. He was not long in receiving his reward from his new masters, who, less scrupulous than his indulgent sovereign, deprived him of his head for some alleged tergiversation, in 1649.

An Epistle to Sir Edward Sackvile.] At that time lord chamberlain; he succeeded his father, Thomas Sackvile, in the title of Earl of Dorset, who died suddenly at the council-table in 1608.-WHAL.


We have here a cluster of mistakes. father of Sir Edward Sackvile was not Thomas, but Robert, second Earl of Dorset, his son; nor did Edward succeed his father, but his elder brother Richard, third Earl of Dorset, who died in 1624. What Whalley means by at that time lord chamberlain, it is difficult to say. There is no allusion to any such office in the poem, nor could there be, for the Earl of Dorset was not made chamberlain till 1642, five years after the poet's death.

This Sir Edward Sackvile is the person who engaged in that ferocious and fatal duel with the Lord Bruce, of which the interesting account given by himself was copied into the Guardian, from the MS. in the library of Queen's College, Oxford.

This affair took place in 1613, when he was

As they are done, and such returns they find:

You then, whose will not only, but desire
To succour my necessities, took fire,
Not at my prayers, but your sense; which

The way to meet what others would upbraid,

And in the act did so my blush prevent,
As I did feel it done as soon as meant;
You cannot doubt but I who freely know
This good from you, as freely will it owe;
And though my fortune humble me to take
The smallest courtesies with thanks, I make
Yet choice from whom I take them; and
would shame

To have such do me good I durst not


They are the noblest benefits, and sink Deepest in man, of which when he doth think,

The memory delights him more, from whom Than what, he hath received. Gifts stink from some,

They are so long a coming, and so hard; Where any deed is forced, the grace is marred.

Can I owe thanks for courtesies received Against his will that does them? that hath weaved

Excuses or delays? or done them scant, That they have more oppressed me than my want?

Or if he did it not to succour me,

But by mere chance? for interest? or to free

Himself of farther trouble, or the weight
Of pressure, like one taken in a strait?
All this corrupts the thanks: less hath he

That puts it in his debt-book ere't be done; Or that doth sound a trumpet, and doth call

His grooms to witness: or else lets it fall In that proud manner, as a good so gained, Must make me sad for what I have obtained.

only three-and-twenty. Afterwards, however, he nobly redeemed his extravagancies, and became one of the brightest characters of his day. Lord Clarendon says that "his person was beautiful, graceful, and vigorous; his wit pleasant, sparkling, and sublime, and his other parts of learning and language of that lustre that he could not miscarry in the world." This " Epistle" was the favourite poem of Horne Tooke. He had it by heart, and delighted to quote it on all occasions. Its date may be pretty nearly ascertained by the expres

No! gifts and thanks should have one cheerful face,

So each that's done, and ta'en, becomes a brace.

He neither gives or does, that doth delay
A benefit, or that doth throw't away;
No more than he doth thank, that will re-

Nought but in corners, and is loth to leave Least air or print, but flies it: such men would

Run from the conscience of it if they could.

As I have seen some infants of the sword Well known, and practised borrowers on their word,

Give thanks by stealth, and whispering in the ear,

For what they straight would to the world forswear;

And speaking worst of those from whom they went

But then fist-filled, to put me off the scent. Now, dam'mee, sir, if you shall not command

My sword, ('tis but a poor sword, understand,)

As far as any poor sword in the land; Then turning unto him is next at hand, Damns whom he damned too, is the veriest gull,

Has feathers, and will serve a man to pull. Are they not worthy to be answered so, That to such natures let their full hands flow,

And seek not wants to succour; but enquire, Like money-brokers, after names, and hire Their bounties forth, to him that last was made,

Or stands to be 'n commission o' the blade? Still, still the hunters of false fame apply Their thoughts and means to making loud

the cry,

But one is bitten by the dog he fed, And hurt, seeks cure; the surgeon bids take bread,

And sponge-like with it dry up the blood quite,

sion "now Earl of Dorset," which seems to imply that Sir Edward had not long enjoyed the title. He returned to England from Italy on hearing of the death of his brother, which took place the 28th of March, 1624: and the poet probably addressed him soon after 1625, when sickness and want first assailed him.

There is great vigour of thought and strength of expression in this rough epistle. The predilection of Horne Tooke for it throws no discredit on his judgment.

Then give it to the hound that did him bite:
Pardon, says he, that were a way to see
All the town curs take each their snatch at

O, is it so? knows he so much, and will
Feed those at whom the table points at still?
I not deny it, but to help the need
Of any is a great and generous deed;
Yea, of the ungrateful: and he forth must

Many a pound, and piece, will place one well.

But these men ever want: their very trade Is borrowing; that but stopt, they do invade All as their prize, turn pirates here at land, Have their Bermudas, and their Streights i' the Strand:

Man out their boats to the Temple, and not shift

Now, but command; make tribute what was gift;

And it is paid them with a trembling zeal,
And superstition, I dare scarce reveal,
If it were clear; but being so in cloud
Carried and wrapt, I only am allowed
My wonder, why the taking a clown's purse,
Or robbing the poor market-folks, should


Such a religious horror in the breasts
Of our town-gallantry! or why there rests
Such worship due to kicking of a punk,
Or swaggering with the watch, or drawer

Or feats of darkness acted in mid-sun,
And told of with more licence than th' were
done !

Sure there is mystery in it, I not know, That men such reverence to such actions show,

And almost deify the authors! make Loud sacrifice of drink for their health's sake:

Rear suppers in their names, and spend whole nights

Unto their praise in certain swearing rites!
Cannot a man be reckoned in the state
Of valour, but at this idolatrous rate?
I thought that fortitude had been a mean,2
'Twixt fear and rashness; not a lust ob-


1 Pardon, says he, that were a way to see All the town-curs take each their snatch at me.] The allusion is to a fable of Phædrus, who makes Æsop the author of it.-WHAL.

Or appetite of offending, but a skill
Or science of discerning good and ill.
And you, sir, know it well, to whom I write,
That with these mixtures we put out her

Her ends are honesty and public good: And where they want, she is not understood.

No more are these of us; let them then go, I have the list of mine own faults to know, Look to, and cure: he's not a man hath


But like to be, that every day mends one, And feels it; else he tarries by the beast. Can I discern how shadows are decreast, Or grown, by height or lowness of the sun, And can I less of substance? when I run, Ride, sail, am coached, know I how far I have gone;

And my mind's motion not? or have I none?

No! he must feel and know, that will ad


Men have been great, but never good by chance

Or on the sudden. It were strange that he Who was this morning such a one, should be

Sidney ere night! or that did go to bed Coryat, should rise the most sufficient head Of Christendom; and neither of these know,

Were the rack offered them, how they came so !

'Tis by degrees that men arrive at glad
Profit in aught; each day some little add,
In time 'twill be a heap: this is not true
Alone in money, but in manners too.
Yet we must more than move still, or go on,
We must accomplish: 'tis the last key-stone
That makes the arch; the rest that there

were put

Are nothing till that comes to bind and shut.

Then stands it a triumphal mark! then men Observe the strength, the height, the why and when

It was erected: and still walking under, Meet some new matter to look up and wonder!

fortunate piece is never mentioned now without a scornful sneer at the dotage which produced it. As a whole, indeed, much cannot be said in its favour, but it may safely be pronounced that the observations of Lovel on true valour (vol. ii. P. 373-74), to which the line just quoted has been I thought that fortitude had been a mean, referred, will not be easily paralleled for justness &c.] This subject the poet subsequently dilated of thought, vigour of sentiment, and beauty of upon in The New Inn. The name of this un-expression, in this or any other language.

For the Bermudas, &c., see vol. ii. p. 169, and vol. ii. p. 245 a.

Such notes are virtuous men ! they live as fast

As they are high; are rooted, and will last. They need no stilts, nor rise upon their toes,

As if they would belie their stature; those Are dwarfs of honour, and have neither weight

Nor fashion; if they chance aspire to height,

'Tis like light canes, that first rise big and brave,

Shoot forth in smooth and comely spaces; have

But few and fair divisions: but being got Aloft, grow less and straightened; full of knot,

And last, go out in nothing! you that see Their difference, cannot choose which you will be.

You know (without my flattering you) too

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This Epistle, as the folio calls it, is prefixed to the first edition of Selden's Titles of Honour, 1614, with this address: "Ben Jonson to his honord friend, Mr. John Selden, Health.”

There was an extraordinary degree of kindness between these two most learned men, which continued to the end of Jonson's life. They communicated their works and mutually assisted each other. Selden, who was above flattery, affectionately addresses our author in the work here mentioned, as one that was

Omnia carmina doctus,

Et callet mythwv plasmata, et historiam. And he, who was superior to envy, speaks with conscious pride of the aid which he derived from

Was trusted, that you thought my judgment such

To ask it: though in most of works, it be
A penance where a man may not be free,
Rather than office; when it doth, or may
Chance, that the friend's affection proves

Unto the censure. Yours all need doth fly
Of this so vicious humanity;
Than which, there is not unto study a more
Pernicious enemy. We see before
A many' of books, even good judgments

Themselves, through favouring what is there not found;

But I to yours far otherwise shall do,"
Not fly the crime, but the suspicion too :
Though I confess (as every Muse hath

And mine not least) I have too oft preferred Men past their terms, and praised some names too much;

But 'twas with purpose to have made them such.

Since, being deceived, I turn a sharper eye Upon myself, and ask to whom? and why? And what I write? and vex it many days Before men get a verse, much less a praise; So that my reader is assured, I now

Mean what I speak, and still will keep that

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