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A LITTLE SHRUB GROWING BY.
Ask not to know this Man.' If fame should speak
His name in any metal, it would break.
Of putrid flesh alive! of blood the sink !
And draw, and conquer all men's love,
The withered garlands ta'en away;
To whom all lovers are designed,
Have sung this hymn, and here entreat
1 Ask not to know this Man, &c.] This too is in the style of Donne. It was evidently designed to be a pendant of the former; whoever wrote that wrote this.
2 [Mr. Tennyson must have been familiar with this Elegy before he commenced his In Memoriam.-F. C.]
One spark of your diviner heat To light upon a love of mine. Which, if it kindle not, but scant Appear, and that to shortest view, Yet give me leave t' adore in you What I, in her am grieved to want.
Fair friend, 'tis true your beauties nove
I neither love, nor yet am free,
It little wants of love but pain;
Ready to multiply;
But like love's calmest state it is
It is like love to truth reduced,
'Tis either fancy or 'tis fate,
To love you more than I :
Like unstampt gold, I weigh each grace,
Safely from my respect.
And this respect would merit love,
Payment enough; for who dare move
Where dost Thou careless lie Buried in ease and sloth?
8 Who, as an offering, &c.] The folio reads offspring. Corrected by Whalley.
This little piece, which is not without merit, the old folio, where it is united to "A New is carelessly thrown in towards the conclusion of year's Gift to King Charles !"
Knowledge that sleeps, doth die;
It is the common moth
That eats on wits and arts, and [so] destroys them both :1
Are all the Aonian springs
Dried up? lies Thespia waste?
Doth Clarius' harp want strings,
That not a nymph now sings;
Or droop they as disgraced,
Make not thyself a page
To that strumpet the stage,
But sing high and aloof,
Safe from the wolf's black jaw, and the dull ass's hoof.
THE MIND OF THE FRONTISPIECE TO A BOOK.3
To see their seats and bowers by chat. From death and dark oblivion (near the
tering pies defaced?
If hence thy silence be,
As 'tis too just a cause;
Let this thought quicken thee:
Should not on fortune pause,
'Tis crown enough to virtue still, her own applause.
What though the greedy fry
Be taken with false baits
Of worded balladry,
And think it poesy?
They die with their conceits,
And only piteous scorn upon their folly waits.
Then take in hand thy lyre,
Strike in thy proper strain,
With Japhet's line aspire
To give the world again :
same) The mistress of man's life, grave History, Raising the world to good and evil fame, Doth vindicate it to eternity.
Wise Providence would so that nor the good
Might be defrauded, nor the great secured,
But both might know their ways were understood,
When vice alike in time with virtue dured:
Which makes that, lighted by the beamy hand
Of Truth, that searcheth the most hidden springs,
And guided by Experience, whose straight
Doth mete, whose line doth sound the depth of things;
She cheerfully supporteth what she rears, Assisted by no strengths but are her
Who aided him, will thee, the issue of Some note of which each varied pillar
And since our dainty age Cannot indure reproof,
1 That eats on wits and arts, and destroys them both.] A syllable is evidently lost, necessary to complete the measure; I have inserted a monosyllable that helps it out:
Versus fultura cadentis.—WHAL. Whalley's choice fell on quite; I prefer so: the reader, perhaps, may stumble upon a better substitute than either.
• With Japhet's line aspire
Sol's chariot for new fire.] He means Prometheus, the son of Japetus, who, as the poets say, was assisted by Minerva in the formation of his man, whom he animated with fire taken from the chariot of the Sun.-WHAL.
This spirited Ode was probably among our author's early performances. A part of the concluding stanza we have already had in the "Apologetical Dialogue" at the conclusion of The Poetaster; and the whole might be written
By which, as proper titles, she is known Time's witness, herald of Antiquity, The light of Truth, and life of Memory.
about the period of the appearance of that drama. Jonson's dislike to the stage here breaks out; but, in truth, this is not the only passage from which we are authorized to collect that necessity alone led him to write for the theatres.
Raleigh's History of the World, fol. 1614: they These lines are prefixed to Sir Walter are descriptive of the ornamental figures in the serious frontispiece to that volume, and can scarcely be understood without a reference to the plate itself. Jonson assisted Raleigh in this great work; and indeed there were not many literary undertakings of importance in his days to which "the envious Ben" did not liberally afford his aid.
The folio has been corrected from Raleigh's copy. It seems that Whalley was not acquainted with the purport of this little piece, or with its appearance in any volume previously to that of 1641.
1 [There is no XLIII. in Gifford's edition, and it has been thought convenient to adhere to his numbering.-F. C.]
2 One of our author's earliest pieces. "It was written," (the folio says,) "in Queen Elizabeth's time, since lost, and recovered."
This earl was, I believe, the son of Gerald, sixteenth Earl of Desmond, a most powerful nobleman, and a formidable rebel, who gave Elizabeth a world of uneasiness. He was, however, mastered at length, and his vast possessions, which extended over several counties, were in 1582 forfeited to the crown. His son James, the person, I presume, to whom this ode was addressed, was restored in blood and honour, in 1600. From the allusions to his state of disfavour, and the call upon him to
I send nor balms nor corsives to your wound;
Your faith hath found
A gentler, and more agile hand, to tend The cure of that which is but corporal, And doubtful days, which were named critical,
Have made their fairest flight,
And now are out of sight.
Yet doth some wholesome physic for the mind,
Wrapt in this paper lie,
Which in the taking if you misapply,
Your covetous hand,
True valour doth her own renown command
In one full action; nor have you now more To do, than be a husband of that store.
Think but how dear you bought
This same which you have caught, Such thoughts will make you more in love with truth:
'Tis wisdom, and that high, For men to use their fortune reverently, Even in youth.
1 As yet it is not mute, &c.] From Horace:
Spirat adhuc amor,
Vivuntque commissi calores
Nec si quid olim lusit Anacreon,
Or Constable's ambrosiac muse Made Dian not his notes refuse?] This author, though honoured with so ample a testimony from Jonson, is almost unknown in this "Henry Constable," in the words of Antony Wood, was a great master of the English tongue; and there was no gentleman of our nation who had a more pure, quick, and higher delivery of conceit than he witness, among all others, that sonnet of his before the poetical translation called the Furies, made by King James the First of England, while he was King of the Scots. He hath also several sonnets extant, written to Sir Philip Sidney; some of which are set before the Apology for Poetry, written by the said knight." This author flourished in the reign of Queen Elizabeth.-WHAL.
Helen, did Homer never see
Thy beauties, yet could write of thee?
Antony's taste in poetry was not very refined, and he did not therefore discover that his author (Edmund Bolton) had unluckily fixed upon one of Constable's worst sonnets. Diana of which Jonson speaks, was published in 1594. Constable seems to have been the most voluminous sonnet-writer of those sontion rather more than equal to his merits: neteering times; and to have acquired a reputasince, besides Jonson, he is mentioned with praise by others of his contemporaries, and placed immediately after Spenser by Judicio, in the Return from Parnassus:
"Sweet Constable doth take the wondering ear, And lays it up in willing prisonment."
Yet sure my tunes will be the best, So much my subject drowns the rest.
TO THE NOBLE Lady, the LADY
I that have been a lover, and could shew it, Though not in these, in rhymes not wholly dumb,
Since I exscribe your sonnets,' am become A better lover and much better poet. Nor is my Muse or I ashamed to owe it To those true numerous graces, whereof
But charm the senses, others overcome Both brains and hearts; and mine now best do know it:
For in your verse all Cupid's armory,
His flames, his shafts, his quiver, and his bow,
His very eyes are yours to overthrow. But then his mother's sweets you so apply, Her joys, her smiles, her loves, as readers take
For Venus' ceston every line you make.
A FIT OF RHYME AGAINST RHYME,
Rhyme, the rack of finest wits,
1 Since I exscribe your sonnets, &c.] The allusion is probably to Lady Wroth's Urania, a pastoral romance published in 1621. This, in imitation of her uncle's (Sir Philip Sidney's) Arcadia, is interspersed with songs, sonnets, and other little pieces of poetry, which our author, who seems to have been favoured with the MS., was permitted to copy. The Urania has long been forgotten, and no revolution in taste or manners can ever revive its memory; yet it was once in considerable vogue; it did not, perhaps, like Tetrachordon, number good intellects, yet it certainly counted many bright eyes, among its admirers. The poetical part of Urania is rather above than below the usual standard of ladies rhymes, and though the chariest maid of these times may read it without the smallest peril (except of her patience), it was looked upon as inflammatory by the combustible damsels of James's days:
"The Lady Wroth's Urania is complete
With elegancies; but too full of heat," Sir Aston Cokayne says; and he was not singular in his opinion. The following sonnet may serve as a specimen of the poetry which our author exscribed: it is neither the best nor the worst of the collection:
Spoiling senses of their treasure, Cozening judgment with a measure, But false weight;
Wresting words from their true calling;
Jointing syllabes, drowning letters,
Soon as lazy thou wert known,
For a thousand years together,
So to see the fountain dry,
All light failed!
Greek was free from rhyme's infection,
Whilst the Latin, queen of tongues,
"Late in the forest I did Cupid see,
Cold, wet, and crying, he had lost his way; And being blind was farther like to stray: Which sight a kind compassion bred in me, I gently took and dried him, while that he, Poor child, complained he starved was with stay,
And pined for want of his accustomed prey: For none in that wild place his host would be. I glad was of his finding, thinking sure This service should my freedom still procure; And to my breast I took him then unharmed, Carr'ing him safe unto a myrtle bower: But in the way he made me feel his power, Burning my heart, who had him kindly warmed."
Sir Robert Wroth, the husband of this celebrated lady, was also a poet: fortunately his genius was turned to wit, as hers to love; so that the respective pursuits of this tuneful pair did not clash, and the domestic harmony continued unbroken to the end:
Felices ter et amplius
Quos irrupta tenet copula, nec malis